Concerned about slowdown and pressure on balance sheets, corporate India is going slow on Diwali gifts to its associates, networked partners and others, slashing the budget by at least 35-40 per cent, an Assocham survey said on Wednesday.

The reduction in gifts is more for outside connects than employees who are more or less receiving their annual gesture from their employers, the survey said. However, it added that there has been certainly a downward impact on the bonus payments, with several corporates reeling under debt and cutting costs in their overall operations. Besides, jerks arising out of demonetisation and the roll out issues of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) too have affected the overall sentiment.

"Consequent to slowdown in the Diwali gift sale, the FMCG companies which generally bet high on festive sales in the business of chocolates, cookies, sweets are reporting less than normal sales," said D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, Assocham.

"Similar is the case with consumer durable firms engaged in washing machines, refrigerators, cooking ovens, electric stoves and other such items. Even the festive sale of high-end smartphones seems to have taken a hit," Rawat said.

"The survey endorses the general low key mood of the industry and trade with the considerable trimming of the festive budget," he said. The chamber had conducted a telephonic survey of 758 companies across tier I, II and III cities - Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow and Mumbai in the run-up to Diwali. Online shopping vouchers, cash rewards, gift cards, dry fruits, chocolate/bakery (cake and biscuits) items, wearable devices like fitness tracker and others were top choices as Diwali gifts for both employees and clients, said most of the company representatives.

IANS