The Indian Exhibitions Industry Association (IEIA) has urged its government to immediately intervene and allow exhibitions to be organised, in order to "ensure the survival of the industry and revival of the Indian economy".
Mr Balasubramanian (pictured), president of the IEIA said in a letter to the home minister Amit Shah that Covid-19 has adversely impacted the ‘Business Exhibitions’ sector across India with a complete standstill since March 2020 continuing till date. Approximately Rs. 10,000 crore of business and related trade has been affected nationwide due to non-holding and cancellations of exhibitions in India as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with one million estimated livelihoods affected of those who depend on exhibitions for their livelihoods. Mass lay-offs, no work orders for the contractual service providers and lack of funds for temporary ground workers have added to the losses being suffered by the sector.
“The Indian exhibition industry was growing at 10% Y-O-Y during the pre-Covid period and has been deeply impacted and is facing unprecedented challenges. We are making a clarion call to the government to extend a supporting hand to this industry so that exhibitions can come back soon and start supporting various businesses. This would not only boost the India’s vision of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat', but will also enable the revival of the national economy, create jobs as well as bring back the country to its growth path," Balasubramanian said.
"The IEIA has already prepared Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to organise safe and secure exhibitions in association with India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), and the same have been submitted to Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Commerce last month. As exhibitions require a gestation period of 6-8 weeks to organise, it is vital for the Government to announce a date by when exhibitions can be restarted in a safe and sound environment. The human density for B2B exhibitions is not much different from a shopping mall or a railway/bus station, and we can get ready to organise shows once we get the necessary approvals," the IEIA president added.
The IEIA, along with many trade bodies that organise exhibitions have approached the union government to allow exhibitions to restart. While the exhibition sector was excluded in the list of sectors allowed in the Unlock 3.0 guidelines, the Indian exhibition industry is appealing for exhibitions to be allowed by the government in Unlock 4.0.
The industry has also called on the government to create an economic support package for the sector, to "relieve some of the stress the industry has gone through in the past couple of months".