Monday, March 2, 2015


V.M. Khaleelur Rahman

The IILF 2015 held from 1st to 3rd February 2015 at Chennai Trade Centre in Chennai was a big success. It was officially inaugurated in the evening on 31st January 2015 by the traditional “Lighting of the Lamp” by the dignitaries present there in a glittering function.  
Mr. JS Deepak, Chairman and Managing Director, ITPO, conveyed the message of Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce & Industry, Government of India, who could not join the function, expressing her good wishes for the IILF 2015. 

He said that the IILF was an iconic fair and was the biggest of Business to Business fairs integrating all verticals of the leather and allied industries. He was kind enough to distribute the Council for Leather Export’s Export Excellence Awards to Indian exporters for their outstanding export performance during 2013-14 in different product categories. Top woman entrepreneurs involved in exports of value added products were also honoured on the occasion and CLE publications were also released. 

The IILF goes on improving and growing every year attracting more and more participants and visitors from home and abroad.  Mr. V. Kumar, General Manager, ITPO said in his welcome address that this fair with 444 exhibitors from 23 countries was the biggest IILF so far witnessed. He further said that it showcased India’s strength and emerging technologies and projected India as an investment destination for manufacturing and design in tune with the “Make in India” initiative of the Government of India.

Mr. M. Rafeeque Ahmed, Chairman, Council for Leather Exports informed that this year was special because of the birth centenary of late Mr. Nagappa Chettiar, a legend of the Indian leather industry who was instrumental in organizing the first leather fair in CSIR-CLRI. He also highlighted the importance of the leather industry and said that with the Indian leather sector being included in the recently launched Government of India’s “Make in India” campaign, the leather industry is gearing up for a period of dynamic growth towards meeting ambitious targets set by the government. He said that the combined sales of the Export as well as the Domestic  Sector was expected to touch US$ 27 billion by 2020. He said that to achieve this two critical inputs leather and labour were required and complimented the Leather Sector Skill Council for its successful training of workers under the STAR Scheme. 

Mr. Subhash Kapoor, Vice-Chairman, CLE, proposed a vote of thanks. He thanked ITPO for their successful organization and all participants for their presence. 

The CLE always plays an important role in the development of the leather industry. It came out with a Press Release saying  that the Indian leather industry is not only one of the prime industrial sectors of Indian economy but is also one amongst top ten foreign exchange earners for the country providing employment to 2.5 million people of which about 30% are women.
The leather industry is bestowed with an affluence of raw materials as India is endowed with 21% of world cattle & buffalo and 11% of world goat and sheep population. Besides this, there are advantages of skilled work force, innovative technology, increasing industry compliance to international environmental standards and the dedicated support of the allied industries, it further added. 

As far as turnover is concerned, it says that with an annual turnover of US$ 12 billion, the export of leather and leather products increased manifold over the past decades and touched US$ 5.91 billion during 2013-14 recording a cumulative annual growth rate of about 14.77% in five years. 

The leather sector has been notified as a “Focus Sector” in the Make in India Programme of the Government of India, with the objective of enhancing production and employment and under this programme ambitious targets have been set for leather sector which includes enhancing turnover from the present level of US$ 12 billion to US$27 billion in next 5 years (which includes export of US$15 billion from the current level of US$5.91 billion and domestic market turnover of US$12 billion from present level of US$6 billion)

It is also noteworthy that the exports of leather and leather products during the first eight months of the current financial year 2014-15, i.e. April-November 2014 touched US$4.45 billion against the performance of US$3.8 billion in April-November 2013 recording a positive growth of 17.18%.

The fair growth this year is really high. There were as many as 444 exhibitors including 143 overseas companies from 23 countries whereas last year there were only 385 exhibitors comprising 98 overseas exhibitors from 18 countries. Overseas participation is from Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Netherlands, Turkey, UAE and United Kingdom. 

There were many big and very attractive pavilions from many countries including India showcasing machinery, chemicals, hides and skins, leather products, accessories etc.
ITPO, CLE-CLRI in association with Indian leather sector presented “Spiring Summer 2015” season through a Theme Pavilion “Futuristic Nostalgia” at the fair which was an added attraction. 

The seminar on “Indian Leadership in the Global Leather Sector –Technology and System Management” conducted by the A.C. Tech Leather and Footwear Alumni Association on 1st February 2015 in the fair was of high technical value. Dr. T. Ramasami, former Secretary, Dept. of Science and Technology and Mr. Habib Hussain, Chairman, Leather Sector Skill Council spoke on the occasion and shared their excellent ideas. 

The CLE meeting with Italian companies / Assomac on “Make in India” programme of Government of India was considered to be an important one. Our country is having good business relations with many Italian importers of leather and leather products since long. Italy is a well established market for both imports and exports. 

A high level Kenyan delegation led by H.E. Adan Mohamed, cabinet secretary, Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development visited the fair and had interactions with the CLE, other trade associations and many leading industrialists. It had planned to visit a few leather and leather products industries in and around Chennai. 

One feels that there are many big overseas markets for our various leather and leather products apart from the ones with whom we are already dealing. 

This year all the stalls were booked in the fair and there was no space left at all. Hence the ITPO is thinking of putting up a new hangar for additional space and expanding the cover area of the fair to accommodate more exhibitors keeping in view the demand for stalls at IILF.
There were good arrangements for the fair, technical seminars, fashion show and award function to the delight of everyone present. Other extensive arrangements had also been made for convenience of business visitors at the fair such as Business Information Centre, Mobile App, Telephone, STD/ISD, Internet, e-mail, Wi-Fi, VIP lounge etc.  However some participants felt that there were no good and enough tea and coffee kiosks and vegetarian food courts.  Even there was no drinking water arrangement in the fair as last year. The organizers will do well to look into these matters and do the needful. 

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