New Delhi: With “Inclusive Growth” being declared as the theme of this year’s India International Trade Fair, West Bengal in its State Pavilion had highlighted all aspects of its growth story in the just-concluded exposition – outlining the strategies formed and schemes implemented by the government as well as its achievements in bringing the fruits of benefits to all echelons of the society. The State also exhibited Bengal’s great artistic and cultural traditions and positioned itself as a tourism and business hub to potential travellers and investors.
The Pavilion was unveiled on 14th November, 2013 by Shri Partha Chatterjee, Hon’ble Minister-in-Charge, Commerce and Industries, in the gracious presence of the State’s Principal Resident Commissioner Shri Bhaskar Khulbe and Dr. Krishna Gupta, Managing Director of West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation.
The Pavilion façade projected “pillars of growth” signifying hopes and aspirations of the people of the state and the vertical growth graph achieved due to the people-centric programmes and policies of the State Government. A diorama at the entrance and a special section within the Pavilion had been dedicated to the Centenary of the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to legendary poet-philosopher Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore for “Gitanjali”. Moreover, the reputed Oxford Book Store had set up a unit in the Pavilion to display the translated works of Tagore in English, to cater to a larger and diverse audience. In the theme area, Departments like Panchayat & Rural Development and Micro & Small Scale Enterprises & Textiles portrayed all aspects of the State’ssustainable growth strategies with the help of panels and artworks, including a 3-D model symbolizing “resurgence of Bengal & rising growth”.
The basement section of the Pavilion brought alive the concept of ensuring economic benefits to rural communities through Self-Help Groups. A total of 40 participants from SHGs displayed and sold their products. The Pavilion also had 37 stalls representingMSSE&T Department, bringing items as varied as Jamdanee sarees, hand-printed batik garments, jute products, mats, copper ornaments and utensils, embroidered apparel, designer umbrellas and terracotta jewellery other than exclusive Geographical Indication-protected goods such as ‘Nakshi Kantha’ (traditional needle craft), Leather Goods of Shantiniketan, Baluchari Saree of Bankura, Dhaniakhali Saree of Hooghly, Santipore Saree of Nadia as well as Darjeeling Tea, known all over the world for its fine taste. The world-famous clay models of Ghurni also had a pride of place.
The special attractions in the Tourism Section were a representation of the golden sea beach of Digha, one of the most favoured tourist destinations of the State as well as an ‘akhara’ (unit) of ‘Bauls’ (wandering minstrels) of Bengal with life-size models. A troupe of Baul singers staged live performance to spread and popularize this glorious folk tradition of Bengal. Two life-size clay models of a basket-maker and a lady weaver with a “charkha” had been displayed at the exit area of the Pavilion and turned out to be a great crowd-puller.
For the first time, a separate business lounge had been set up in the Pavilion to facilitate business-to-business and business-to-government interactions. A number of meetings were held at the lounge during fair, notable among which are interactions between representatives of Government of West Bengal and organizers of Nepal International Trade Fair, as well as those with senior officials of ITPO regarding the State’s participation in future international trade fairs. Also, a meeting was held between officials of the State Government with representatives of Apeejay Surrendra Group.
The “Cha Bar”, the concept refreshment lounge of Oxford Book Store, operated a stall in the Food Court, bringing mouth-watering Bengali delicacies for the visitors.
‘West Bengal Day’ was celebrated in IITF on November 24, with Dr. Amit Mitra, the Hon’ble Finance Minister of the State, addressing a press conference at Pragati Auditorium, Pragati Maidan. West Bengal recorded remarkable improvement in the three pillars of growth – GDP, tax revenue collection and Index of Industrial Production (IIP) – and was receiving “encouraging” offers of partnership from top entities and organizations, Dr. Mitra told the mediapersons. The Minister said the State has received an offer from the India Trade Promotion Organization, the organizers of the IITF, to be a part in four foreign fairs where the ITPO would participate — in Sao Paulo in Brazil, Perth in Australia, Osaka in Japan and Chile in South America.
In the evening of November 24, inmates of Correctional Homes of the State staged “Mokshagati”, a dance drama adapted from the life of Emperor Ashoka under the direction of noted social worker and danseuse Smt. Alokananda Roy. The programme was well-attended and acclaimed by all.
Dr. Amit Mitra, Hon’ble MIC Finance, addressing a press meet on West Bengal Day at IITF on 24.11.13