The 47th edition of IHGF Delhi Fair-Spring 2019 began with a very sombre inaugural ceremony paying homage to the martyred soldiers at Pulwama held at state-of-the-art exhibition venue India Expo Centre & Mart at Greater Noida in the presence of Chairman OP Prahladka, Rajesh Kumar Jain, President of the Fair, Rakesh Kumar, DG, EPCH and other members of the Committee of Administration. The overseas buying community arrived in India to source home, lifestyle, fashion, textiles and furniture products from more than 110 countries. The extravaganza of Indian handicrafts took place from February 18-22, 2019.

Rakesh Kumar, Director General EPCH made opening remarks paying homage to the martyred soldiers and extended welcome to the exhibitors, buyers, buying agents, press and media and other dignitaries.

OP Prahladka Chairman – EPCH speaking on the occasion informed that this fair has achieved many milestones such as recognition by Limca Book of World records, number of halls increasing by every alternate year of the fair totaling to 15 halls, fair facilities have increased manifold, increase in number of visiting buyers, number of countries represented by 110, constant increase in number of exhibitors etc. This fair has played a positive and important role in providing world class marketing platform to showcase the creativity and hard work of the handicrafts exporting community to the international buying community. This fair has also increased the earnings in foreign exchange through exports which was merely Rs. 387 cr in 1986-87 and has reached to Rs. 23,029.36 cr in 2017-18 and during 10 months of 2018-19 have shown a positive growth of 13.26 per cent in rupee terms and is at Rs. 21,460.56 cr and I am hopeful that the trend will continue in next two months as well and we will have a good positive growth this year crossing Rs. 26,500 cr informed OP Prahladka, Chairman – EPCH.

OP Prahladka further added that around 3,200 exhibitors with 2000+ designs and styles of home, lifestyles, fashion and textiles are displaying exquisite products in 15 halls. The USP of Indian handicrafts is these are handmade and make them different from handicrafts of other countries and this is the reason behind increase in visit of number of buyers every year to this fair.

Some of the major highlights

Ajay Tamta, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Textiles visited 47th edition of IHGF-Delhi fair spring recently to boost the morale of the around 3,200 exhibiting companies.MOS for textiles was welcomed by Rajesh Kumar Jain, President of the fair. Jain thanked the Minister for supporting handicrafts community during his tenure of four and half years on various issues be it related to GST and other bottlenecks, which were hampering the exports of handicrafts from the country.

First of all, Ajay Tamta paid tribute to the martyred soldiers in Pulwanma who sacrificed their lives for the Nation. While speaking on the occasion he said that EPCH is doing excellent work to promote art and culture of different regions by providing platform like IHGF-Delhi Fair. The large number of small and medium enterprises are involved in manufacturing of exquisite and quality handicraft products in different craft clusters and this fair has always played a positive and important role in providing world class marketing platform to the exporters to showcase their creativity and craftsmanship to the international buying community. This fair has also led to earning foreign exchange through exports which was merely Rs. 387 cr in 1986- 87 and has reached to Rs. 23,029.36 cr in 2017-18 and I am glad to know that during 10 months of 2018-19 exports of handicrafts have shown a positive growth of 13.26 per cent in rupee terms and is at Rs. 21,460.56 cr and I am hopeful that the trend will continue and will result in a positive growth in 2018-19.

Tamta also said that on seeing the products on display in this fair and also being manufactured by artisans and craftpersons in different craft cluster, he noticed that Indian handicrafts are not less than the handicrafts products of other countries. He said that I had opportunity to visit Ambiente last year and there also products which were displayed by the Indian companies were at par with the products of other countries and with the technology, design development our Indian products are getting better and better. The MOS for Textiles also appreciated the efforts being taken by EPCH to explore new regions other than the US and European Union.

During his visit to the fair, Tamta distributed the certificate to first batch of the students who studied course of handicraft export management through Centre for Handicrafts Export Management Studies [CHEMS], set by EPCH at Moradabad and said this is a need of an hour as it encourages to young generation to join handicrafts sector. Hon’ble Minister commended EPCH for taking this initiative and hoped that it will in future result in many more joining handicrafts sector thereby continuing with the export growth the handicraft sector is known for.

Besides, on day-two, Shantmanu, Development Commissioner [Handicrafts] visited the fair and interacted with the participants and also inaugurated the thematic display of Jammu and Kashmir. J&K is famous for its scenic beauty and exclusive raw material base. The entrepreneurs and artisans from this State are displaying rug, carpets, shawls, stoles, home furnishing, woodcrafts and paper machine products.

DC [Handicrafts] was mesmerized to see wide variety of home, lifestyle, fashion, textiles and furniture products on display and said that quality of Indian handcrafted products is getting better and is at par with the products of other competitive countries as Indian products are pre-dominantly handmade and very less machines are being used.

Shantmanu, DC [Handicrafts] also launched the first handbook of Buying Agents Association during his visit to the show. Rakesh Kumar, DG – EPCH said that EPCH housed a thoughtfully spread out designers forum featuring accomplished design professionals in the home, lifestyle, fashion and textiles sector. These designers are from companies like Curo Carte Sources who are working with communities with diverse artform, company Koyakal represents the richness of tribal art forms with moto Live with Art and Live with Nature, company Anhad Craft is a story of sustainability that identifies itself with Khadi, hand spun and hand woven, company Aayom has been brought to showcase products made out of banana fibre manufactured by rural women, jail inmates and local artisans. For most of them, this is their maiden participation at the fair and they look forward to their learning, networking and market connects through this platform, said Rakesh Kumar, Director General – EPCH.

Fashion show on ramp by models wearing jewellery & accessories was one of the highlights of the day two of IHGFDelhi Fair Spring and buyers got attracted to the items of models displayed during fashion show. The models on ramps wore the product of fashion jewellery & accessories provided by Kenway Sartaj Worldwide, Moradbad, SS Textiles, New Delhi, Risam Exports and Shri Dayal Exports, Jaipur

Seminar on Indo-Iran Trade – Prospects and Challenges

A large number of handicrafts exporters have been doing trading with Iran and in recent past due to imposition of the US sanctions on Iran they are not able to route their payments in foreign currencies namely USD and Euros. Due to this imposition, their export orders are getting hampered. Looking at the gravity of the situation, EPCH decided to hold a seminar during IHGF-Delhi Fair.

Rahul Ranjan, Chief Manager, Foreign Exchange, UCO Bank and Vivek Sharma, Chief Manager, UCO Bank were the faculty members to apprise the participants about trade with Iran after imposition Iran-US sanctions. The Government of India also took the initiative to resolve the issue with Iran and Office of Foreign Assets of US [OFAC] for taking the waiver to continue trade with Iran under Indo Iran Rupee Payment mechanism. UCO Bank has been nominated for facilitating the trade.

While declaring the fair open, Rajesh Jain, President of the fair said that North Eastern Region is one of the richest in terms of eco-friendly crafts. The richness has sustained and flourished many millennia due to the unique craftsmanship. EPCH has been making regular efforts to showcase the exquisite crafts of this region by providing this marketing platform to small and tiny entrepreneurs artisans and craft persons. This year is also a theme pavilion has been set up so that visiting buyers can see the hidden treasure of regional crafts and interact with the participants directly.

Jain further said that the splendid work of art and craft in Jammu and Kashmir is also being showcased in theme pavilion displaying shawls, carpets, baskets weaving, pashmina shawls and tweed.This year buyers from new countries such as Albania, Barbados and Somalia have registered to the fair for exploring the Indian handcrafted products.

Rakesh Kumar, Director General -EPCH, said IHGF Delhi Fair has the most extensive range of handcrafted products like home textiles, furnishings & made ups, carpets & rugs, floor coverings, houseware, decoratives, tableware, furniture, garden & outdoor, bathroom accessories, spa and wellness, lamps & lighting, Christmas & festive décor, handmade paper items, fashion jewellery, accessories, bags, clutches, purses and garments and facts & figures etc. The products on display are handcrafted catering to all segments of customers be it low, middle to top end customers. The range of products is large, varied and distinct. Later in the day, Ratnesh Kumar Jha, Additional Development Commissioner Handicrafts visited the fair and inaugurated thematic display of North Eastern Region handicrafts.

The faculty from UCO Bank apprised the participants about the conditions to be followed to trade under Rupee Payment Mechanism by describing the general guidelines such as trade should be between India and Iran, the port of loading and destination should be Indian and Iranian port respectively, no transhipment will be allowed, no merchanting trade is allowed, goods and the entities should not be in OFAC Sanctioned list and the last trade must be in INR.

They also discussed about the mechanism adopted by UCO bank in reimbursing other banks for Iran Trade dealt by them and the channels through which trade can be done namely through Letter of Credit, collection and against advance remittances. They also informed that all Authorised Dealer Banks can claim the Iran related trade proceeds from UCO Bank Treasury through SWIFT.

The forum was also appraised about account opening procedure and streamlining of account opening documents details for fastening the account opening for carrying out transactions for trading with Iran.They also took note of the concerns of the participants and answered their queries and promised to forward their concerns to competent authorities of UCO bank for further streamlining the process so that trade with Iran should not hamper further.Models walked on ramps on day three also and displayed products of fashion jewellery & accessories of Craft Overseas, New Delhi, Anaya Fashion, New Delhi, Veva’s fashion, Jaipur, Banaras Buttons & Beads Ltd, New Delhi.