What were the main causes of India’s agricultural stagnation during the colonial period?


The main causes of Agricultural stagnation in India during colonial period are stated below-

1) Land tenure system: The British rulers introduced three forms of land tenure system in India which were – Zamindari system, Mahalwari system, and Ryotwari system.

a. In the zamindari system, the zamindars were the owners of land. The profit accruing out of agriculture went to zamindars instead of cultivators. This led to exploitation of peasants and they were in a very bad condition.

b. In the ryotwari system, the ownership rights of the land was given to peasants and the British government collected tax directly from them @ 50% where the lands were dry and 60% in irrigated land.

c. In the Mahalwari system, there were provisions of both the zamindari system and ryotwari system. In this system the land was divided into Mahal and each Mahal comprises one or more villages, the ownership rights were vested with peasants and the village committee was held responsible for collection of taxes.

The system that badly affected the agriculture sector was the zamindari system.

2) Commercialisation of agriculture: It means producing crops for sale in the market and not for self-consumption. Farmers were forced to cultivate commercial crops like Indigo which was required by the textile industry in Britain, this resulted in fall in the production of food crops and the farmers had to suffer famine frequently.

3) Partition: In 1947 the division of the country between India-Pakistan affected India’s agricultural production adversely. The areas which were rich in producing food crops like East Punjab and Sind went to Pakistan and it created a food crisis in the country. The whole of the fertile land under jute production went to East Pakistan and the jute industry was severely affected.

4) Low level technology: Technology used in the agricultural sector was not at all developed and there was the lack of irrigation facilities and high-quality fertilizers were also not available which were adversely affecting the productivity of land.

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