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Pattern of Industrial Growth in West Bengal during 1980–1991

Anirban Karak

Journal of South Asian Development, 2017, vol. 12, issue 1, 65-88

Abstract: Three trends in industrial development contribute to the industrial history of West Bengal during the 1980–1991 period—the continuation of a secular decline in terms of employment and value added in manufacturing industries vis-à -vis other states, an ancillarization and flexibilization of production into small-scale factories with less than 20 workers, and a differential impact of this ancillarization on basic goods and consumer goods industries, with the former performing much better than the latter. Viewed through the theoretical lens of structural demand and agriculture–industry relations, the relatively slower growth of consumer goods industries poses a puzzle when the spectacular growth of agricultural output during the 1980s is considered. In this article, I suggest that tying together three factors—the impact of the ‘Green Revolution’ on West Bengal’s agriculture, the nature and effect of the Left Front’s land reforms, and the role of rural commercial capital—can in turn hold together three outcomes for the period 1980–1991 in a single explanation—high agricultural growth, mass poverty among the rural poor despite land reforms and agricultural growth, and the poor growth of consumer goods industries despite high agricultural growth.

Keywords: West Bengal; industrial growth; agriculture–industry relations; Green Revolution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:sae:soudev:v:12:y:2017:i:1:p:65-88