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Board of Trade, The


Board of Trade, The was set up in 1773 with the purpose of looking after trade of the east india company in the Bengal Presidency. With the coming of diwani administration directly in the hands of the company in 1772, the Fort William Council became pre-occupied with the administrative affairs. Consequently, trade and commerce suffered. The Governor General in Council therefore established the Board of Trade with seven senior officers as its members. Until 1786, the members of the Board had administrative functions as well. All the officers of the company were engaged in private trade with the direct support of the Board. Such an arrangement was essentially predatory and caused great economic loss to the country and to the company.

lord cornwallis tried to minimize corruption and misuse of powers by separating the Board of Trade from administration. Private trading by officers was banned. From 1793, no person from trading department could enter company's civil service by transfer or otherwise. The Board of Trade lost its significance when the company's monopoly was abolished under the charter act of 1813 under which the company lost its trading right, except China trade. Consequently, the Board of Trade had to be abolished. [Sirajul Islam]