Social Scientist. v 7, no. 73-74 (Aug-Sept 1978) p. 3.

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Industrialisation and the Left Movement:

On Several Questions of Strategy in West Bengal


THE formation of the Left government in West Bengal aroused a lot of expectations among people in different walks of life., not only in this state, but also in other parts of the country. Every action or inaction on its part has a much wider significance than that by any other state government.

It is to the credit of the Left Front parties that they did not make any extravagant promises like ^aribi hatao^ or full employment. Nevertheless the election manifesto laid down a number of broad objectives. In particular, it was quite categorical in its rejection of foreign aid, foreign capital and Indian monopoly capital as engines of economic development. Granting that these are issues beyond the competence of a state government, should, the behaviour of the Left government in these respects differ in no way from that of the other Janata or Congress-led states?

Undoubtedly, the economic crisis in West Bengal is more deep-seated than in the rest of the country. Per capita income at 1960-61 prices stood at Rs 390 in 1960-61, Rs 397 in 1965-66 and Rs 387 in 1975-76, while the corresponding figures for India were Rs 306, Rs 311 and Rs 366, implying a 20 percent growth in India and stagnation in West Bengal. Urban unemployment rates here are among the highest wHh

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