Behind the politics battle, West Bengal’s slowdown economics -Sandeep Singh and Sunny Verma

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published Published on Apr 3, 2021   modified Modified on Apr 3, 2021

-The Indian Express

The anti-incumbency Banerjee faces is as much about local-level corruption and competing ideologies as it is about stalled industrialisation, weak credit growth, a near-freeze in new jobs, low infrastructure development and agriculture spend.

AS West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee fights perhaps her most significant electoral battle, framing her contest is not just BJP vs Trinamool politics — but the state’s economics as well.

The anti-incumbency Banerjee faces is as much about local-level corruption and competing ideologies as it is about stalled industrialisation, weak credit growth, a near-freeze in new jobs, low infrastructure development and agriculture spend.

In 2019-20, West Bengal’s GSDP growth at 7.26 per cent was higher than the 4.0 per cent national GDP recorded the same year but for four of the five years between 2015-16 to 2019-20, West Bengal’s GSDP growth has been lower than the national figure.

RBI data shows that West Bengal is one of the poorest performers on bank credit growth.

Between the fourth quarters of 2018 and 2020, while aggregate credit of scheduled commercial banks grew by 20 per cent for the whole of India, West Bengal saw just about half of that — a weak 10.6 per cent growth. Only Goa and Punjab registered a lower growth than West Bengal.

Not only on bank credit, West Bengal had one of the slowest growth rates for bank deposits during this two-year period, too. While deposits expanded by 19.8 per cent across the country in this period, that for West Bengal grew 14.1 per cent.

Said Trinamool’s leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien: “Modi-Shah and their Tourist Gang can’t compete with us on real parameters of good governance and genuine development…So what do they do? The usual desperate distractions pre-elections: Pakistan, polarisation and puffy promises that will never be fulfilled.”

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The Indian Express, 3 April, 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/west-bengal-assembly-election-mamata-banerjee-economic-growth-gdp-7256598/


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