South Asia's biggest exhibition for Construction Equipment (CE) - EXCON 2013 - began with an optimistic outlook at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre, Bangalore on 20th November 2013. Organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), this event was inaugurated by Oscar Fernandes, Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India amid several dignitaries from the industry. The Chief Guest of the inaugural session, Fernandes appreciated the higher participation level of companies from India and abroad at this year's event over its last edition, notwithstanding the fact that it is taking place at a time when there is a global economic downturn and in India.
He emphasised on time management as a very crucial factor in the efficient project implementation and added that all large infrastructure projects should have a project management system for speedy implementation as well as to make the project economically viable and profitable. "At present, the Government has started work on several new infrastructure projects including three airports, two ports, an elevated rail-corridor in Mumbai, and almost 6,000 miles of new roads. We are also planning to build expressways through innovative financing models," he said.
He also spoke on project funding, development of maintenance-free roads and Public Private Partnerships (PPP). "The government is also aware that the infrastructure projects often suffer from lack of funding or subject to many conditions by the lenders before funding. So the government has directed the lenders to take 'assets' into account for funding projects. We are also urging on development of maintenance-free roads which initially may cost a little more but in the long run is much more economical. We sincerely believe that there is a need to strengthen PPP in the road sector which would act as a critical precursor for sustaining the growth momentum for the economy," he added. In his address as Guest of Honour, Minister for Transport, Government of Karnataka, Ramalinga Reddy said "Government of Karnataka has a close association with CII to promote the industries of the state. We have huge plans for the growth of the state across all districts." He mentioned that one such initiative is Bangalore-Mumbai Economic Corridor.
In his special address at the inaugural event of Excon 2013 S Gopalakrishnan, President, CII, said that EXCON this year has attained new heights with 17 per cent growth in number of participants.
He was of the view that the industrial corridors will play key role in overall development of the nation by removing bottlenecks for freight movement between the industrial regions and major ports of the country. CII has been engaging with the central & state and other stakeholders to work towards making PPPs as one of the important means to increasing investments in Indian infrastructure.
In his theme address, Vipin Sondhi, Chairman, EXCON 2013 said, "The scope and reach of EXCON has been growing over the years and today we see the greatest number of industry and visitor participation, making EXCON 2013 the biggest ever exhibition of CE not just in India but also in South Asia."
He observed that over 100 new product launches are expected in this EXCON. Infrastructure is critical for the economic growth as this alone can increase the GDP by 2 per cent growth in a year, he pointed out. In his concluding remarks Sumit Mazumder, Vice President, CII said that that in India, construction is the second largest economic activity after agriculture. Construction accounts for nearly 65 per cent of the total investment in infrastructure and is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of the surge in infrastructure investment over the next five years.
Earlier in his welcome remarks Soumitra Bhattacharya, Chairman, CII Karnataka said there is an urgent need to increase public spending substantially and at the same time create an investment conducive environment to encourage greater private sector participation in creation of infrastructure. With the theme on 'Propelling Sustainable Infrastructure Growth', the seventh edition of EXCON has participation of over 730 exhibitors from 18 countries with country pavilions from Germany, Japan, Italy, Turkey, South Korea, Sweden and China. This event is supported by the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises and the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India. Government of Karnataka is the Partner State for EXCON 2013. The Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers' Association (ICEMA) is the Sector Partner.