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About West Bengal State: Tourism, Industries, Agriculture, Economy & Geography

April, 2018

West Bengal is situated in eastern India and shares its borders with Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Sikkim and Assam. The state also shares international borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. The Bay of Bengal is in the south of the state.

West Bengal is India's sixth largest economy, and recorded a gross state domestic product (GSDP) of US$ 140.56 billion in 2015-16. The state's GSDP expanded at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.57 per cent from 2004-05 to 2015-16. Agriculture is the chief occupation in the state and contributed 18.8 per cent to the GSDP in 2014-15. West Bengal is the largest producer of rice in India. Rice production for the state totalled 15.1 million tonnes in FY17. West Bengal is also the largest fish producing state in India. During 2016-17, the state produced a total of 1.702 million tonnes of fish in comparison with a produce of 1.632 million tonnes during 2015-16. As of January 2018, West Bengal had a total installed power generation capacity of 10,490.23 megawatt (MW).

West Bengal is the second largest tea-producing state in India. During 2016-17, it produced 357.39 million kg of tea, accounting for 28.58 per cent of India's total tea production and is home to the globally acclaimed Darjeeling tea variety. Kolkata is the prime centre for India's jute industry. The state stands first in the country in terms of jute production. In 2016-17, the state produced around 2.076 million tonnes of sugarcane and 3.7 million tonnes of fruits. West Bengal is also a leading exporter of leather and has about 666 manufacturing units producing leather and leather goods. About 22-25 per cent of India’s tanning activity is undertaken in Kolkata.

Its location advantage makes the state a traditional market for eastern India, the Northeast, Nepal and Bhutan. It is also a strategic entry point for markets in Southeast Asia. The cost of operating a business is lower in Kolkata than in other metropolitan cities.

West Bengal has abundant natural resources of minerals and suitable agro-climatic conditions for agriculture, horticulture and fisheries. It is in vicinity to mineral rich states like Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha. It offers excellent connectivity to the rest of India in terms of railways, roadways, ports and airports.

The state (including Sikkim and Andaman & Nicobar Islands) has attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflows worth US$ 4.19 billion during the period April 2000 to December 2017, according to data released by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

West Bengal has also made a beginning in information technology (IT) sector. The number of IT parks in the state has increased from eight to twenty. West Bengal stands 11th among Indian states in rankings based on ease of doing business and reforms implementation, according to a study by the World Bank and KPMG.

Key Sectors:

  • MSME industries are considered to create maximum employment opportunities for the youth in the state as the sector has maximum elasticity of labour output. Over last five years, there has been an increase in bank credit across the MSME sector, which has led to an increase in the investments as well as employment opportunities. Government of West Bengal proposed allocation of US$ 146.71 million for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises & Textiles Department, under state budget 2018-19.
  • The natural resources, policy incentives and infrastructure in the state support investments in major sectors such as iron and steel, biotechnology, coal, leather, jute products, tea, IT, gems and jewellery. The state has 3,000 acres of land at its disposal to set up industries.
  • Climatic conditions suitable for cultivation of tea and jute have made West Bengal a major centre for these products and related industries.

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