In the field of agriculture, productivity of food grains is low. Triple cropping has not yet become the rule, the average crop being only 1.2 per cent. The index of power production is relatively and the rate of rural electrification is miserable. Only ten per cent of the total villages enjoy the benefits of electricity. Even perennial irrigation is inadequate, because the main reliance is on the rivers. Despite land reforms even today ten to twenty per cent of the families own 60 to 70 per cent of the land.
Backward agriculture is an important reason for the industrial crisis in the state. Once the foremost industrial state in India, West Bengal, expect for Calcutta, twenty four Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly, has today been declared a `backward area’ for purpose confessional financing by public financial institutions. This state of affairs is the result of lack of foresight among the industrialists. They never bothered to provide the infrastructure for agricultural growth. As a result they have little or no market in the countryside. They have not diversified nor did they modernize their factories when it was possible to do so.
This situation has been allowed to develop in a state that has suffered the most from partition. After ravages of a famine and a war economy, partition came as last straw, shattering the entire fabric of West Bengal. It is reduced to one of the smallest states of India.
It is this situation that has led to so much frustration among the Bengalis and to tendency to find emotional satisfaction in harking back to a glorious heritage that is now lost. A high degree of politicization, coupled with a rich intellectual tradition, has created a people highly proud of their separate cultural identity and resentful about the present economic stagnation. This has resulted in West Bengal becoming a problem state in more senses than one.