ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political Stability in West Bengal

The conventional belief indicates that the gradual success of an incumbent party lies in the economic progression of the state and the well-being of the majority of voters. However, the recent growth of the incumbent party in West Bengal does not support the belief entirely. A marginal improvement of agriculture and rural people, relying on the delivery of welfare schemes at the cost of overall growth (including industrial and service sectors), reveals a redistribute strategy employed by the state in the federal setting. This compels the dependency of low-income people on minuscule resources in the absence of modern sector growth along with building an organisation of cadres, mushroomed under the shadow of welfare schemes, to deliver those services among the networks against the agency fees and commission, worked effectively to engineer the popularity and helped to extinguish the unrest among the non-beneficiaries. This paper unfolds evidence in support of such a strategy that helped maintain incumbency.

Conditions of Farmers in West Bengal

This paper is a part of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) Project, and the author is thankful to ICSSR, New Delhi for providing him with financial assistance to conduct this research work. The author is also thankful to Sridev Adak and Animesh Kundu, former research assistants, ICSSR Research Project for helping him in data collection, data entry, and tabulation works.

How Did West Bengal Perform in the ‘Firecracker Ban Test’ amid COVID-19?

This article analyses what makes a social regulation like the firecracker ban in the state of West Bengal in India a success story such that it may be replicated by other states which are striving hard to curb air pollution levels and arrest rising pandemic cases amidst a festive season. The authors have examined the firecracker ban on the basis of Teubner’s Regulatory Trilemma and Parker and Braithwaite’s three principles to check whether it passes the tests of effectiveness, responsiveness and coherence. The article demonstrates how West Bengal has carved a new and expanded meaning of “performing regulation” in India by ensuring compliance through not just a threat of punishment but cooperation as well.

Restoring Heritage

The artisan community in Chandannagar faces a life of precarity and institutional apathy.

Migrant Workers from West Bengal since 1991

The in and out balance of migration in West Bengal, for the first time, was recorded negative in the 2000s, and it is estimated to have gotten worse in the 2010s. Based on estimates, more people migrated out than entered the state in the 2010s compared to the 2000s. Though the crisis started towards the end of the left regime, it has worsened under the Trinamool Congress government. The article provides insights into labour migration, unemployment and economic growth during 1991–2018.

The Debt Sustainability of West Bengal

This paper uses the indicator-based approach to assess subnational debt and the fiscal sustainability of West Bengal for the period 2000–01 to 2017–18. The period has been categorised into four phases based on debt sustainability. It is studied here how the state has moved from an “unsustainable” debt burden in the first phase (2000–01 to 2003–04) to more sustainable debt levels by the fourth phase (2010–11 to 2017–18), largely driven by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act.

Political Significance of Assembly Election Results

The recent election results negate the politics of dominance cherished at the centre.

The Many Faces of ‘Parivartan’

Between 2011 and 2021 West Bengal was dominated by the personality of Mamata Banerjee and the period can be described as the Mamata era. She destroyed the power of both the Maoists and Left Front after coming to power, introduced several populist schemes and appeared to be the undisputed ruler of the state by 2016. However, she committed a same-side goal in the panchayat election of 2018 and gave a fresh lease of life to the opposition. Ironically, it was not the left but the right that capitalised on it.

Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in West Bengal

Literacy and education are vital developmental indicators for a nation. With more than 200 million children, India has the world’s most extensive primary education system. While primary school enrolment has increased significantly, learning levels remain low. To strengthen foundational literacy and numeracy, the West Bengal government launched “Shishu Aloy” a model Integrated Child Development Services centre in 2015. But the shortage of trained anganwadi workers is the major drawback of this programme in rural villages of West Bengal.

Farmers’ Politics in West Bengal

After the end of 34 years of the Left Front rule, West Bengal has seen a renewed emphasis on agriculture. A decade-long ethnographic study conducted during and after the political transition unravels the reasons why such emphasis fails to benefit the small and marginal farmers, at places where...

West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021: Does a ‘Party Society’ Really Subsume the Politics of ‘Identity’ and ‘Development’?

While West Bengal’s “exceptionalism” is often touted to explain the claimed lack of communal and caste-based politics in the state, the rise of populist forces has somehow managed to take advantage of identitarian fault lines without creating space for democratic political mobilisation of marginalised sections.

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