During the British rule, basic infrastructure like railways, ports, water transport, posts and telegraph were developed. However this development was to subserve various colonial interests and not to improve the basic living of Indians. The roads built in India before the British regime did not aid modern transportation. The British administration could not do much about this because of lack of funds. The roads were built with the aim of mobilising the army within India and to transport the various raw materials to the nearest railway station or port in order to export them to England or other countries for money. There were no roads which could withstand all kinds of weathers, especially during the rainy season. People living in such rural areas underwent grievous suffering in times of famines and natural calamities.
The railways was introduced by the British in 1850 and it is considered as one of their important contributions. 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.
The colonial powers also took steps to develop inland trade and sea lanes. However these steps were not satisfactory. Some of the inland waterways like the Coast Canal on the Orissa coast proved uneconomical because it could not match the railways which managed to traverse the region parallel to the canal and hence finally the canal had to be abandoned. The introduction of the electric telegraph to maintain law and order was expensive. The public postal service was not adequate.