ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Agricultural Growth in West Bengal

Agricultural Growth in West Bengal S Datta Ray THIS relates to an article entitled, 'Agricultural Growth in West Bengal in the 1980s' (EPW, March 26), The authors have stated, "in the 1980s the BAES method of estimation (based on crop cutting samples) was adopted by GOWB" (vide para 1, Section II: Data and Methodology). They elucidated it by a note (numbered 7 in Notes at the end of the article) reading as "currently, estimates are prepared by the BAES on the basis of estimates of yield that are obtained from crop cutting experiments jointly conducted by BAES and the directorate of agriculture". There are grave factual inaccuracies and gaps intheauthors' statements. Since I was director of BAES, though briefly (October 1990 to January 1992) I would like to set right below the wrong impressions created by the authors' above statement certifying the quality of the GOWB crop data of the 1980s which they used without revision unlike James K Boyce and came to some doubtful conclusions. The facts are: (i) The state agriculure department continued to change unilaterally the yield figures furnished by BAES at least of wheat throughout the period, 1981-82 to 1985-86. (ii) From 1986-87 a sea change occurred in the system of collection of crop data in the state in which BAES has only a minor role to play.

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