Grand Kerala Shopping Festival is here again. Organizers claim that it is brought again because of its success last year. What was the success? A sensible person is at pains to understand how the festival benefited either the State or the people.
Kerala is a consumer state and starting from rice people have to depend other states for all their needs. Is the shopping festival for increasing sale of these products? What our state gain by officially promoting products of others? It will only benefit the traders who can use the official patronage to raise their sale and profit and not the people who even otherwise buy them through out the year. For sponsoring the festival we are spending Rupees 20 crores from the exchequer! Grand Kerala Shopping Festival is a foolish idea. It is rather Grand Kerala Traders' Festival. Neither tourism nor the Kerala industry will get any advantage out of it. Is it sane to expect a tourist to land Kerala shopping for products much cheaper every where else in India? We should be realistic. Kerala is not Dubai. Being the consumer state Kerala is most affected by the spiraling prices and people are struggling for survival. What we have to do is to put up shopping centres at district headquarters seling consumer durables and electronic goods. The shopping centres should have special arrangement to showcase traditional Kerala products and products from Kerala Industry. The 20 crore largesse can be used for setting up such centres, each at 1 crore. The festival season is coming, beginning with Onam and if the initiative is taken now it will a great relief for the people.