Explain the British Rule In India – Systematic Exploitation of India.
The various forms of exploitation by the Britishers on the Indian economy can be broadly analyzed with the following points.
(i) India remained an agricultural country throughout the British period and its agricultural sector remained totally backward. This was the commercialization of agriculture to serve the interests of Great
(ii) British ruler in india were never permitted to modernize the prevailing industrial structure of India. There was large-scale destruction of world-famous handicrafts and cottage industries of the country.
(iii) By following the policy of discriminating protection, Britishers gained complete control over the entire Indian market.
(iv) British rulers gradually transformed the Indian economy into a primary producing country, exporting only agricultural products and raw materials necessary for industries in Britain and importing finished goods from Britain.
(v) To promote foreign trade and exploit India’s natural resources to their advantage, network, ports, and shipping, irrigation and electricity, etc.
(vi) The British rulers thoroughly exploited the Indian economy through
the economic drain. The aforesaid nature of exploitive policies of the British rulers resulted in large-scale poverty, stagnation, and backwardness of the Indian economy, along with a huge drain of economic resources of the country to Great Britain.
Explain the state of Indian economy on the eve of Indpendence
During the British rule, Britishers transformed the Indian economy into a colonial, backward, semi-feudal, stagnant, backward, depleted, and amputated economy.
- Colonial Economy : In India, colonial exploitation is a long history,
spread over nearly 200 years. British rule resulted in huge drain of
wealth from India, so as to facilitate the growing British industry
with the supply of raw materials from India and also encouraged
commercialisation of Indian agriculture, in order to transform Indian economy into a British colony. The impact of the British colonial policy was deep on India, even at the time of independence.
- Semi-feudal Economy : By the close of the British period, there
were two aspects of the Indian economy.On one hand, there
existed feudalism in its agricultural sector. Introduction of land
settlement system gave birth to feudal relations (landlord-tenant
relations). The landlords used to charge very high rate of lagaan
and were very cruel to the cultivators. While on the other, modern
industries were established, which created two classes – capitalist
and labourers. So, India inherited the features of both feudal and
capitalist system in the Indian economy.
- Stagnant Economy : A stagnant economy is one which is growing
at a very low rate. On the eve of independence, Indian economy
was a stagnant economy. This was clear from the fact that country’s
growth of aggregate real output during the first half of the twentieth
century was less than 2% and growth in per capita output was only
- Backward Economy : At the end of British rule, Indian economy
was backward and underdeveloped. The low level of productivity, low per capita income, traditional methods of agriculture, high
birth and death rate, mass illitracy were the main reasons for the
backwardness of Indian economy.
- Depleted (or Depreciated) Economy : Depleted Economy refers to
an economy, where no arrangments have been made to replace the
physical assets, depreciated due to excessive use. At the time of
independence, Indian economy was a depleted economy. During
the 2nd World War, Indian industries had to work beyond their
capacities, to meet the war time requirements of increased demand
of plant and machinery, equipments, etc. However, British rulers
did not make any arrangments to replace the depreciated physical
assets. As a result, British rulers had left a seriously depleted
- Amputated Economy : The Britishers policy of ‘divide and rule’
always promoted discrimination between various groups on the basis of religion, caste language and culture. As a result, on the eve of Independence, country was geographically divided into two parts India and Pakistan. Partition of the country virtually disrupted the economy due to problem of rehabilitation of large number of refugees from Pakistan and shortage of raw material for jute and cotton mills (as most of the cotton and jute growing areas went to Pakistan)
Explain the positive contributions of British Rule.
Sol. British Rule also had some positive effects on the Indian economy. They
are discussed as under :
- Self-sufficiency in food grain production : Commercialization of
agriculture initiated by British Government resulted in self-sufficiency in food grain production.
- Better means of transportation : Development of roads and railways provided cheap and rapid transport system and opened up
new opportunities of economic and social growth.
- Check on Famines : Roads and railways worked as a great check
on the occurrence and impact of famines as food supplies could be
transported to the affected areas in case of droughts.
- Shift to Monetary Economy : British rule helped Indian economy
to shift from barter system of exchange (exchange of goods for goods)
to monetary system of exchange.
- Effective administrative setup : The British Government had and
efficient adminstration system, which served as ready reckoner for