Economic Policies pursued
The economic policies pursued by the colonial government in India were concerned more with the protection and promotion of the economic interests of their home country rather than with the
development of the Indian economy.
Thus, at the time of independence in 1947, India was a poor and underdeveloped country At that time, agriculture was in a poor condition and mineral resources were not fully used. There were only
a few industries and many of the cottage and small-scale industries had declined under British rule.
Millions of people were unemployed, not because they were unwilling to work but because
there were no jobs to be found. The per capita income of Indians was one of the lowest in the world, indicating that the average Indian was extremely poor and could not afford even the basic necessities of life.
For instance, the staple food of the average Indian consisted of rice, wheat, and millets (like jowar and bajra). Most Indians could not afford to buy a nutritious and balanced diet. The vast majority of people in India led a miserable life.
Q. Name some notable economists who estimated India’s per capita income during the colonial period.
Ans. Dadabhai Naoroji, V.K.R.V Rao, Willam Digby Findlay Shirras and
Q. Name some modern industries which were in operation in our country at the time of independence.
Ans. The Tata Iron and Steel company (TISCO) was incorporated in August 1907 in India. It established its first plant in Jamshedpur (Bihar). Some other industries which had their modest beginning after Second World War were: sugar, Cement, chemical, and paper industries.
Q. What objectives did the British intend to achieve through their policies of infrastructure development in India?
Ans. During the British rule, some basic infrastructure was developed in the form of railways, water transport, ports, post, and telegraph, etc. However, the real intention behind these developments was to serve their own colonial interest, The main motives of British rulers behind the development of infrastructure in India Were:
(a) To have effective control and administration over the vast Indian territory For, Britishers linked important administrative and military centers through railway lines.
(b) To earn profits through foreign trade, For this, they linked railways with major ports and the marketing centers (or Mandies).
(c) To create an opportunity for profitable investment of British funds in India.
(d) To mobilize army within India and carrying out raw materials
through roads to the nearest railway station or to the port to
send it to Britain.
Q. Underscore some of India’s most crucial economic challenges at
the time of independence
Ans. The most crucial economic challenges at the time of independence Were:
(a) Little industrialization and decline of handicrafts.
(b) Low agricultural output and high imports of grains.
(c) Low figure of national income and per capita income which
showed extreme poverty
(d) Very sluggish economic progress.
(e) Unemployment and underemployment.
(f) Very high infant mortality rate, low life expectancy, and low
standard of living.
Q. When was India’s first official census operation undertaken?
Ans. The first official census was undertaken in the year 1881.