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Economy of West Bengal

Net State Domestic Product at Factor Cost at Current Prices (2004–05 Base)[1]

figures in crores of Indian Rupees

Year Net State Domestic Product
2004–2005 190,073
2005–2006 209,642
2006–2007 238,625
2007–2008 272,166
2008–2009 309,799
2009–2010 366,318
Durgapur Steel plant
Freshly sown saplings of paddy; in the background are stacks of jute sticks

Economy of West Bengal, a state in eastern India, is primarily dependent on agriculture and medium-sized industry, although services and heavy industries play an increasingly significant role in the economy of the state. A significant part of the state is economically backward, namely, large parts of six northern districts of Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Malda, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur; three western districts of Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum; and the Sundarbans area.[2] Years after independence, West Bengal was still dependent on the central government for meeting its demands for food; food production remained stagnant and the Green Revolution bypassed the state. However, there has been a significant spurt in food production since the 1980s, and the state is now one of the few Indian states with a surplus in food production. It is one of the most important food producing states in India, producing nearly 20% of the rice and 33% of the potato yield, although accounting for only 15% of the population of India.[2] The state's total financial debt stood at 1918 billion (US$31 billion) as of 2011.[3]


  • Agriculture 1
  • Industry 2
  • Infrastructure 3
  • Economic indices 4
  • Foreign direct investment 5
  • Exports 6
  • References 7


Agriculture accounts for the largest share of the labour force. It contributed around 18.7% to the state's gross domestic state product (GSDP) in 2009–10.[4]:14 A plurality of the state's population are peasant farmers. Rice and potato are considered to be the principal food crops of West Bengal. West Bengal is the largest producer of rice in India with an annual output of around 15 million tonnes, and the second-largest producer of potatoes in India with an average annual output of 90 million tonnes.[4]:14 Rice, potato, jute, sugarcane and wheat are the top five crops of the state.[4]:14 Other major food crops include maize, pulses, oil seeds, wheat, barley, and vegetables. The state supplies nearly 33% of the potato requirement and 66% of the jute requirements of India. Tea is another important cash crop. Darjeeling is famous for tea plantation.


State industries are mostly localised in the Kolkata region, the mineral-rich western highlands, and Haldia port region.[5] There are up to 10,000 registered factories in the state and the West Bengal state government has opened Shilpa bandhu, a single window agency in order to provide investors with all kinds of assistance in establishing and running industrial units.[6] Calcutta is noted as one of the major centre for industries including the jute industry. There are numerous steel plants in the state apart from the alloy steel plant at Durgapur. The centre has established a number of industries in the areas of tea, sugar, chemicals and fertilisers. Natural resources like tea and jute in and nearby parts has made West Bengal a major centre for the jute and tea industries. The state's share of total industrial output in India was 9.8% in 1980–81, declining to 5% by 1997–98. However, the service sector has grown at a rate higher than the national rate.[2]


As of 2011, the installed power capacity of the state is 8,316.8 MW, compared to 173,626.4 MW of the country.[4]:4 Of the total installed power capacity, 7,039.54 MW was contributed by thermal power, 1,116.3 MW was contributed by hydro power and renewable power contributed 161.05 MW of capacity.[4]:23 Effective from 1 April 2007, the Government of West Bengal restructured the erstwhile West Bengal State Electricity Board into two successor entities, namely West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) and West Bengal State Electricity Transmission Company Limited (WBSETCL), under the ownership of the State Government.[7]

As of 2011, West Bengal has a total road length of 92,023 kilometres (57,180 mi), with a road density of 1.04 km per km2. Of this, national highways constitute 2,578 kilometres (1,602 mi) and state highways 2,393 kilometres (1,487 mi).[4]:18 The railway route length in the state is around 4,481 kilometres (2,784 mi).[4]:20

The state's only international airport is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport at Dum Dum, Kolkata. Bagdogra airport near Siliguri is another significant airport in the state. Kolkata is a major river-port in eastern India. The Kolkata Port Trust manages both the Kolkata docks and the Haldia docks.[8] There is passenger service to Port Blair on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and cargo ship service to ports in India and abroad, operated by the Shipping Corporation of India. Kolkata Dock System handled a traffic of 12.540 million tonnes in 2010–2011 as against 13.045 million tonnes in 2009–2010.[8] At Haldia Dock Complex, 35.005 million tonnes of traffic was handled in 2010–2011 as against 33.378 million tonnes in 2009–2010 implying an increase of 4.87%.[8]

As of December 2010, there were 56.2 million wireless (mobile phone) connections and 2.2 miliion wire-line subscribers in West Bengal, while the number of broadband subscribers were 497,971.[4]:24

As of 2011, the state has 22 formally approved special economic zones (SEZ).[9] Of these, 17 are related to information technology (IT) or IT enabled services (ITES).[4]:28

Economic indices

In terms net state domestic product (NSDP), West Bengal has the sixth largest economy (2009–2010) in India, with an NSDP of 3663 billion Indian rupees, behind Maharashtra (8179 billion), Uttar Pradesh (4530 billion), Andhra Pradesh (4268 billion), Tamil Nadu (4177 billion), and Gujarat (3704 billion).[1] In the period 2004–2005 to 2009–2010, the average gross state domestic product (GSDP) growth rate was 13.9% (calculated in Indian rupee term), lower than 15.5%, the average for all states of the country.[4]:4 According to data from India Brand Equity Foundation, at current prices, the GSDP of West Bengal was about US$84.4 billion in 2009–10.[4]:8 The state's per capita GSDP at current prices in 2009–10 was US$956.4, improved from US$553.7 in 2004–05,[4]:10 but lower than the national per capita GSDP of US$1,302.[4]:4 In 2009–10, the tertiary sector of the economy (service industries) was the largest contributor to the gross domestic product of the state, contributing 57.8% of the state domestic product compared to 24% from primary sector (agriculture, forestry, mining) and 18.2% from secondary sector (industrial and manufacturing).[4]:12 At a compound annual growth rate of 15.2%, the tertiary sector has been the fastest growing among the three sectors from 2004–05 to 2009–10.[4]:12 The growth has been driven by trade, hotels, real estate, finance, insurance, transport, communications and other services. The state's total financial debt stood at 1918 billion (US$31 billion) as of 2011.[3]

Foreign direct investment

Under the overall guidance and policies of the government of India, the West Bengal government welcomes foreign technology and investments as may be appropriate for the needs of the state and is mutually advantageous.[10] Foreign direct investment has mostly come in the manufacturing and telecommunication sectors.[11] According to the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Government of India, the cumulative FDI inflow in Kolkata Reserve Bank region (comprising West Bengal, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands) from April 2000 to December 2011 amounted to US$ 1,863 million ( 80.92 billion rupees).[12] Kolkata Reserve Bank region was seventh among the reserve bank regions of the country in terms of amount of cumulative FDI, behind Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Hyderabad regions.[12]


West Bengal is one of the country's leading exporters of finished leather goods. In 2009–10, the state accounted for around 13.5% of the country's exports of leather and leather products.[4]:16 The state accounted for around 70% of India's dried flower exports in 2008–09.[4]:16 The state is also a leading exporter of shrimps and tea.

However, the rapid industrialisation process has given rise to debate over land acquisition for industry in this agrarian state.[13] NASSCOMGartner ranks West Bengal power infrastructure the best in the country.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Net state domestic product at factor cost—state-wise (at current prices)". Handbook of statistics on Indian economy.  
  2. ^ a b c "Introduction and Human Development Indices for West Bengal". West Bengal Human Development Report 2004 (PDF). Development and Planning Department, Government of West Bengal. May 2004. pp. pp4–6.  
  3. ^ a b "Mamata seeks debt restructuring plan for West Bengal". Economic Times (New Delhi). 22 October 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "West Bengal".  
  5. ^ "Industrial infrastructure". West bengal Industrial Development Corporation. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Economy of West Bengal @ Suni System (P) Ltd.
  7. ^ "Company profile". West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited. Retrieved 6 February 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c "Port info: cargo statistics". Kolkata Port Trust. Kolkata Port Trust, India. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  9. ^ "SEZs: statewise distributiion". Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Policies and approval: foreign direct investment (FDI) policy". West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Mazumdar, Rakhi (10 January 2012). "PwC sees need for FDI in West Bengal". Economic Times (New Delhi). Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Statement on RBI's regional offices (with state covered) received FDI equity inflows (from April 2000 to December 2011)" (PDF). Fact sheet on foreign direct investment (FDI) from April 2000 to December 2011. Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India. pp. 2–3. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  13. ^ Ray Choudhury, R (27 October 2006). "A new dawn beckons West Bengal". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 29 October 2006. 
  14. ^ "West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation Ltd." (PDF). India @ Hannover Messe 2006. Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC), India. p. 303. Retrieved 7 September 2006. 
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