Gujarat vs West Bengal
The recent remarks by senior BJP leader L. K. Advani and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the state of affairs in West Bengal have diverted the attention of the people of the country towards the state of West Bengal. Advani compared West Bengal with Gujarat saying that while Gujarat, in a short period of time has forged ahead and become the most developed state of the country, West Bengal is still languishing behind after 34 years of Marxist rule. Let us find out the true picture by finding out the differences between these two important states of the country, Gujarat and West Bengal.
Gujarat is the western most state of India with a large coastline of 1600 km. It has an area of around 200000 square kilometers with a population in excess of 50 million. Gandhinagar is the capital of Gujarat and it is home to Gujarati speaking people. Gujarat has some of the largest business in India. The state is known for the production of cotton, milk, dates, sugar, cement and petrol. The state has literally transformed in the last few years and stands in the front row as far as rapid industrialization is concerned. With the state accounting for over 22% of total Indian exports, its importance in Indian economy can easily be understood. Reliance Industries, led by Mukesh Ambani has set up world’s largest oil refinery in the state. World’s largest ship breaking yard is situated in the state. Two of the three liquefied natural Gas Port terminals that country has are in Gujarat.
What is striking is that 100% of the villages in the state are electrified and are connected with asphalt roads. Gujarat is the only state in the country to have a state wide gas grid. The state ranks first in gas based thermal electricity and second in the country in nuclear power generation. It has 50000 km of OFC network. Wide area network in the state is second largest in the world and all villages in the state are connected with broadband internet. Among top 500 companies of India, 20% have offices in Gujarat and according to an estimate of RBI; about 26% of total bank finance in India is in Gujarat.
West Bengal is an eastern state of the country that is the 4th most populous. On the eastern side it has borders with Bangladesh and on the western side it has borders with Jharkhand and Bihar. Though industrially not as developed as Gujarat, West Bengal is the 6th largest contributor to India’s GDP. The state has traditionally ruled by Marxists and the Left front has been in power for the last 34 years. The creation of Bangladesh on its eastern borders resulted in an influx of millions of illegal immigrants that drained its economy. It was the liberalization policies of the government in the post 1990 era that led to a change in the situation. Though the states has made significant economic gains in the last 10 years, it still remains on of the poorest states of the country. The state is known more for strikes and bandhs than economic activities and one can see abysmal levels of poverty, low human development and poor healthcare facilities. The state has poor infrastructure, rampant corruption and a brand of politics ridden by violence.
In conclusion it can be safely said that better administration and environment for investments and business, Gujarat has been able to make huge economic strides to become the most developed state of the country. On the other hand, bickering of political parties, poor infrastructure, corruption and violence have hampered the growth of West Bengal and it is condemned to remain poor till now.