Before independence, there was no proper development of Indian industry in India. The Britishers were anti-Indian. India could not develop a sound industrial base under the colonial rule. Even as the country’s world famous handicraft industries declined, no corresponding modern industrial base was allowed to come up to take pride of place so long enjoyed by the former. The primary motive of the colonial government behind this policy of systematically de-industrialising India was two-fold. The intention was, first, to reduce India to the status of a mere exporter of important raw materials for the upcoming modern industries in Britain and, second, to turn India into a sprawling market for the finished products of those industries so that their continued expansion could be ensured to the maximum advantage of their home country — Britain.
In the unfolding economic scenario, the decline of the indigenous handicraft industries created not only massive unemployment in India but also a new demand in the Indian consumer market, which was now deprived of the supply of locally made goods. This demand was profitably met by the increasing imports of cheap manufactured goods from Britain.
Major Industries before independence
• Iron & Steel Industry: It was first set up in 1874 in Kulti which is still working.
• Aluminium Industry: It was first set up Jaykaynagar (West Bengal) in 1837.
• Cement Industry: It was first set up in Chennai in 1904.
• Chemical Fertilizer Industry: In India, the beginning of chemical fertilizer industry was with the establishment of Super Phosphate plant in Ranipet (Tamil Nadu) in 1906.
• Shipping Industry: It was first set up (The Hindustan Shipyard) in Vishakhapatnam in 1941.
• Paper Industry: It was first set up in Serampore, West Bengal which was unsuccessful. After that, another one was set up in Lucknow (Now Closed). Again a paper mill was set up in Titagarh (West Bengal) in 1881 which is still working.
• Cotton Textile Industry: In 1818, the first cotton mill was established in Fort Gloster which was unsuccessful. In 1854, the first succesfull cotton mill set up in Mumbai by Kavasji Davar.
• Jute Industry: It was first set up in Rishra (near Kolkata) in 1855.
• Woollen Textile Industry: It was first set up in Kanpur in 1876 with the brand name ‘Lal Imli’