West Bengal

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Located in the North Eastern part of the country, West Bengal is surrounded by three different countries – Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan, and states of India – Jharkhand, Odisha, Sikkim, Assam and Bihar. Bhutias, Lepchas, Santals and Oraons are some of the tribal communities residing here.. Rabindra sangeet, Nazrul Geeti, Gombhira song -dance Bishnupuri are the musical genres of the state. Durga Puja is the most famous festival of the state and Saraswati Puja, Laxmi Puja, Poila Baisakhi, etc. are some other festivals celebrated in West Bengal. Hill stations like Darjeeling and Siliguri attract tourists to the state. Ayodhya Hill, Cooch Behar Palace, Indian Botanical Garden and Sunderbans National Park are some of the places of interest in Bengal.

West Bengal (/bɛŋˈɡɔːl/, Bengali: Paschim Banga [ˈpoʃtʃim ˈbɔŋgo] (About this soundlisten)) is a state in the eastern region of India along the Bay of Bengal. With over 91 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous state and the fourteenth-largest state by area in India. Covering an area of 88,752 km2 (34,267 sq mi), it is also the seventh-most populous country subdivision of the world. Part of the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent, it borders Bangladesh in the east, and Nepal and Bhutan in the north. It also borders the Indian states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim and Assam. The state capital is Kolkata, the third-largest metropolis, and seventh largest city by population in India. West Bengal includes the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, the Ganges delta, the Rarh region and the coastal Sundarbans. The state’s main ethnic group are the Bengalis, with the Bengali Hindus forming the demographic majority.


Districts of West Bengal

A hut in a village in the Hooghly district

As of 2017, West Bengal is divided into 23 districts.[107]

DistrictPopulationGrowth rateSex ratioLiteracyDensity per square Kilometer
North 24 Parganas10,009,78112.0495584.062445
South 24 Parganas8,161,96118.1795677.51819
Purba Bardhaman4,835,43294574.73890
Paschim Bardhaman2,882,03192278.751800
West Midnapore5,913,45713.8696678.00631
East Midnapore5,095,87515.3693887.021081
North Dinajpur3,007,13423.1593959.07958
Cooch Behar2,819,08613.7194274.78832
Dakshin Dinajpur1,676,27611.5295672.82755


As of 2015, West Bengal has the sixth-highest GSDP in India. GSDP at current prices (base 2004–2005) has increased from Rs 2,086.56 billion in 2004–05 to Rs 8,00,868 crores in 2014–2015,[115] reaching Rs 10,21,000 crores in 2017–18.[116] GSDP percent growth at current prices varied from a low of 10.3% in 2010–2011 to a high of 17.11% in 2013–2014. The growth rate was 13.35% in 2014–2015.[117] The state’s per capita income has lagged the all India average for over two decades. As of 2014–2015, per capita NSDP at current prices was Rs 78,903.[117] Per-capita NSDP growth rate at current prices varied from 9.4% in 2010–2011 to a high of 16.15% in 2013–2014. The growth rate was 12.62% in 2014–2015.[118]

In 2015–2016, percentage share of Gross Value Added (GVA) at factor cost by economic activity at constant price (base year 2011–2012) was Agriculture-Forestry and Fishery—4.84%, Industry 18.51% and Services 66.65%. It has been observed that there has been a slow but steady decline in the percentage share of industry and agriculture over the years.[119] Agriculture is the leading economic sector in West Bengal. Rice is the state’s principal food crop. Rice, potato, jute, sugarcane and wheat are the state’s top five crops.[120]:14 Tea is produced commercially in northern districts; the region is well known for Darjeeling and other high-quality teas.[120]:14 State industries are localised in the Kolkata region, the mineral-rich western highlands, and the Haldia Port region.[121] The Durgapur-Asansol colliery belt is home to a number of steel plants.[121] Important manufacturing industries include: engineering products, electronics, electrical equipment, cables, steel, leather, textiles, jewellery, frigates, automobiles, railway coaches and wagons. The Durgapur centre has established a number of industries in the areas of tea, sugar, chemicals and fertilisers. Natural resources like tea and jute in nearby areas has made West Bengal a major centre for the jute and tea industries.[122]

Years after independence, West Bengal is dependent on the central government for help in meeting its demands for food; food production remained stagnant, and the Indian green revolution bypassed the state. However, there has been a significant increase in food production since the 1980s and the state now has a surplus of grains.[123] The state’s share of total industrial output in India was 9.8% in 1980–1981, declining to 5% by 1997–1998. In contrast, the service sector has grown at a rate higher than the national rate.[123] The state’s total financial debt stood at ₹1,918,350 million (US$27 billion) as of 2011.[124]



According to the provisional results of the 2011 national census, West Bengal is the fourth-most-populous state in India with a population of 91,347,736 (7.55% of India’s population).[2] Bengalis, consisting of Bengali Hindus, Bengali Muslims, Bengali Christians and a few Bengali Buddhists, comprise the majority of the population.[148] Marwari, Maithili and Bhojpuri speakers are scattered throughout the state; various indigenous ethnic Buddhist communities such as the Sherpas, Bhutias, Lepchas, Tamangs, Yolmos and ethnic Tibetans can be found in the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region. Native Magahi speakers are found in Malda district.[149] Surjapuri, a language considered to be a mix of Maithili and Bengali, is spoken across northern parts of the state.[150] The Darjeeling district also has a large Nepali immigrant population, making Nepali a widely spoken language there. West Bengal is also home to indigenous tribal Adivasis such as: Santhal, Munda, Oraon, Bhumij, Lodha, Kol and Toto tribe. There are a small number of ethnic minorities primarily in the state capital, including : Chinese, Tamils, Maharashtrians, Odias, Assamese, Malayalis, Gujaratis, Anglo-Indians, Armenians, Jews, Punjabis and Parsis.[151] India’s sole Chinatown is in eastern Kolkata.[152]