India had world's largest and most advanced economy for 1800 years: Govenor

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has said the economic history of India is indeed informative. "India had the largest and most advanced economy in the world for almost 1800 years between the 1st century and 18th century," he added. Speaking at the Chamber Day Celebrations & Conference of Champion of Humanity Awards organised by Hindustan Chamber of Commerce in Chennai, he said, "We remained economically integrated with the world, with high levels of trade and investment."

Even during the Mughal Empire, our nation was the world leader in manufacturing, producing 25% of the world’s industrial output, he added. He however said: "The advent of British rule changed all that British economic policies gave them a monopoly over India’s large market and resources. India served as both a significant supplier of raw goods to British manufacturers and a large captive market for British manufactured goods."

Stating that protectionist policies such as high tariffs on Indian textile goods, for example restricted our sales, he added: "Instead, raw material such as cotton was transported without tariffs to British factories which manufactured textiles and sold them back to India. Such imperialistic policies crippled Indian Industry and Commerce." He said the economic drain that was practiced resulted in India’s share of the world economy declining from 24.4% in 1700 to 4.2% at the time of independence in 1947.

"The decades after Independence have witnessed the transformation of India into an economic power. The first four decades after independence saw industrialisation focused on self-sufficiency and import substitution. This was regulated through central planning and licences and quotas. Public Sector Units and Joint Sector units took the lead followed by private sector initiatives. The Green Revolution made India self-sufficient in food production."