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Underscore some of India's most crucial economic challenges at the time of independence.

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The exploitative colonial rule of the British hampered almost every spheres of Indian economy badly. As an end-result, India faced acute economic challenges at the time of independence. The following are some of the economic challenges faced by the Indian economy:  

(i) Low Level of Agricultural Productivity: During the colonial rule Indian agricultural sector was used by the British to suit to their own interest. Consequently, Indian agricultural sector experienced stagnancy, low level of productivity, lack of investment, poor condition of landless farmers and peasants. Thus, the immediate concern for India was to develop its agricultural sector and its productivity. Some of the immediate reforms needed at the time of independence were abolition of Zamindari system, need of land reforms, reducing inequality of land ownership and up liftment of the peasants.  

(ii)  Infant Industrial Sector: India failed to develop a sound industrial base during the colonial rule. In order to develop the industrial sector, India needed huge capital, investments, infrastructure, human skills, technical know how and modern technology. Further, due to stiff competition from the British industries, India's domestic industries failed to sustain. Thus, developing small scale and large-scale industries simultaneously was the main concern for India to develop its industrial sector. Moreover, the need to increase the share of industrial sector to India's GDP was one of the important economic challenges for India.  

(iii) Lack in Infrastructure: Although there was a significant change in the infrastructural development in the country but this was not sufficient to improve the performance of agricultural and industrial sector. Also, there was a need to upgrade the existing infrastructure and to modernize the infrastructure to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness.   

(iv)  Poverty and Inequalities: India was trapped in the vicious circle of poverty and  inequality. The colonial rule drained out a significant portion of India's wealth to Britain. Consequently, majority of India's population was poverty trodden. This further exaggerated economic inequalities across the country.

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Some of the most crucial economic challenges at the time of independence were as follows:

  • Development and public orientation of railways and roadways.
  • Development of basic industries; like iron and steel.
  • Improvement of private capital.
  • Increasing employment opportunities.
  • Increasing various aspects of human development index; like literacy, child mortality, life expectancy, etc.
  • Technology upgradation in agriculture and land reforms.

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