The Federation of Indian Publishers, in collaboration with the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), a premier trade promotion agency of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, organized the 21st Delhi Book Fair from 29 August to 6 September 2015 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The Fair was inaugurated by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State for development of North Eastern Region (Independent charge) and Minister of State for Prime Minister Office, Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space as Chief Guest and Shri J.S. Deepak, Chairman and Managing Director of ITPO, presided over the inaugural function. Others present on the occasion included Dr. Ashok Gupta, President of FIP, Mrs. Meenakshi Singh,
OSD, ITPO and foreign diplomats and publishing fraternity, writers, philosophers and many leading publishers and participants of both Delhi Book Fair and Stationery Fair.

Shri J.S. Deepak, Chairman and Managing Director, ITPO in his brief welcome address highlighted the salient features of Delhi Book Fair and apprised about the present scenario of the book publishing industry and the problems confronted by them in their day-to-day functioning. Inaugurating the Fair, Dr. Jitendra Singh spoke at length about the significance of books in achieving global integration and building literary bridges across the socio-cultural linguistic and religious diversities. He advised the publishers to adopt latest technology which is important for the growth of the publishing industry. He expressed happiness over the growth of publishing industry and its integration with the global market. Shri Singh further requested publishers to produce constructive, secular and progressive books which would give fillip to international collaboration in publishing and business transaction.

Shri Jitendra Singh gave his blessings and well-wishes for successful 21st Delhi Book Fair and asked FIP to come up with a note/representations detailing problems faced by the publishing fraternity, for taking up with the concerned respective Ministry for redressal. The Fair was, thereafter, formally inaugurated by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State for North Eastern Region, by lighting of the lamp. Dr. Ashok Gupta, Shri J.S. Deepak & Mrs. Meenakshi Singh, OSD, ITPO also joined him. Earlier in his address, Dr. Ashok Gupta, President, FIP, talked about the role of Book Fairs in developing book culture in the society and the importance for the industry to promote and market their books. The President apprised the Minister about the problems and issues faced by the publishing industry. He requested the Hon’ble Minister to take up the matter of GST with the Council formed on GST to retain books, e-books, CD-ROMs etc. in the negative list of the Central and State GST.

More than 200 publishers in about 460 stalls, representing different parts of India, including Agartala, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, etc., participated in the Delhi Book Fair this year. The overseas participants were from China, UK and USA. This year, the Fair spread across the Hall No.8-12. The theme of this year’s Delhi Book Fair was Skill Development. In this connection, a special theme pavilion had been set up where write-ups on Skill Development were prominently displayed. Books on Skill Development received from various publishing houses were also displayed in the theme pavilion to attract the attention of the visitors.

FIP organized two painting competitions for school children on 3 September 2015 during the Delhi Book Fair. The competition was open to all children under the age group of 5-10 years and 11-15 years. The Jury consisting of eminent painters was constituted to evaluate the paintings. About 400 children participated in the painting competition. The Jury selected 16 paintings for Awards under the age group of 5-10 years. There were one First prize, two Second prizes and three Third prizes. In addition, there were 11 consolation prizes. Jury gave away the prizes as per performance. Similarly, the Jury selected 16 paintings for Awards under the age group of 11-15 years and gave away prizes as per performance of the child. Both the painting competitions were appreciated by parents and children and were a grand success. FIP also organized Debate competition on 2 September 2015 on ‘Use of Digital Books in Class Rooms for the students of XI and XII classes. About 150 students had participated in the Debate competition. Jury constituted for the purpose gave away cash award of Rs.11,000/- who was adjudged first and Rs.5,100/- and Rs.2,100/- who were placed second and third respectively. The Debate competition was appreciated by one and all.

To make the event more meaningful, a number of conferences, seminars, book releases, book launches, meet the author get-togethers arranged by leading publishers and a host of cultural activities were also organized. A Panel Discussion followed by Kavi Sammelan by the Authors Guild of India; a Workshop relating to Library Science by Ranganathan Research Circle; Panel Discussion on Smart Green Civilization; Literary Programme by Bharatiya Jnanpith; Uva Abhivykti (Expression of Youth) by Lekhika Sangh; Author Talk by Marcus du Sautoy organized by British Council Library; and Story-telling and debate by Amity University Press. FIP organized the 35th Competition for Awards for Excellence in Book Production in respect of publications produced in India during 2014-15. We had received 1400 books from 86 publishers from all over India including language publishers and Jury selected 108 titles from 56 publishers for Awards. Out of these 38 titles had been selected for First prize, 37 titles for second prize and 33 titles for Certificate of Merits. Shri Baldeo Bhai Sharma, Chairman, NBT gave away the prizes at a solemn ceremony held on 4 September 2015. The Federation of Indian Publishers in association with Hindi Working Samiti organized first-ever Symposium on “Nurturing Reading Culture in Hindi Readers, Development of Public Libraries and
Challenges in Publishing in Hindi”, on 6 September 2015 during the Delhi Book Fair 2015. Shri B.K. Sharma, Chairman, Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation, who was the Chief Guest, inaugurated the Symposium by lighting of the ceremonial lamp.

Shri Yogendrapal Tyagi, Presidcent of the Samiti welcomed Shri B.K. Sharma and other participants. He, in his welcome address, threw light on problems and challenges confronted by the Hindi Publishers. Shri Pramod Bhushan Mangla, Reader and Tagore National Fellow, Ministry of Culture, in his address, spoke about the problems of maintenance of public libraries. Bachpan Society for Children’s Education and Culture had organized a programme on “Kaushal ke Roop Anek” on 1 September 2015 during Delhi Book Fair 2015. More than 150 children from 5 NGOs: Ankur, Prathan, Jaishankar Memorial, Nirman and Gyan Deep had participated in the programme. Smt. Meenakshi Rathore, Senior Project Advisor, Ministry of Women and Child Development on Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao was the Chief Guest, who inaugurated the programme. The Guest speaker Poonam Mehrotra, a senior journalist interacted with the children on skill development in India. The children from each NGO put up a skit to depict a skill as to how skills could be used professionally for the betterment of the society. A Quiz show was also held among children. A child giving correct answer was given a book as a prize. A book written by one of the members of the Bachpan Society was also released. At the end, books were distributed amongst the children. The programme was appreciated by one and all who were present at the function.

The Theme Pavilion and children’s activities proved to be a major attraction during the Fair. Dozen of buses of school children of various schools, even from outside Delhi, accompanied by their teachers used to come to the Fair every day. Federation had arranged 10 Air-conditioned mini buses which plied within Pragati Maidan from different gates of ITPO ferrying visitors to the Fair Grounds. The Fair provided unique platform for business to business transactions, establishing new contacts, entering into co-publishing arrangements, translation of copyright arrangements, while providing an opportunity to meet international and national publishers. The Fair drew a big response from visitors, book lovers, booksellers, buyers, academicians and foreign visitors/tourists having visited the Fair not only from Delhi-NCR but also from neighbouring States. A large number of youth and children from different schools regularly visited the Fair.

The Fair was extensively covered both by the print and electronic media, with most of the TV channels carrying the news of the Book Fair regularly. Awards in the form of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for best stalls in three categories i.e. English, Hindi and regional languages as well as in the stationery segment, were given at a valedictory function held on the last day of the Fair by ITPO. NBT (an autonomous organization under the Ministry of HRD) had sanctioned an amount of Rs.7 lakhs as grant-in-aid for organizing the Delhi Book Fair 2014 and other book promotional activities and subsidy to regional/Hindi language publishers for their participation in the Fair. FIP is thankful to NBT and Ministry of Human Resource Development for providing the grant.