The All India Trinamool Congress booklet, on the occasion of completion of two years of governance, says that the gross state domestic product (GSDP) growth rate in 2012-13 was at 7.60% compared to the national average of 4.96%. But a closer look suggests that the picture may not be all that rosy.
The numbers reveal that West Bengal’s GSDP growth is much less than the peak growth in the last five years, which came in 2010-11, when GSDP grew at 9.22% (at 2004-05 prices), according to data available with the Planning Commission.
Ironically, 2010-11 was also the last year of the Left Front’s 34 year rule in West Bengal.
In the first year of Mamata Banerjee’s tenure in 2011-12, the GSDP growth fell to 6.58%, data from Planning Commission suggests. However, West Bengal’s GSDP growth was higher than the national average of 6.21% in 2011-12.
“The analysis of an economy should be based on a trend, and not on annual growth rates. If we compare the per capita GSDP of West Bengal with per capita GDP of India between 2004-05 and 2012-13, West Bengal’s growth and per capita number has been lower than that in India,” says Dipankar Dasgupta, former professor of Economics, Indian Statistical Institute.
According to the last Economic Survey by the government of India, in 2011-12, West Bengal’s per capita net state domestic product (at current prices) was Rs 54,830, which was greater than states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. However, the per capita income of West Bengal was lower than the all India average of Rs 60,603 (Economic Survey, government of India, 2012-13). In the year 2011-12, West Bengal saw a 14.88% growth in per capita income over the last year, which was higher than the all India average of 13.64%. However, in the year 2010-12, the growth in West Bengal’s per capita income was less than that in 2010-11 ( 16.31%) and 2009-10 ( 15.66%).
"The GSDP growth rate in West Bengal has always been higher than the national average. Also, in the last years of Left Front government, the GSDP growth rate was higher than present. Moreover, in agriculture and industry, the growth has come down. Most importantly, the figures quoted by the government are provisional, so we cannot draw much inference from it," said Surya Kanta Mishra, leader of opposition, West Bengal.
The data from Planning Commission also suggests that the growth of industry (as a percentage of GSDP) fell from 6.90% in 2010-11 to 3.71% in 2011-12. In its presentation to the Planning Commission for the Annual Plan of 2013-14, West Bengal has stated that the industry grew by 6.24%, which is an improvement of 2.53 percentage points over the previous year.
In agriculture and allied services, West Bengal registered a growth of 2.56% in 2012-13, against a national average of 1.79%, according to the presentation. However, in 2011-12, the growth in the sector was 3.53%. In 2010-11, there was a decline in agriculture and allied services growth rate by 0.75%, after a spurt of 6.93% in 2009-10.
In the manufacturing sector too, the highest growth for West Bengal came in the year 2009-10 at 11.83%, followed by 8.86% in 2010-11. In 2011-12, the first year of Trinamool government in power, the growth in the sector fell to 2.18%.
In the services sector, which accounts for nearly 60% of the state’s GSDP, West Bengal’s growth has been consistent. In 2012-13, it grew by 9.48%, against 8.37% in 2011-12, 9.97% in 2010-11 and 7.86% in 2009-10.