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Calcutta 1981

Jean Racine

Session III. B. Tackling the Crisis


Barun De

Texte intégral

The right questions

S.K. Bhattacharya

1I would like to intervene now by thanking Mr. Kutty for having put his fingers on the right questions and at the right spot. These, I think, will be the main lines on which the afternoon will run.

This is not the way we want to start town planning

Ninnala Banerjee

2Listening to the paper from the CMDA, I felt completely out of tune with time. I joined the CMPO in 1966 and we were talking about exactly the same programmes then. The water supply schemes, schemes for traffic and transport were there in 1966 and we are still talking about them in 1979.

3After all, the plans in 1966 were based on several factors, which I think have changed materially. One of them was the population projections based on the 1951 to 1961 rates of growth. The 1951-1961 growth of population was unnaturally high in the metropolis, he has not been repeated in 1961-1971 and I do not think anybody believes that it will be repeated in 1971-81.I do not see when the CMDA has ever thought about this.

4The second point was that it was based on the boom that took place in the CMDA area during the Third Plan (1961-1966), an engineering industry boom resulting from large-scale Investments in the Second Five-Year Plan (1956-1961) in the public sector, and resulting also from the railway Orders of that time. That also, we all know, has fizzled out during the last thirteen years. It has not been repeated. Industrial employment in the organized sector has not increased; the unorganized sector industrial employment is increasing but not in the activities where growth was expected. So that too has fizzled out. The plans were based on ideas of town planning which were in fashion then. The megalopolis idea was in fashion in the early sixties; even America started giving it up by the end of the sixties. But we have a megalopolis, centralized town planning, we have town planning divorced from any kind of political-authority; we still cling to these ideas in 1979 when everybody else has accepted that town planning has to be tied down to some kind of popular participation. I hope the CMDA people will tell us how they formulated their new perspective that they put in the 1976 plan. I hope there will be some answer to this.

5The other part I wanted to talk about is the CMDA idea of an authority for what Mr.. Kutty said, that the quality of life is really the quality of life of a very specific part of the population. We have some ideas about living in a town. We accept that we live in a big town, we accept that we live in a big megalopolis; therefore we want water, sanitation and all these kinds of elements. Look at the Plan now. Even today it makes such a little allowance for education which, as Mr.. Kutty pointed out, is one of the major difficulties here. Mr.. Kutty was talking about entrepreneurship. I tried to explain in my paper yesterday that one of the difficulties in entrepreneurship here is the lack of education, training, vision, that is holding back our entrepreneurs.

6In fact I did not bring out one thing yesterday: In Bombay one of the reasons why the small units are a lot more successful is their being run and owned by an absolutely different class of owners. There are a lot more engineers involved in it, a lot more people who have already worked in big industry who then go on to form small units and supply Orders of big industry. It is more the Japanese kind of small-scale units coming up in the Bombay area. It is not the Calcutta idea where a little, poor man starts with a lathe, sits in Howrah-Belelias Road and waits for somebody in Strand Road to bring him an order for that. We have not even thought of this. I think the CMDA was designed with an idea (we cannot blame them, they were given a mandate for creating a town planning authority) which deals only with water, sanitation, traffic, and so on. They are now talking about some economic aspects, but these are just icing on the cake, this is not really the main part of the cake. I do not blame the CMDA for that. But it is time that the state government realize that this is not the way we want to start town planning: this is not the way we want to give Rs 300 crore of our investment resources for the next five years for something which is really not related to the economy and economic planning of the area.

Power crisis, industrial crisis, urban crisis: this is the quality of life

Asok Mitra

  • 1 Faridabad, a booming new industrial town, 30 km south of New Delhi, with mechanical, electrical an (...)

7I would like to begin with one of Mr. Kutty's comments. Mr. Kutty probably winced at my word and that is why he probably misunderstood me. I said that old rotten units, sick units are falling like over-ripe plums into the lap of the West Bengal government. Many of the plants are nothing more than scraps of rusty iron, whereas taking advantage of tax concessions and drawbacks and so on, Faridabad1, Bombay, Gujarat, Maharashtra, etc., have really set up whole townships of brand new industries. Today, as everybody knows, a brand new plant, particularly if it is the fruit of technological collaboration with some other country, can be a free gift to you in about four years time.

8Mr. Kutty mentioned one very important thing and that is a major problem today, the problem of entrepreneurship. Mr. Kutty said that unless this problem is settled in West Bengal, nothing will get done. We have seen what has happened in Incheck, we have seen what has happened in various other units which were set up under the leadership of Dr. B.C. Roy in 1954-62.I had the privilege of working as Secretary under Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy in the Department of Commerce and Industry at that time.

  • 2 This prediction seems to be coming true in 1981 (A.M.).

9I have been crying hoarse since 1976 in the Indian Chamber of Commerce that Calcutta and CMDA need loans, but the World Bank loans should not be allowed to reduce the Calcutta Metropolitan area into a "beggar" city for all time. Even the World Bank will lose interest in about 3-4 years time when they feel that nothing is happening2 and I think the whole game will dry up when the World Bank will feel that it is not getting its money back.

  • 3 François Bernier (1602-1688) was one of the foremost French travellers who visited India. In a cha (...)

10Mr. Chairman, I have been present in all discussions on West Bengal, which can be described in two pithy proverbs. Yesterday, what I protested against was the saying: I still enjoy the smell of butter on my fingers which I ate years ago. And today, this CMDA is coming to stand for flaying it rich on another man’s money. When I was serving the Planning Commission, Mr. Siddhartha S. Ray was the Chief Minister and Mr. Ghosh became the Administrator of the CMDA. I sought several audiences with Siddhartha Babu and Mr. Ghosh and I pleaded with them plagiarising Bernier3, that Bengal was such a wonderful place, the climate was so good, the people were so nice, the women were so beautiful and so gracious, that Bengal has a hundred gates open for entrance but none for departure. If you gave Bengal enough electricity, there would be a hundred gates open for investment and entrepreneurs, and none for departure. As you now, after B.C. Roy's death, not only was the expansion of electricity in Bengal not wanted but even the idea was actively resisted. And why do you not put up your case strongly enough with the World Bank that we do not want these frills, these cosmetics, like gardens, pavements, etc, but what we really need is electricity and never enough of it. Why do we not say to the World Bank that if you have given Rs 255 crore, give us electricity plants. We will pay it back to you in five years time through our sinews of power.

11I have mentioned elsewhere what a cab-driver told me a few months ago, when I was winding my way through the diggings of the metro railway project: "Sahib, this is absolute madness, these people are making an underground railway. Do you think it will ever run, when there is not enough power to run a lift?"

  • 4 The Business Standard: one of the two leading economic dailies published in Calcutta (J.R.).

12The hosiery industry is practically dead. Everybody is complaining against load-shedding in the evening. But nobody has mentioned, anything either in the Business Standard4 or elsewhere about the rapid extinction of small scale industries in Bengal.

  • 5 Jaya Prakash Narayan: a prominent freedom fighter, political thinker and leader of Contemporary In (...)

13What is the 1977 industrial programme? The industrial policy statement of the state government? Is it not a diluted and rather hare-brained amalgam of Mahatma Gandhi, J.P.Narayan and all that kind of stuff?5 I am very glad that you have said that what Bengal also needs is large-scale industry which will in its tum give rise to ancillaries and sub-contracting industries. And Kutty has also said, and I am very glad that he has said this, that the public sector must take a major role because in Bengal, unless the public sector plays a major role, nothing will happen.

  • 6 Nirmal Chandra: a noted Bengali economist (J.R.).

14I was very upset when Mr Nirmal Chandra6 made a public statement not so long ago that it was a good thing that we are suffering for lack of electricity. Because there is a recession and nobody would have bought our things even if we had the electricity going and the small-scale industries going. I must confess I was very surprised because at that particular time every small-scale industry in Bombay, in Maharashtra, in Gujarat, in Karnataka, in Tamilnadu had over-full order books. And your hosiery industry which was the pride of the market in Delhi until about six months ago has been completely wiped out. You will not find a single Bengal hosiery item in the Delhi market today.

  • 7 Midnapore district, very close to Calcutta, traditionally sent many immigrants to the metropolis ( (...)

15As for urban growth, I am very sorry that Mr Sinha's presentation was completely misunderstood. The fact is that Calcutta is not growing and will not grow. And there is no reason for it to grow. As you can sec, the Biharis are keeping off metropolitan Calcutta. The U.P.ites are keeping off Calcutta metropolitan area. The Oriyas are keeping off Calcutta metropolitan area. Even the Midnapories7 are not coming to Calcutta, as Mr Sinha said. There is one good sign, of course, that there has been a resurgence of agriculture in West Bengal. We, in West Bengal, produce about 187 quintals of potatoes per hectare whereas Punjab produces about 197 and Gujarat about 194. Although we have only about 1000 hectares under wheat, productivity is about 22 quintals per hectare in Bengal, a record that is exceeded only by Punjab which has about 24 quintals. Not even Haryana has exceeded this. But look at the other products. Rice: Punjab is having about 21 quintals per hectare in rice, and Bengal is still lagging behind with 12.5 quintals per hectare. The only progress Bengal has made is in non-traditional, non-seasonal crops which have gone up tremendously. Wheat, and some other crop like oilseeds and so on. But in the traditional crops, which are the staple crops, West Bengal has not yet made any headway to absorb labour. Now, where is this labour going? I believe that the rural labour is just being driven from pillar to post and it finds no sustenance in the city today. This is the position.

16Sinha gave a very succint account of the housing problem. Now even if Calcutta had houses of say about 12-13 storeys, where would the livelihood come from to pay for economic rent? In 1976,I said at the Indian Chamber of Commerce that if Calcutta has to pay back the money to the World Bank, then consumption at the lowest level in Calcutta would have to be something like Rs 400 at the 1960-1961 price. It is only at this level that Calcutta would be able to produce the surplus with which to pay back the debt to the World Bank. Nothing of that kind is happening.

  • 8 Asok Mitra refers here to 1961-1971. For 1971-1981, the decennial growth rate of the population of (...)

17Calcutta has 74 urban units. The Calcutta city area (the Corporation) which gets the lion's share of funds, had a population growth rate of only 7.57 per cent in 10 years8. Ten Class I towns in the Calcutta metropolitan area in and around Calcutta had 28.93 per cent. Class II towns (59,000-100,000) had a growth rate of 36.52 per cent per decade. Eleven Class III towns had a growth rate of 40 per cent. Fourteen Class IV towns had a growth rate of 50 per cent. Six Class V towns had a growth rate of 28 per cent. And two Class VI towns had a growth rate of about 16 per cent

18 According to the Census of India criteria, Class I: cities have more than 100,000 inhabitants; Class II: towns have 50,000 to 100,000; Class III: towns have 20,000 to 50,000; Class IV: towns 10,000 to 20,000; Class V: 5,000 to 10,000; Class VI: towns have less than 5,000 inhabitants.

19All right; if Calcutta is not growing, then Professor Banerjee’s premise (if I understand him right) that maybe the districts are growing quite well, is also wrong. Let us take the twelve districts and their district towns. Darjeeling district has grown by 25 per cent i.e., about 3 points above the natural growth rate. Jalpaiguri district has grown about 18 points. That means it has probably lost a certain amount of population to Siliguri area. Cooch Behar has grown 22 points. West Dinajpur has grown 78 points. Its headquarter is the fastest growing city and yet it is only a shanty town (if you go to West Dinajpur you will find out what a shanty town is). Malda district is 33 per cent Murshidabad is 18 per cent: it is losing population. Nadia's urban areas grew at the rate of 27 per cent in the last decade, 1961-1971. Burdwan, 31.6 per cent of which the major growth has been in the Durgapur and Asansol industrial area. Midnapore district is 18 per cent: it is losing population. Purulia has grown 23 per cent. Now let us take individual cities. Asansol had grown 50 per cent. I think that is the normal healthy growth that an industrial city should have. Balurghat has grown 33-35 per cent. But these are not the kind of cities that will make Bengal industrially strong or even strong from the point of view of urbanization. Except for Asansol, Burnpur has grown 37 per cent. Chittaranjan has grown 40 per cent. Raniganj has grown 33 per cent. Katwa has grown 39 per cent. Suri 31 per cent and Mathabhanga 31 per cent. So only 14 towns out of a total of about 140 have grown upwards of 30 per cent. And these, except for Asansol and Bumpur and Chittaranjan, are not by any means industrial towns, these are service towns. Their growth has been induced, as Professor Bhabatosh Dutta described a long time ago, by the poverty induced tertiary sector. I mean the sector that grows because of the demands for personal services created by population growth alone.

20The one-lakh towns, three in all the twelve districts of West Bengal, have grown 28 per cent. The twelve 50,000-99,000 towns have grown 31 per cent. There are very few industries in them. Twenty four of 20,000 to 50,000 have grown 24 per cent. Eighteen towns of class IV (10,000 to 20,000) have grown only 20 per cent, less than the natural rate of growth. 5000 to 10,000 towns, which should be the growth centres according to area planning people, have grown only 21 per cent and less than 5,000 towns have languished through loss of population and have grown at a rate of 16 per cent.

21Let us look at the investment programme of the CMDA, 1971-1976. Out of Rs. 117 crore which were spent at that time by the World Bank and by the Central Government and the Bengal Government only about Rs. 17 crore had gone to the CMDA area outside of the Calcutta Corporation. And this year also (I am very grateful to Mr...Kutty for giving me the information) out of IDA II Rs 155 crore again not more than about Rs. 18 to 19 crore were going to the CMDA area outside the Calcutta Corporation.

22The total urban population of West Bengal in 1971 was 11 million; that of the Calcutta urban agglomeration and rural interstices 7 million; that of Calcutta Corporation 3.1 million. The population of the other municipalities of the CMD works out at 7 million minus 3.1 million, or 3.9 million. The remaining non-CMD areas of West Bengal, therefore, would have a population of 4 million. Population wise the proportions work out as 64 per cent for Calcutta urban area, 28.71 for Calcutta Corporation, 35.4 per cent for other municipalities of CMD and 36 per cent for the non-CMD urban inclusive of the municipal population of West Bengal (of the rest of Bengal). Sixty-four per cent of the state's urban population located in the CMD virtually receives as much as 90 per cent of the funds; 89 per cent to be precise. The remaining 36 per cent of the state's urban population, non-CMD municipal, receives as little as 11 per cent. Calcutta's octrois collection is also shared on the same population incidence.

23In Maharashtra, the total expenditure on all classes of cities is something like Rs. 9,700 million, in West Bengal, the total expenditure is 2,000 million. On education, Maharashtra spends Rs. 196 million in Class I cities. West Bengal spends only 104 million. On public health, public safety, medical health and water supply, West Bengal spends Rs. 516 million, Maharashtra spends Rs. 3,371 million. In expenditure on Class II cities, Maharashtra's total is Rs. 1,080 million against West Bengal, 223 million. As regards education: Class I cities in Maharashtra spend Rs. 203 million, West Bengal only 7 million. On public health, public safety, medical health and water supply, Maharashtra spends Rs. 345 million, West Bengal spends Rs. 95 million. These are the figures.

24Maharashtra raised Rs. 257 crore by way of municipal taxes, West Bengal raised Rs. 38.4 crore out of which Calcutta Corporation raised as much as 30 crore. The expenditure on General Administration in Gujarat municipalities was Rs. 5 crore, Maharashtra Rs. 9 crore; West Bengal Rs. 7 crore. As regards tax collection: Gujarat spends only Rs. 4 crore, Maharashtra only Rs 8 crore and West Bengal Rs. 7 crore. In the case of education: Gujarat spends Rs. 12 crore; Maharashtra Rs. 3 crore, West Bengal spends Rs. 2.7 crore. For medical purpose: Gujarat spends Rs. 4.68 crore, Maharashtra Rs. 25 crore and West Bengal Rs. 5.15 crore. On drinking water: Gujarat spends Rs. 5.5 crore, Maharashtra spends Rs. 25 crore, West Bengal Rs. 7.7 crore. On sewerage: Gujarat Rs. 2.7 crore, Maharashtra Rs. 12 crore, West Bengal Rs. 2.9 crore. On roads: Gujarat Rs. 2.7 crore, Maharashtra Rs. 19 crore, West Bengal Rs. 3.3 crore.

25Mr. Kutty and every one of us have been harping on the quality of life in the CMDA area. And this is the quality of life.

Where do you fit the Calcutta man in all those schemes?

Gaston Roberge

26It seems to me that in the entire seminar we lacked the anthropological perspective, or to put it shorter, we lacked the focus on the Calcutta man. I am not saying that this is lacking in the papers. I do not expect an analysis of housing or a report on the economic situation to deal with cultural problems. But where do you fit the Calcutta man in all those schemes?

  • 9 Gram, in Bengali, is the village. Hence a literal translation of the concept of grammotta would be (...)

27Someone recently referred to the Head of Calcutta as the "non"-Mayor. Perhaps this makes a lot of sense if it is possible to think that Calcutta perhaps is a "non”-city. Some of your writers have been writing about the grammotta of Calcutta, implying nothing like rusticity or grossness, but rather vitality9. We constanly refer to the fact that amongst the population of the metropolis, there are 20 per cent this side —those enjoying real urban amentities— and 80 per cent that side. Do we have a place for the 80 per cent in the planning? Is this planning made by the 20 per cent for the 20 per cent?

  • 10 See addendum K on rickshaws and rickshawallahs of Calcutta, as an illustration of the dilemma face (...)

28I do not know what is the technical definition of a city, but if we have it from reports that hardly 10 per cent of the area covered by the Calcutta Corporation has the facilities enjoyed usually by a city, I ask, where do the other people live in within this area? It is my contention that most of the people belonging to the 80 per cent do not deal with Calcutta as if it were a city. So I feel that we are facing a very particular problem in the planning of this city as we do not look at this place in the same way as we would at another city. It seems sometimes that we refer to the nine million people as if they were intrudere in the planning of Calcutta10. I am sure that nobody implies that, but the way we talk of the increase of population, it seems that the nine million of inhabitants are a detrimental factor to the development of the city.

29I should think, from my particular field of competence, which is communication, that a city is made of the interrelationships which the people have among themselves. And to my mind, amenities come second. But perhaps if we looked at the city from the point of view of the 80 per cent they may find that the 20 per cent are intruders in the place, that the 20 per cent are not arranging Calcutta conveniently for the 80 per cent to breathe in. These are questions and hypotheses. What I fear is that what I am saying may sound like cliche, a sort of appeal in favour of man. If it sound like this then I do not succeed in conveying my meaning. I am not even talking of human values, I am talking of a few million people, who may have a totally different thinking about the problems that we are discussing now.

30Generally speaking, and this is what has a more direct hearing on our discussion this afternoon, it is my belief that there ought to be a discontinuity in our thinking, a leap somewhere. I fear that if we keep on thinking of the lines that have been set so far, then there is no hope really of improvement. There is need of such an overwhelming, qualitative change that unless there is a sort of discontinuity in the thinking, unless some sort of fresh point of view is brought in, which I have not found in the papers so far not even in mine, our discussion will be only one more seminar on Calcutta, and I think that would be sad, because I am sure that there is in this room the potential to bring out this thinking.

A regional development plan for all Eastern India is essential


31I will not go into any general discussion on all the papers but I have a point to raise about what Professor Bireswar Banerjee said. He mentioned seven growth centres and the district headquarters as possible centres for growth, and suggested that these places should be taken into consideration for any development plan for the region.

32If I heard him correctly, I do not think he said that the district headquarters are growing well; what he suggested was that the district headquarters should be taken as units for planned input so that they can grown sufficiently to counterbalance the attraction of Calcutta.

33Anyway, the main question here is that when Dr.Banerjee was talking about regional imbalance and suggesting a new regional balance in his paper, it appeared to me that he had accepted the proposition that Calcutta had to be treated as a city of West Bengal only, and not as a city whose future was linked with the entire eastern region. All the growth centres, all the districts headquarters that he mentioned, belong to West Bengal but we have been talking about Calcutta as a regional city whose region extends much beyond the borders of the state. Therefore, to my mind, if we really want to think about the regional development plan of Calcutta, we have to think not only of the development of the region within West Bengal but also within the neighbouring States of Bihar, Orissa and the States in north-eastern India.

34But how to do it? I think it requires a regional planning frante conceptually, and also in practice. And this can be done only if there is collaborative effort for a regional development plan between the Government of India and the state governments located within this region. This is vitally important because not only does it affect West Bengal, it also affects Bihar and the neighbouring States, as these States around Calcutta are vitally linked up with one another. Take, for example, the question of the development of power, or the development of irrigation potentialities within this region. I think it is absolutely essential that all these States actively participate in preparing a regional development plan. They sit together, plan out together, collaborate and execute the plan together. It appears to me that we have been talking quite a lot in the Planning Commission about regional development, but actually doing precious little taking the region as a whole and planning its development thoroughly. Therefore, the programme for the balanced development of the region around Calcutta will not only require the development of the area within West Bengal but the development of the area also in the neighbouring states which constitute the economic region of Calcutta.

"1961: Calcutta is going to the Communists" or the origins of the urban planning in the metropolis

Sudhendu Mukherjee

35If we like to follow the arguments of Professor Mitra so nicely explained by Mr. Kutty (unless we decentralize the auxiliary of medium-sized industries in the district centres, there is no hope for regional growth) our emphasis remains fixed on the CMDA area. There is some misconception here. When Mr. Kalyan Roy says that we had decided to change the main concepts of the Basic Development Plan made by CMPO in 1966, I am happy that somebody is thinking of revising the Plan. I am a bitter critic of it: it is neither "basic" nor "development", far less a "plan". From the early days of the Calcutta Metropolitan Planning Organization, all the international experts came here, all the national experts were mobilized and everybody thought that we must study the whole situation thoroughly to produce a basic plan. So from 1961 nobody thought of the pavement dwellers and the slum dwellers. We only thought about collecting statistics, making plans on paper (because a Master Plan was necessary) so we spent six years to produce the Master Plan. After 15 years we find that the exercise was wrong. It has been a long time but we have at least come to the conclusion that the first six years of planning were wrong. But those who had a belief in those six years thought that this is the best plan in the world and we brought international planners to put a certificate in 1966 which was embossed on the Basic Development Plan, claiming it the best plan.

36So we are making all kinds of experiments at the cost of the poor people of Calcutta and there is a clear political game in it. Professor Mitra yesterday mentioned that there must be a "savage indignation" and permit me to express that savage indignation in this way: the whole world knows the origin of the CMPO. B.C.Roy went to President Kennedy in 1961 and said "I want some help; Calcutta is going to the Communists," and it appeared in the New York Times. So if an expression of savage indignation is necessary we must tell this political truth squarely and bravely before the people of Calcutta. So that is the answer to Father Roberge's question as to why this kind of planning has been made for the last years and why the poor people are not considered: because it was simply a political game. And now we are the victims. We are just analyzing the end-product of a wrong political process: planning is a political process.

37I would nonetheless like to mention one or two points on Mr. Kalyan Roy's paper. The CMDA has no part to play in the forty thousand villages in West Bengal. The only great contribution that the CMDA is making to the regional balance growth in the municipalities is the septic tanks, latrines given on a subsidy basis. Open defecation in the villages, septic tanks in the municipalities, and the sewerage programmes in Calcutta and Howrah, where the story need to be heard very carefully. In Howrah, we have made the sewage treatment plant, with an expenditure of Rs. 5 crore. But there are service prices and septic tanks set up, because three-fourth of Howrah are slums. So unless those service privies and septic tanks are linked with this sewage treatment plant, it is meaningless, because the plant can survive only on the sewage that comes from individual house latrines. Before the sewerage pipes within the city were laid, the treatment plant was made. This kind of fallacy is always present. It will take perhaps another ten years to complete the sewerage network within the city. By that time, of course, there will be the danger that the plant would be out of order since it was built quite earlier.

38In the city of Calcutta, the picture is reversed. There has been enough of digging for sewerage and drainage, but there is no sewage treatment plant on the eastern frontiers yet. The British made some sewerage pumping stations, which pump out the untreated sewage, but there is no treatment plant. In any calculation it can be seen that it will take another twenty years to complete the sewerage System in Calcutta.

39So I will again come back to the old formula: open defecation for forty thousand villages, service privies for the municipalities, and the complete sewerage System for Calcutta and Howrah in 2000 A.D. If we are ready to make this kind of analysis, and to extend it to other topics than sewage, we come to the conclusion that because of these poor services, and because of all these oppression and exploitation, Calcutta became an attraction for poor villagers, and it would continue to be so for the poor neglected villages in the decades ahead. The political System in India changed once in 1947. By 1990 or by 2000 A.D. the political System may altogether change, when a really national plan for the poor might be made.

We are not putting enough emphasis on e manpower resources

Bireswar Banerjee

40I am in agreement with Professor Asok Mitra and I never said that the district towns are not growing. What I said was that instead of setting up new towns, which is very capital intensive, we could have given proper attention for the development of the district towns where the infrastructural facilities are there. I only said that more attention should be paid in the development of district towns, instead of thrusting them on to the metropolitan district towns. In this way, with the growth of district towns, the urbanization pattern which is concentrated in the Calcutta Metropolitan District, will have a more diffused distribution pattern to help in overall growth. I have mentioned about eight growth centres which are also the centres for the growth of new industries proposed by the government of West Bengal.

41Another thing which Professor Munsi has mentioned is that I have failed to talk about the centres which have got viabilities in other States. I have not considered them because I thought that it is not necessary to give them immediate attention except to those areas which have some definite role to play. The Calcutta region within West Bengal has been given particular emphasis in my paper because you know the political situation in the country: can we develop new centres or viable centres in Assam? Have we any control on what is happening in Bihar? Of course the development of Calcutta and the eastern region are interrelated. That requires a change in planning, from the regional level to the national level. The point which has been mentioned by Professor Munsi is appreciable and I admit that if Calcutta is to be developed in relation to the entire region, the potentialities of growth centres outside West Bengal should be considered.

42About the quality of life, let us accept the fact that it is deteriorating. We should improve it, or at least we should have some ideas about it, because we should have enough confidence in our abilities and should not accept defeat. About the nine million people Father Roberge was referring to, asking us if they are not in fact considered as an obstacle to Calcutta development, I have mentioned in my paper the need for mobilizing the unproductive manpower resources, as manpower is the greatest of all assets. We are not putting enough emphasis on the manpower resources of the metropolis, nor on the manpower resources of the hinterland. Any future planning should give sufficient attention to the effective utilization of manpower. Maybe we could follow the Chinese example, or any example of the developing countries. Here, the basic constraints would be that we have a democratic System with poor resources, and with many interests interacting with one another: state interest, State-Centre relationship, caste System, religious interests, etc. It is indeed a difficult task, but some day we hope it will be possible for us to do it.

We have nothing to be ashamed of what we have done


43There are certain misconceptions about the CMDA and certain favourite sticks with which it receives the beating. One is the World Bank. In the first package of about 300 crores that we spent, we got some 30 crores from the World Bank, through the Government of India, a difficult process. Anyway, that makes 10 per cent. In the next package we shall have another Rs. 278 crore. So that the total package will be about Rs. 600 crore. In this the World Bank involvement will be about Rs. 70 crore in the second package, and Rs. 30 crore in the first package. The total is Rs. 100 crore, which makes less than 20 per cent. The balance, more than 80 per cent is not "other people’s wealth", this is the taxpayer's money. Well, as taxpayers are we or are we not entitled to certain services? Professor Banerjee and other speakers referred to the quality of life. When a man pays his taxes he is entitled to service. Unfortunately, one of my colleagues, Dr. Sudhendu Mukherjee, mentioned about 40 gallons of water per head for Calcutta being a crime. Well, you go to the toilet, you flush the toilet, you waste five gallons of water. Prohibit toilets. But if you have toilets, let us have water for them. It is true that the village does not get five gallons of filtered potable water. And you are wasting five gallons every time you pull that chain for flush. It cannot be helped...

44To come to Mrs. Ninnala Banerjee, she is very much alarmed that we are still talking of sewerage and drainage, traffic and transportation, water supply, the things that they spoke of in 1961-66 in the CMPO. I can assure Mr..s.Banerjee that we have not finished the list of projects they have prepared some twenty years ago. We shall not only be talking of water supply, sewerage and drainage, roads, traffic and transportation today, we shall be talking of it in 2000 A.D. For the simple reason that whatever we are doing, we are doing it to meet the deficits of the past. Rs. 300 crore spent in seven years; that is big money for a poor country like ours. But, take the history of the last fifty years. Rs. 300 crore in fifty years, that should be the arithmetical calculation, and not Rs. 300 crore in seven years. So it is the accumulated problems of the past that we are trying to meet and only after say ten or fifteen years, we can perhaps talk of some improvement in the quality of life, not before. And though there will be further discussions in the afternoon session, I can only mention that we in the CMDA are sometimes apologetic. I can only assure the audience here not only as the drum-beater of the CMDA, but also as an individual, as a Calcuttan, that we have nothing to be ashamed of what we have done. If we have been able to increase the water supply from 80 million gallons in 1970 to 140 million gallons in 1978, and if we can make it 300 million gallons in 1982, increasing the per capita availability, increasing the extension of the water distribution system, particularly in the slums and other scarcity pockets, we have nothing to be ashamed of. If we can build at least the foundation of two or three new townships within this period, we have nothing to be ashamed of.

No plan is immutable


45I will just start with two clarifications. The first point was raised by Professor Mitra when he discussed about the relative advantages of setting up new plants and the revival of existing units which have got into difficulties. I think I should have emphasized one little point which I have slipped when I presented my paper. I had said, if I remember correctly, that this revival should be on the basis of economic viability. Whether the revival is worth doing of course has to be assessed, and I think today we have the techniques available for making such assessments, and the state government is doing this with much more planning than what was done in the past. We have actually a standing committee of people who are experts in industrial management and industrial growth and this committee meets regularly every Saturday. All kinds of proposals are discussed and studied there. And only after the government is convinced that it is worthwhile reviving a unit, it goes for taking the initiative. It is subjected to a fairly rigorous study, the kind of which we never saw before.

46Now, as far as new units are concerned, there is a definite bias towards decentralization, and moving of new industrial growth centres towards areas other than the Calcutta Metropolitan District. Of course, these policy Statements have to be followed by instrumentalities of achieving them. And as two examples of instrumentalities, I mentioned the incentive schemes for large and medium industries, and for auxiliary and small industries.

Taxes and metropolitan development11

  • 11 The subtitles have been added by the Editor (J.R.).

47My second point: I do not think I erred anywhere in my previous communications to Professor Mitra regarding this tax business, but I would like to clarify the position, and the position really is as follows.

48As far as tax transfer is concerned, the entry tax is levied by the state government. Its proceeds on the whole, less the cost of collection, shared with local authorities. This is the octroi. This octroi was levied in 1970 by a central enactment, and then in 1972 we had the state enactment. Initially the formula was that 50 per cent would go the CMDA, and the logic was that this 50 per cent would be utilized for the amortization on the loans which the CMDA would raise. This is some kind of a reservation or pre-emption for the purpose of development on the proceeds from this new tax source. And the other 50 per cent were at that time shared amongst only the municipalities of the CMDA. And this was refused later on, and then out of this other 50 per cent, i.e. the percentage which is not going to the CMDA, the revision was on these lines: that Calcutta Corporation will get 25 per cent only. Here the idea was really to give a little weightage to the municipalities other than Calcutta Corporation. Because before that, if Calcutta Corporation, by any chance, got a growth in population on the basis of per capita they would have got more. The change made about, therefore, was that 25 per cent was fixed for the Calcutta Corporation and the remaining 25 per cent, instead of going only to CMDA municipalities outside the Corporation, was shared in two parts: 17 per cent was to go to municipalities inside the Calcutta Metropolitan District, and 8 per cent to municipalities outside the Metropolis. This tax was levied centrally by the state government, for some very good reasons of administrative and geographical expertise, because unlike the Bombay Corporation where the metropolitan area is more or less integrally suited to an octroi, in Calcutta and in the twenty municipalities it is physically just not possible to have a separate octroi. We have to levy it centrally and then share the proceeds.

49When we did make this amendment giving 8 per cent of the proceeds to nonmetropolitan municipalities, the argument was that the people from the areas outside the Calcutta Metropolitan District also come to Calcutta markets, purchasing things from here, and thus bear the burden of the octroi. So, though we have not an octroi in any non-metropolitan municipalities, the decision was taken that 8 per cent of the proceeds should be given to them.

  • 12 Later the Act was fully upheld by both Calcutta High Court and New Delhi Supreme Court (M.G.K.).

50As far as the profession tax is concerned the issues are mainly about taxation of the self-employed people. Though our Act was challenged before the Calcutta High Court (in the first hearing we have won the case) it has not gone to the Supreme Court as yet12. An earlier judgment of the Supreme Court was regarding the Punjab case. The basic issue was a rather intricate one. Article 276 of the Constitution places a limit of Rs.250 on the levy of this tax. The question was, whether these Rs.250 are really the tax payable by one individual to all the authorities put together, i.e., state government and local authorities, or not. The Supreme Court decided positively, so we have levied this tax, and we did it all the state level also.

51The municipalities, of course, have been having the profession tax since decades. The difference was that under the Bengal Municipal Act (1932) and the Calcutta Municipal Act (1951), there was no tax on employment, i.e., those who work for other people. There had been taxes only on self-employed people and trades and callings. Now the State Act has got a tax on employment also. And here again, there are questions of practicability, as a company may be employing people in its various branches spread all over the Calcutta Metropolitan District, or all over the state. So, for administrative convenience, this tax is collected centrally, and its proceeds are shared.

52Thus, the proceeds of taxes centrally collected are, for a part, redistributed. Though it is not spelt out in the Statute, roughly one third of the collections of the motor vehicles tax (we collect about Rs. 15 crore a year now) is given to the municipalities for repairs of the roads. In addition to that, a very large amount is given (it may be Rs. 12 or 13 crore now) as 80 per cent of the cost of dearness allowances of the municipal employees (who number about 1,25,000) as subvention from the state government to the municipalities. These are the major kinds of devolution. I might also say that this year we made a special provision, because this problem of maintenance has not been settled, of another Rs. 5 crore for assisting the municipalities in Calcutta Metropolitan District in the maintenance of newly created assets as a result of the large investment programmes going on.

53Of course, a very rational and comprehensive view of this has to be taken. So the government has decided now that we will have a Municipal Finance Commission to deal with quantitative projections in matters of revenue receipt and expenditure, to assess the gaps there and how these will be met, to recommend to what extent are the taxes to be shared and to what extent subventions given, etc. The period of forecast of this Municipal Finance Commission will be coterminus with the period of forecast of the State Finance Commission so that this can be integrated with the forecasting of the resources and expenditures of the state government also. And this is, of course, of general interest as far as the growth of towns and municipal areas is concerned.

Inter-urban migration and the need for rural development

54Now, let us come to another point which was raised during the discussions: this inter-urban migration, which Professor Mitra has referred to. I have not seen any study which deals with this kind of problem. Maybe there is some kind of graduation of skills: a person who is operating in a smaller urban area acquires certain skills, which enable her to graduate into a larger town, where a higher Order of skill is required? This is really a very interesting problem: what are the casual factors of such inter-urban migrations? Should these be promoted? Are there any kind of instrumentalities of policy measures which the government can take to guide them in proper direction?

55This brings us to a very important point which I have referred to in my paper: the question of towns of smallest size, outside the Calcutta Metropolitan District, i.e., the market towns, the small towns. In a very rough way, I would certainly feel that the vitality and growth of these towns would really depend upon their own hinterland, which means really the rural areas. There we will have to go into the whole gamut of economic policies and programmes in which the State and the Centre involved, i.e., the issues like water management, new agricultural techniques, rural Systems, rural electrification and what not. All these issues will have to be gone into which really means an integration of the metropolitan economic development programmes and other infrastructural development programmes into a framework of a total economic programme for the state. In West Bengal, even today, only 26 per cent of cropped area is irrigated and everybody knows nevertheless that there are enormous amounts of water resources. This is a very serious gap. And this holds up various kinds of things like institutional finance for irrigation improvements; and it has got a far-reaching implication. Now with the setting up of the State Groundwater Board we have taken this up and the Board is in the process of being staffed so that we can get a very clear and comprehensive idea of the groundwater resources in the whole state. It is just common sense that this is the kind of thing which should have been started in the very first years: maybe ever in 1949, if not earlier. But this had not been done so far, so we are doing it now.

No plan is immutable

56This leads me to a point which Dr. Sudhendu Mukherjee made about the Basic Development Plan. I will not go into all the aspects to which he referred but one or two points which I would respectfully make are: no plan is immutable for all periods of time. And in fact, in the BDP itself, there was a mention that this plan would be subjected to review. Every town planner knows, of course, this is common town planning technology, that a plan has to be reviewed at regular intervals. Because many things may go wrong and you yourself might have gone wrong. Nobody is infallible. But from that point of view, I think what Kalyan Roy mentioned was specifically about the binodal vs the polycentric concept and not about the BDP as a whole. There also may be differences of opinion even about the application of resources and the order of priorities. And there may be so many Systems of priorities involved depending on the number of planners and the number of economists looking at the question of planning. In fact this is one of the funny things we find at many of these Conferences. When housing experts meet they will say that 10 per cent of the state's resources will be devoted to housing; when municipal authorities meet, they will say 10 per cent or 15 per cent of the resources will be devoted to the municipalities; when family planning experts meet, they will say that, well, 50 per cent of the state budget should be devoted to family planning. The point is that the whole process of planning is a result of interaction between people of various disciplines and again the acceptance of plans depends upon the interactions between the technical experts who do the planning with the politicians and the policy-makers. There the milieu changes very rapidly from time to time. The only thing which can safeguard against errors or at least reduce the extern of errors would be a willingness to learn form the benefits of past experience. This is a thing which we have to do. However, in many of the state governments or even at the Centre, there is no adequate System of feedback, review and recasting of plans. Often even information Systems are non-existent in order to enable such a process to be carried out. So this is the kind of thing we have to do to improve our quality of planning, and certainly there is a case for taking a fresh look now and not only once, just not a snap-shot or one-shot operation, but taking a look, very consistently, very regularly, and recasting our plans in the light of experience gained.

Do we want a Yankee Dick type future?

Barun De

57I will apologize for not being able to sum up the discussion today with the panache of Mr. Bhaya yesterday morning. But as far as I have followed the discussions, we had three rounds of Statements with a lot of discussion on each. The first was the presentation by Dr. Bireswar Banerjee who was looking for a new regional balance. He found hope in Sukumar Sinha's figures but as Professor Mitra pointed out later, there were grounds for at least offsetting such hopes because of other types of data, the range of which was presented. However, as I saw it, Professor Banerjee believed that it was possible to hope for the balancing of the town-country relationship in West Bengal.

58Certain questions have been raised by Professors Mitra and Munsi about these hopes. Professor Mitra was pretty scathing in his criticism. He also emphasized the non-viability of expenditure on non-municipal urban areas. This is a matter for considerable scrutiny. I take it that if this seminar is of specific use, it should lead to more research on the topic discussed and Professor Mitra has done a very good job of going into the question of what sort of expenditures are necessary for fulfilling the hopes that Professor Banerjee holds; Sunil Munsi, on the other hand, suggested that it was not enough to take West Bengal as the parameter of regional balancing in terms of Calcutta. Calcutta, after all, has frontiers of its own much broader than the state of West Bengal.

  • 13 Asok Mitra authored three articles published by The Statesman on 3, 4 and 5 September 1962, which (...)
  • 14 The leading historian Nurul Hasan was the Union Minister for Education, Social Welfare and Culture (...)
  • 15 Ghazipur district is in eastern Uttar Pradesh, some 600 km north-west of Calcutta, and 1500 km as (...)
  • 16 Bhadrak and Balasore: two towns (population: 60,000 and 65,000 in 1981) of northern Orissa (J.R.).

59Professor Mitra himself has referred to Calcutta as "India's city"13. I remember an equally poignant term which I heard in 1971 by Professor Nurul Hasan (not then the Minister for Education, but speaking academically)14. He said to me that Calcutta was Ghazipur's city. Professor Hasan's home district is Ghazipur15. And it was his experience in his own family, that for over four generations, the poorer segments of rural labour in the taluks where his family had influence would tend to be pushed out of those taluks and to find employment, he said at any rate, in either Calcutta or Rangoon. There were families which migrated to Rangoon, sent money back as remittance and sent their sons, nephews and grandsons again to Rangoon till, he said, the separation of Burma from British India, which took place after 1935. But over that period of time, Calcutta got a large amount of migrant rural labourers from Ghazipur. And if Calcutta was Ghazipur's city, Calcutta, to that extent, was also the city of Bhadrak and Balasore16. These are elements of the regional boundaries of Calcutta, the regional boundaries within which the balancing must be done which considerably broadens the scope from West Bengal, bringing in all-India considerations which are most important. Even specifically, if the growth centres have to have any point, and if there has to be any other type of balancing, then the boundaries have to be accurately drawn. I am sure too that Professor Banerjee will have to sketch in a slightly broader framework. There, of course, the state efforts would not have the primary concern; that is where Professor Munsi's point cornes in about a greater degree of co-ordination of planning efforts for revival and revitalization; a greater degree of coordination with the neighbouring areas.

60Dr. Sudhendu Mukherjee mentioned, and I would tend to agree with him, that one must see the question also in terms of the last 30 years. Whereas, if you were to draw a road map of West Bengal for 1947, you would have a lot of dotted lines or dashed lines, a lot of those dotted and dashed lines will have been filled up if you draw the road map of West Bengal today, no doubt. There is, of course, also the consideration: is this enough? This is a question more important than questions of political acrimony in the very recent past. I say acrimony not because I dislike acrimony, I tend to be in favour of it in debate, rather. But then the question of the CMDA today is more than a question of debate. It is a question of consensus and mandate and I have raised my own doubts as to how we can arrive at such a mandate.

61Mr. Kutty's paper has raised a lot of thought. He himself mentioned the urgency in thinking about debt-repayment in a situation where we will have nobody to bail us out. Like Sudhendu Babu, I too would tend to be very happy about the fact that there would be no one left to bail us out; that it will become incumbent on us to solve our problems ourselves. But if it becomes so incumbent, then what are the steps that are going to be taken? More work on these lines is necessary. More "publication" of the possibility that remains before us for the next twenty years. He also tended to emphasize the costs of improving the quality of life. I do not think there was any disagreement there between Mr. Kutty's and Professor Mitra's approach. If one is going to raise the quality of life, if one is going in for the sort of recycling of the whole educative process, away from the creation of graduates and unemployed Masters of Art and Masters of Science towards a lowering of the highest education to a more technical education; towards the sort of technical education that Mrs. Banerjee was talking about yesterday and Mr. Kutty was talking about today; if one is going to do this in addition to a great deal of urban revival then the costs are going to be pretty high.

  • 17 Mafatlals and Tatas: two top families of very important financial and economic empire builders (J. (...)
  • 18 A good example of a very active multifaceted Indian company with branches abroad (JR·)
  • 19 Prime Minister of Singapore since 1965. He transformed Singapore into a stronghold of internationa (...)
  • 20 Conservative President of Sri Lanka since 1978. He bet on foreign capital to assure the economic g (...)

62Mr. Kutty has very correctly pointed out that certain alternatives are already being mooted. If you go to Bombay and you talk to the junior managerial class —I am not talking of the Mafatlals and Tatas17— but the class that has spent its entire provident fund in buying up one little flat in Bandra, they will all tell you that if we migrate from Bombay we will go to Singapore and work for the Shaw Wallace subsidiaries18 we will go to Hong Kong and work for the banks or we will try and get jobs in the Gulf. A sort of economy is developing in south Asia today, which extends from the Gulf States across the sea to Bombay, jumps across the sea to the urban parts of Sri Lanka and then jumps across the sea again to Singapore and leapfrogs it across to Hong kong, Taiwan and South Korea. That sort of social framework, that Lee Kuan Yewt19 may have established in Singapore or the multinationals may have established in Hong Kong, is the collaboration culture that in Bombay is being mooted as a viable social as well as economic alternative. The question is, and we have to debate this, do we want to go into that sort of alternative? What is that alternative? What are the costs of accepting such an alternative? And if we accept it (and this is the point where my own interests come in) what are the political co-elements of living in a Singapore situation or a Hong Kong situation? Or for that matter a Sri Lanka situation, ruled over by Mr. Junius Richard Jayawardane20, which is being converted into a free-trade area with thirty American industries being given licences to invest and develop the economy? What is that sort of development? What are the elements of export orientation that come in? How do these affect, not only the middle classes, but, more important, the working classes? If we chose that sort of alternative, there are certain political choices to be made. Those political choices are associated with the name of Lee Kuan Yew in the political world, not just in the productivity world. They are associated with the name of Mr. Jayawardane who came to be known as "Yankee Dick" before he became the President. Now do we want a Yankee Dick type of political frameworks coming into operation? As I say, these are choices. If we do not accept such choices, then what are the other political choices that we want to make, which will improve our quality of life after having paid the economic cost? What are the alternatives open to us? What are the constraints in the framing of the nature of the society within which we will improve our quality of life? Or for that matter, going for a Gujarat-Maharashtra type of alternative, within the Indian Union? These are the questions I have my own dogmas on. But my point is, is it possible to talk of political economy of urban renewal and the costs involved there? These are the questions I think Mr. Kutty has raised.

  • 21 Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi (1907-1966): mathematician, statistician, sanskrit scholar, he authored (...)

63I will end on a note which is more familiar to me. I considered myself to be an historian and only a half-baked or rather quarter-baked social scientist. As an historian, it has been very interesting to me, for the last two days, to see how people use history or would like history to be used. There is, for instance, Professor Mitra's position where any discussion of the long-ranging past in which there is explicit criticism of the colonial framework without too much criticism of recent past and the mistakes endogenously made, to be criticized as glorification of the history of the last thirty years. And there are positions which would say that let us not be too. bothered about the mistakes made in the last twenty years, let us be bothered about the long range framework. Now I tend to fall into the first sort of tendency range. Perhaps I tend to have to a long range view of our history. That is, if you consider 100 or 150 years to be long range, I did not do this till yesterday, because after all, I was brought up in the tradition of D.D.Kosambi21 who said that Indian history never changed genuinely in the last 2,000 years. But even if we take 150 years to be too much in the long range, what is the short range of history that we should utilize in thinking about the present and the future? I am not sure I know, but I do have the feeling that too much condemnation of the past is not of much use. I myself have indulged in this in the 1972-73-74 period. I found myself and other radical friends taking up positions about negating the whole of the past of Bengal and saying that the Bengalis have done nothing compared to what the Parsis or the Gujaratis have done in Bombay or the Marathas or the Gujarati rural bourgeoisie did in their own States.

64I am left with a certain scepticism about historical condemnation as a method of debate on matters relating to planning. On the other hand I am left with the feeling that a lot more work has to be done on how the planning process relates to the people and this is where I would like to end. Father Roberge had a very genuine point to make that when one talks of quantities, and when one talks of progress reports of industries or development corporations, and when one talks of metropolitan planning, one probably does not take into account the social behaviour of the people who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of the planning. Perhaps one does not. It has not come up very much today. If it is contended that the discussion of such social behaviour could not change the planned premises at all, well and good, but then it has to be demonstrated yet. Because if it is not demonstrated, then the large number of people who do not make the plan are left with a sort of feeling of helplessness which I was voicing yesterday.

Notes de fin

1 Faridabad, a booming new industrial town, 30 km south of New Delhi, with mechanical, electrical and engineering industries (J.R.).

2 This prediction seems to be coming true in 1981 (A.M.).

3 François Bernier (1602-1688) was one of the foremost French travellers who visited India. In a chapter entitled "Fertility, Wealth and Beauty of the Kingdom of Bengal" one finds in his Travels in the Mogul Empire, published in Paris in 1670, the following comments: "Egypt has been represented in every age as the finest and most fruitful country in the world, and even our modem writers deny that there is any other land so peculiarly favoured by nature; but the knowledge I have acquired of Bengal, during the two visits I paid to that kingdom inclines me to believe that the preeminence ascribed to Egypt is rather due to Bengal... In a word, Bengal abounds with every necessity of life... The rich exuberance of the country together with the beauty and amiable disposition of the native women, has given rise to a proverb in common use among the Portuguese, English and Dutch, that the kingdom of Bengal has a hundred gates open for entrance, but not one for departure. (pp. 437-439 in the Constable's edition, Westminster, 1891) (JR·)

4 The Business Standard: one of the two leading economic dailies published in Calcutta (J.R.).

5 Jaya Prakash Narayan: a prominent freedom fighter, political thinker and leader of Contemporary India. A close associate of Gandhi, he was acknowledged as one of the Mahatma's genuine spiritual heirs, till his death in 1979 (J.R.).

6 Nirmal Chandra: a noted Bengali economist (J.R.).

7 Midnapore district, very close to Calcutta, traditionally sent many immigrants to the metropolis (J.R.).

8 Asok Mitra refers here to 1961-1971. For 1971-1981, the decennial growth rate of the population of Calcutta Corporation was only 4.53 per cent.

9 Gram, in Bengali, is the village. Hence a literal translation of the concept of grammotta would be the essence of village life, or, to put it in one word, the rusticity. But, as G. Roberge explains, things are more complex... (J.R.).

10 See addendum K on rickshaws and rickshawallahs of Calcutta, as an illustration of the dilemma faced by planners (J.R.).

11 The subtitles have been added by the Editor (J.R.).

12 Later the Act was fully upheld by both Calcutta High Court and New Delhi Supreme Court (M.G.K.).

13 Asok Mitra authored three articles published by The Statesman on 3, 4 and 5 September 1962, which reappeared as a book entitled Calcutta, India's City, New Age Publishers, Calcutta, 1963 (J.R.).

14 The leading historian Nurul Hasan was the Union Minister for Education, Social Welfare and Culture from 1971 to 1977 (J.R.).

15 Ghazipur district is in eastern Uttar Pradesh, some 600 km north-west of Calcutta, and 1500 km as the crow fijes from Rangoon (J.R.).

16 Bhadrak and Balasore: two towns (population: 60,000 and 65,000 in 1981) of northern Orissa (J.R.).

17 Mafatlals and Tatas: two top families of very important financial and economic empire builders (J.R.).

18 A good example of a very active multifaceted Indian company with branches abroad (JR·)

19 Prime Minister of Singapore since 1965. He transformed Singapore into a stronghold of international capitalism, bringing prosperity to the city through an authoritarian political regime and a strong control on trade-unions (J.R.).

20 Conservative President of Sri Lanka since 1978. He bet on foreign capital to assure the economic growth of his country (J.R.).

21 Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi (1907-1966): mathematician, statistician, sanskrit scholar, he authored also important books on Indian history, such as Introduction to the Study of Indian History, and The Culture and Civilization of Ancient India: an Historical Outline (J.R.).


Session Chairman

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