Covid-19 impact: As winter approaches, Indian wedding industry looks at bleak future
Over six months after the novel coronavirus brought India to a halt, uncertainty looms over several industries’ future as many are left unemployed and without business. As winter approaches, the wedding industry looks at a vague future despite relaxations in form of the graded reopening of the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on March 24 to announce the lockdown over a pathogen which has since then taken and changed several lives.
The Indian wedding industry, one of the first casualties of this virus-induced lockdown, came to a standstill overnight as several marriages originally scheduled to take place in the first half of 2020 were postponed. Now, as the second half of the year and arguably one of the demanding wedding season approaches, the industry remains unsure about their way forward while hoping for things to improve by November-December.
Rajeev Jain, Director of an event management company, Rashi Entertainment Pvt Ltd, told ANI that the estimated size of the Indian wedding industry is about Rs 3 lakh crores and over one crore people associated with the industry directly/indirectly lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He appealed to the government to let big weddings take place with coronavirus measures in place. He suggested a ‘4 square feet’ formula for such weddings.
“Please allow us 4 square feet formula. If we have 1 lakh square feet area, 2,500 people can be accommodated there,” Jain said.
In the Unlock 4 guidelines, the Ministry of Home Affairs has permitted weddings with 100 people after September 20. Earlier, it was capped at 50 people.
“The estimated size of the Indian event industry is Rs 5 lakh crores, out of which Rs 2.5 lakh crores to 3 lakh crores only is consumed by the weddings. Indian wedding has been known to be a shining market. The growth in the last ten years was stupendous. Every country in the world was aiming to get Indian businessmen and families to do weddings at their exotic destinations,” Jain said.
“When the lockdown was announced in March, the entire industry came to a standstill. Nobody knew what to do. We are hopeful that by November-December things, will open. But things are in a quite confused state. More than one crore people are employed directly or indirectly with the industry. All are unemployed now,” he added.
Jain said that we are in a “confused state” whether weddings like before will take place or not.
He further raised question over malls being allowed to operate while wedding attendees capped at 100.
“I went to a mall recently and saw 6,000 people there at a point of time. Why is government stopping weddings then?” he asked.
Vikaas Gutgutia, Founder and Managing Director, Ferns N Petals, who ventured into the wedding venues’ business in 2003 said that the summer season was totally wiped out and the winter season is also looking “bad” as of now.
“Covid has impacted us very badly. It started in March which was just the beginning of the summer season which was totally wiped out. Now the winter season is approaching but the situation has not improved. The government’s regulations do not allow us more than 100 in a social gathering which is a very less number compared to a normal big fat Indian wedding. Unless this number is increased, November-December looks very bad,” he said.
Anil Thadani, owner of Jiya Band which is in wedding business since 1936 said that he is hoping to get some business in by the end of this year but remains sceptic about weddings.
“We had a lot of booking in the month of April and May which all got cancelled. Even the people who had been working with us they have been suffering a lot. Most of them are jobless. We are hoping for business to look up in November-December. But there is still a confusion how weddings would take place,” he said.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)