The culture, lifestyle of the people, their beliefs and festivals greatly impact a country’s economy. It is true that the GDP of every country is made by the contribution of its agricultural and industrial production and service sector. But the customs, festivals, places of worship, and events that take place there all affect employment, production and happiness in the country. Starting from September till November, festivals in India make a significant impact on the economy. With the huge amount of buying and selling during this period, all small and big shopkeepers, manufacturing and service sectors look forward to these festivals. They make a big contribution to the livelihood of various people involved in it. Sometimes this contribution forms a major part of their consumption throughout the year. For the past two years, due to the pandemic, festivals in India have dwindled.
According to a study, this year Durga Puja in West Bengal has contributed over Rs 50,000 crores to the economy of West Bengal. If we see the size of the festival economy of India as a whole, it would be no less than Rs one lakh crore.
If Indians rise to the occasion this festival season and dump these products in favour of local products, not only will our local economy get an unprecedented boost, but we can also make people happy and healthy
Festivals increase the community’s pride and play a big role in deepening mutual relations. Festivals promote tourism and businesses and benefit from various associated events. Its effect is visible in both rural and urban areas. On the occasion of festivals, we must remember that the practice of buying new clothes, sweets and new household items has been there since time immemorial.
But in recent decades, large companies, especially multinationals, have been trying to influence consumer choice through advertisements and other gimmicks. Not only during the festive season but also on other occasions, due to the influence of advertisements, people have started buying packaged products like chocolates, biscuits and soft drinks. They have been succumbing to the temptation of these companies and abandoning traditional sweets. The exchange of similar products in gifts has also started. Not only traditional sweet sellers, manufacturers and their associated workers and farmers are also impacted by this change. The craze for foreign brands has also increased in the garments sector. These branded clothes are not only costly, but they are also impacting local employment, especially the employment of textile vendors, tailors and their associates. Home appliances such as refrigerators, televisions, ACs, microwaves, etc., are all dominated by big multinational companies. That is why we see that though the festivals belong to our country, most of its economic benefits are being taken away by foreign multinational companies.
Pressure To Buy Unaffordable Brands
Economically well-off people indeed buy more branded items like apparel and food items to show off. But due to such pretentious consumption, less affluent middle-class families are also under pressure to purchase these items. There is pressure to buy expensive branded gifts even when they are unaffordable. Companies also make huge profits by using the names of these brands. Due to this, the country’s precious foreign exchange is also slashed abroad in the form of profits of these companies; and employment and income in the country is also impacted adversely.
People in western countries have been suffering from health problems due to the packaged food products of multinational companies, and now it has also started affecting Indians’ health. Recently, the Indian Academy of Paediatricians submitted to the food regulatory body FSSAI that in 2015-16, only 2.1 per cent of children suffered from obesity. This ratio increased to 3.4 per cent in 2019-20
The domestic economy will get a big boost if the general public decides not to get lured by the gimmicks of advertisements of these multinational companies. The public must opt for products of local manufacturers like traditional sweets and customised clothes stitched by local tailors as well as consumer durables made by domestic industries, during festive times. By purchasing domestically produced goods, especially those produced by local industry and artisans, we can boost employment and income generation in India and prevent the country’s invaluable foreign exchange from going abroad.
Call To Intensify Vocal For Local
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently given a call for being vocal for local, to promote the local products of our country. It has to be understood that if we buy local products, then our artisans, labourers, farmers, small entrepreneurs, etc., will all benefit, creating employment and increasing the country’s income. Many of our products are world-renowned and in huge demand worldwide, and more local products have also started getting GI tags. Some products, shops, artisans, and crafts have a distinct identity even in our cities and towns. Instead of branded products of foreign companies, if we promote our local brands, our local products, it will benefit the country and society at large, preserving our heritage. Haryana’s Ghevar and Bihar’s Lai are famous amongst sweets; Punjab’s Ludhiana specialises in woollen hosiery; Tamil Nadu has expertise in cotton hosiery; Aligarh is known for producing locks, Firozabad is known for its glassware, saris of many cities are world famous. Saffron and carpets of Kashmir are renowned all over the globe; spices of Kerala have their specialities and are in high demand in India and abroad. All these are some examples of our rich traditions. Let’s make our country prosperous by adopting our local products this festive season.
Adverse Impact On Health
Advertisements of MNCs are made in such a way to promote the Western way of life, mislead the youth and lure them into buying branded products, packaged foods and other goods made by foreign companies. As a result, the country’s wealth goes abroad, causes huge loss to employment and income generation. It also makes a huge impact on our health and mindset. It is seen that most of the food products of multinational companies are found to be harmful from a health point of view as well. Excessive sugar, salt and saturated fats are used in these products to make consumers addicted to these products, and an overdose of these harmful substances is hazardous to health. Evidence of diabetes, blood pressure, kidney and heart diseases and obesity etc., is increasing in the country due to excessive consumption of these products. People in the USA and Western countries have been suffering from health problems due to these products, and it has also started affecting Indians’ health. Recently, the Indian Academy of Paediatricians has submitted to the food regulatory body FSSAI that in 2015-16, only 2.1 per cent of children were overweight or obese. This ratio increased to 3.4 per cent in 2019-20. The Academy says that consumers must be warned against excessive sugar, salt and saturated fats in packaged foods by putting warning labels. This will help safeguard the health of consumers. If Indians rise to the occasion this festival season and dump these products in favour of local products, not only will our local economy get an unprecedented boost, but we can also make people happy and healthy.
Author, Columnist, Professor, PGDAV College, University of Delhi. National Co- convenor Swadeshi Jagaran Manch