Social Scientist. v 7, no. 75 (Oct 1978) p. 57.

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Industrialisation and the Left Movement:

On Several Questions of Strategy in West Bengal


IT IS universally recognized today that only labour intensive small-scale industries, rural and urban, can generate significant employment in countries like India. This awareness has existed for quite some time. A number of policies to promote small industries have also been in force. Yet most small establishments that survive do so against the most overwhelming odds, fighting against the superior power of big business. The basic reason for the yawning gap between official pronouncements and day-to-day practice is a lack of political courage and vision. When the chips are down, neither the Congress nor the Janata party can afford to come down decisively in favour of the small sector.

The malaise afflicting small industries has been diagnosed time and again over the past few decades. They do not get adequate institutional finance obliging them to turn to usurious roahajans, and they cannot find outlets for their wares. To rectify the situation vested interests would have to be confronted. When raw materials go scarce, the big industries generally have a priority claim and at times they resell materials at a high premium on the black market. Banks in general do not find it profitable to" approach a myriad of small customers. Our banking tradition inherited from the British acts as a big handicap;

bankers prefer to advance money to clients with large assets. On the

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