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IAS Prelims Exam Modern History Questions: Economic Impact of the British Rule

Apr 12, 2017 16:25 IST

Economic Impact of British Rule

Modern History is one of parts of Indian history which greater relevance in IAS Exam. As per the pattern of IAS Exam, a large number of questions asked every year from the Modern History of India. So, IAS aspirants should do sincere study and practice of Modern History of India before appearing for the IAS Prelims Exam.

IAS Prelims Exam: Modern History NCERT Questions: Mahatma Gandhi and the Nationalist Movement

1. The economic policies followed by the British led to the rapid transformation of India’s economy into a colonial economy. Consider the following statements regarding the existence of basic economic pattern after the settlement of British in India:
I. The peasant, the artisan, and the trader had continued to lead the same type of existence as before.
II. The British always remained foreigners in the land, exploiting Indian resources and carrying away India’s wealth as tribute.

Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?
a. Only I
b. Only II
c. Both I and II
d. Neither I nor II

Answer: c

Explanation:

The economic policies followed by the British led to the rapid transformation of India’s economy into a colonial economy whose nature and structure were determined by the needs of the British economy. In this respect the British conquest differed from all previous foreign conquests. The previous conquerors had overthrown Indian political powers but had made no basic changes in the country’s economic structure; they had gradually become a part of Indian life, political as well as economic. The peasant, the artisan, and the trader had continued to lead the same type of existence as before.

The basic economic pattern that of the self- sufficient village economy, had been perpetuated. Change of rulers had merely meant change in the personnel of those who appropriated the peasant’s surplus. But the British conquerors were entirety different. They totally disrupted the traditional structure of the Indian economy. Moreover they never became an integral part of Indian life. They always remained foreigners in the land, exploiting Indian resources and carrying away India’s wealth as tribute.
The results of this subordination of the Indian economy to the interests of British trade and industry were many and varied.

IAS Prelims Exam: Modern History NCERT Questions: UNDERSTANDING PARTITION

2. There was a sudden and quick collapse of the urban handicrafts which had for centuries made India's name a byword in the markets of the entire civilised world. Consider the following statements regarding the ruin of artisans and craftsmen after establishment of British rule in India:
I. The collapse of the urban handicrafts was caused largely by competition with the cheaper imported machine-goods from Britain.
II. The British imposed a policy of one-way free trade on India after 1813 and the invasion of British manufactures, in particular cotton textiles, immediately followed.
III. The ruin of Indian industries, particularly rural artisan industries, proceeded even more rapidly once the railways were built.

Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?
a. Only I
b. I and II
c. II and III
d. All of the above

Answer: d

Explanation:

There was a sudden and quick collapse of the urban handicrafts which had for centuries made India’s name a byword in the markets of the entire civilised world. This collapse was caused largely by competition with the cheaper imported machine-goods from Britain. As we have seen earlier, the British imposed a policy of one-way free trade on India after 1813 and the invasion of British manufactures, in particular cotton textiles, immediately followed. Indian goods made with primitive techniques could not compete with goods produced on a mass scale by powerful steam-operated machines.

The ruin of Indian industries, particularly rural artisan industries, proceeded even more rapidly once the railways were built. The railways enabled British manufactures to reach, and uproot the traditional industries in the remotest villages of the country. As the American writer, D, H. Buchanan, has put it, “The Armour of the isolated Self- sufficient village was pierced by the steel 'rail, and its life blood ebbec' away.”

3. Consider the following statements regarding the condition of Indian industries after British conquest:
I. The cotton weaving and spinning industries were the worst like silk and woollen textiles fared no better and a similar fate overtook the iron, pottery, glass, paper, metals, shipping, oil-pressing, tanning and dyeing industries.
II. The oppression practised by the East India Company and its servants on the craftsmen of Bengal during the second half of the 18th century, forcing them to free distribute their goods.

Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?
a. Only I
b. Only II
c. Both I and II
d. Neither I nor II

Answer: a

Explanation:

The cotton weaving and spinning industries were the worst hit. Silk and woollen textiles fared no better and a similar fate overtook the iron, pottery, glass, paper, metals, shipping, oil-pressing, tanning and dyeing industries.

Apart from the influx of foreign goods, some other factors arising out of British conquest also contributed to the ruin of Indian industries. The oppression practised by the East India Company and its servants on the craftsmen of Bengal during the second half of the 18th century, forcing them to sell their goods below the market price and to hire their services below the prevailing wage, compelled a large number of them to abandon their ancestral professions In the normal course Indian handicrafts would have benefited from the encouragement given by the company to their export, but this oppression had an opposite effect.

IAS Prelims Exam Modern History NCERT Questions: FRAMING THE CONSTITUTION

4. Consider the following statements regarding the import and export of good after British conquest in India:
I. The high import duties and other restrictions imposed on the import of Indian goods into Britain and Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, combined with the development of modern manufacturing industries in Britain, led to the virtual closing of the European markets to Indian manufacturers after 1820.
II. The British policy of exporting raw materials also injured Indian handicrafts by raising the prices of raw materials like cotton and leather.
III. The gradual disappearance of Indian rulers and their courts who were the main customers of town handicrafts also gave a big blow to these industries.

Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?
a. Only I
b. I and II
c. II and III
d. All of the above

Answer: d

Explanation:

The high import duties and other restrictions imposed on the import of Indian goods into Britain and Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries, combined with the development of modern manufacturing industries in Britain, led to the virtual closing of the European markets to Indian manufacturers after 1820. The gradual disappearance of Indian rulers and their courts who were the main customers of town handicrafts also gave a big blow to these industries. For instance, the production of military weapons depended entirely on the Indian states.

The British purchased all their military and other government stores in Britain. Moreover, Indian rule is and nobles were replaced as the ruling class by British officials and military officers who patronised their own home- pro ducts almost exclusively. The British policy of exporting raw materials also injured Indian handicrafts by raising the prices of raw materials like cotton and leather. This increased the cost of handicrafts and reduced their capacity to compete with foreign goods.

5. British conquest led to the deindustrialisation of the country and increased dependence of the people on agriculture. Consider the following statements regarding this change of de-industrialisation in India:
I. According to Census Reports, between 1901 and 1941 alone the percentage of population dependent on agriculture increased from 63.7 per cent to 70 per cent.
II. This increasing pressure on agriculture was one of the major causes that agriculture was more profitable under British rule.
III. India became an agricultural colony of manufacturing Britain which needed it as a source of raw materials for its industries.

Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?
a. Only I
b. I and II
c. I and III
d. All of the above

Answer: c

Explanation:

British conquest led to the deindustrialisation of the country and increased dependence of the people on agriculture. No figures for the earlier period are available but, according to Census Reports, between 1901 and 1941 alone the percentage of population dependent on agriculture increased from 63.7 per cent to 70 per cent. This increasing pressure on agriculture was one of the major causes of the extreme poverty of India under British rule.

In fact India now became an agricultural colony of manufacturing Britain which needed it as a source of raw materials for its industries. Nowhere was the change more glaring than in the cotton textile industry. While India had been for centuries the largest exporter of cotton goods in the world, it was now transformed into an importer of British cotton products and an exporter of raw cotton.

MODERN HISTORY Study Material

6. Consider the following statements regarding the impoverishment of the peasantry in India after British conquest:
I. The British Government took the place of the Zamindars and levied excessive land revenue which was in the beginning fixed as high as one-third to one-half of the produce.
II. Heavy assessment of land was one of the main causes of the growth of poverty and the deterioration of agriculture in the 19th century.

Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?
a. Only I
b. Only II
c. Both I and II
d. Neither I nor II

Answer: c

Explanation:

The peasant was also progressively impoverished under British rule. In spite of the fact that he was now free of internal wars, his material condition deteriorated and he steadily sank into poverty.

In the very beginning of British rule in Bengal, the policy of Clive and Warren Hastings of extracting the largest possible land revenue had led to such devastation that even Cornwallis complained that one-third of Bengal had been transformed into “a jungle inhabited only by wild beasts." Nor did improvement occur later, in both the permanently, and the Temporarily Settled Zamindari areas, the lot of the peasants remained unenviable. They were left to the mercies of the Zamindars who raised rents to unbearable limits, compelled them to pay illegal dues and to perform forced labour or begat and oppressed them in diverse other ways.

The condition of the cultivators in the Ryotwari and Mahalwari areas was no better. Here the Government took the place of the Zamindars and levied excessive land revenue which was in the beginning fixed as high as one-third to one-half of the produce. Heavy assessment of land was one of the main causes of the growth of poverty and the deterioration of agriculture in the 19th century.

7. By the end of the 19th century the money-lender had become a major curse of the countryside and an important cause of the growing poverty of the rural people. Consider the following statements regarding the debt and poverty situation of India by the end of the 19th century:
I. In 1911 the total rural debt was estimated at Rs.300 crores which amounted to Rs. 1,800 crores in 1937.
II. The pressure of taxation and growing poverty pushed the cultivators into debt which in turn increased then poverty.
III. The growing commercialisation of agriculture also helped the money- lender-cum-merchant to exploit the cultivator.

Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?
a. Only I
b. I and II
c. I and III
d. All of the above

Answer: c

Explanation:

The incidence of poverty and oppression of money-lenders were the common aspects of the Indian society by the end of 19th century. In 1911 the total rural debt was estimated at Rs.300 crores. By 1937 it amounted to Rs. 1,800 crores. The entire process became a vicious circle. The pressure of taxation and growing poverty pushed the cultivators into debt which in turn increased then poverty. In fact, the cultivators often failed to understand that the money-lender was an inevitable cog in the mechanism of imperialist exploitation and turned their anger against him as he appeared to be the visible cause of their impoverishment, For instance, during the Revolt of 1857, wherever the peasantry rose in revolt, quite often its first target of attack was the money-lender and his account books. Such peasant actions soon became a common occurrence.

The growing commercialisation of agriculture also helped the money- lender-cum-merchant to exploit the cultivator. The poor peasant was forced to sell his produce just after the harvest and at whatever price he could get as he had to meet in time the demands of the Government, the landlord, and the money-lender,. This placed him at the mercy of the grain merchant, who was in a position to dictate terms and who purchased his produce at much less than the market price. Thus a large share of the benefit of the growing trade m agricultural products was reaped by the merchant, who was very often also the village money-lender.

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