15th edition of the Annual Book fair features books from Abu Dhabi, China, Iran, Pakistan and the United States, in addition to India.

Stating that books play a significant role in shaping the mindset of the younger generation, Union Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Salman Khurshid on Saturday appealed to India publishers to bring out books that are constructive, secular and progressive in outlook.

Inaugurating the 15th edition of the Delhi Book Fair-2009 at Pragati Maidan here, he complimented the India Trade Promotion Organisation and the Federation of Indian Publishers for institutionalising a book event of international stature.

Pointing out the significant role played by books in national integration by “building literary bridges across the socio-cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of the country,” Mr. Khurshid expressed happiness over the considerable growth of the Indian publishing sector and its integration with the global book market.

The Minister emphasised the need for some of the eminent Indian authors publishing in English language to consider publishing in the country rather than overseas. “This would eliminate the waiting time for such books to reach book lovers in India. I am optimistic that the issue of volumes or attitudinal factors that may be coming in the way of publishing such books in the country could be appropriately sorted out.”

Welcoming overseas exhibitors from Abu Dhabi, China, Iran, Pakistan and the United States, Mr. Khurshid said that he hoped that the fair would give a fillip to enhancing international collaborations in publishing and business transactions. He pointed out that Pragati Maidan was not merely an exhibition ground but had become a focal point of vital every day life of the Capital.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary (Ministry of Culture) Jawhar Sircar disclosed that the Prime Minister had set up an advisory committee for the National Library for compilation and digitalisation of large number of books. “Ninety thousand books published every year in India are sent to The National Library. As a result of the process of digitalising and modernising the cataloguing process, many books lying unattended will be made available to readers. It was estimated that as part of the modernisation process it would take about two and half years to have all books in The National Library in the digital format.”

Mr. Sircar further commented that book fair was not just an event but a “cultural handshake that needs to be organised with meticulous care”.

The Delhi Book Fair is open up to September 6.

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