Directions (1-5): Read the following passage and answer the following questions based on the given passage. Some of the words are highlighted which would help you to answer some of the questions given.
To understand the basic features of the Indian economy, and its development, as it is today, in the aftermath of Independence, 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 be 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 which the Indian economy has been able to attain over the last six and half decades.
India had an independent economy before the advent of the British rule. Though agriculture was the main source of livelihood for most people, yet, the country’s economy was characterised 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 supplier of raw materials and 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 — DadabhaiNaoroji, 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 per cent coupled with a meagre half per cent growth in per capita output per year.
India’s economy under the British colonial rule remained fundamentally agrarian — about 85 per cent of the country’s population lived mostly in villages and derived livelihood directly or indirectly from agriculture. However, despite being the occupation of such a large population, the agricultural sector continued to experience stagnation and, not infrequently, unusual deterioration. Agricultural productivity became low though, in absolute terms, the sector experienced some growth due to the expansion of the aggregate area under cultivation.
This stagnation in the agricultural sector was caused mainly because of the various systems of land settlement that were introduced by the colonial government. Particularly, under the zamindari system which was implemented in the then Bengal Presidency comprising parts of India’s present-day eastern states, the profit accruing out of the agriculture sector went to the zamindars instead of the cultivators.
However, a considerable number of zamindars, and not just the colonial government, did nothing to improve the condition of agriculture. The main interest of the zamindars was only to collect rent regardless of the economic condition of the cultivators; this caused immense misery and social tension among the latter. To a very great extent, the terms of the revenue settlement were also responsible for the zamindars adopting such an attitude; dates for depositing specified sums of revenue were fixed, failing which the zamindars were to lose their rights. Besides this, low levels of technology, lack of irrigation facilities and negligible use of fertilisers, all added up to aggravate the plight of the farmers and contributed to the dismal level of agricultural productivity. There was, of course, some evidence of a relatively higher yield of cash crops in certain areas of the country due to commercialisationof agriculture. But this could hardly help farmers in improving their economic condition as, instead of producing food crops, now they were producing cash crops which were to be ultimately used by British industries back home. Despite some progress made in irrigation, India’s agriculture was starved of investment in terracing, flood-control, drainage and desalinisation of soil. While a small section of farmers changed their cropping pattern from food crops to commercial crops, a large section of tenants, small farmers and sharecroppers neither had resources and technology nor had incentive to invest in agriculure.
Q1. Arrange the state of the health of Indian economy during different period in decreasing order based on the information given in the passage.
1: Before British Rule
2: Initial stage of British Rule
3: Final stage of British Rule
(e) None of the above
Q2. What was the focus of the economic policies pursued by the colonial government in India?
(I) Protecting and promoting the economic interests of the home country of the colonial government.
(II) Developing the Indian economy.
(III) To provide livelihood to the large Indian population.
(a) Only (I)
(b) Only (II)
(c) Both (I) and (II)
(d) Only (III)
(e) None of the (I), (II) and (III)
Q3. Which of the following product has the highest probability to have been exported from India during 1900-1905, if one goes by the information presented in the passage considering that the British colonial rule started in 1858 and ended in 1947?
(a) A bicycle
(b) An ornamental fountain Pen
(c) Raw cotton
(d) Finished textile products
(e) Can’t be answered based on the passage
Q4. Which of the following word has a meaning which is SIMILAR in meaning to the word ‘aggravate’?
Q5. Which of the following word has a meaning which is SIMILAR in meaning to the word ‘aggregate’?
S1. Ans. (c)
Sol. The answer to the question can be derived from the third paragraph and the fourth paragraph. The paragraph suggests that the economic policies pursued by the British colonial government destroyed the Indian economy as the British colonial rule progressed.
So, the state of the health of the Indian economy would have decayed over the course of time during the British colonial rule.
Hence, the correct sequence should be 1>2>3 and option (c) should be the correct answer.
S2. Ans. (a)
Sol. The answer to the question can be derived from the first sentence of the third paragraph ‘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’.
Clearly, only (I) is correct and hence, the option (a) is the correct answer.
S3. Ans. (c)
Sol. The answer to the question can be derived from the last sentence of the third paragraph is ‘Such policies brought about a fundamental change in the structure of Indian economy—transforming the country into supplier of raw materials and consumer of finished industrial products from Britain’.
Among the given options, the options (a), (b) and (d) are finished product while the option (c) is a raw material. So, the option (c) has the highest probability of being exported during the mentioned time period which lies in the British colonial era.
Hence, the option (c) is the correct answer.
S4. Ans. (d)
Sol. aggravate [verb] means ‘make (a problem, injury, or offence) worse or more serious’;
Soothe [verb] means ‘reduce pain or discomfort in (a part of the body)’;
Mollify [verb] means ‘appease the anger or anxiety of (someone)’;
Exacerbate [verb] means ‘make (a problem, bad situation, or negative feeling) worse’;
Gladden [verb] means ‘make glad’;
From above, it could be understood that the word ‘exacerbate´ has a meaning which is similar to the meaning of ‘aggravate’.
S5. Ans. (e)
Sol. ‘aggregate’ means ‘a whole formed by combining several separate elements’;
The word ‘whole’ has a meaning closer to the meaning ‘aggregate’ and hence, is the correct answer.
Hence, the option (e) is the correct answer.