Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen has said land reform measures were carried out "extremely well" by the previous Left Front government in West Bengal, but the destruction of industry was its flip side.
Delivering a public lecture at Jadavpur University on Friday evening, Dr Sen said West Bengal had fallen behind Bangladesh in terms of projecting a combined Bengali identity.
"Land reforms were carried out extremely well and the Left must get its credit. But the destruction of the industry was on the flip side," he said.
"There is a need for a discussion on why and how West Bengal has fallen behind Bangladesh in terms of projecting a combined Bengali identity," Dr Sen, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1998, said.
The 85-year-old economist, who was largely influenced by Marxist philosophy during his student life, said even in a comparison with states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal lagged behind in terms of providing education and healthcare.
Talking about poverty reduction, he said only rising income levels would not be sufficient for achieving the purpose.
Education, healthcare and social security would be the main driving factors in reducing poverty levels in a country like India, Dr Sen said.
Even immunisation was neglected in India, he said, adding, "In Bangladesh, the level of immunisation is 98 per cent, while it is 67 per cent in India."
"So it is not hard to see why we are left behind," the Nobel laureate said.
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