Skip to main content

West Bengal: Largest exporter of finished leather goods

West Bengal is located on the east coast of India with Bay of Bengal in the south and shares its international border with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The state has a vast network of railways and roadways, running over 4,000 km and 315,400 km respectively, and natural maritime advantages with potential navigable waterways including NW-1, NW - 5 and waterfront of 900 km. The state is well connected globally with Haldia and Kolkata ports and an international airport in Kolkata. In 2015-16, 340,000 containers were imported and 320,000 containers were exported via Kolkata Port resulting in growth in overall trade. Kolkata is also the biggest tea handling port and tea auction market in India. 

The strategically important Siliguri Corridor is situated in West Bengal and connects eight northeastern states to the rest of India. The airport at Bagdogra links Siliguri to important destinations within the country, making it a vital trade and logistics hub for the entire region. The state also provides easy access to important international trade routes to countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, China, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. The state has an oil refinery at Haldia, operated by Indian Oil Corporation, with a capacity of 7.5 mmtpa. With about 3.7 mn enterprises in the state, it has the second-highest number of MSMEs in India. 

Key upcoming industrial projects:

  •  Six new theme-based townships, including Health and Education city (Dabgram), Geriatric and Wellness township (Baruipur), Sports city (Dumurjala), Cultural hub (Bolpur), Industrial township (Asansol) and Analytics city (Kalyani)
  •  Three multi-product industrial parks at Goaltore, Haldia and Haringhata and an integrated manufacturing park at Raghunathpur
  •  Major deep sea port called Bhor Sagar Port, expected to start by 2019, with other ports proposed at Tajpur and Kulpi
  •  Smart Cities Mission, for which New Town Kolkata is the city identified in West Bengal

Proposed industrial corridors:

  •  Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor, with an electrified double-track segment of 1,409 km between Dankuni in West Bengal and Khurja in Uttar Pradesh
  •  Amritsar Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC), spanning 20 cities in 7 states to be aligned to Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC), to be completed by 2019

Highlights

  • 3rd largest in terms of road coverage in India
  • India's largest national inland waterways in terms of spread, density and reach
  • Second largest producer of tea in India
  • GSDP (Current price)

    USD 157 bn (2016-17)

  • Per capita income

    USD 1,243 (2014-15)

  • GSDP growth rate (YoY)

    13% (2014-15)

  • FDI inflow

    USD 4 bn (2000-17)
    (includes Sikkim, Andaman & Nicobar Islands)

Demographics

West Bengal is the 4th most populated state in India, accounting for around 8% of its total population.

Around 66% of the population of West Bengal lies in the working age group of 15-59 years.

The total population of West Bengal is 91.4 mn. It is the second-most densely populated state in India.

  • 38%

    Urbanisation rate

  • 950

    females/ 1000 males

Skilled manpower
  • Central universities

    4

  • State universities

    26

  • Private universities

    9

  • Engineering colleges

    92

  • Management colleges

    72

  • Polytechnic institutes

    124

  • Industrial training institutes

    114

  • Medical colleges

    17

Key Sectors

West Bengal houses over 500 IT companies employing more than 135,000 people directly or indirectly. As of June 2017, the state had seven IT/ITeS based SEZs with formal approval. By 2015-16, eight IT parks were operating in the state. Also, the state government is in the process of establishing seven new IT parks across the state.  There are concrete plans to raise the state's share in India’s IT exports to 25% by 2030. 

West Bengal is the third largest producer of finished leather products in India. 26% of the tanneries in India are located in West Bengal. The state government has set up an integrated leather complex on the eastern fringe of Kolkata, spread over 445 ha. Kolkata is the second most important tanning centre of India, accounting for 22-25% of the country’s tanning activities.

West Bengal is the seat of hosiery industry in India, with 17,900 hosiery units present in the state. It aims to increase the sector’s share to 10% of the state GDP by 2022-23 which would provide employment to at least 10 mn people.

With presence of six agro-climatic zones, West Bengal offers a diverse environment for agriculture and horticulture production. Production in the state in 2016-17 for fruits stood at 3.7 mn tonnes and for vegetables stood at around 25.5 mn tonnes. Floriculture is an emerging industry in West Bengal with high prospects. In 2016-17, gross area of 26,040 ha was under flower production in the state. 

West Bengal is the second-largest tea growing state in India and accounted for around 28% of India’s tea production during 2014-15. Tea produced in Darjeeling has a geographical indication (GI) status that is recognised globally. It is regarded by connoisseurs as the 'Champagne of Teas'. International tea manufacturers in the state include Tata Global Beverages, Goodricke Group Ltd., McLeod Russell India Ltd and Duncan Industries ltd.

The state accounts for about 10% of the country’s total steel capacity. Durgapur, popularly named the ‘Steel City of Eastern India’, has two major steel plants: Durgapur Steel Plant and Alloy Steel Plant. West Bengal is the third largest producer of minerals in India. Coal accounts for 99% of extracted minerals in the state. The total value of mineral production (excluding atomic minerals and minor minerals) from the state stood at USD 1.2 bn during 2015-16.

The state has a coastline, running over 150 km, and innumerable water bodies offering huge potential for inland fishing and fish cultivation in West Bengal. The state supplies nearly 80% of the country’s carp seeds and accounts and is the largest producer of shrimps. Shrimp farming is on the rise, especially in districts of Purba Medinipur.

West Bengal saw arrival of around 70.2 mn domestic and foreign tourists in 2015. The state government has identified 11 potential tourist sites in the state where it will develop tourism infrastructure through PPP mode.

Major Investors