1725 - 1750
During this period, Mughals were replaced by the the Maratha Empire in much of India. While the other small regional states who were mostly late Mughal tributary states such as the Nawabs in the north and the Nizam in south India remained. However, the Mughal tax administration system was left largely intact. China was the world's largest economy followed by India and France. The gross domestic product of India in 1750 was estimated at about 80 per cent that of China.
1750 - 1775
During this period, tax administration system in India was collected by officers of the Maratha empire which expanded to almost 2.8 million km². While the Nizam's remained prosperous in the Deccan. China was the world's largest economy followed by India and France. The gross domestic product of India in 1775 was estimated at about 70 per cent that of China. Nevertheless, a devastating famine broke out in the eastern coast in early 1770s killing 5 per cent of the national population.
Main articles: Economy of India under Company rule and Economy of India under the British Raj
The British colonial rule created an institutional environment that did stabilise the law and order situation to a large extent. The British foreign policies however stifled the trade with rest of the world. They created a well developed system of railways, telegraphs and a modern legal system. The infrastructure the British created was mainly geared towards the exploitation of resources ofin the world and totally stagnant, with industrial development stalled, agriculture unable to feed a rapidly accelerating population. They were subject to frequent famines, had one of the world's lowest life expectancies, suffered from pervasive malnutrition and were largely illiterate.
An estimate by Angus Maddison argues that India's share of the world income went from 24.4% in 1700, comparable to Europe's share of 23.3%, to a low of 3.8% in 1952. While Indian leaders during the Independence struggle and left-nationalist economic historians have blamed the colonial rule for the dismal state of India's economy, a broader macroeconomic view of India during this period reveals that there were segments of both growth and decline, resulting from changes brought about by colonialism and a world that was moving towards industrialization and economic integration.
Price of Silver - Rate of Exchange: 1871-72 to 1892-93
Period Price of Silver (in pence per Troy ounce) Rupee exchange rate (in pence)
1871–1872 60½ 23 ⅛
1875–1876 56¾ 21⅝
1879–1880 51¼ 20
1883–1884 50½ 19½
1887–1888 44⅝ 18⅞
1890–1951 47 11/16 18⅛
1891–1892 45 16¾
1892–1893 39 15
Source: B.E. Dadachanji. History of Indian Currency and Exchange, 3rd enlarged ed.
(Bombay: D.B. Taraporevala Sons & Co, 1934), p. 15.
The fall of the Rupee
The crisis of silver currency and bank notes (1750–1870)
After its victory in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), Germany extracted a huge indemnity from France of £200,000,000, and then moved to join Britain on a gold standard for currency. France, the US and other industrializing countries followed Germany in adopting a gold standard throughout the 1870s. At the same time, countries, such as Japan, which did not have the necessary access to gold or those, such as India, which were subject to imperial policies that determined that they did not move to a gold standard, remained mostly on a silver standard. A huge divide between silver-based and gold-based economies resulted. The worst affected were economies with a silver standard that traded mainly with economies with a gold standard. With discovery of more and more silver reserves, those currencies based on gold continued to rise in value and those based on silver were declining due to demonetization of silver. For India which carried out most of its trade with gold based countries, especially Britain, the impact of this shift was profound. As the price of silver continued to fall, so too did the exchange value of the rupee, when measured against sterling.
British East India Company rule
During this period, the East India Company began tax administration reforms in a fast expanding empire spread over 250 million acres (1,000,000 km2), or 35 per cent of Indian domain. Indirect rule was also established on protectorates and buffer states. China was the world's largest economy followed by India and France. The gross domestic product of India in 1800 was estimated at about 60 per cent that of China, not taking into account the falling price of Rupee.
The Company treasury reported annual revenue of £111 million in circa 1800. This needs to converted to Indian Rupees with the falling price of Rupee to assess the impact on Indian economy. Almost all of the Indian land revenues were diverted by the Company to help the British Crown defend herself in the Napoleonic Wars.
China was the world's largest economy followed by India and France. The gross domestic product of India in 1825 was estimated at about 50 per cent that of China. British cotton exports reach 3 per cent of the Indian market by 1825.(pdf)
China was the world's largest economy followed by the UK and India. Industrial revolution in the UK catapulted the nation to the top league of Europe for the first time ever. During this period, British foreign and economic policies began treating India as an unequal partner for the first time. English replaced Persian as the official language of India. The gross domestic product of India in 1850 was estimated at about 40 per cent that of China. British cotton exports reach 30 per cent of the Indian market by 1850.(pdf)
Decline of the cotton textile industry
Ray (2009) raises three basic questions about the 19th-century cotton textile industry in Bengal: when did the industry begin to decay, what was the extent of its decay during the early 19th century, and what were the factors that led to this? Since there is no data on production, Ray uses the industry's market performance and its consumption of raw materials. Ray challenges the prevailing belief that the industry's permanent decline started in the late 18th century or the early 19th century. The decline actually started in the mid-1820s. The pace of its decline was, however, slow though steady at the beginning, but reached crisis point by 1860, when 563,000 workers lost their jobs. Ray estimates that the industry shrank by about 28% by 1850. However, it survived in the high-end and low-end domestic markets. Ray agrees that British discriminatory policies undoubtedly depressed the industry's export outlet, but suggests its decay is better explained by technological innovations in Britain.
The formal dissolution of the declining Mughal Dynasty heralded a change in British treatment of Indian subjects. During the British Raj, massive railway projects were begun in earnest and government jobs and guaranteed pensions attracted a large number of upper caste Hindus into the civil service for the first time. China was the world's largest economy followed by the USA, UK and India. The gross domestic product of India in 1875 was estimated at about 30 per cent that of China (or 60 per cent that of the USA), not taking into account the falling price of Rupee. British cotton exports reach 55 per cent of the Indian market by 1875.(pdf)
USA was the world's largest economy followed by China, UK, Germany and India. Collapse of the central authority of the Qing Dynasty and the resultant chaos triggered China's short but rapid decline on the world stage. The gross domestic product of India in 1900 was estimated at about 20 per cent that of the USA.
The Crown treasury reported annual revenue of £122 million in circa 1900. While the revenue in terms of Pound Sterlings reported very low growth, it does not take into account the price of Rupee falling drastically, which is needed to understand the growth of revenue in terms of Indian economy.