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The Report on Indian Constitutional Reforms

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War is a great catalyst in the society; its tremors are not restricted to the battlefields only. Its impact is profound and far-reaching. The First Great War (1914-18) in the winning of which India, though still a British Colony, played a significant role that intensified India’s national movement for independence to which Great Britain responded by enunciating the goal of responsible Government. The Secretary of State for India made the following announcement in the House of Commons on 20 August 1917: “the policy of this Majesty’s Government with which the Government of India are in complete accord, is that of the increasing association of Indian in every branch of the administration with a view to the progressive realization of responsible Government in India as an integral part of the British Empire”. This was a historic announcement by the colonial power marking ‘the end of one epoch and the beginning of the new one’ to quote the Report on Indian Constitutional Reforms, 1918. This proclamation was echoed in the Government of India Act, 1919, which marked a move towards the establishment of responsible Government in India by stages. A beginning was made at the provincial level and here too in half of administration – that half which was dealing with, what Montague Chelmsford Report called, ‘nation-building activities’ (read, development). In other words, ‘responsible Government was to be introduced (with suitable checks) in the provinces in that sector of administration dealing with development subjects like education, cooperatives, agriculture, animal husbandry, local self Government, public health etc.’ Indians would be entering the provincial level of administration in the developmental sector, the other half dealing with ‘reserved’ subject like law and order remaining solely with the Governor. Indian leadership would best know the felt needs of the people and thus the programmes and the schemes of development are bound to be more meaningful and realistic. As the leadership traditionally lacks administrative experiences, they were being basically political agitators who were liable to make mistakes. But the effects of such mistake would be localized and moreover they would learn from their mistakes and would be ready for larger responsibilities.

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Written by upsc aspirants

January 28th, 2012 at 3:42 pm