One of the fundamental weaknesses of the British Administration in India was that the functions of the State as then conceived were essentially those of law and order and the defence requirements of the country. The greater part of the resources of the State were utilised in these activities. Measures directed towards the material development of the country were few and had limited scope. This was inevitable in a regime in which the alien rulers wanted to be sure of their hold on the country in any ease, in the first instance, and they therefore subordinated other Issues to this primary consideration. Once this hold was secured, it was possible for the rulers to carry out their colonial economic policy subordinated to the needs of the United Kingdom. If Incidentally such a policy helped the growth of certain activities In the country the authorities were willing to carry out the same. The arrested development in many spheres of economic life, which resulted from this policy was generally resented by educated public opinion in the country. Opinion was gradually growing in favour of a conception of the State as a Welfare State devoting its energies and resources for the welfare of the people. The impact of this feeling was reflected in the change in the attitude of the British Government after the First World War. They tried gradually to introduce economic measures intended to develop the country; but this could neither be comprehensive nor rapid, as the administration still functioned under the old laissez-faire ideas on the one hand and the domination of British interests on the other. The frustration of the people thus brought about was reflected in the increasing political unrest in the country during the inter-war period.
2. A gradual change in the functions of the State took place in recent years.
The Second World War led to increasing control of economic affairs by the State for the prosecution of the war. In the meanwhile, the conception of the Welfare State was to some extent given shape in the form of planning schemes formulated by several parties in the country. The National Planning Committee appointed by the Congress was still working. In the meanwhile, the Tata-Birla Plan was published. This was followed by several other plans. The Government of Lord Wavell tried to utilise the planning consciousness of the people by creating a Department of Planning and Development in the Government of India in 1944. This was intended to make schemes for reconstruction in the post-war period. One of the authors of the Tata-Birla Plan, Sir Ardeshir Dalal was invited to take charge of this. department. It appeared for a time that efforts were being made to organise a Welfare State and hopes were raised that some tangible results would follow this step. Though several plans were drawn up both at the Centre and in the Provinces, a co-ordinated scheme could not be evolved because of various difficulties and the Planning Department was dissolved some time in 1946.