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Business and Economy of West Bengal

West Bengal lies in the eastern region of India. West Bengal has the third largest economy among the states and UTs of India, having a net state domestic product of 21.5 billion USD. The business and economy of West Bengal is highly dependent upon agriculture, which is the primary occupation of the state. Rice is the principal food crop of the state. Other crops are maize, oilseeds, pulses, barley, potatoes and other vegetables, and wheat. The main cash crop of the region is jute. Kolkata is one of the major centres of jute industries in India. 66 percent of the jute requirements of the nation are supplied by West Bengal. Other important cash crop of the state is tea. Darjeeling tea is globally renowned. The state also grows tobacco and sugarcane. Agriculture contributes 27 percent to the GDP of the state.

Industry contributes 22 percent to the total GDP of the state. The industries are localized in the Kolkata region and the mineral-rich western highlands. There are a number of major steel plants in the Durgapur-Asansol region. Important manufacturing industries pertain to engineering products, electronics, electrical equipments, steel, leather, cables, jewellery, textiles, automobiles, railway wagons and frigates.

The service sector is the largest contributor to the state's GDP, with 51 percent share. Because of promotion in foreign direct investment in the recent years, mostly in software and electronics fields, Kolkata is emerging as a major hub for the IT industry. West Bengal is now also the third fastest growing economy in the country.

However, at the same time, it should be kept in mind that West Bengal has a long history of labour unrest and closure of factories, and the state has not yet overcome these lacunae. Moreover, a significant potion of the state, which comprises districts like Cooch Behar, Malda, Jalpaiguri, South Dinajpur, North Dinajpur, Purulia, Bankura, and Sunderbans are still economically backward, with incidences of rampant poverty. The business and economy of West Bengal should go beyond the malls of Kolkata to really have an effective development face.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/12

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