Discuss the Industrial Policy in India immediately before independence. What role was played by ideals of Indian constitution in framing the Industrial Policy of the newly independent nation? Examine.

After the attainment of independence, the Government of India declared its first Industrial Policy on 6th April 1948.  The Industrial Policy 1948 was presented in the parliament by then Industry Minister Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. The main historical importance of this policy is that it ushered India in the system of Mixed Economy. But prior to this, the British Government in India formulated industrial policy.

Industrial policy of the British in India

The pre-independence industrial development of British India can be divided into three different phases.

  • The first phase took place between 1850 and 1914. The phase witnessed improvement in communications like the telegraph system, transportation like railways, foreign trade development, Chemical industries, and the consequent accumulation of commercial industries. Suez Canal was opened in 1869. But the ultimate development in the heavy types of machinery was missing.
  • The second phase took place between 1915 and 1939. This phase witnessed events like the First World War, worldwide depression. In 1916, the Indian Industrial Commission with the chairmanship of Sir Thomas Holland was set up. Several other committees like the Central Banking Enquiry Committee, the External Capital Committee, and the Taxation Enquiry Committee, were set up. The manufacturing of heavy industrial goods was started. Despite many difficulties, continuous industrial development was noticed during this period.
  • Phase three took place between 1940 and 1948. This phase witnessed the second World War. It provided a boost in the industrial sector as the ammunition equipment enabled the engineering factories and railway workshops to have special attention. Heavy shortage of machinery and shipping products was experienced after the cessation of the war.


After independence, several industrial policies were released suiting contemporary requirements. The main Industrial Policy documents before liberalization, privatization, and globalization in 1991 included Industrial Policy-1948; Industrial Policy -1956; Industrial Policy -1977 and the Industrial Policy -1980. The last Industrial Policy of 1991 marked the advent of a new era in the Indian Economy.

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