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Government Of India Act Of 1919: Montagu-Chelmsford Reform

Government of India Act of 1919 also known as Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms/Montford. The British secured India's participation in....

Government of India Act of 1919 also known as Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms/Montford.

The British secured India’s participation in World War I by promising to grant more powers to the Indian people. After World War I, the GOI Act of 1919 was enacted.

Main Features

  • Provincial Government
  • Introduction of Dyarchy.
  • The government expanded provincial legislative councils further, electing 70 percent of the members.
  • The system of communal and class electorates was further solidified.
  • Central Government
  • The Act did not envision a responsible government at the all-India level.
  • A bicameral arrangement was introduced.
  • The governor-general was to be the chief executive authority.
  • The Act clarified that there would be a gradual development of self-governing institution in India and not self-determination of the people of India.

Key Provisions: Other Salient Features

  • This act provided for the first time, the establishment of a public service commission in India.
  • The act also stipulated the establishment of a statutory commission after 10 years to study the government’s functioning. This resulted in the Simon Commission of 1927.
  • It also created the office of the High Commissioner for India in London.

Significance of GOI act 1919

  • People come to know about the importance of votings and elections, women voted to be their first time voting 
  •  The Government of India (GOI) Act of 1919 signalled the administration’s desire to gradually introduce responsible government in India for the first time.
  • The concept of provincial self-government was introduced.
  • The government considerably lessened administrative pressure and granted people more administrative power.
  • The government’s adoption of the policy of self-government may render the Home Rule and nationalist League’s demands no longer considered seditious.
  • Indians are becoming more aware of the administrative process, which allows them to be more and highly motivated to achieve the aim of Swaraj.

The Government of India Act of 1919: Merits

  • The concept of responsible government was proposed by the dyarchy.
  • It was the first to establish the concept of a federal government with a unitary bias.
  • For the first time, the public became aware of elections, sparking political awareness.
  • There was a rise in the number of Indians working in the administration.
  • They were in charge of several portfolios, such as labour, health, and so on.
  • For the first time, certain Indian women were granted the power to vote.

The GOI Act 1919: Limitations

  • This statute widened the scope of centralized and communal representation
  • The franchise had a relatively restricted number of locations. It did not apply to the average person
  • The governor-general and governors had a lot of power to weaken the central and provincial or state-by-state legislatures, respectively
  • The distribution of central legislature seats was based on the British’s perception of the province’s ‘importance‘, not on population.
  • In 1919, authorities passed the Rowlatt Acts, imposing severe restrictions on the press and freedom of movement.
  • Despite the unanimous opposition of Indian members of the legislative council, authorities passed those legislations.
  • In protest, several Indian members quit.

Read also: Indian Councils Act of 1861 and 1892

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