Economic Watch: Wedding season to boost Indian economy amid plunging COVID-19 cases

The month-long wedding season is expected to boost India's economy with huge expenditures in wedding services.

The wedding season begins on Nov. 14, known as Prabodhini Ekadashi, the 11th lunar day in the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Kartik, and lasts till Dec. 13.

During the 30 days, around 2.5 million weddings will be solemnized across the country with a massive flow of about 3 trillion Indian Rupees (40.3 billion U.S. dollars) by way of wedding purchases and related services, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has estimated earlier this month.

Out of the total, more than 150,000 weddings are slated to take place in Delhi, which is likely to cost about 500 billion Indian Rupees (6.7 billion dollars), according to the CAIT.

India is well known for its big fat weddings where people indulge in spending extravagantly on gifts, decoration and food.

The money flow is expected to lead to a rise in incomes of a wide range of people, from labourers to businessmen. More incomes would mean more purchasing power of people, which would in turn help revive the country's economy.

Over the past 19 months, India has imposed lockdown, semi-lockdown and various restrictions, thereby slowing down the country's economic growth to a large extent.

In particular, weddings were held on a very small scale and in small numbers, normally taking place in-house at low expenses.

Now, with COVID-19 cases falling sharply from the April-May period when new cases crossed 400,000 per day and deaths surpassed 4000 per day, Indians have been expected to resume big spending on weddings.

The costs usually include exquisite costumes of the bride, the groom and their immediate family members, gifts given by the bride's family to the groom's family, including luxury cars, jewellery, readymade garments, sweets and fruits.

Besides, business opportunities are also expected to shoot up in a set of sectors, including housing, decoration items, electrical utility and wedding and greeting cards.

Satprakash Yadav, a resident of Gurugram district in Haryana state, said his son will get married on Nov. 29, and he has made elaborate wedding arrangements.

"I will be spending over 5 million Indian Rupees (67,231 dollars) on the wedding and almost an equal amount will be spent by the bride's family," he noted.

As for his detailed expenses for the wedding, Yadav said he has bought jewellery worth 2.5 million Indian Rupees (33,615 dollars) and planned to buy a variety of food and drinks.

"On Nov. 25, I will host a dinner for over 1,000 guests. On this day, the bride's family will visit our home. And on Nov. 29 we will take a procession called 'Barat' to the bride's house where the wedding ceremony will be finally solemnized," he added.

The ongoing festive season in India, which normally begins in late September and lasts till the year end, have also been invigorating the country's economy, as most consumers intend to buy new properties or vehicles.

"Our economy is on the comeback mode with 8.3-percent predicted GDP by the World Bank, upgradation in Moody's ratings and 28-percent rise in the engineering goods exports in September 2021, making 107-billion-U.S.-dollar export target achievable by this fiscal end," said Anand Seth, chairman of Engineering Exports Promotion Council India, late last month. (by Pankaj Yadav)

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