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22nd Delhi Book Fair inaugurated

book fair

New Delhi : With an objective to inculcate better reading habits among the younger generation, the 22nd edition of the Delhi Book Fair opened to the public here today.

The 9-day-long fair organised by Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) in association with Federation of Indian Publishers was inaugurated by Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Harsh Vardhan.

“The power of books is immense and they can transform anybody’s life. It is therefore, important to get more and more students involved into books that are beyond their academic curriculum,” the minister said.

A guide and a mobile application for the fair was also launched at the event.

With over 250 national and international publishers exhibiting at the fair, the event this year seeks to highlight initiatives undertaken by the central government for its ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan’ flagship programme to promote higher education and computer literacy.

The theme pavillion houses the various national campaigns like ‘Make in India’, ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Startup India’, ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Startup India’, and ‘Umang’ (Unified mobile app for New-age Governance) that have been launched by the incumbent government in the past two years.

To add an element of fun, it has been transformed into a selfie station, where visitors will be able to click selfies with cut-outs depicting the respective campaigns.

“This is a moment in India’s history when we have a very very dynamic Prime Minister. I say this because I have seen him work from very close quarters  – his vision, how he likes to implement his ideas and how he monitors them so meticulously… I don’t think anybody else in the past has done it to that extent,” Vardhan said

“This is a moment in India’s history when a lot of programmes and initiatives which can change the course of history, the destiny of our nation and which can make a great future for India, brighter than our glorious past, there is a man at the helm of affairs,” he said.

Literature exhibited at the fair include a wide range of fictions and non-fictions, academic books, plenty of children’s literature besides other varieties of publications including digital innovations.

Replying to the concerns faced by the publishing industry voiced by N K Mehra, President of FIP regarding the growing digitisation of books posing a threat to the publishing industry, the minister said, “With time everything is advancing, but the importance of what has existed for years, will never diminish. The power of books can never be taken away but if the world goes digital, you (publishers) can also go digital.”

Mehra also raised the issue of books not being included in the list of items exempted under the recently passed Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, to which Vardhan was said he would convey the concerns to the “right quarters.”

To make the fair more interactive for the visitors, book reading sessions, band performances, on-the–spot competitions, film screenings, quizzes, street plays and storytelling sessions have been introduced.

“I see a lot of potential in books and the publishing profession. If some sort of a new movement can be born out of the ideas that are generated in this fair, this should  prove to be a blessing in disguise for the country in times to come,” Vardhan said.

For the convenience of the visitors, new mobile applications detailing the locations of the exhibitors and ancillary activities will be made available to facilitate easy access at the fair at the Pragati Maidan.

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