Use of eco-friendly area specific salt tolerant bioinoculants is better alternatives to chemical fertilizer for sustainable agriculture in coastal saline soils. We isolated diverse groups of diazotrophic bacteria from coastal saline soils of different forest and agricultural lands in the Sundarbans, West Bengal, India, to study their effect on crop productivity in saline soils. Phenotypic, biochemical and molecular identifications of the isolates were performed. The isolates produced indole acetic acid, phosphatase, and solubilized insoluble phosphates. Sequence analysis of 16S rDNA identified the SUND_BDU1 strain as Agrobacterium and the strains SUND_LM2, Can4 and Can6 belonging to the genus Bacillus. The ARA activity, dinitrogen fixation and presence of nifH genes indicated they were diazotrophs. Field trials with these strains as bioinoculants were carried out during 2007-2009, with rice during August-December followed by Lady's finger during April-June. Microplots, amended with FYM inoculated with four bioinoculants individually were compared against sole FYM (5tha -1) and a sole chemical fertilizer (60:30:30kgha -1 NPK) treated plot. The strain Can6 was by far the best performer in respect of yield attributes and productivity of studied crops. © 2011 Elsevier GmbH.