Singur and the Political Economy of Structural Change

Feb 17th 2006, Mritiunjoy Mohanty

The paper explores the controversy that has surrounded the West Bengal Government's land acquisition programme in Singur and situates it within the overall context of economic growth and transformation. It argues one of the most adversely affected groups as a result of the acquisition is relatively large farmers for whom agriculture is a source of accumulation and not livelihood and subsistence. This might explain in part why the resistance has been so strong. The paper argues that equitable and sustained growth is possible only by reducing the share of agriculture in the labour force and therefore that the West Bengal Government's strategy has to focus on maximising the generation of non-farm rural employment.

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