1) India accounts for a meager 2.4
per cent of the world surface area yet it sustains a whooping
16.7 per cent of the world population, a little over 1 billion
people residing in 29 states and 6 Union Territories. The
variation across these states and territories is enormous in
regard to physical geography, culture, and economic
conditions. Some states have achieved rapid economic growth in
recent years, while others have languished.
2) India, which sustains 17% of world population approx. 1.2
billion and deeply embedded scientific, mathematical
traditions, has the potential to emerge as a global economic
powerhouse in the next millenium. However challenges lies
converting available human resources into enriched human
capital base suitable for the dynamics of the present day
challenges. The final challenges lies in training and
reculturizing our billion populations, a high % of which is
young generation suitable for third revolution (after Agri &
3) Out of the 29 states West Bengal is one of the most
culturally and ethnically diverse states of India.The people
of India inherit their identity and aspirations from the
larger Indian mosaic and from the civilizations across the
shore. Different ethnicity, religion, languages and culture
adds to this rich landscape and unifies the people instead of
separating them. West Bengal has the brightest record of
maintaining communal harmony since independence
4) West Bengal has a well-developed communication network
encompassing an extensive railway system, domestic and
international airports, modern ports, national highway, etc.
The state has a strategic location for global growth with
land, air and sea routes to major global cities including the
Pacific rim and the thriving South East Asian megalopolises.
The State's natural wealth is amongst the best in the country.
5) State West Bengal has a huge reservoir of talent. The
premier institutes provide quality talent, which is the
greatest asset of our state. In addition, a significant number
of English-speaking graduates are coming out every year in the
state. The government of West Bengal has set up an academic
council to address the needs of the industry and bridge the
gap between demand and supply of talent.
6) The conscious policy of land reforms along with the
simultaneous support in terms of provision of non-land inputs,
such as irrigation facilities, improved seeds, fertilizers
etc. as also the process of democratic decentralisation
through the Panchayati Raj System brought about a major
breakthrough in the sphere of agriculture and allied sectors.
As a result, the highest rate of growth of food-grains
production, as well as the highest rate of growth in per
hectare yield of food grains has now been achieved in West
Bengal as compared to all the other States in India.
7) India’s amazing strides in the field of agriculture and the
recent thrust of biotechnology stem from the knowledge pool
which West Bengal (WB) is proud of. It is well known the
achievement have been made possible through combination of
technological breakthrough and application technologies
pioneered by ICAR, agricultural universities including the
allied agriculture research stations. WB contribution in this
field has been acknowledged and the ‘Political Will’ of the
people have been reflected in the land reforms activities
successfully implemented in the state at the grass root level.
The new million now holds the potential for the second green
revolution with the convergence Agri / Biotechnology /
Genomics and IT knowledge base.
8) There has also been a corresponding increase in the
purchasing power of the vast majority of common people in
rural areas. This has created a new market for consumption of
industrial products in West Bengal. Kolkata, the capital of
West Bengal, is currently witnessing a boom in the retail
sector. With numerous clubs, a vibrant tradition of theatre,
art galleries, amusement parks, golf courses, turf club and
cinema halls, Kolkata truly offers a wide range of
recreational facilities. Social infrastructure has improved at
a faster rate than physical infrastructure in the state.
9) Considering the importance of the potential for generating
employment and income all over the State by harnessing local
resources and skill, a conscious policy for promotion of
cottage and small-scale industries on an extensive scale was
evolved. Simultaneously, policy initiatives were taken to
promote the establishment of electronics industry in the
10) From being a power-deficit state in the early 1980s, West
Bengal today has surplus power. Several new power projects are
under implementation. Power tariffs are reasonable. This has
triggered the resurgence of Durgapur belt by setting Ferro
Alloy plants / Sponge Iron plant. In IT, West Bengal has
aggressively joined the race, seeking to become one of the top
3 IT destinations by capturing 15-20% of the country’s total
IT revenues by 2009-10. The state government’s new IT Policy,
2003, has declared IT as a “public utility service”, which
will enable all IT companies in the state to operate on a
11) The state is witnessing a banking revival too. The
percentage share of the banking & insurance sector in West
Bengal’s NSDP at constant (1993-94) prices grew from 7.43% in
1996-97 to 12.23% in 2001-02.
12) While high technology IT development might itself make a
small contribution to total output and on its own has limited
impact on productivity and competitiveness and standard of
living but its real impact on its ‘multiplier’ effect on the
economy. The IT professionals demand for ‘Better
Infrastructure’ have in effect trigger the development of ‘New
Kolkata’ and it would continue to do in the future also.
Emergences of small towns like Gurgaon / Noida are recent
example of such multiplier effect accelerating the progress of
the economy as a whole. . The engineering industry covering
Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics, Telecommunication &
Instrumentation engineering, transport equipments and
miscellaneous mechanical goods and precision instruments will
be major recipient of multiplier effect as new IT enabled
services would be put into use.
13) With population in the developed/developing countries
living longer and demanding more health care services at
reasonable cost, WB can be the destination of such facilities
with 30% cost advantage, considering the travel and allied
cost. If the same can be tried with medical tourism activities
and health resorts activities it would be a win win situation
for the service providers and service recipients.
14) Worldwide ‘Entertainment’ is the fastest growing
industries, a potential we can realize now. From TV Channels
and their programming to the hosting of ‘Internal Pageants’,
WB has the required pool of talents and human resources to
package entertainment on a gigantic scale.
15) West Bengal is highly attractive to investors because of
its fundamental business advantages. These are: one, the size
and wealth of its markets; two, the quality of certain key
resources, such as its agriculture, its people and its
culture; three, the positive impact of a relatively low
competitive intensity, and four, the government’s increasingly
16) West Bengal surely will get advantage from the agreement
on economic co-operation that has been recently signed by
India and China. West Bengal's locational advantage and that
the opening up of the trade route to China through Nathula
Pass would strengthen the State's locational advantage as it
can re-emerge as a natural transshipment point for the old
silk route. With bright prospects of barrier free trade with
neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan under
the umbrella of the SAARC the state is destined to play a key
role as the true economic hub of the sub-continent.
17) West Bengal is in proximity to the coal belt, which is the
biggest factor in favour of booming steel making sector. This
will trigger a setting up of allied manufacturing sector. A
new breed of first-generation bengali industrialists have
entered into the manufacturing sector and many of the new
projects are being promoted by people from Bengal, which
indicates the changing mindset of Bengal people.
In addition to coal the ‘Gas Reserves’ in Sundarban Area,
which is being assessed by ONGC if probed to be positive will
irrevocably change the reserve base and industrial/economic
scenario of the state. The gas imports through Bangladesh,
would also have the same effect. ONGC efforts for
‘Gasification of Coal’ in the mine itself including extraction
of Methane Gas from the wal mines are positive signal.
limitation as a legacy of the past and long list of failures
in the past creating despondency and frustration, are the main
physiological block to the future progress.
No infusion of fresh
ideas through inducting new generation leadership is
forthcoming resulting stagnation of ideas/ideological
deficiency not at all matching to the ground realities of the
present age. Respect to the knowledge power is lacking
resulting continuance of muscle power over Intellectual power
withholding progress in real sense.
which was the backbone of industrial achievement till recent
past is not getting its due attention due to prolonged and
willful neglect of the authorities in power to arrest the
industrial/economic growth W. Bengal.
WAY FORWARD :-
The core strength are the talent pool of the people and the
resources base of the state which can not be written off
/postponed for ever. It would reappear from ashes and bad
legacy of the past and would occupy its rightful place in near
future. The constraints would be accepted as challenges by the
new generation political leadership and convert into
opportunity in not so distant future.
team members brain storming