What was the focus of economic policies pursued by the colonial government in India What were the impacts of these policies Economics CBSE class 11 NCERT
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What was the focus of economic policies pursued by the colonial government in India? What were the impacts of these policies? - Economics CBSE class 11 NCERT

Book: Indian Economic Development
Chapter 1: Indian Economy on the Eve of Independence
 (NCERT questions)


By:Aparna-Dasgupta

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The main focus of economic policies pursued by the colonial government was to serve the economic interests of the home country rather than those of India. They exploited India by using it as a supplier of raw materials and a consumer of British-made finished goods.

Impacts of these policies are discussed below:

Backwardness of the agricultural sector: The Indian economy under the British rule was in a stagnant and backward state. The reason for this was various land settlement systems which were implemented by the colonial government. One among them was the zamindari system. Under this system, cultivators used to pay a very high amount as rent to the zamindars. Out of that rent, the zamindars used to pay a certain specified sum of money to the British government on a particular date. However, neither the colonial government nor the zamindars made any attempt to improve the condition of cultivators. They did not pay attention to developing the agricultural sector, hence; it remained underdeveloped during the colonial government. In addition, commercialisation of agriculture, i.e. production of cash crops instead of food crops further worsened the situation in the sense that India faced a shortage of food grains.
Deindustrialisation: India could not develop its industrial sector under the colonial rule. This is because the colonial government followed the policy of systematic deindustrialisation. Under this policy, India was turned into an exporter of raw materials to Britain and an importer of British-made finished goods. Also, the colonial government imposed heavy tariffs on exports of Indian handicrafts which destroyed the handicraft industry in India.
Poor growth of foreign trade:  Under the colonial rule, India exported primary products such as raw silk, cotton wool, sugar, indigo and jute to Britain and imported finished consumer products such as cotton, silk woollen clothes and capital goods from Britain. Britain controlled the Indian foreign market in order to fulfill its economic interests. In this regard, more than 50% of India's foreign trading activities were with Britain and the remaining trading activities were with China, Sri Lanka and Iran. The control of Britain over India's foreign trade was further increased with the opening of the Suez Canal. Hence, the result was poor growth of foreign trade during the colonial period.

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