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

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From 25 Years Ago: Studies on the Economy of West Bengal since Independence  

Vol XXXIII, Nos 47–48 NOVEMBER 21, 1998

  Amiya Kumar Bagchi

Two major obstacles loom up against somebody trying to understand the course of economic and social change in West Bengal during the last 50 years. The first is the idea that it was industrially and socially a developed state at the time of independence; the second is the supposition that industrially the state was doing quite well until labour militancy seriously dampen­ed the incentive of industrialists to invest in the state. I shall argue instead that West Bengal started its journey as a constituent state of the union of India with a highly vulnerable industrial structure, and a predominantly illiterate and poor citizenry. What is as important, its social and political structure was dominated by petty landlords among the local population, a bureaucracy which never had close contact with the countryside, and a class of speculator-capitalists who found pickings of take-overs and import-substituting industrial investment in other states of India much more lucrative than investing in modernizing and developing the large-scale factories it took over from the British.

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Updated On : 2nd Dec, 2023
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