Peda – Sweet Lifeline
Of Jharkhand

Sweet dish Peda provides livelihood to nearly a hundred thousand people in Jharkhand state of India Deoghar is one of the 24 districts of Jharkhand - one of the most underdeveloped states in India. Mukesh Rajak, correspondent of this video who lives there, says that about 25% of the total population here lives below the poverty line. The district also has an average unemployment rate of 16% which is much higher than the national average of 9%.

Now, while the government agencies are lacking in creating enough employment opportunities, a village based industry is providing livelihood to thousands of locals. This is the industry of Peda - a sweet dish made of dried whole milk, sugar and cardamom.

Usually, one can buy a Peda anywhere in India. But there is a special demand for Peda made in Deoghar even in the national market. The reason is, the Peda of Deoghar has a quality that is superior to those made elsewhere. Besides, there is a famous Shiva temple in Deoghar which is visited by thousands of people every year and for all of them, a box of local Peda is something they can buy and take home for loved ones. So the demand for the Peda in Deoghar shoots up in the month of July/August when the Shiva temple organizes a special ‘Sharavani Mela”(monsoon fair).

According to a rough estimate, around 600 quintal Peda is sold in Deoghar on a single day during the fair, making it a Rs 500-crore business in a month. This means, there is a great scope of people to be engaged in Peda making. And the demand also means there is a great local market opportunity for all these Peda makers.

Mukesh who is very concerned about lack of jobs and career opportunities in Jharkhand, feels that it’s time to recognize the great livelihood scope of Peda making. According to Mukesh, people of sixty villages in Deoghar are today earning their living by making and selling Peda. If Peda making officially gets recognized as a cottage industry, all those involved in the industry can be better organized. The recognition would also generate more interest, more involvement of locals and lead to a greater employment scope.

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