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Indian DevelopmentSelected Regional Perspectives$
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Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198292043

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198292043.001.0001

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Agrarian Politics and Rural Development in West Bengal *

Agrarian Politics and Rural Development in West Bengal *

(p.129) 3 Agrarian Politics and Rural Development in West Bengal*
Indian Development

Sunil Sengupta

Haris Gazdar

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines recent attempts to address the challenge of rural poverty in West Bengal. One distinguishing feature of the recent history of the said state is a significant change in the balance of political power in favour of disadvantaged groups, which took a concrete expression in 1977 when the Left Front coalition came to office at the state level. This change in the balance of power has made it possible to implement a number of far-reaching social programmes that are often considered ‘politically infeasible’ in many other states, notably including land reform and the revitalization of democratic institutions at the village level. Public policies concerned with health education and related matters have also been neglected, and correspondingly, the improvement of living conditions in West Bengal in recent years has remained relatively slow.

Keywords:   rural poverty, West Bengal, political power, Left Front coalition, health education, living conditions

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