An Overview of Indian Economy: Positive Contribution of British Rule (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Positive Contribution of British Rule

Some positive things did happen during British period. The Railways you see today was first introduced by the British government in 1850. Between 1850 - 1855 the first jute mill, the first cotton mill and the first coal mine were established. In the later years, the length of Railway lines and the number of the above said mills kept increasing. The British government also established telecommunication, telegraph, post offices in the country.

Changes in the Features of Indian Economy After Independence

  • A new era began in India՚s history after its independence. Obviously so because the governance of India became the responsibility of its people. Unlike the British government, the aim of the government of India was to take India towards the higher levels of development and achieve welfare for all its citizens. By the year 2010, the government of India has completed more than sixty years of governing India. This is long enough time to make an evaluation and accordingly describe the major features of Indian economy which are as follows
  • Low level of per capita income, slow growth of per capita income, Heavy population
  • pressure, Existence of Poverty, Dependence on agriculture and Planning for Development.
Changes in the Features of Indian Economy

Low Level of Per Capita Income

Per capita income is calculated by dividing national income by population. Income of an individual is a major indicator of his or her standard of living. Per capita income gives the idea of income earned on an average by an individual in the economy in a year.

Slow Growth of Per Capita Income

  • India՚s per capita income is not only low but also growing very slowly. Growth refers to increase over time. Why we want our income to increase every year? There are a few reasons for it.
  • First, our wants are increasing, as we grow over time. In order to satisfy the extra wants, we need more income
  • Second, another reason for earning more income is that the prices of goods you buy in the market are also increasing. So, you may have to pay more money for the same goods and services you consume.
  • Third, finally we want our income to grow because we may want to help each other at times of needs or to please each other. Let us not forget that we live in a society with our relatives, friends and others. We need each other՚s help and cooperation all the time.

Heavy Population Pressure

More people means more mouths to eat. This implies that more food grains to be produced. Since population is increasing every year, more food grains must be produced every year. This is not an easy task. Because the land area meant for cultivation is not increasing proportionately. So, if food production does not match with increase in population then availability of food grain per head or per capita supply of food grain will fall. Taking the hole of India as one family, this further means that, each member of the family will have less food to eat.

Existence of Poverty

  • Nearly one third of world՚s poor live in India. See the beggars on the streets, the slums in towns and cities, children working on the fields or in the street side dhabas or employed in houses or in factories etc. More than 30 crores of India՚s population suffer from poverty which
  • is about 27.5 percent of the total population. Out of these, more than 22 crores live in rural areas. The rest live in urban areas i.e.. towns and cities.
  • Poverty is a curse on humanity. A poor person cannot afford his or her daily needs or necessities to buy from the market. He or she is not able to eat even two square meals a day, nor she or he can wear proper clothes. A poor person has no shelter to live or has kutcha house. It is difficult for him or her to get education, health care etc. There could be many reasons.
  • First, a person affected by poverty is either unemployed or earn very small amount of income from his or her current occupation.
  • Second, the person must be subjected to exploitation by others on the basis of caste or religion or gender.
  • Third, the person has become poor because he or she has not got any property in the form of land or house etc.
  • Fourth, perhaps the efforts of the government have not been effective. Corruption and slow pace of decision making, in government are obstacles in removing poverty. However, existence of poverty is not the failure of the government alone, but also failure of the people and society at large who should help each other and cooperate so that everyone can lead a decent life.

Dependence on Agriculture

Indian economy has been traditionally based on agriculture. In 1951, at the beginning of first plan, more than 70 percent of the population were engaged in agriculture and related activities. Even if this has come down, still around 60 percent of the population is still dependent on agriculture at the beginning of the 21st . century i.e.. year 2001.

Planning for Development

  • A major feature of Indian economy after independence has been its consistent effort to achieve development through the process of economic planning. This is a very positive phenomena going on for the past 60 years. The government of India adopted five-year plans beginning with the first five-year plan in 1951. The duration of this plan was 1951 to 1956. Accordingly, the second five-year plan began in the year 1956 and ended in 1961. And so on.
  • Planning means to make preparation to do something in future. It could be solving a problem to achieve some target you have fixed.

Expenditures on Plans

In each and every plan the government allocates resources to various areas such as agriculture, industry, education, health, transport and communication, community development and other social sectors. The aim is to use the given resources earmarked for the said area for its development as per the target fixed by the government for the said period. For example, the resources for agriculture can be used for improving productivity of land, extending irrigation facilities etc. Similarly, the resources for education can be used for construction of school buildings, granting scholarships to meritorious students, etc. and so on.

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