Infrastructure In India During British Rule - All you need to know

What is Infrastructure?

Infrastructure can be referred to the basic physical operations of a nation or a business, such as communication, transportation, water, sewage, etc. This operation can be highly expensive investments and an important aspect of the economic development of a country.

Infrastructure in India

During the colonial period in India, the basic infrastructure such as water transport, railways, post & telegraph, and ports were developed, but to serve the colonial interest rather than serving the common people. Road constructed were not fit for modern India, couldn’t connect rural areas, and shortage of well-constructed road, especially in the rainy season, was the drawback.

However, in the year 1850, the introduction of the railway was one of the most important contributions of the British. This initiative transformed the Indian economy in two ways. One it led people to travel a long distance and break the geographical barrier and second it commercialized Indian agriculture which adversely influenced the self-sufficiency of the village economies in India.

With the development of railways and roads, the colonial regulation also took steps for improvement of the sea lanes and inland trade. However, for the postal services, though it was useful assistance for the society, it remained insufficient.

Solved Questions.


What objectives did the british intend to achieve through their policies of infrastructure development in india? (ncert)


Briefly discuss the various reasons for development of infrastructure by the british government.

(A) Explanation
  • During the British rule, there was some infrastructural development in areas such as railways, ports, water transport, posts, and telegraphs.
  • But the motive behind this development was simply to foster the colonial interest of the British government.
  • They were never interested in the growth of Indian economy.
(B) Reasons for the development of infrastructure
1. Railways


  • Railways were developed to move finished goods physically from Britain to different interior parts of colonial India.
  • Britishers wanted to widen the size of the market for their own goods.
2. Roads


  • Roads were developed for mobilizing British army within India.
  • To facilitate transportation of raw material from different parts of the country to the nearest railway station or to the port to send it to Britain.
3. Ports
  • Ports were developed to export raw materials and import finished goods from Britain.
4. Communication 


  • Post and telegraphs were developed for the purpose of maintaining law and order.
  • The expensive system of the electric telegraph in India was developed to enhance administrative efficiency.
Q.2- What were the positive signs in railways under the british rule? What was the motive of constructing railway by the british government?
(A) Explanation
  • British rulers introduced railways in India in 1850.
  • Railway began its operations in 1853.
(B) Positive signs in the railway under British rule i. Cheap and Rapid movement of people from one place to another.

ii. Increased commercialization of Indian Agriculture.

iii. India’s Industrial sector developed due to the expansion of railways.

iv. The increased volume of export (but it did not give many advantages to Indian people).

(C) Motives for constructing a railway i. To have effective control and administration over the Indian Territory.

ii. To earn profit through foreign trade by linking major ports with railways.

iii. Profitable investment in India.


Discuss any positive contributions contributed by the British in India? Discuss.


What were the positive contributions made by British rule in India?

(A) Explanation
  • British rule misused India in various ways.
  • However, there were many ways motives initiated by the yield in positive effects.
  • Their exploitative policies and programs ended up giving some positive impact in India.
(B) Following are some of the positive impacts :
(1) Commercial agriculture
  • It changed the outlook of the farmers.
  • Farming proved to be a profitable venture rather than merely a means of subsistence.
(2) Spread of railways and roadways
  • It opened up new opportunities for social and economic growth.


(3) Expanding means of transport
  • It helps as a support system to combat the spread of famines.
  • Food supplies could be rushed to the drought-hit area.
(4) Transition from barter system to monetary system
  • Economy shifted from a barter system to the monetary system.
  • It facilitated the division of labor, specialization and large scale production.
(5) Administration
  • The British Raj in India left a legacy of an effective and efficient system of administration.
  • It served as a ready-reckoner for our politicians and economic planners.

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