Post-independence, India acknowledged that industrialization holds the key to economic progress in the country. Given the federal structure of governance in the country, different states (and regions) have registered different levels of industrial prosperity based upon the policies and course of actions adopted by the respective state governments. The analysis of the economic status of West Bengal reveals that the relative share of industries of the state in the national output (and in the industrial development at the national level) has declined over the years. In the recent years, West Bengal has recognized the need for adopting industrialization as an engine to foster economic development in the State.
It is a well-known fact that since the colonial days, West Bengal has contributed significantly in manufacturing especially iron and steel, textiles and jute. In 1960-61, along with Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, the state of West Bengal was one of the top five states in the country in terms of industrial output. These five states together contributed to over 55% of the national industrial output. But since the mid-1960’s, the industrial performance of West Bengal has declined continuously.
The West Bengal Government has already shown political will to formulate strategies to put industrialization in the state on a faster track. However, the national situation is competitive now, given the industrialization strategy of different states. Experts acknowledge that the state can take advantage of the global bias towards “sustainable industrial development” and adopt innovative strategies to make best use of the opportunity given the country’s commitment towards local and global environmental responsibility. The industrial policies in the state can be carefully designed so as to enable these policies to invite global and national investment opportunities within the climate change finance mechanisms. Therefore, there exists challenges and opportunities for West Bengal to design innovative new-era industrial policies that integrates the current concerns of global warming and climate change and become a leader in the “second industrial revolution” (Roy, 2009) phase. The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that globally industries accounted for 19% of the total Green House Gas (GHG) emissions in 2004. In India, the industrial share of GHG emission is approximately 22% of the aggregate national emission in 2007. A number of new investment possibilities have been identified globally to make industrial development climate friendly. A number of financing mechanisms provide new investment opportunities in existing industrial units and opens up scope for new industrial activities.
This report presents a roadmap for Green Industrialisation in West Bengal.