The Economic Pomp of Indian Festivals

By Saloni Gala | Edited by Khushi Shah

The Indian Festival Season has kicked in, and it’s a time for consumers to splurge and an opportunity for businesses to maximize their sales and profits, with an attempt to attract customers by offering glamorous offers and discounts. A country rich in cultural heritage and diversity of religions and cultures, according to a Rajya Sabha study, India celebrates 51 major festivals each year, of which 17 are designated as national festivals and the remaining 34 are regional festives. From the pomp of the Ganpati Pandals to the glamor of the Durga Puja Pandals and finally the magnificent celebrations of Diwali, we Indians love celebrating festivals in the loudest manner. Be it the glory of Christmas and New Year or the colorful Holi and competitive Kite Flying; be it the solemness of Raksha Bandhan or the mouth watering sweetness of Eid; each and every, big and small festival has been commercialized and has been induced into the ‘money-making’ businesses of India. 

According to ‘Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) Report of 2017, with a 20% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), Ganesh Chaturthi generates about  ₹20,000 crore revenue across the nation, primarily in Telangana and Maharashtra, with more than 60,000 job opportunities within the unorganized sectors like Idol making, transportation, event management, flags and apparel manufacturing and so on.

Similarly, in West Bengal, Durga Puja creates approximately  ₹40,000 crore of business boost comprising 35% CAGR. The Durga Puja economy accounts for almost 1/3rd of West Bengal’s annual budget. Additionally the food and beverages sold during Durga Puja alone generate an estimated  ₹50 – 60 crore revenue.

Around 52% of the sales that occur during Diwali are in the sections of electronics, autos, and apparel, and each household incurs an additional 20% expenses for a variety of reasons. The firecracker industry, which generates a  ₹6,000 crore annual business and employs thousands of families in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, as well as roughly 4 million people nationwide, plays a pivotal role, according to the Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association (TANFAMA).

More than  ₹500 crore of business is generated during the Kite Flying season,  particularly in the states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. Being a traditional household occupation of Gujarat, it provides support and livelihood to more than 6,000 families, on the other hand Raksha Bandhan induces approximately  ₹6000 crore business and provides job opportunities to more than 4,000 families in Gujarat.

The recent celebrations of the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga Campaign’ for the 75th Independence Day, generated about ₹500 crore of revenue with more than 30 crore flags sold, according to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), with more than 10 lakh people getting employment from the Flag making and associated sectors. 

According to a research by a consultancy firm, the E-commerce business platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, and others experienced exceptional holiday season sales of about $9.2 billion last year in 2021, surpassing the then highest, pre-pandemic sales of $5 billion during the festive months of Oct-Nov 2019.  Festive seasons have added momentum to rural tourism. According to the 2011 census, there are 2.1 million temples around the nation that receive a staggering amount of riches in the form of gifts and offerings. Together, festivals and places of worship keep the Indian economy thriving through balanced expenditure. Each year, one can observe the steadily expanding demand for a wide range of products and services as well as an increased purchasing power, with the COVID-19 pandemic year serving as an exceptional case, during the festive seasons. 

Rural entrepreneurs have succeeded in establishing a brand for regional craftsmen and developing into a bigger framework of inclusive modern technologies in order to tap into this lucrative industry. The government has pushed craftsmen to migrate sales online through programmes like “One District, One Product” in order to support the calls for Aatma-Nirbharta (Self Reliance), which has increased sales, revenue, and supported exports of these products.

For the financial year 2022-23, the Delhi Government has planned and proposed to promote retail and wholesale markets in the city to create jobs to boost the economy with an outlay of ₹250 crore for the Delhi Shopping Festival and Delhi Wholesale Shopping Festival, which will be located in the famous markets of Chandi Chowk, Sarojini Nagar, Karol Bagh among other places.

These initiatives will not only boost the local economy, thereby giving it a push towards recovery after the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, but will also help reduce the mass imports from China, that have captured the major share of the market of a wide range of products that are dumped into India with cheap prices. According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) 2017 survey, about 8-10 lakh job opportunities are lost due to the Chinese invasion of the market of Holi colors, water guns, etc.

As per the Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association (TANFAMA) and Industry executives reports, Chinese fireworks account for 40% of the ₹50,000 crore fireworks sector, which has a deep underlying negative impact on the 2.5 lakh Indian laborers who make a significant portion of their annual income during Diwali. According to media sources, the livelihood of more than 500,000 households in Sivakasi and 4,000,00 small enterprises in West Bengal have been impacted by the illicit Chinese crackers business in India. In order to displace Indian idol manufacturing facilities and artisanal operations, China has frequently dumped Vinayaka idols in the market in large quantities and at low costs.

Therefore, it is crucial to promote the Indian manufacturing sector, especially during the festival seasons, and online marketplaces like “Uthan“, which let tribal artists market and sell their wares. Similar to this, the Mumbai-based “Megastores“, another online market for regional craftsmen, has to be given crucial space and attention to lay the groundwork for the “Swadeshi” movement, which is also being supported by major companies like Cadbury and expressed by netizens.

Eco-friendly diyas and lanterns, handmade by Women artisans showcasing their exquisite craftsmanship have self-help organizations that have taken the values of environmental responsibility and independence seriously in cities like Bhopal, Raipur, Agartala, and others.

As of today, the youth needs to be environmentally conscious, to contribute towards practicing sustainability during the festive season, and disseminate this message with ‘green’ gifts and sustainable celebrations. Shopping from local artists who now serve a market with enormous demand for their products, would assist improve the Indian economy and help it recover from the COVID-19 epidemic period thanks in part to this country-wide movement toward local as well as sustainable environmentally friendly items. 


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