OVERVIEW ABOUT INDIAN ECONOMY UNDER BRTISH RAJ BY PRACHI GUPTA
British imperialism was more realistic and practical that of other colonial powers. Its motivation was economic, not evangelical. There was none of the dedicated Christian fanaticism which the Portuguese and Spanish demonstrated in Latin America and less enthusiasm for cultural diffusion than the French (or the Americans) showed in their colonies. For this reason they westernized India only to a limited degree. British interests were ofseveral kinds. At first the main purpose was to achieve a monopolistic trading position. Later it was felt that a regime of free trade would make India a major market for British goods
-The Indian economy grew at about 1% per year from 1880 to 1920, and the population also grew at 1%. All three sectors of the economy-agriculture, manufacturing, and services- accelerated in the postcolonial India. In agriculture a "green revolution" took place in the 1970s. The most important difference between colonial and postcolonial India was the utilization of land surplus with productivity-led growth by using high-yielding variety seeds, chemical fertilizers and more intensive application of water. All these three inputs were subsidized by the state
India was a key element in the world power structure, in terms of geography, logistics and military manpower. The British were not against to Indian economic development if it increased their markets but refused to help in areas where they felt there was conflict with their own economic interests or political security. Hence, they refused to give protection to the Indian textile industry until its main competitor became Japan rather than Manchester, and they did almost nothing to further technical education. They introduced some British concepts of property, but did not push them too far when they met vested interests.
The main changes which the British made in Indian society were at the top. They replaced the wasteful warlord ruling by a bureaucratic-military establishment, carefully designed by utilitarian technocrats, which was very efficient in maintaining law and order. The greater efficiency of government permitted a substantial reduction in the fiscal burden, and a bigger share of the national product was available for landlords, capitalists and the new professional classes.
From 1806 the Company trained its young recruits in Hailey bury College of London. Appointments were still organized on a system of patronage, but after 1833 the Company selected amongst its nominated candidates by competitive examination. After 1853, selection was entirely on merit and the examination was thrown open to any British candidate. The examination system was influenced by the Chinese model, which had worked well for 2,000 years and had a similar emphasis on classical learning and literary competence
In,1829 the system was strengthened by establishing districts throughout British India small enough to be effectively controlled by an individual British official who henceforth exercised a completely autocratic power, acting as revenue collector, judge and chief of police (functions which had been separate under the Moghul administration). This arrangement later became the cornerstone of Imperial administration throughout the British Empire.
The army of the Company was a local mercenary force with 20,000-30,000 British officers and troops. It was by far the most modern and efficient army in Asia. After the Mutiny in 1857, the size of the British contingent was raised to a third of the total strength and all officers were British until the 1920s when a very small number of Indians was recruited. Normally, the total strength of the army was about 200,000. This army was very much smaller than those of Moghul India,3 but had better training and equipment, and the railway network (which was constructed partly for military reasons) gave it greater mobility, better logistics and intelligence. - total army was about 200,000. This
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