OF AGRICULTURE, AGRARIAN COMMUNITY AND LAND REFORMS
The Seventh Left Front Government has offered the security of a shelter not only to the rural poverty-stricken, but also to the Urban Poor. Refugees are getting unconditional rights of possession. Even Non-Refugees dwelling on plots of land earmarked for refugees are being endowed with long-term lease. Urban poor residing on plots of unused vested land for more than 20 years are being offered long-term lease for 99 years against a token Salami of Re 1/- only. Thus the urban poor in West Bengal have been provided with the security of a shelter, from where they would not be evicted. The Thika Tenancy Act has been amended for the purpose. Nearly 5 lakh Urban Poor would benefit form the programme. West Bengal shows the way!
UNABATED SUCCESS IN AGRICULTURE
· The overwhelming success of the State in agriculture can be primarily attributed to safeguarding the interests of tilling hands through land reforms. The pan Indian rate of growth of agricultural production was 1.6% in 2008-09 and 0.2% in 2009-10 while the corresponding rates for West Bengal were 4.4% and 4.2%.
· Less than 3% of the total cultivable land in the country is in West Bengal, but it produces 8% of India’s total agricultural produce. (Source: Assocham 2010)
· Increase in the agricultural production in the State is coupled with increase of the Cropping Intensity. This signifies a tendency of cultivation of more than one crop on a single plot. Cropping Intensity of the State was only 155% in 1992-93 and it has now gone up to 192%. The Cropping Intensity of the State ranks second in the country.
· The State produced 74 Lakh Metric Tons of food grains in 1976-77. The quantity has now gone up to 170 Lakh Metric Tons.
· West Bengal was a deficit State in food grain production prior to 1977. West Bengal now tops the list among rice producing States. Currently, the Average Annual Rice-production is 148 Lakh MT, which translates to an increase of 98% over the production of 1977-78.
· West Bengal is also the leading jute producer in the country. Jute production in the State is estimated to be 7842.6 MT per year on average.
· West Bengal ranks first in production of vegetables in the country. The quantity has risen to 130 lakh MT now, excluding potato.
· By producing 35% of national yield of potatoes West Bengal is the second leading producer with an annual production of about 95 Lakh Metric Tons.
· West Bengal ranks 1st, 2nd and 8th respectively in production of pineapple, litchi and mangoes.
· West Bengal produces 15% of the fruits and vegetables produced in the country.
· West Bengal ranks 3rd in the country in overall flower production.
· Production of edible oil in the State is equivalent to 10% of the national production.
· West Bengal produces one-fourth of total tea-production of the country and it accounts for 45% of the national income from tea-export.
· West Bengal has retained its leading position in fish-production in the country by continuously stepping up the across the years.
· The State has attracted record amounts of investments in food-processing during the last four and a half years. 1426 projects were approved during the financial years from 2006-07 to 2009-10. A whopping amount of Rs.3305.13 Crore has been invested for these projects. The number of employment opportunities generated directly or indirectly through these initiatives, stand at 117325.