Durga Puja organisers struggling with corporate sponsorships this year
In a bid to support the Durga puja committees, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced an ex-gratia relief.
It seems the festive season in the state of Bengal this year is adversely affected due to the economic slowdown. The state's biggest festival —Durga Puja, saw organisers struggling with corporate sponsorships as the cash inflow by the advertisers has hit a new low due to the economic slowdown.
Usually, till this time, space outside most pandals would be full of pre-puja advertisement campaigns but this year there have been none.
According to a 2013 report by industry body Assocham, West Bengal's Durga puja was touted to be a Rs 25,000 crore economy that was expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 35 per cent. With big budgets, renowned puja organisers target bumper crowds each year providing a perfect platform for corporate groups to grab consumer eyeballs and ensure brand engagement. But the slump in demand due to dip in consumption means India Inc has given up on ad spending this festive season.
“We have cut down on everything because companies are not willing to spend on advertisements which is our main source of funding”, Sayandeb Chattopadhyay, Secretary of the Hazra Park Durgotsav committee in south Kolkata was quoted in a report by India Today.
Puja committees make an advance payment at the time of booking an idol and full payment is made at the time of delivery and some of them even take loans to manage.
Clients, who were spending 50 to 60 lakhs have now committed 10 lakhs. We have to book the advertisement space prior to the clients' order. We have already booked 8,000 banner spaces across Kolkata but have received commitments for only 2,000. With just three weeks left for Durga puja, this is unthinkable. Automobile, real estate and FMCG sectors are the worst hit, Ratul Biswas, who runs an outdoor advertising agency told India Today.
Refusing to accept any economic downturn, Bengal BJP leader Sishir Bajoria has blamed overt politicisation of the puja committees as the reason why people have stopped donating for pujas.
In a bid to support the Durga puja committees, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 25,000 to 28,000 for puja organisers across the state amounting to a whopping Rs 70 crores, a 150 per cent hike since last year.
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