ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Declassification of Census Towns in West Bengal

Saurav Chakraborty (saurav.kgp1988@gmail.com) is a research scholar at the Department of Geography and Environment Management, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore. Subhanil Chowdhury (subhanilc@gmail.com) teaches at the Institute of Development Studies Kolkata, Salt Lake, Kolkata. Utpal Roy (utpalgeovu@gmail.com) teaches at the Department of Geography, University of Calcutta, Kolkata. Kakoli Das (kakolidas87@gmail.com) is research scholar, Department of Geography and Environment Management, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore, West Bengal.

Eighty-one new census towns in West Bengal are on the verge of declassification in the 2021 Census. This must not be understood to mean that non-farm workers are moving into farm activities. Rather, evidences suggest that growth of farm employment has simply outpaced that of non-farm employment in these new census towns and is possibly the reason behind their imminent declassification. The case of Patuli, which is only considered as an example, shows that non-farm activities, especially trading, are witnessing a fall-off phase and that it failed to expand owing to the loss of its market town/rural service centre character over time, goaded by some local factors. This has led to the subsequent inability to generate sufficient full-time jobs at Patuli. More studies are required to build a comprehensive outlook on the policy measures required to preserve the role of these new census towns as market towns and/or rural service centres in the future.

The fi rst draft of this work was presented at a national seminar on applied geography, held at the Department of Geography and Environment and Management, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore, West Bengal. The authors are thankful to the anonymous reviewer for his/her valuable comments and suggestions. The authors also thank Soumyajit Chakraborty, graduate teaching assistant and PhD student of Economics; University of New Mexico, US for his suggestions.

The authors also thank the University Grants Commission for fi nancial assistance (research fellowship) and the Department of Geography and Environment Management, Vidyasagar University and Department of Geography, Kharagpur College.

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