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India's largest trade fair kicked off


The 35th edition of India's largest trade fair kicked off on Saturday at the Pragati Maidan grounds here, with President Pranab Mukherjee calling it a flagship event that will showcase India's potential to become a $10-trillion economy in the next two decades. "The India International Trade Fair is closely linked to sustained economic growth and trade. We are a $2.1-trillion economy and have the potential to be a $10-trillion economy over the next two decades if we are able to provide a fillip to manufacturing and innovation," the president said. "The fair is a brand name enjoying recognition from around the world. This annual celebration of trade is to develop our bilateral relations with the rest of the world," Mukhejee said in his inaugural address here. "This is a time of great opportunities in India." The government in the recent past has "intensified" the country's bilateral relations with the world, the president said. The first five days of the exposition have been reserved exclusively for business visitors. The public will be allowed to visit the fair from November 19 until its conclusion on November 27. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the event is of a "global stature" and would see participation by at least 28 countries. This edition of IITF will follow the theme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make in India initiative. "We have potential for becoming world's fifth largest exporter by 2030. Focused activity is our hallmark," Sitharaman said. "India is emerging as a preferred investment destination," she added. This year, while Afghanistan is the 'partner' country, Bangladesh has been roped in as the 'focus' country. Goa and Jharkhand are acting as the partner states while Madhya Pradesh has been made the focus state. According to the organisers, over 7,000 firms from India and overseas are participating in the fair. The overseas participation is from countries including Egypt, Bhutan, China, Cuba, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet, Turkey, and the UAE. The fair will be open daily from 9.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. The public visitors will have to pay Rs.30 on week days and Rs.50 on weekends or holidays for admission. Senior citizens and the differently abled will be given free entry. Tickets can be purchased online for business days. Last year's event saw a footfall of over 1.4 million, a nine percent increase over the attendance in 2013. In addition, 63 business delegations from 41 countries and a large number of people from foreign missions in New Delhi had visited the exposition.