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AIFW 2016: Aiming to take ‘Made in India’ a notch higher

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New Delhi: Indian designers, in tandem with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make In India’ initiative and aiming to promote ‘Made In India’ fashion globally, will present at the Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW) Spring-Summer 2016 a gamut of creations using Indian textiles, weaves, crafts and embroidery. The five-day gala begins here on Wednesday.

To be held at NSIC Ground here at Okhla, not only will the opening show by designer Sanjay Garg of brand Raw Mango give a glimpse of contemporary innovation around Mashru textile, the finale show, hosted by Amazon India, will explore creativity around weaves from Banaras.

The finale show aims to bring back the richness and heritage of Banaras and will see 16 designers — including Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Tarun Tahiliani, JJ Valaya, Abhishek Gupta, Abraham & Thakore, Ashish Soni, Manish Arora and Rajesh Pratap Singh — presenting three ensembles each.

picture credit: #AIFWSS16
picture credit: FDCI

According to Sunil Sethi, president, Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) — the country’s apex fashion body and organiser of the bi-annual AIFW — India is a huge market for designers, and so, the ‘Made in India’ brand is something that should be focussed on.

“We have realised that there is a majority of designers for whom India is a main market. Gone is the aspiration when everybody thought that unless they are not displayed in the best of stores internationally, they won’t arrive.

“The ‘Made in India’ brand is something that I have personally started from the beginning of my career, and we are very happy with Indian designers promoting Indian arts and crafts,” Sethi said.

Designer Samant Chauhan, who is known in the Indian and global fashion market for revolutionising the delicate Bhagalpuri silk, also feels that there are many designers who are promoting India on an international level.

It’s a good change, said Chauhan, and added: “A lot of designers are closely working with traditional craft and weavers. Even we are working on such concepts and use fashion week as a platform for the promotion of textiles.”

In all, 115 designers are taking part at the fashion week this time. In terms of business, FDCI is expecting yet another successful year by attracting key buyers from across the globe

“Both Indian and international buyers are coming this season too like always. I believe that FDCI has become the ‘Mecca’ of fashion. Orders are written irrespective of the change of venue (initially the fashion week was staged at Pragati Maidan) and buyers will still come because it is a must for them,” Sethi said.

Some other highlights of the event are internationally acclaimed Indian designer Rahul Mishra’s installation from his Paris Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2016 collection on October 11 at the French embassy; and that apart, FDCI is also paying a tribute to late fashion photographer Prabuddha Dasgupta with an exhibition.

There will also be a three-day programme of ‘Fashion Forward’ talks from Thursday. These will explore design processes, taking up uniquely Indian aesthetics and juxtaposing them in the international context. Meanwhile, designer duo Shivan and Narresh will be showcasing their creations at an offsite show at the Imperial Hotel here.

 

(Nivedita, IANS)

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Fall Of The Currency And Increase In Oil Prices: India ‘s Turmoil

The falling rupee has given a boost to some of India’s most lucrative exports, such as software services and pharmaceuticals, which add up to billions of dollars.

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India
Rajesh Kumar, left, shares a ride to work with another employee, Dilip Swain, right, as higher petrol prices in India begin to be felt in people's pocketbooks.VOA

The fall of the currency of India to record lows and rising global oil prices have raised worries that the world’s fastest growing economy faces headwinds that could hurt the fortunes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party in next year’s general elections.

From people filling fuel at gas stations to thousands of students heading out to study overseas, the impact of the slumping rupee is sparking discontent.

Having plunged by about 12 percent against the dollar this year, the rupee is one of Asia’s worst faring currencies, and as in other countries, the slide has accelerated since the crash of the Turkish lira.

“The reasons are global. We must bear in mind that in last few months, dollar has strengthened against almost every currency,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently as he tried to send out reassuring signals that India’s economy is on track.

India
The rupee has plunged by about 12 percent this year raising fears of spiraling inflation. VOA

The rupee’s sharp depreciation comes at a time when the economy had recovered from a slowdown and surged to a two-year high in the quarter that ended in June. Forecasts put growth for this year at 7.5 percent.

Economy will slow

But economists warn this momentum will be difficult to sustain as the tumbling rupee, along with rising crude oil prices, takes a toll on growth. India, the world’s third largest oil importer, gets almost 80 percent of its fuel needs overseas.

“The government needs to mellow down on growth aspirations,” said N.R. Bhanumurthy, economist with the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. “The growth needs to come down to a little less than 7 percent.”

Even as the government faces the prospect of a slowing economy, it is under pressure to lower taxes on gas and diesel to bring down the sharp rise in prices. Fuel is one of the most heavily taxed items in India, with rates as high as nearly 50 percent. Prices vary from state to state, but they have gone up by about 14 percent this year.

Hoping to cash in on the growing disaffection over the surge in fuel prices and the sliding rupee, opposition parties led nationwide protests that shutdown offices and schools in several cities this week.

India
Discontent with spiraling fuel prices poses a challenge to Prime Minister Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of general elections next year. VOA

The government dismissed the protests, saying that although people faced momentary difficulties, they understood they were because of factors beyond its control.

Political analysts are not so sure, pointing out that fuel prices are a politically sensitive issue in India and usually result in a spike in inflation.

“Anger is rising, there is resentment,” said Satish Misra at the Observer Research Foundation, warning the ruling party will face a backlash “Obviously that is going to have a negative impact on the electoral fortunes of the Bharatiya Janata Party, there is no doubt about that.”

Warnings from economists

Among those who are upset with the high fuel prices is Rajesh Kumar, who commutes 30 kilometers to the advertising agency where he works. Hit by the higher prices that eat into his income, he has started sharing the ride with another employee.

India
Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons

“I have given up the idea of buying another car,” he said despondently. “I will not be able to afford the cost of running it.”

Economists however have warned the government against giving in to populist pressures ahead of a series of state polls later this year and general elections around April next year. They say lowering taxes on fuel or taking measures to prop up the currency will strain the country’s finances and hurt the economy in the long run.

Also Read: Diverse Gathering To Be Addressed This World BioFuel Day: PM Narendra Modi

“One needs to be more careful and vigilant,” Bhanumurthy said. “It is easy for India to stay with low growth than experiencing the high deficit.”

But there is also some good news for the Indian economy. The falling rupee has given a boost to some of India’s most lucrative exports, such as software services and pharmaceuticals, which add up to billions of dollars. (VOA)