Published: 12th January 2021
At least 26% in the creative sector fear end of the road in March 2021: FICCI report on the impact of COVID-19
The FICCI report also found that 16 per cent of the creative sector is facing permanent closure now as an impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
A new report on the impact of COVID-19 and its subsequent lockdown on the creative sector has found that 60 per cent of the sector believes it will take nine months to over a year for even early signs of recovery for the creative economy. This is not all, as much as 26 per cent in the creative sector fear that they will not be able to continue beyond March 2021 and eventually face closure, said the report released on January 12, 2021.
British Council in India, Federation of India Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Art X Company has come out with the second edition of 'The Taking the Temperature Report', which was conducted to record the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the creative economy in India. Their first edition was released in July 2020 after the outbreak and the subsequent national lockdown in March to June. The second edition provides a comparison to the situation in the country in three phases — the outbreak of the virus, lockdown in March and the time when the lockdown began easing (July-October 2020).
The second edition puts forward some drastic statistics about the creative sector as a result of the pandemic. It found that 16 per cent of the creative sector is facing permanent closure now, 41 per cent reported a loss of over 50 per cent of their annual income as compared to 33 per cent in the first survey. While 22 per cent of the sector is forecast to lose 75 per cent of their annual income, the report stated.
Speaking about how long it might actually take for the sector to come out of such a drastic downfall, the report stated that 90 per cent of the sector fears the long-term impact of social distancing on the creative economy. "Organisations are adapting to reach new audiences digitally. However, the viability of the generation of new digital income is nascent and unreliable for most," the report added.
Emphasising on the fact that this long-term effect on the creative sector cannot be underestimated, Sanjoy Roy, Co-chair, FICCI Art & Culture Committee added that there is a lack of understanding of this sector and no policy change in our country. "Where the focus is on manufacturing, for every million dollars of investment in the sector you create nine jobs, that is true across India and the world. In the creative sector, with the same investment, you create 99 jobs. This is a sector again where you can really create an impact from the village, from the rural semi-urban into the urban economy at the grassroots level. Because every time you create something around a heritage space or intangible asset, you know what the economic impact will be. Right now, there is no understanding of this sector. What these reports will focus on and continue to build is that knowledge base, there is a science behind what we are putting out, these are not just numbers thrown randomly. Lastly, there has been no policy change to address the need of the moment, therein lies the problem," he said.