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Indian economy on the Eve of Independence NCERT Textbook With Solutions Book PDF Free Download
Chapter 1: Indian economy on the Eve of Independence
The primary objective of this book, Indian Economic Development, is to familiarise you with the basic features of the Indian economy, and its development, as it is today, in the aftermath of Independence.
However, it is equally important to know something about the country’s economic past even as you learn about its present state and future prospects.
So, let us first look at the state of India’s economy prior to the country’s independence and form an idea of the various considerations that shaped India’s post-independence development strategy.
The structure of India’s present-day economy is not just of current making; it has its roots steeped in history, particularly in the period when India was under British rule which lasted for almost two centuries before India finally won its independence on 15 August 1947.
The sole purpose of the British colonial rule in India was to reduce the country to being a raw
material supplier for Great Britain’s own rapidly expanding modern industrial base.
An understanding of the exploitative nature of this relationship is essential for any assessment of the kind and level of development that the Indian economy has been able to attain over
the last six and half decades.
India had an independent economy before the advent of British rule. Though agriculture was the main source of livelihood for most people, yet, the country’s economy was characterized by various kinds of manufacturing activities.
India was particularly well known for its handicraft industries in the fields of cotton and silk textiles, metal and precious stone works, etc.
These products enjoyed a worldwide market based on the reputation of the fine quality of material used and the high standards of craftsmanship seen in all imports from India
The economic policies pursued by the colonial government in India were concerned more with the protection and promotion of the economic interests of their home country than with the development of the Indian economy.
Such policies brought about a fundamental change in the structure of the Indian economy transforming the country into a supplier of raw materials and a consumer of finished industrial products from Britain.
Obviously, the colonial government never made any sincere attempt to estimate India’s national
and per capita income.
Some individual attempts which were made to measure such incomes yielded conflicting and inconsistent results.
Among the notable estimators Dadabhai Naoroji, William Digby, Findlay Shirras, V.K.R.V. Rao and R.C. Desai — it was Rao, whose estimates during the colonial period was considered very significant.
However, most studies did find that the country’s growth of aggregate real output during the first half of the twentieth century was less than two percent coupled with a meager half percent growth in per capita output per year.
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NCERT Solutions Class 11 Economics Chapter 1 Indian Economy on the Eve of Independence
1. What was the focus of the economic policies pursued by the colonial government in India? What were the impacts of these policies?
The economic policies developed by the British government in India were aimed at creating India as a supplier of Britain’s growing industries. The policies were targeted toward the development of Britain and boosting its economic status.
India and its growth were completely ignored. Due to such policies, India became a supplier of raw materials and a market for finished goods from Britain. The impact of such a policy in India are as follows:
1. Indian economy witnessed very low economic growth. Studies reveal that the economy was growing at a speed of two percent during the period 1900-1950. The British government was more interested in maintaining and developing the economy of Britain. British rule ruined the agriculture sector and handicrafts and transformed India into a supplier of raw materials.
2. Indian agriculture system was not developed before independence, it was following old techniques and it was majorly affected by the colonial rule when the farmers were instructed to grow commercial crops instead of food grains.
These commercial crops like cotton and indigo were used in industries in Britain for manufacturing textile. The peasants did not get any monetary benefit from growing these crops and hence no economic development happened.
3. The British have programmed systematic deindustrialization by leading to the downfall of the handicraft industry and with the lack of investment, other industries also failed to develop.
Imposing heavy export tariffs on Indian-made goods led to a decrease in demand in the international market that ultimately led to the collapse of the handicraft industry.
4. The money that Indian goods earned from foreign trade were not invested in the Indian economy, it was used for managing the British army and expanding their colonial reach across Asia.
2. Name some notable economists who estimated India’s per capita income during the colonial period.
The following economists estimated India’s per capita income during the colonial period:
1. Dadabhai Naoroji
2. R.C Desai
3. V.K.R.V. Rao
4. William Digby
5. Findlay Shirras
3. What were the main causes of India’s agricultural stagnation during the colonial period?
Reasons for the stagnation of Indian Agriculture during the colonial period are:
1. The British introduced the Land Revenue system in 1793. As per this system, zamindars (landowners) needed to pay a high amount of revenue to the British Government and the source of revenue collection was the peasants. The zamindars did not look after improving the land productivity which resulted in low agricultural growth and subsequently made the life of peasants worse.
2. Indian farmers were growing food crops like rice and wheat for consumption. The British Government was forcing Indian farmers to grow commercial crops like indigo for the British Industries, which lead to agriculture turning commercial and caused a shortage of food grains.
3. Lack of irrigation facilities and other important factors like the availability of fertilizer also impacted the agriculture industry and made it more vulnerable.
NCERT Class 11 Economics Textbook Chapter 1 Indian economy on the Eve of Independence With Answer PDF Free Download