Ours could have been a ‘Developed Nation.’ But No, they didn’t let it happen!
For about 200 years, that India was ruled by the British, Indians lived in extreme poverty and famine. Culture and asset rich country like ours, was robbed of every penny depleting India’s wealth over these two centuries.
As per a report published by renowned economist Utsa Patnaik, she has explored the fiscal relations between Colonial India and Britain in detail. Her notings will be interesting facts to learn as Indians.
How Much Money Did the Britishers Take Away from India?
Over $45 trillion OR 9.2 trillion pounds OR INR 3.20 lakh billions OR “₹3,208,500,000,000,000
This massive drain curtailed our ability to come out of poverty. Between 1765 and 1938 this huge sum was taken away in form of India’s export surplus earning as the measure and compounding it at a 5% rate of interest. Patnaik also added that Indians were never given their due credit for precious home resources such as gold and forex earnings. Instead these rich resources were all used to feed to people of the British countries.
Per Capita Income from 1900-1946
As per Utsa’s report, the country’s PCI was almost steady during the last five decades before Independence. In 1900-02, India’s per capita income was Rs. 196.1, however, it managed to reach only Rs. 201.9 by the year 1945-46, just before we got independence.
In the interim, the per capita income rose to maximum Rs. 223.8 in 1930-32. All this happened when India registered the second largest export surplus earnings in the world for three decades before 1929.
Where Could India Have Been Today?
The Britishers siphoned off resources equivalent to 26-36 per cent of the Central government’s budget every year. This figure would have made a huge difference in India’s journey towards being a ‘developed‘ nation. If these earnings would have remained in India, we would been much ahead in terms of healthcare, social welfare indicators and so on.
Also the siphoning of funds, not just made India poor, but also forced us into acute malnutrition and several other diseases such as ‘flies’. This was all because the British kept taking away all the hard earned money of poor Indians. The starvation death rates were so high that the life of birth was just 22 years in the year 1911.
Utsa also pointed out that Britain exported foodgrains and imposed high taxes, which spread famine in India and reduced its purchasing power. As per the economist, per capita annual consumption of food, which was 200 kg in 1900, went down to 137 kg during World War II in 1946. She also said that India’s position at the time of independence was dismal on all social factors.
With inputs from Business Today and Mint
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