Indian Economy on the Eve of Independence

Introduction To understand the level of Indian economic development in the recent decades, it is essential to understand the exploitative economic policies of the British rule in India which lasted for almost two centuries. India got its independence in 1947. On the eve of Independence the structure of Indian economy was much backward as all the economic policies perused by the colonial government were concerned more to the economic interest of Britain. Indian economy during the British rule was an agrarian economy because 85% of its total population lived in villages and derived livelihood directly or indirectly from agriculture. Despite being the major source of livelihood agriculture sector continued to experience stagnation and deterioration. On the eve of independence the state of India’s agriculture sector was featured as low agricultural productivity, exploitative land tenure system, dependence on monsoon, using primitive techniques, etc. Indian industrial sector was systematically destroyed by discriminatory policies adopted by British government. The term used for such destruction was called Systematic De-industrialization. British government followed policies to develop India as a market for British. The state of India’s Industrial sector on the eve of independence was as follows: Lopsided Modern industrial structure, ruined handicrafts industry, limited capital goods industries, etc. The state of India’s foreign trade on the eve of independence was as follows: Britain had Monopoly control as more than 50% of trade was restricted between India and Britain; India was net exporter of raw materials and importer of finished goods, etc. The State of demographic condition of India was featured with high birth rate, high death rate, high infant mortality rate, low life expectancy, etc. India’s occupational structure was inclined towards agricultural sector as agriculture accounted for about 70% of total workforce. Colonial government tried to improve the status of infrastructure of India but it was done with the motive to serve the various colonial interests. During British rule only some basic infrastructure was build in form of railways, roads, post and telegraphs, etc. Other important Keywords: Zamindari System, Commercialisation of agriculture, Partition of fertile land, progress of modern industries, year of the Great Divide, Regional imbalances.

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