The Anchor: 6 reasons why the government must subsidise weddings
By A N Chorrea
It’s the season for ‘shaadis’ with more than 30,000 reported to be held in Mumbai alone today (Friday, November 30). There are no clear statistics for these – since most people do not seek marriage certificates from the registrar, but about a crore Indians get married in the winter season alone. And this number would multiply at least four times for the entire year.
01. Given an estimated 2 crore weddings in a year in India, and a majority of these requiring the couple and their respective parents to indulge themselves for The Special Day. Much of the spending is out of societal compulsions than a mere desire to show off, so the government would do well to subsidise marriage expenses
02. The spends benefit the lowest common denominators and service providers of all hues. If taxes on marriage halls are reduced, the money can be used for more spends for people who will benefit even more
03. Marriages are a boon for farmers as the consumption of vegetables increases much. Reduce on service taxes levied by contractors will ensure that the Indian economy may benefit more as some of the money will be used for greater spends on food
04. Typically, a lot of casual labour is employed around the time of marriages. Painters, carpenters etc to renovate homes. Similarly musicians, mehendi (henna) artists and lighting contractors are engaged to add to the festivities. Spending on these will increase if many of the organized services are added to the negative list of service tax.
05. It’s not just marriage halls and food that will benefit. Marriages are ‘events’ which employs are a variety of service providers. The Indian economy needs out-of-the-box ideas to help it grow… Aid to the The Great Indian Wedding Industry will be a master-move. If it happens now, the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government could well gladden the hearts of a few crore Indians.
A N Chorrea is a senior industryperson writing under a pseudonym