Understanding the Durga Puja economy

Source– The post is based on the article “Understanding the Durga Puja economy” published in The Hindu on 3rd October 2022.

Syllabus: GS1- Art and Culture. GS3- Economy

Relevance– Impact of cultural activities on economy

News– The article explains the impact of Durga Puja on overall economic prospects of the state. It also explains future prospects for the West Bengal Economy.

Durga Puja was recently included by UNESCO in its Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

What are some facts related to the economy of Durga Puja?

It is not easy to estimate the true size of the Durga Puja economy. It has a multidimensional character.  A large quantity of sales happens through the unorganised retail market.

There are some estimates about the size of the Durga Puja economy. A 2013 ASSOCHAM study estimated the size of the Durga Puja industry at ₹25,000 crore. It is around 3.7% of West Bengal’s GDP at that time.

A recent study by the British Council estimates the size at 32377 crores. It accounts for around 2.5% of West Bengal’s economy.

Durga Puja has been affected by socio-economic-political shocks. The 1943 famine in West Bengal had a negative impact on it. Recently the pandemic led to huge losses for the Durga Puja economy.

What are the future prospects for the Bengal economy?

K’-shaped post-pandemic economic recovery is envisaged by different experts.

The people who were well-off could not spend due to pandemic restrictions. They might spend generously. It will also help people from the lower strata of society.

It may boost the informal economy. The people from lower strata of society may avoid the formal sector due to GST related issues.

The higher Puja sales may not be an indicator of a strong economy. Better sales compared to previous years may be a sad reflection of poor income of average Bengali.

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