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from BUSINESS LINE, June 15, 2010 Media discussion about West Bengal has been largely negative in the past couple of years, for a variety of reasons. Whatever be the merits or demerits of those arguments, one problem with the conditions in the State that has been identified by a number of observers in the recent past has been the relatively poor performance in terms of human development, especially health and education, relative to other clear successes in land distribution, decentralisation and power to panchayats, and so on.
Indeed, the fact that health indicators in West Bengal generally lagged behind or at best kept pace with the national average was noted in the West Bengal Human Development Report 2004.
The good news is that this picture seems to have been changing, especially in the past decade. Recent data from the office of the Registrar-General of India, using the Sample Registration System (SRS), show that West Bengal is now one of the best-performing States in the country in terms of the most basic health indicators.
The SRS is a large-scale demographic survey of …