Why was there a sudden spurt in famines in colonial India since the mid-18th century? Give reasons. (Answer in 150 words) [2022]

There were several reasons why famines became more frequent in colonial India in the mid-18th century.

One reason was the growth of the British East India Company, which led to a shift in the economy towards cash crops such as cotton, opium, and indigo, rather than food crops. This meant that less land was being devoted to food production, which made the country more vulnerable to food shortages.

Another reason was the implementation of the Permanent Settlement, which tied land ownership to the payment of taxes. This led to a concentration of land ownership in the hands of a few wealthy landowners, who were more interested in producing cash crops than in feeding the local population.

Additionally, the British implemented policies that disrupted traditional systems of food distribution, such as the introduction of the railways, which made it more difficult for people in rural areas to access food.

Finally, the British government’s failure to address famines effectively and provide relief to those affected contributed to the severity and frequency of famines in colonial India.

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