In early 1990s, when Narasimha Rao led government embarked upon liberating Indian economy from the shackles of outdated regulations, the wave did not touch the ‘shores’ of West Bengal. While other states leapfrogged in taking advantage of newfound liberal industrial climate, West Bengal stagnated and refused to come out of the age-old dogma that believed everything that adored capital was bad.
Events have proved what a self-destructive step that was. Thus even as much of India marched ahead at furious pace with new industries, West Bengal remained deafeningly aloof and the state’s ruling class continued to be staunchly mired in the cesspool of negativity.
Things at last started turning for better after it dawned on the left-front government in the state that after all industry is not bad for the people. It took them awhile to ultimately recognize that there’s simply no alternative to big-ticket investments and that investments need congenial climate to sow and grow.
In a way, 2006 is the year when at long last capital is being viewed with admiration and invited with open arms. This has received a boost after the recent elections saw the ruling front romping home with landslide majority on the plank of industrial development.
Looking at it objectively, the situation in Bengal today is unprecedented. From virtually negligible investment to an avalanche of that, Bengal is experiencing a unique transition.
This is happening because while Bengal hasn’t seen much investment in the last 2 decades and more, the country as a whole has in the meantime progressed by leaps and bounds, so much so that a double-digit GDP growth is now a reality.
In my opinion therefore, the landslide re-election of the present government is the most important milestone for the state in 2006. If the state’s overall economy does stage a turnaround in the time to come, then this electoral victory will undoubtedly go down as an important event in Bengal’s history.
On the eve of a new year, let us all hope for a golden future for West Bengal. Time is upon us to join hands and work together to welcome a new dawn. Let’s not falter yet again.