British economic policies had disastrous consequences on India. Due to this, the rural economy of India was shattered. Agriculture declined and industries were destroyed, instead of cottage industries, more attention was paid to preparing the same by machines. As a result, the development of modern industries started in place of cottage industries.
British Economic Policies
The worst effect of the government economic policies was that it brought bad days for the cottage industries, artisans and craftsmen and soon they went into the trough of decline. Initially the British used to make profits by selling these craftsmen and craftsmen in foreign markets. In return, they used to bring finished goods or precious metals to India from abroad. The British used to make a lot of profit by selling Indian goods in the market. Therefore, they initially created a market for Indian goods abroad and at the same time gave shelter to the indigenous industries. They would get the goods ready by paying advance money to the craftsmen and craftsmen, store that goods and sell them in foreign markets; But this state could not last for long.
Increasing demand and popularity of Indian textiles in England
The increasing demand and popularity of Indian textiles in England created a serious crisis in front of the English textile industry. There was a danger of its closure. Frightened by this situation, England’s textile manufacturers put pressure on the government to protect the English textile industry. Forced, the government had to adopt a protective policy for its clothes. Restrictions were imposed on the use and trade of Indian clothes in England. Simultaneously, duties on the import of Indian textiles were also imposed, due to which the goods made by Indian weavers became expensive in comparison to machine made clothes and their demand started decreasing.
Import of raw materials for the industries of England
After the establishment of power in Bengal, there was a significant change in the economic policy of the Company. Now the interest of the company decreased in making ready goods from India. He thought it better to import raw materials for the industries of England. It became easier to do so after the supremacy over Bengal was established. For this it was necessary to destroy the cottage industries. So, the company started this work with a well thought out plan. The officers of the Company forced the weavers of Bengal to sell their goods to the Company at a price less than the cost. The artisans and workers engaged in the textile industry were forced to work under the company at low wages. They could not work with the native industrialists and traders. Strict restrictions were imposed on them.
Company’s monopoly on the cotton trade
The Company’s monopoly on the cotton trade also made it scarce for the weavers to get raw materials. The weavers were forced to leave their business and engage in other works. To destroy the cottage industry, the company also played another trick. The employees of the company started selling machine cloth made in England by private industry trade in the markets of Bengal and other parts. Since their cost was less than the hand made cloths, the demand for indigenous textiles decreased. All these had a bad effect on the indigenous textile industry and by the 19th century they were destroyed. In their place, there was now a glut of English clothes. The Charter Act of 1813 did the right thing.
Charter Act of 1813
By the time the Charter Act of 1813 was passed, important changes had taken place in the economy of England. England had a huge foreign and colonial market available. In these markets, profit could be earned by selling goods made in England. The merchant and industrial class wanted to accelerate production. For this it was necessary to protect raw materials and indigenous industries. England could have got it from India. Therefore, by putting pressure on the government in the industrial capitalist and productive class of England, forced to change the economic policy. As a result, the trading monopoly of the East India Company was abolished by the Charter Act of 1813 and the policy of ‘free trade’ was adopted. As a result, British made goods started coming to India free of cost or at nominal customs duty. In India it was cheaper than the goods made by similar indigenous craftsmen. As a result, the demand for indigenous goods decreased and domestic industry slowed down.
Development of railways
The development of railways also contributed to the destruction of indigenous industries. With the help of rail, the goods made of Britain started reaching every nook and corner of the country easily. Their effect was bad on the indigenous industries. Now people wanted to buy cheap things made in Britain and abroad. Therefore, the business of artisans and craftsmen came to a standstill. Almost all indigenous industries, textiles, glass, paper, leather, dyeing industries started lagging behind; Because handicrafts used to cost more, whereas machine made goods were cheaper. Thus, the general public was attracted to cheap goods made in Britain rather than buying them.
Discriminatory policies of England
Indian industries also declined due to other reasons. Due to the policies of England, the demand for Indian goods in the European markets decreased from the beginning of the 19th century. Similarly, due to the merger of many indigenous princely states, the patronage of the artisans and a large customer base of the goods produced by them automatically ended. In the absence of this protection, indigenous industries could not sustain their existence.
Export of raw materials to England
Another reason which made the decline of indigenous industries inevitable was the export of raw materials to England in large quantities. To keep the industries of England alive, the government started exporting raw materials on a large scale. As a result, on the one hand their value in India increased and on the other hand it became difficult for the artisans and craftsmen to get the raw material for their industries. As a result, native industrial centers began to perish. The artisans and craftsmen were forced to concentrate on agriculture. Many of them also became agricultural laborers.