Critically appraise some of the shortfalls of the industrial policy pursued by the British colonial administration. | Learn NCERT solution | Education portal Class 11 Indian Economic Development | Study online Unit-1 Indian Economy on the eve of Independence

Q.8:- Critically appraise some of the shortfalls of the industrial policy pursued by the British colonial administration.


The state of Indian industrial sector on the eve of independence was as follows:

  1. De-industrialisation—Decline of Indian Handicraft Industry. Britishers followed the policy of systematically de-industrialising India. The primary motive behind the de-industrialisation by the British government was two-fold.
    (a) to get raw materials from India at cheap rates in order to reduce India to a mere exporter of raw materials to the British industries.
    (b) to sell British manufactured goods in Indian market at higher prices.
    In this way, they exploited India through the device of double exploitation. It resulted in decline of world famous traditional handicrafts. Britishers followed dis-criminatory tariff policy. It allowed free export of raw materials from India and free import of British final goods to India, but placed heavy duty on the export of Indian handicrafts. In this way, Indian markets were full of manufactured goods from Britain which were low priced. Indian handicrafts started losing both domestic market and export market. Ultimately, the handicraft industry declined.
  2. Lopsided Modem Industrial Structure. Unbalanced and lopsided structure of Indian industries is again a legacy of the British rule in India. British rulers neither permitted modernisation of industries nor did they encourage the growth of heavy industries in India. The period 1850-55 saw the establishment of the first cotton mill, first jute mill and the first coal mine. By the end of 19th century, there were 194 cotton mills and 36 jute mills. The cotton textile mills were located in the western parts of the country, in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.
    Jute mills in BengaT were established mainly by British capitalists. First iron and steel industry during British rule was Tata Iron and Steel company (TISCO) incorporated in August 1907 in Jamshedpur (Bihar). Some other industries which had their modest beginning after Second World War were: sugar, cement, chemical and paper industries.
  3. Capital Goods Industries were Lacking. The policy of Britishers was simply to develop those industries which would never be competitive to the British industry. They always wanted Indians to be dependent on Britain for the supply of capital goods and heavy equipments. Thus, the development of a few consumer goods industries was witnessed during the British rule. The heavy industries were, by and large, conspicuous by their absence. This resulted in an unbalanced and lopsided growth of industries in India.
    4. Limited Operation of the Public Sector. Public sector was confined to railways, power generation, communi-cation, ports and some other departmental under-takings.