‘Infrastructure Status For Exhibition And Convention Centres:
The Finance Ministry has granted ‘Infrastructure’ status for exhibition and convention centers, a move that is expected to ease bank financing for such projects.
- ‘Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre is included in the Harmonised Master List of Infrastructure sub-sectors by insertion of a new item in the category of Social and Commercial Infrastructure,’ the Department of Economic Affairs said.
- However, the benefits would only be available for projects with a minimum built-up floor area of 1,00,000 sq. m. of exclusive exhibition space or convention space or both combined.
- As of now, the major projects underway in the sector are backed by the government – the International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centres at Dwarka and Pragati Maidan in the capital.
- The infrastructure tag does not involve significant tax breaks but would help such projects get easier financing from banks, said experts.
- However, restrictions on size may be a dampener.
- India doesn’t have large convention centres or single halls with capacities to hold 7,000 to 10,000 people, unlike countries like Thailand that is a major global MICE-destination.
- Becoming a MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) destination can generate significant revenue with several global firms active in India but it will take time to become a preferred destination.
- Last August, the government had granted infrastructure status to affordable rental housing projects.