New Delhi, Nov 14 IANS | 2 years ago

President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday said India should focus on skill development and vocational training to reap the demographic dividend.

"There is an urgent need to incorporate skill development and vocational training in the process of our economic growth," said the president while inaugurating the 33rd India International Trade Fair (IITF) at Pragati Maidan in the national capital.

The theme of IITF 2013 is "Inclusive Growth".

India, he said, will achieve the demographic dividend by 2030 when 50 percent of its population will be in the working force age-group and the world's largest workforce will be in India.

Mukherjee said any economic development has to have some social ramifications. In order to keep pace with rapid global changes, the country needs to consistently fine-tune skills of the workforce.

Overall, there are about 6,000 exhibitors from India and abroad participating in the fair, showcasing a wide range from electronics and decorative items to fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and accessories.

This year, Bihar is the partner state and Odisha is the focus state, while South Africa is the focus country.

There are around 260 foreign exhibitors from 21 countries. The participant countries include Japan, Thailand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Canada, Italy and the UAE.

The first five days of the fair are only for business-to-business meetings. However, to reap the benefit of the fair on day one many people with special entry passes have thronged stalls.

Many of them ensure that they visit the fair every year because nowhere else do they think they could get garments and various other products from so many different countries.

"It is the variety of stuff that attracts us. Nowhere we will get such varieties from so many different countries. We look for household stuff, garments, jewellery and many more things," Mona, who has come to shop at the stalls with her friends, told IANS.

People queued up in front of Thailand stalls to buy bags and brooches. Some people were seen haggling at a stall displaying goods from Afghanisthan over the price of a carpet.

The attraction of the fair is so much that people were even hopping from one stall to the other with infants in parambulators.

Apart from the stalls from foreign countries, people were also visiting various state pavilions like Uttarakhand and Odisha.

The security system has been beefed up in and around the fair ground. "There are around 2,500 policemen deployed now. If it is needed, more force will be requisitioned," a Delhi Police officer said.

(Posted on 14-11-2013)