Dr. S. Lingamurthy
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
India has the great cultural diversity and called as the land of festivals, temples, holistic congregations and teerth-yatras (holistic voyage). As per the Upper House of Indian Parliament data India celebrates 51 festivals throughout the year, of which 17 are nationally recognized and remaining 34 are celebrated at regional level and local level. In addition to this, as per 2011 census, we have 2.1 million temples across the country (M.D. Srinivas) which attracts enormous stocks of wealth through offerings and donations in both cash and kind by the locale and devotees with the utmost faith and trust.
Temples and festivals together boost-up the whole economy, prosper the business and keep Indian economy in vibrancy through balanced expenditure by the majority, who celebrates the festival with their family members, relatives, neighbors and friends in a blissful environment. Festivals integrate the economy and society into oneness where happiness and sustainable expenditure lives together and gives the stimulus to the whole market forces which cannot keeps Indian economy in sluggish for a long time.
The People of this holy country have rejected the western growth theories and development models particularly J.M. Keynes who encouraged the consumerism in the society of western countries as well as partially in India owing to adaptation of mixed economic model and demonstration effects. Western growth theories discourage the saving system and pattern where, In this country, people saves money for family functions, social relations, cultural festivals, temple donations, teerth-yatras along with precautionary expenditure. 1.28 billion population of this country do needful consumption in sustainable manner especially on auspicious movements and festivals like Dussera, Diwali, Holi and Raksha Bandhan, etc.
Festival economy is rapidly increasing with sizable growth rate year on year as the rising population of this country middle and upper classes. ASSOCHAM estimates that Lord Ganesh Festival generates about Rs. 20,000 Crore business across the Country with 20 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), particularly in Maharashtra and Telangana. The State Capital of Telangana, Hyderabad alone generates about Rs. 5,000 Crore business in a nine day Ganesh Chaturthi Festival (Lingamurthy) and provides employment for more than 20,000 families throughout the year and during peak season of Ganesh festival (July-September) around 60,000 people get employment opportunities in unorganized sector such as idol manufacturing sector, transportation sector, event management, flags and apperal manufacturing sector, etc.
As like Ganesh Chaturthi, Goddess Durga Puja festival generates about Rs. 40,000 Crore business in India with 35 percent CAGR, particularly in the State of West Bengal. The size of Durga Puja economy almost equals to one-third of the West Bengal State Annual Budget. Thousands of families traditionally involved in idol making activity over the decades across the nation. Many branded electronic companies involved in sponsoring the Goddess Durga puja pandals in Kolkata and artists from different countries, even from Pakistan comes to Kolkata during the festival to give the decorative finishing touches to Maa Durga. Event management companies from France and U.S. engaging in Kolkata in easing the entire activities of advertisements and cultural event programs at Durga Puja pandals. All these artists and event management companies from different countries capturing the festival economy and profiteering out of these festivals in a commendable size. During Maa Durga Puja nine day festival food and beverages alone generates the volume of Rs. 50-60 crore business in the country.
All the festivals in India encourages the unorganized economy in a large scale and provides massive employment opportunities for low skilled traditional household manufacturing sector and small micro entrepreneurs. Raksha Bandhan festival generates about Rs.400/- crore business and provides employment to more than 4,000 families in Gujarat.
During Diwali electronics, automobiles and apperals dominate the lion share of business. 52 percent of the apperal products sales take place during this auspicious festival and avery individual spends 20 percent additional expenditure for various reasons. According to Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association (TNFAMA), crackers industry plays a dominant role with Rs. 10,000 crore business and provides employment to thousands of families in Sivakasi of Tamil Nadu.
India celebrates Kite festival during Uttarayanam period and this festival generates about Rs.500 crore business in the country particularly in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Kite industry traditionally based on household occupation which provides employment to more than 6000 families of Gujarat. By considering the due potential of Kite industry interms of business and employment, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat promoted this festival as an International Kite Festival through Vibrant Gujarat Programme.
China’s onslaught on India’s Festival Economy
India is a largest trade partner for Chinese products (nearly $72 billion) and over the years import of toys, furniture, building hardware, crackers, lighting and electric fittings, furnishing fabric,office stationary, electronic appliances, consumer electronics, kitchen equipment & appliances, gift items, watches etc from China has increased to a great extent. Majority of these items are produced small and micro industries in India where investment, technology and update skill is lacking. All these products have been largely purchased in India during festiv season and the majority share of these products market has been captured by China through large scale production with cheap price and some times illegal dumping into India.
ASSOCHAM surveyed on 1,000 families of Holi color manufacturers in different parts of this country i.e., Alahabad, Agra, Hathras, Mathura, Brindavan, Delhi, Kanpur, Lucknow and Patna. It is revealed that 8-10 lakh job losses were happening through Chinese invasion on auspicious Holi festival colors and reported that 75 percent of the colors from China have been used during last year Holi festival in India. China also capturing the Holi accessories products economy which tunes of Rs. 18,000 Crore.
China also invading on the festive of Diwali lightings and fireworks. According to the TNFAMA, Industry executives, out of Rs 10,000 crore business fireworks market, 40 percent of the market is captured by Chinese fireworks which adversely affecting about 2.5 lakh Indian artisans who earn a chunk of their total income during Diwali days.
Apart from crackers, Chinese toys are also impacting the Indian toy industry. According to the ASSOCHAM, the Indian market is full of Chinese toys, so the Indian toy industry is struggling hard to survive. Nearly 40 percent of Indian toy companies have been closed in the last five years, and rest 20 percent are struggling to break even. Cheap Chinese products have become the reason for the shutdown of nearly 60 percent of the industrial units in Bhiwandi and Thane.
China is illegally dumping its products during the festival season into India. As per the Indian pink media, ports in Maharashtra and Gujarat were the primary entry points for illegal Chinese crackers entering into India which has affected the livelihood of over 500,000 households in Sivakasi and 4,00,000 small factories in West Bengal. There are many instances that, China dumped Vinayaka Idols in a large scale at cheap prices to close down the Indian idol manufacturing units and artisan activities.
China has $46.56 billion trade surplus with India which causing the close down of Indian small scale manufacturing Industry and threatening large scale employment sector. China supporting Pakistan with CPEC project and investing about $400 million out of the surplus trade of Indian people. Chinal also supporting Pakistan’s terror activities against India and it has exposed in an international forums.
Therefore, we need to promote Indian manufacturing sector at large scale and it is hightime to do purchase Indian products to counter China. As our Hon’ble Prime Minister appealed to the people of India, we must promote Indian manufacturing products during festive seasons and do celebrate Swadeshi Festival with Swadeshi Products.