Evolution of Business Activities in India:
In primitive society, there was no business. Our primitive ancestors consumed whatever they produced. They used to lead a simple life and the important problem before them was to obtain just so much food as was sufficient to keep them alive.
They used to satisfy their wants by their individual and direct efforts. In other words, everyone produced sufficient for the satisfaction of his own wants. This stage of human history is known as the stage of self- sufficiency.
The various stages of the evolution of business activities in India:
(1) Family-centred Village Communities: Cultivation, fishing, hunting, plucking and collecting of fruits were the main activities to keep themselves alive. People of those days by and large were self-sufficient. This is the first evolution of business.
(2) Barter Stage: There were artisans like carpenters and blacksmiths who provided their service to farmers and their families. Weaving was a traditional skill that took care of the village’s needs for clothing.
The exchange of goods for goods was required to satisfy the various needs of people. But the difficulties of barter as a mode of exchange were felt, as a shepherd exchanged milk of cows with the paddy of a cultivator. This was the beginning of the exchange of goods.
(3) Growth of Bazaars: Gradually to remove the difficulties to the barter system, the medium of exchange, like shells, conches, and even self or specified quantities of food-grain.
Later on, people with goods desired that others in need of those goods could easily be located and identified.
People, therefore, decided to select some places to come a particular day and time to exchange their surplus goods.
Thus, the concept of bazaar mandi came into existence. It this process, some people emerged in these weekly bazaars traders or merchants to help others in exchange for goods conveniently.
(4) Town Economy: Gradually to remove the difficulties of a barter system, coins into use to serve as the medium of exchange. This extended the scope of both production and exchange.
Towns developed where a large number of people lived and consumed quantities and diverse types of goods. A kind of division of works also took place. villagers with the help of agriculture produced food and raw materials.
Town people purchase food consumption from villages. Those in urban or semi-urban areas who made clothes, utensils, etc. procured from the latter their necessary raw materials.
In this way, gradually the production and distribution of goods expanded and took the shape of trade.
(5) International Trade or Business: The discovery of sea routes by Columbus and Vosco de Gama led to an extension of business activities with foreign countries.
Indian handicrafts and goods produced in cottage industries were readily sold in Asia and Egym even in earlier times. During the 16th and 17th centuries, trading companies were formed in European countries to avail of the greater scope of trade across the sea.
The East India Company was granted a charter by England for exclusive trade in India. As a result, India became a supplier of essential raw materials and ready markets for British products.
(6) Machine Age or Industrial Revolution: From 1760 to 18209 the production process started changing by introducing the mechanical process replacing the earlier manual process.
The changes started with the invention of mechanical methods of spinning and weaving by the invention of steam power.
By the beginning of the 19th century, the transport and communication systems were also transformed due to the invention of locomotives and other equipment.
(7) The decline of Cottage Industries and Handicrafts: Indian cottage industries and handicrafts were adversely affected by the flow of textiles and other machine-made goods from abroad and the process of decline continued from the 19th century.
(8) Growth of Business: During British rule, the industry, as well as railway transport, started growing in India on modern lines. Cotton and jute industry, coal mining and plantation industries (tea and coffee) led the way for a factory.
The extension of railways, engineering workshops and iron and brass foundries were established. Trading and manufacturing activities were undertaken in a more organized and systematic way. The evolution of business may be discussed briefly in the next post.