ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Indian Economic History in Perspective

Indian Economic History in Perspective India and the World Economy: edited by G Balachandran; Oxford University Press, New Delhi; 2003, NEERAJ HATEKAR The 19th century remains an enigma in Indian economic history. Contrary to the popular imagination, the latter part of the 19th century was perhaps the first time that the Indian economy experienced sustained, fairly widespread growth of a modern nature. The pre-colonial Indian economy did experience short-lived regional spurts in economic growth, but sustained growth was a new phenomena. During 1868 to 1898, NDP growth averaged nearly 1 per cent per year, with per capita NDP growth taking place at 0.59 per cent. 1882-1898 was really the period of high growth when per capita NDP growth averaged nearly 0.8 per cent per annum. These numbers may seem small, but they refer to an economy that was just about beginning to modernise. To put things in perspective, let us compare these rates with the rate of growth of early industrial England. According to Crafts (1997), British GDP was growing at about 0.6 per cent per annum during 1760-80, when the Industrial Revolution was gathering momentum. 1780-1801 saw growth at 1.4 per cent. Thus our NDP growth figures are not very much below the GDP growth figures of late 18th century England.

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