A. BRITISH MILKING OF WEALTH ... £ 222 BILLION POUNDS in its 200+ years of direct and indirect rule.
The “drain of wealth” from India to Britain during the two centuries of colonial rule was very real, very substantial and there are strong reasons to believe that India may have looked significantly different (and far better) economically and socially had it not been for the two centuries of British rule.
The beginning of this period can probably be traced back to the Battle of Plasssey. As Prof. Richards writes in the introduction to his paper “Imperial Finance Under the East India Company 1762-1859”, “On June 23,1757, Robert Clive, commanding a small force of East India Company professional troops, defeated and killed Siraju-ud-daula, the ruling Nawab of Bengal, on the battlefield of Plassey. The battle marked a significant turning point in world history, for it permitted the English East India Company to gain control over the rich resources of the Mughal successor state in northeastern Bengal and Bihar.
…This was the starting point for a century-long process of British conquest and dominion over the entire Indian subcontinent and beyond.”
In his research on the subject, Prof Maddison mentions the burden imposed by the administrative machinery of the State: “…British salaries were high: the Viceroy received £25,000 a year, and governors £10,000…From 1757 to 1919, India also had to meet administrative expenses in London, first of the East India Company, and then of the India Office, as well as other minor but irritatingly extraneous charges. The cost of British staff was raised by long home leave in the UK, early retirement and lavish amenities in the form of subsidized housing, utilities, rest houses, etc.”
Prof. Richards mentions that although the Company “raised their revenue demands in each territory … to the highest assessments made by previous Indian regimes” they were still insufficient to “meet the combined administrative, military and commercial expenses of the Company”