The British, from mid-eighteenth century to 1947, imposed economic policies in India that favored their colonial interests at the cost of India’s economic growth.
- The Permanent Settlement of 1793 and the Ryotwari System led to rural indebtedness and hardship during famines.
- Deindustrialization, like the decline of the Bengal muslin industry and the promotion of British goods, undermined local industries.
- One-way trade and discriminatory tariff policies, like the Salt Act, resulted in economic exploitation and ‘Drain of Wealth’.
- Railways and communication networks were built primarily for colonial administration and military mobility, not local development.
- British banks and exorbitant taxes, including the salt tax, facilitated wealth transfers to Britain and burdened the populace.
The British economic policies prioritized colonial gains, leading to India’s economic exploitation and underdevelopment, a legacy independent India had to address post-1947.