ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Agricultural Growth in West Bengal

Agricultural Growth in West Bengal WHEREAS West Bengal witnessed modest growth rates in foodgrains production in the earlier decades, namely. 1 percent per annum in 1971-81 preceded by 3.3 per cent pa in 1961-71 or 2.2 pc annually during 1961-81, the annual growth rate in the 80s based on uncensured official data works out to an exceedingly high 6,5 per cent (Saha and Swaminathan. EPW, March 26). This is also far ahead of the rates of all the major states of India. No supportive data such as relative increase in inputs (irrigation, fertilisers, HYV seeds, insecticides, etc) have however been furnished or analysed. On the other hand, one of the findings of the authors as reached through analysis of the official statistics defies all sense and logic. It is: high agricultural growth has nothing to do with good weather conditions in West Bengal where more than 50 per cent of the total crop area depends solely on rams for cultivation. This finding, if not perverse, evokes grave doubts about the veracity of the official crop statistics of West Bengal. Boyee clearly showed how the state agriculture department (and its central counterpart) distorted in the 60s and 70s the scientifically obtained crop data of the bureau of statistics for their immediate advantage (James K Boyce, 'Agricultural Growth in West Bengal, 1949- 50 to 1980-81". EPW. Review of Agriculture, March 1984). Saha and Swaminathan started on the premise that crop data of the 80s were free from all the blemishes of the earlier decades, and the bureau of statistics and the agriculture department were now happy partners. Datta Ray (EPW. July 16), a former head of the bureau knocked this out completely. In fact, since 1986-87 the agriculture department being in the driving seat of the crop survey apparatus is using it more blatantly to suit its own convenience than in the 60s and 70s. Readers might have noticed that they are now in charge even of the statistical aggregation of crop area figures, they have inducted in the crop cutting arena their own staff (KPS) who have naturally a good stake in reporting favourable yields, and have issued an illegitimate instruction to the bureau of statistics on building up of the pooled estimate of yield rates from the cc experiments of the bureau's staff and KPSs. throwing away all ethics of statistics to winds.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Back to Top