When I realised that the Indian government was planning to make the recently concluded Bharat Mobility Global Expo an annual event, I was aghast. It could also mean that the biennial Auto Expo held in the country would be integrated into the Bharat Mobility Global Expo. Had I heard the Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal correctly?
But then I also realised I was the only one not cheering him when he made the announcement. Journalists, industry leaders, politicians and every other person who mattered were bending over backwards trying to put on a smiling face.
To begin with, the government has no business to be in the showbiz arena. Leave that to private organisers and companies. Let me give you an example. Apart from the few mobile phone connections that I have at home, I also have an MTNL telephone which my old mother prefers to use. For the last few months, the phone line has been dead. I have made several complaints to the government owned company, writing to the top officials and making online complaints, but alas, the phone is as dead as a dead raccoon. When the government can’t get its own company do provide proper services, then why is it hoping to host a show that it has no business to host.
This year the government may have had its own reasons to host a Bharat Mobility Global Expo. It’s the election year and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team could not have thought of a better idea for chic publicity. Addressing political rallies where the participants are usually poor and haggard people is one thing. But addressing and interacting with smart, rich and powerful private sector entrepreneurs have its own charm. You get sophisticated mileage.
What was the point of organising a Bharat Mobility Global Expo? I think bodies like SIAM, ACMA, CII and FADA have been doing a great job organising extremely powerful and popular shows like the Auto Expo and the several other side shows like the Automechanikas and its kind. While the auto component manufacturers in India have always been happy and content with the quality of shows they have been organising, it’s the vehicle manufacturers who have been feeling, of late, that it’s better to stay away from an auto show and instead spend their money on launches and other marketing initiatives.
But out of the blue, a Bharat Mobility Global Expo has been carved out as a government publicity stunt. Poor chaps in the auto industry, now they may have to think twice before saying to the government that they are not interested in participating in the show. You simply can’t say “No” to the government. Or else…..
Somewhere it was written that the integration of ACMA's flagship aftermarket expo, the ACMA Automechanika New Delhi, further enriched the event, emphasising the expo's inclusive approach towards the entire automotive ecosystem. Well, that sounds good and enriching. But the Bharat Mobility Global Expo and the extensive publicity given to the Prime Minister’s speech and his walk around, literally took away the thunder from the Automechanika show. My heart goes out to the latter.
The Bharat Mobility Global Expo 2024 had partner organisations that included SIAM, ACMA, Indian Energy Storage Alliance, Automotive Tyre Manufacturers' Association (ATMA), nasscom, Indian Steel Association, Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers' Association (iCEMA) and Material Recycling Association of India (MRAI), ITPO, Invest India National Investment Promotion & Facilitation Agency, India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The show was supported by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Heavy Industries. The coordinating Agency was EEPC India, while the knowledge partner was pwc.
I don’t expect any auto journalist in India to write against the show or even question the purpose of the Bharat Mobility Global Expo. These folks have been living on doles thrown at them by vehicle manufacturers. They were never journalists, rather men and women with sponsored lifestyles. As for the vehicle and auto component manufactures, they will be too afraid to even question the government. Participating in an auto show takes lot of money and hard work. The vehicle manufacturers will vouch that they have better things to do with that money. Their products need to be seen and ogled by the masses. Their demand comes from them. But for the moment, all they (auto industry) can feebly say is, “Ji Sarkar”.
It’s best the government stays away from getting into private space. The biennial Auto Show is a fun filled event with launches, crowds, pretty models, et al. Now for the government to take control of things here is a very bad idea. Leave the auto shows and the B2B component shows to the respective private organisers. There are better things for the government to do. For one, get the MTNL chaps to get my landline working so that my mother can call her few surviving friends and relatives!
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