This year “India” has been honoured as the theme country in the London Book fair 2009, by the organizers-British Council and Capexil.Capexil is a leading export promotion council of the Ministry of Commerce & Industries, Govt. of India and as a co-organizer of the Kolkata Book fair 2009, Capexil has also invited a high level delegation team from Scotland and UK comprising of publishers, printers and authors from the respective countries to interact with their counterparts in the city.
An initiative has been taken by Capexil and British Council to promote participation of the Indian organization in the London Book Fair which is to be held from 20-22 April 2009. The participants will find a wide range of opportunities to focus their services and product in this event. The Chairman of Capexil, Mr. S.K Ghai, speaks to Amrita Chatterjee at 33rd Kolkata Book fair on how India is fast emerging as the printing and publishing hub in the world market.
India is the theme in forthcoming London Book Fair to be held from 22-22 April 2009. Please tell us more about the fair.
Well, London book fair is an ideal opportunity to showcase books and periodicals to a large urban market in this region. This year India has been declared as the focus Market and a separate “India” pavilion has been set up to showcase the Indian printing and publishing Industry distinctly to all spheres. Professional programs, seminars, workshops, and cultural programs will be held during the period. Arab world was the theme last year and 18 countries had participated. This year the central theme is India.
More Indian stakeholders of this industry are encouraged to participate and expand their outlets in the international market. How is the response?
Well, we are getting very good response, the Export & Promotion Council promotes a separate panel exclusively for publication and printing. We have about 400 highly reputed printers, publishers, and distributors etc as members of this panel. It’s a great platform for them to facilitate business at the international level. Response is overwhelming.
What’s your take on Indian printers & publishers? Are they equipped to compete in the International market?
India provides genuine quality of International production standards, and that too at low cost. Our printers, publishers gets the whole of world’s attention at the fair as they can provide the excellent quality in terms of printing, designing, content etc , and cost is comparatively much lower than the other counterparts of the world. Naturally, the world market looks up to India for services related to this industry.
Earlier, we were using second hand machine, but now printers here are importing hi-tech machines, and our people are highly skilled. You will be surprised to know that 80 percent use is of our own manufactured paper. Thus we are very much equipped to compete in the International market.
The London fair really seems to be a good opportunity for the Indian publishers, printers but only the big companies can participate, what measures government of India has undertaken to facilitate the smaller companies?
Well, yes the Market Development Assistance is providing subsidy on stalls at the fair to be held in London. Sahitya Academy, British Council is taking 40 Indian Authors to the fair with full sponsorship. Many among them have won literary awards. Government is indeed taking great initiatives with discounts to facilitate the smaller printers and publishing houses.
How you visualize the future of Indian printing & publishing industry?
Well, in no time from now we will be printing 10 times more than what we are printing now. The world will come to India to fulfill their business needs in this industry. Indian printing entrepreneurship is very sharp and skilled. The investors would do a favour to themselves by coming to India.
In India, what are the areas you feel one should improvise on to make this industry perform even better.
Well, yes our publishers should bring greater discipline to the work, of course they are doing excellent work but then there is always room for improvement. They should commit as much they can, as no point in missing out the deadlines, which eventually will bring bad name in the industry. Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai are doing extremely well. Other parts like West Bengal, Orissa are also coming up in a big way. It’s just that- to meet the needs of the International market, one has to be extremely particular about the commitments they make.
Despite such a flourishing industry, why is the younger generation in India not getting attracted to this printing and publishing industry?
Good question! You see, there is a tremendous lack of awareness. Also India is still behind in developing the training institutes to create skilled professionals for the industry. Even if a student is interested to make a career in this sector, but then seldom, there are proper training facilities. Our curriculum in school and colleges stresses more on MBA, MBBS, Engineering etc, but one never thinks of becoming a printer or a publisher.
I strongly feel that more practical opportunities in the existing printing & publishing courses should be introduced. The existing ones hardly have any practical exposures.
How do you think that the government can be more proactive in attracting the new generation into this sector and also to create India as the biggest printing and publishing hub in the world?
We need highly skilled manpower in the forthcoming days to support the growing printing & publishing industry in India. Thus the new generation also needs to be involved in this field. Believe me, the new generation will also greatly benefit from this sector. There is no saturation in this industry, demand is huge and it has incredible job opportunities, area of work is big, one can specialize in printing, designing, publishing, distributing etc. Yes, the government of India in partnership with other states and universities should set up more training institutes. The govt. is already facilitating this industry through Export and Promotion Council, much more needs to be done n the forthcoming days.