Big Fat Indian Weddings
What is the economic impact of high wedding expenditure on the Indian economy? No one it seems spends proportionally more on a marriage than an Indian. We hear from Lallitha Raghev, a senior executive at Flowers and Petals Wedding Planners in Delhi. She says the Indian wedding industry is worth by some estimates $40 billion dollars a year and is still growing. But with spiralling inflation and falling growth, how big and fat can they get? And what does all this expenditure, on gold especially, mean for the nation's troubled finances? The recent collapse in the value of the rupee, higher inflation, and falling industrial growth has drawn some fairly negative forecasts for the country. As well as rising interest rates, the government recently slapped higher tariffs on that staple of wedding celebrations: gold. The world's biggest gold importer, India's almost fetishistic taste for the stuff has added considerably to the country's trade deficit. We hear from Surjit Bhalla is managing director of Oxus Research and Investments, a New Delhi-based economic research and asset management firm.