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

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Closure of Factories in West Bengal

The numbers of industries (registered factories) in West Bengal and employees working therin have not been correctly stated in the article, ‘Behind the Present Peasant Unrest in West Bengal’ by Parthasarathi Banerjee and Dayabati Roy (June 2). The quoted figures from the Statistical Handbook (2004) relate to the economic structure of the reporting units of the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI). While the ASI is supposed to cover completely the big sized industries which employ 50 or more workers using power and 100 or more workers without using power, the scheduled information of the survey are collected only from a sample for the remaining small factories. To get a true picture of the universe of factories (big and small) of the state, one has to build up an appropriate statistical estimate from the collected data, which the authors did not.

The actual number of registered factories in West Bengal was 6,421 in 1990 and 12,308 in 2001 with corresponding number of workers, 8,81,000 and 8,72,000 respectively (vide, for instance Economic Review, Statistical Appendix, 1996-97 and 2005-06, government of West Bengal). Clearly, there was some decrease in the number of workers in 2001 compared to 1990, despite proliferation of factories. This implies the closing down over time of many large-sized units.

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