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Industrial Capitalism 1813 to 1857

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India Thrown Open to Machine Made Foreign Goods (1813): This period saw the classic age of free trader industrial capitalist exploitation. The year 1813 was an important landmark in the history of colonial exploitation of India as this year marked the end of the company’s monopoly on Indian trade. The commercial policy of the East India Company after 1813 was guided by the needs of the British industry and its main aim was to transform Indian into a consumer of British industrial products and a supplier of raw materials for British industries. The government of India now followed the policy of free trade and allowed unrestricted entry of British goods.

Indian handicrafts faced unequal competition from machine-made goods and faced extinction.

The Indian manufacturers had already lost out in the foreign market owing to import restrictions, now they began to lose out in their home market itself.

One-sided Free Trade: But this free-trade was only one-sided. While India was thrown open for foreign goods, Indian products were subjected to heavy import duties in Britain (e.g. in 1824, 67.5 percent duty was levied on Indian calicos and 37.5% duty on Indian muslin. Duty on Indian sugar was three times its cost price while that on certain items reached as high as 400%).

Accordingly, Indian exports to England rapidly declined. This changed the character of Indo- British trade. Now onwards, India became chiefly an importer of goods and the same period. Now the balance of trade tilted heavily in favour of Britain.

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