Think Learn & Perform (TLP)

The Only Dedicated Platform for UPSC Mains Answer Writing

Day 36 – Q 4. In what ways did the development of railways by the British further their own interests? Examine?

4. In what ways did the development of railways by the British further their own interests? Examine?

अंग्रेजों द्वारा रेलवे के विकास ने किस तरह से उनके ही हितों को आगे बढ़ाया? जांच करें।


The railway construction received “the first decisive stimulus” during Dalhousie’s administration. When Dalhousie anchored in India in 1847, he recommended the policy of constructing trunk lines connecting the interior of each of the three Presidencies.

It has been argued that construction of railways in India served the interests of British more than India.


Development of railways and British interests

Drain of wealth

  • Dalhousie recommended that railway construction should be entrusted to private companies, he flatly rejected the idea of Government constructing the railways.
  • In railway construction contracts there were provisions of free gift of land by the State to the private companies on a lease for 99 years and guaranteed interest at rates varying between 5% and 4.5% on the capital investment in India.

Access to raw material and new market

  • For construction of railways in India, there was pressure from Lancashire manufacturing interests who argued that a larger supply of clean raw cotton and Indigo could be drawn from India, so that the English textile industry could flourish.
  • Similarly, railways provided access to other raw material such as iron ore and coal supply, and to consumer market for machine made finished goods of Britain. In other words it supported British Industrial revolution on both the ends.

Revenue administration and law & order

  • Railway acted as source of oppression by reaching to large number of people. More and more people were brought under regular taxation and revenue administration.
  • Railway even acted as a pacifier in the event of rebellion so that soldiers can be reached at the trouble site within short time.
  • Railway and postal/telegraph system gave strength to British administration in India.

Political stronghold

  • Railways helped in expansion of Raj in frontiers as well as far flung areas and provided for administrative ease, surveying, etc.
  • These developments created to some extent pro British feelings among masses, making it easy for them to rule longer without any powerful resistance.


Though, railways in India were constructed to reach the British interests but it did helped Indian side too. Railway acted a source of unification for the people of India as many people could travel to remote places. The feeling of Real India or One India became true. It helped in the freedom struggle to a large extent.

Best Answer: Utkarsh Saxena

Print Friendly, PDF & Email