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What was the most important characteristic of India’s trade and what were its effects on the economy?

During the colonial period, the most significant characteristic of our trade was the generation of a large export surplus.
This surplus costed our economy heavily.
Several essential commodities like food grains, clothes, kerosene etc were not available in the domestic market.
Also, the export surplus did not bring in any flow of gold or silver to India.
Instead they were pocketed by the colonial government, which took it away for the expenses incurred by the office they had set up in India.
They also used the export profits to pay for the wars fought by them and for the import of non-existent goods thereby draining India’s wealth.



How did the advent of railways affect the Indian economy?

The advent of railways affected the Indian economy in two ways: It helped break geographical and cultural barriers because people could travel long distances. It aided the commercialization of Indian agriculture which severely affected the self sufficiency of our villages. The volume of our trade expanded but the profits were not enjoyed by our people. The social benefits that people enjoyed after the advent of railways was swallowed by the economic loss we suffered.


Write a short note on the low level of Economic development under the colonial rule.

After the advent of the British, the economic policies were framed in such a way that they promoted and protected the British economic interests and did nothing for the development of the Indian economy. They brought about a fundamental change in our economic structure, changing us from a manufacturer of artifacts and handicrafts into a net supplier of raw materials of the British industries and the end consumer of the industrial products manufactured by Britain.


Write briefly about our economy before the advent of the British colonial rule in India

Before the British colonized India, we had an independent economy. Agriculture was the primary source of income and livelihood for people. There were various other kinds of manufacturing activities that characterized the country’s economy. We produced a lot of handicrafts, silk and cotton textiles, metal and precious stone works etc. All these products were renowned all over the world and were especially known for the fine quality of material used and the high standard of craftsmanship.


Enumerate the reasons for the poor growth and productivity of the agricultural sector.

The other reasons for the poor growth and productivity of the agricultural sector were: lack of irrigation facilities, low levels of technology and negligible use of fertilizers. Due to commercialization of agriculture, there was a relatively high yield of cash crops in some parts of our country. This , however, did not serve the purpose of the farmers because they were forced to produce cash crops instead of food crops. These cash crops were produced for and used by the British industries in Britain.


What or how was the demographic condition of India during the colonial rule?

The social development indicators were also not very encouraging at that time. The overall literacy was less than 16 percent and female literacy was around 7 percent. Public health facilities were unavailable to a very large sector of people. They were inadequate wherever they were available. Hence, water and air borne diseases attacked people in huge numbers and spread causing a large number of deaths. The overall mortality rate was very high and infant mortality was alarming. It was 21 per 1000 compared to the present rate of 63 per thousand. Life expectancy was 32 compared to the present day 63. Due to insufficient data, it is not possible to predict and discuss the level of poverty but considering the situation, it obviously must have been high contributing to the further deterioration of India.


Write short notes on zamindari system.

Under this system, the profits that were got out of cultivation went to the zamindars instead of the farmers who cultivated the land. Most of these zamindars and the British government did nothing to improve the condition of agriculture. The main objective of the zamindars was to only collect rent from the cultivators regardless of their economic conditions. This heartless behaviour of the zamindars caused misery and social tension amongst the cultivators. This callous behaviour of the zamindars was to a great extent caused by the terms of revenue settlement, a policy of the colonial government. Under this, there were fixed dates within which the zamindars had to deposit specific amounts of money, failing which they would lose their rights.

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