Around the mid-nineteenth century, industrialisation took the form of a definite system. Industrialisation is the process of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society into an industrial one. In the words of Moore, “Industrialisation is the extensive use of inanimate sources of power in the production of economic goods and services.” According to Coleman, “Industrialisation signifies the growth of any form of industry as opposed to agriculture.”
With the advent of industrialisation, the economy in most countries of the world began to be based on differentiation, complex division of labour and a large-scale mechanised system of production. Production was not just for domestic consumption, but for exchange in the market and for profits.
The more industrialised a society, the smaller is the proportion of labour force engaged in agriculture. Agricultural work tends to provide a very low income. Industrialisation, on the other hand, brings with it a higher per capita income and a greater equality of income. It also increases the ratio of non-manual to manual workers in the non- agricultural labour force. This is most likely the reason for the shift from agricultural to industrial jobs.
In India, the decay of village handicrafts and hereditary occupations, which is the inevitable result of industrialisation, has affected the social structure in a number of ways. There is much more freedom of choice of occupation today than several years ago.
Whatever restrictions the caste system may have imposed on the choice of occupation have now ceased to exist. Industrialisation leads to urbanisation of the population. The place of caste panchayats has been taken over by trade unions and courts of law. In mills and factories, members from the lower class rub shoulders with members of the higher class. People of different castes mix freely and plan their strategy for the pursuit of common ends.
Industrialisation is not, however without its pitfalls. One of the drawbacks of rapid industrialisation is its effect on the rural population. Industrialisation draws its labour force from villages and creates a problem of rural brain drain.
It also leads to an overall fall in agricultural production. Nevertheless, the industrial revolution, given a strong impetus by none other than Jawaharlal Nehru, has been a pivotal factor in transforming the social structure of India.