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Question

The traditional handicrafts industries were ruined under the British rule. Do you agree with this view? Give reasons in support of your answer.


Solution

The traditional handicrafts industries in India enjoyed a worldwide reputation, but the British rule in India led to the decline of Indian handicraft industry. The following policies led to its downfall:

(i) Discriminatory Tariff Policy of the State:

The Britishers followed a discriminatory tariff policy by allowing tariff-free exports of raw material from India and tariff-free import of British industrial products but placed a heavy duty on the export of handicraft products. So, Indian handicraft products started losing their foreign as well as domestic consumers.

(ii) Competition with Machine-made Products: Manufactured goods from Britain were cheap and better in quality than the handicraft products. This competition forced many handicraftsmen to shut down their business.

(iii) Introduction of Railways in India: The Britishers introduced railways in India to expand the market of its low priced industrial products. Consequently, the demand for high-priced handicraft products started to fall, thus leading to the downfall of the handicraft industry.

(iv) New Patterns of Demand: As British rule progressed in India, a new class emerged, which was keen to follow the British lifestyle. This changed the pattern of demand in favour of British goods.


Economics

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