Indian Industries During British Rule: All You Need to Know

In the past, India was considered as a well-known industry for textiles and handicrafts. History is full of such information that India was an established nation dealing in textile, spices and metals, silk, cotton, and more.

After the arrival of British, these industries were destroyed slowly as the Britishers followed the process of de-industrialisation of Indian industries to make way for British industries to flourish.

Following points will throw light on the situation of industries during the British rule:

1.The decay of handicraft industries: The traditional handicraft industries in India were flourishing and were known worldwide. However, with the British arriving in India, they stopped the practice of using hand crafted exports by placing tariffs on them.

Also, there was stiff competition from the machine-made products. With the introduction of railways, the reach of British products increased to every corner of the country. All these factors led to the downfall of textile and handicraft industries in India.

2. Slow growth of modern industries: The presence of a lopsided infrastructure resulted in the limited or slow growth of enterprises. Besides, there was a scarcity of basic and heavy industries that hindered the growth.

Also read: Indian Industries during British rule

Q.1 What was the state of the industrial sector under British rule?
Explanation Similar to the agriculture sector in India, the industrial sector also did not see much growth and development.
Following were the major reasons that were responsible for a bleak growth of the industrial sector:

Systematic de-industrialisation


The primary motive of Britishers behind de-industrialisation was two-fold.

(i) To make India a net exporter of raw materials to the British industries at a cheap rate.

(ii) To sell British products at a higher rate in the Indian market.

The Britishers followed discriminatory tariff policy.

Discriminatory tariff policy signifies free export of raw materials from India, import of finished products from Britain, and a heavy duty on export of Indian handicrafts.


Lopsided modern industrial structure

British rulers never permitted modernisation nor did they encourage the growth of industries.

The unbalanced and lopsided growth structures were a legacy of British rule in India.

In 1850-55, the first cotton mill, jute mill, and coal mine were established.

By the end of the 19th century, 194 cotton mills and 36 jute mills were located in the western part of the country (Maharashtra and Gujarat).

Lacking capital goods industry Capital goods industry refers to the industry that produces goods such as machines, tools, and more that are further capable of producing consumer goods.

The primary objective of the British rulers was to develop such an industry in India that would never be able to compete with the British industry.

They want to make the Indian industry dependent upon the British industry for capital goods.


Recommended links: Class 11 Economics Important Question

Q.2 What was the two-fold motive behind the systematic de-industrialisation affected by the British in pre-independent India? (NCERT)
Two-fold motives 1. First Motive: To get the raw materials from India at a cheap rate and thus, to reduce India to a mere exporter of raw materials to the British industries.

2. Second Motive: To sell the British manufactured goods in the Indian market at higher prices.


Q.3 Which Indian industry was adversely affected due to the partition of India and why?
Explanation Jute industry was adversely affected due to the partition of India because of the following reasons:

(a) The whole of the jute-producing area became part of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh); (b) India’s jute industry suffered heavily due to a lack of raw materials.


Q.4 What do you mean by capital goods industry? Discuss the status of such an industry during the British rule.
Explanation Capital goods industry means industries that can produce machine tools used for producing articles for current consumption.

During the British rule, there was hardly any capital goods industry to support the slow industrial development taking place in India.

Britishers did not pay any attention towards the set-up of such industries because they wanted Indians to be dependent on Britain for the supply of capital and heavy goods.


Q.5 Name some modern industries that were in operation in our country at the time of independence.
Some modern industries that were in operation in our country at the time of independence are as follows:

(i) Cotton textile industries

(ii) Jute textile industries

(iii) Iron and steel industries

(iv) Sugar industries

(v) Cement industries


Q.6 What are capital goods?
Capital goods refer to those that are used to produce consumer goods such as plants, machines, and more.

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  1. thanks for help