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£9.2 trillion drained from India during British rule, economist finds

BRITAIN impoverished India over the course of its colonial rule by a staggering £9.2 trillion, laying the groundwork for modern international capitalism and holding back present-day India’s ability to escape poverty, a leading Indian economist has claimed.

Utsa Patnaik, Professor Emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, voiced her conclusions in a recently published Columbia University Press essay, based on extensive research conducted into the fiscal relations between Colonial India and Britain during the days of empire.

Between 1765 and 1938, “the drain amounted to 9.2 trillion pounds ($45 trillion), taking India’s export surplus earnings as the measure, and compounding it at a 5 per cent rate of interest,” Professor Patnaik explained in an interview with Live Mint this week.

To put this in context, Britain’s 2018 GDP estimate is roughly £2.3 trillion, meaning that the scale of British impoverishment of colonial India was so vast, that an accurate reparations of the amount drained would collapse the modern UK economy several times over.

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