India is known to have the maximum number of holidays in a year. Holidays are necessary but the kind of excuses to have one we have is ridiculous. There are a number of religious and memorable (anniversaries of political leaders) days. Some are community-centric and political ideology-centric when only a group of people or community is in a festive mood. Others get the holidays by default. These can very easily be relooked and made optional. No political establishment running the country had and unfortunately will ever have the guts to cut down holidays.
India tops the chart with the maximum number of holidays in world – 25 public holidays and 31 restricted holidays. Iran is at the bottom of the chart with the lowest number of holidays, i.e. only 3 days. USA and Israel have 16 days and Japan, Italy, Australia and Brazil 15 days. USA and some other countries have a law under which Banks and financial institutions cannot be closed for more than 48 hours at a stretch under any circumstances. But there are instances in India when banks were open just for a day or two in a week.
A spate of holidays cripples the system. Financial and international transactions stop for days.
The financial damage is all more severe as an outcome. The industry is the biggest victim. Exporters and manufacturers have to deal with it as they face hardships in meeting the delivery schedule and commitments. The adverse impact of the holidays is hard to be measured. The holidays increase the financial burden on the cost of productivity making industries incompetent.
India has one of the largest hard working middle class section in the world. It also has more number of people who earn their daily bread and a holiday means sleeping that day with half empty stomach. The dignitary, on whose anniversary the holiday has been announced, who died years back cannot provide him food. They only provide a luxury to the few lucky people who have got jobs in PSUs and PSBs and government offices.
Now it is the need of the hour to reduce the number of holidays as the world has become a global village. It runs round the clock. Geographical boundaries have shrunk and the world is not the same it was 25 years back – dependent on the nature for its entire requirement including the heat and the cold. Modern world is a technology-driven world. Working hours are measured as 24 hrs X 7 days X 365 days. This is the clock that the modern world follows. This is the International clock.
Although the sentimentalists will say that it is a country that truly embraces different culture and diversity and celebrates victory, happiness and joy of all other religion. Their arguments could be many – each festival holds a beautiful story behind it; it would be unfair to declare holiday for one festival and have it as a working day for another festival; this would mean that the country does not respect the other culture. But the government can certainly come out with a plan to cut down on holidays particularly of Banks, Financial Establishments and Financial Institutions.