British contribution to India’s Indusrial,scientific and technological development



The British during their rule brought railways to India in 1853,within a few years of the invention. Postal system was introduced even earlier in 1837,Telegraph line was opened for traffic as early as 1851, immediately after invention of telegraphy. Similarly telephone service was introduced in 1882, within six years of invention. Electric supply commenced in 1897 and hydro-Electric Power Station was established in 1902. Coal mining on modern scale commenced in eighteenth century itself. Radio broadcasting commenced in 1927, feature film production started in 1912, modern banking was introduced in 1881 and Reserve Bank of India was established in 1935; Geological Survey of India was established in 1850, and is one of the oldest such institutions in the world.

Similarly India Meteorological Department was established during the British time, as early as 1875.Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) was also established during the British time in 1942. Indian Council of Medical Research was established in 1911(as Indian Research Fund Association). Modern Universities were established as early as 1850s.Even in cultural matters, the British established several institutions like the National Library in Calcutta Central Library in Mumbai and Connemara Public Library in Chennai, as also Anthropological Survey of India and Archaeological Survey of India.

At the time of the British leaving India, India already had a fairly well established industry. It had about 350 textile mills with about 10 million spindles, nearly 0.2 million looms, over 100 sugar mills, hundreds of rice mills, oil mills, several cement factories with a production of over 2.5 million tonnes, many paper mills with production of about 0.15 million tonnes (paper production started as early as 1812), machine tool industry, a fairly large steel industry ( the first steel factory was established in West Bengal state in 1870, Tata Iron and Steel Company in 1907 Indian Iron and Steel company in 1919,and Visveswaraiya Iron and Steel Company in 1923), Kolar gold mine, over 53000 km route length of railways (the present route length is just 10000 km more), 20000 coaches (the present strength is only about 40000) about 200000 wagons ( the present strength is only abbot (300000 wagons), well established national highway road system, 17 light houses, ship building industry (the shipyard at Visakhapatnam was established in 1941),coal and other mining industry etc.”

The British did not establish so many institutions etc in other countries where they ruled even after many years of granting independence to India i.e till 1950s and 1960s)




While India has incurred more foreign debt than is required, it has contracted less domestic debt than is required to meet the legitimate development needs. According to the Reference Manual, “India 1998”, the total domestic debt in 1997 is Rs. 334914 crores which works out to about Rs.3500/- per person. (per capita foreign debt is Rs.4300/-)

Most of the developed countries have much larger per capita domestic loan than India whereas in India, external debt is higher than internal debt…….

……thee is absolutely no valid reason for not incurring more debt to Reserve Bank of India ( this is same as printing currency notes) to meet the developmental needs. The total, both domestic and foreign debt per capita comes to only about Rs.8000/-. The total debt of USA is over $ 5 trillian( $500000crores or Rs.22000000crores)(in 2004 over US$ 11 trillion) and the per capita debt is over $20000 or Rs.860000(approximate) which is about 100 times that of India. Japaese Government’s debt is US$4 trillion-$400000 crores or Rs.17500000 crore. The per capita debt is Rs.15,00,000 which is about 180 times that of India. In the case of most of the developed countries the per capita debt is much higher than in India. The countries could develop only because of the high debt and the fact that they wanted to rely on themselves……….. since Nehru’s time…the elite, intellectuals, economists, administrators etc. justify their inaction/indiffdrnce to the needs of the people, by saying that India does not have resources to undertake large projects and hence the problems of the people could not be solved.

One of the two major reasons for the economic backwardness of the country is the theory…….that India did not have resources.(the other one was that India was over populated…..these leaders did not understand that manpower is the main resource. Instead of utilizing the manpower they went about taking of reducing population growth by introducing family planning programme even as early as 1950s when the density of the population was even lower than that of many European countries.

The secod resource is land. India has sufficient cultivable land even today-i.e. even when the population has increased and the government had encroached upon fertile land for non-productive purposes..

The third resource is money. The leaders did not understand that money at that time was coins and currency notes.(In 2000s it is cheques, credit cards besides currency notes.) While coins are expensive to mint,currency notes could be printed easily by the Reserve Bank of india and the government could have borrowed from the Reserve Bank…….

Even after more than 50 years of independence,there are villages which do not have lakes and which they need and where there is possibility for lakes. Even in the 1990s/2000s, there is need and of course, scope , for thousands of canals of hundreds of kilometres etc. For these works,what is required is just simple tools which the village artisans can make,man power and cattle energy,which the country has in abundance and also local-Indian currency to which the government has unlimited access. There is no need for the government to sign Memorandum of Understanding with Reserve Bank of India on limiting deficit financing. The monetary and other policies of the government are to be decided by the elected representatives of the people and not by officials of Reserve Bank of Indian who are not answerable to the people.



Being part of the larger society, the political and bureaucratic functionaries have the same level of honesty and integrity as the common people of the society. However, as those in Government service have opportunities to extract bribe, by delaying and/or denying something or by extending undue favours there is need for them i.e. those in government service to be mare honest. They should also be more hard working and committed to the people than the rest of the society.

There were reports in newspapers that in a developed country, Prime Ministers have resigned on allegations of corruption. Even the Governor of the Central Bank of that country resigned on allegations against senior official of the Bank. There were stories in newspapers of every government in another developed country making efforts to eradicate corruption among government officials and teachers but the practice of bribing continuing to exist. In another country admission in kindergarten schools is reported to be secured by paying bribes. These countries have developed phenomenally and in some cases in spite of paucity of raw materials and occurrence natural calamities. So, governments have to take up a large number of large scale projects.

Corruption has hampered the economic development of the country but corruption is not the sole cause of economic development of any country. So eradication of corruption cannot be a one point programme of any government though there is need to eradicate the same. It should only be one of the several issues to be tackled.

The intelligentsia and social activists should also devote attention on reforming the society. Values like honesty, hard work, self-respect (declining avoidable assistance from any quarter), devotion to duty, patriotism, fear of God etc. should be inculcated in the minds of the people from childhood.

In countries like India, by constantly talking about corruption, (sometimes exaggeration), the Press and the Intelligentsia, in spite of very good intentions, have contributed to the prevalence and spreading of corruption. People have come to conclude that bribing is unavoidable and has accepted bribing as a necessity. The same is the case with social evils like drug addiction, violence, etc. It is better to avoid disproportionate publicity to any issue.