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IITF 2018: Exhibitors rue lack of space, facilities

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New Delhi, Nov 17: Space constraints and lack of basic facilities have left traders and exhibitors at the annual India International Trade Fair (IITF) disappointed as the venue undergoes a makeover but some customers are happy they don’t have to walk around much.

Be it food stalls or state/international pavilions, everything at the fair has shrunk this time due to the implementation of the IECC (Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Center) project at Pragati Maidan.

The traders are also struggling to avail proper water and food facilities.

Chhattisgarh-based Kanhaiya Lal Dewangan, who is selling handloom saris, is having to adjust his stall every now and then to make room for the visitors.

“Earlier I used to get a large stall but this time due to the ongoing construction work, I had to settle with a smaller one. I’m not even able to unfold the saris and display them to customers properly. It gets difficult to handle even one customer at a time now,” Dewangan told IANS.

Like Dewangan, there were several other exhibitors who expressed the same concern and felt that IITF 2018 was one of the most disorganised fairs.

Known for setting up Lucknow’s famous Chikankari kurta stall, U.K. Mishra slammed the organisers for not fulfilling the exhibitors and traders’ basic demands.

“We can manage in this little space but how can we live without water? There are hardly one or two water filters in the whole hall. Just imagine, 800 stalls and only one or two water filters,” he said.

“And to get entry, every day we have to buy a ticket. We did not even get an entry card. We have just one entry card and we are two people who manage this stall. My brother has to buy a ticket of Rs 500 every day. Organisers should look after this and provide concessions to the exhibitors,” he added.

Addressing the furious exhibitors’ complaints, Hema Maity, General Manager at the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), told IANS: “I agree there is a lack of water facilities. Many water pipelines are blocked due to construction work but we have arranged water ATMs and water tanks everywhere with a charge of just Rs 2 per glass and Rs 5 for bottles.

“There are many inconveniences faced by the people this time, but the construction and redevelopment taking place are for their betterment only.”

IITF, which marked the initial four days (November 14-17) for business visitors, is scheduled to continue till November 27. The 14-day fair is organised by ITPO under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Around 800 national and international participants are taking part in the exhibition. The average footfall is expected to be around 30,000 approximately, alarmingly lower than previous editions.

Covering just 23,000 sqm of land, the IITF 2018 is causing trouble to the traders and visitors alike.

From unorthodox parking provisions to limited seating arrangement and shuttles, there are many inconveniences for the visitors.

Veena Pandey, who has been attending the trade fair for the past 20 years, was discontent with the quality of food this time.

“There are no proper food stalls, no seating arrangement, nothing. And even if you find a stall, the food items are overpriced. Take a look outside, and so many people are sitting on the grass just because of the shortage of chairs” she said.

A few customers, however, were happy.

“I know there is less space, but to be honest, we are happy as now we do not have to walk a lot. It saves a lot of time. Old people can now easily go and look up to the stalls,” said Amita, a customer who attended the fair with her family.

Despite constraints, all Indian states and union territories have made space and installed their stalls, but those from neighboring countries like Pakistan and Sri Lanka were missing in the fair.

Afghanistan is the partner country whereas Nepal is the focus country and Jharkhand, the focus state of IITF 2018.

IANS

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HCL 5th among top 10 tech firms that received H1-B certifications in US

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HCL

New Delhi, Feb 16: At a time when the US move to limit H1-B visas has left major tech companies perturbed as it will seriously affect their ability to get and retain talented staff, Indian company HCL has secured 5,085 foreign labour certification for the H-1B work visas.

HCL America had 2.9 per cent share of all foreign labour certification for the H-1B work visas for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2019 that ended December 31, revealed latest H-1B visa statistics by the US Department of Labour.

Deloitte Consulting topped the list with 18,306 H-1B specialist occupation labour certifications, followed by Apple with 16,426 H-1B speciality occupations.

Professional staffing agency KForce was third with 10,292 visa certifications and Amazon.com Services was listed fourth with 5,485 certifications.

Social media giant Facebook was seventh, receiving 4,133 H-1B visa certifications for the quarter.

Others in the top 10 list were Cognizant Technology Solutions, Qualcomm Technologies, Intel Corporation and Oracle America.

Indians are the biggest beneficiaries of the temporary H1-B visas, 76 per cent of which went to professionals from India last year, according to government statistics.

In November, the Trump administration announced changes to the H1-B visa system to give preferences to applicants with advanced degrees.

A total of 85,000 H1-B visas are available each year under regulations imposed by the Congress. Of these, 20,000 are reserved for those graduating with advance degrees from US universities.

Immigration authorities have reportedly intensified their crackdown on H1-B visa fraud and some Indians as well as Indian companies have been caught in it.

One of the immediate concerns for H1-B visa-holders is the Trump administration’s plan to end permission for their spouses – who are on H-4 visas – to work, which had been granted by the administration of former President Barack Obama.

IANS

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Sensex, Nifty open higher

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Sensex equity Nifty

Mumbai, Feb 15: The Sensex gained close to 140 points after opening higher on Friday while the Nifty logged slight gains to trade above the 10,750 mark.

Utilities, oil and gas and power stocks gained on the BSE while key sectors like finance and banking traded lower.

The BSE Sensex opened at 35,985.68 from its previous close at 35,876.22 on Thursday.

At 9.16 a.m., the Sensex traded at 36,014.08 higher by 137.86 points or 0.38 per cent.

The Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened lower at 10,930.90 after closing at 10,943.60 on Thursday.

The Nifty traded at 10,752.15 during the morning trade session, up 6.10 points and 0.06 per cent.

On Thursday, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were net sellers and the domestic institutional investors (DIIs) were net buyers.

FIIs sold stocks worth Rs 250.23 crore while the DIIs bought stocks to the tune of Rs 1,225.24 crore.

IANS

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Rahul says GST killed Gujarat’s economic base

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Rahul Gandhi

Lal Dungri (South Gujarat), Feb 14 (IANS) Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday established a connect with the crowds here in Gujarat, scoffing at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development claims in his home state and alleging that GST had killed the state’s small and medium scale businessmen who were its true pillars.

“Sardar ney humko rasta dikhaya tha, Mahatma Gandhi ney rasta dikhaya tha, ab Gujarat ke log firse dikhayenge kaise logon ko ek karte hain, sahi vikas kya hain (Sardar showed us the way, Gandhi showed us the way, now people of Gujarat will once again show how to unite the country, what is real development),” he declared to loud applause.

As the crowds listened in rapt attention, Gandhi made an sentimental appeal: “Gujarat has given immense love and respect to me, I will never forget this. There is nothing bigger for me. I love to come here as many as times as possible. I love the people of Gujarat, I love the food here.”

As the crowds cheered and whistled, he said: “Whenever Gujarat calls me, I will be there. Wherever I am, I promise, whenever you call me I will come.”

Taunting Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio programme, the Congress chief added, addressing the crowd: “You are our masters. The farmers, the tribals, the downtrodden are our masters. Not Anil Ambani, not Nirav Modi, not Vijay Mallya.”

There was loud applause when he referred to Jay Shah, son of BJP President Amit Shah.

“He converted Rs 700 crore black money into white through a cooperative bank (Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank of which Amit Shah is a director). But Narendra Modi will not speak about this,” he asserted.

Just as Gandhi exhorted the crowds to shout after him “chowkidar chor hai” he said: “Delhi mein kehte hain chor hai, Gujarati mein bolte hain Chor Chhey.” The people broke into huge laughter and some shouted back “mahachor chhey” and “paako chor chhey”.

Gandhi said “Modi’s Gabbar Singh Tax (Goods and Services Tax)” had sounded the death knell of the small and medium scale businessmen who were the true pillars of Gujarat’s economic prowess. And GST came as an insult to injury to the common men after demonetization, he added.

“The UPA government in 2019 will bring real GST, where it will be a truly simple tax and truly one tax, not the present version.”

Gandhi said the Congress brought National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Food Security Act and a progressive and people-oriented land acquisition law. “And now we are coming with a concept of guaranteed income.

“Under this, money will be directly transferred in your bank account… We have been planning for this for over three to four months.”

Referring to the Bharatmala project, Gandhi said it was “bharat-maara not Bharatmala” through which lands of farmers and poor were being snatched.

He challenged the BJP government to implement the Land Acquisition Act which the UPA government had brought in 2013. “We implemented it in Chhattisgarh immediately after our party came to power. Our government got the Tatas to return thousands of acres of unused land according to the law,” Gandhi added.

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