Modern History Simplified: Government of Indian Act of 1919 (Montague-Chelmsford Reforms)

Government of Indian Act of 1919 (Montague-Chelmsford Reforms)
The Act of 1919, clarified that there would be only a gradual development of self-governing institutions in India and that the British Parliament—and not self-determination of the people of India—would determine the time and manner of each step along the path of constitutional progress.
Features of the Act:
  1. It relaxed the central control over the provinces by demarcating and separating the Central and Provincial subjects. The Central and Provincial legislatures were authorised to make laws on their respective list of subjects. 
  2. However the structure of government continued to be centralised and unitary. 
  3. System of Dyarchy was introduced at the Provincial level:
    1. The act further divided the provincial subjects into transferred and reserved subjects. 
    2. The transferred subjects were administered by the governor with the aid of the legislative ministers who are responsible to the legislative council.
    3. The reserved subjects were to be administered by the governor and his executive council without being responsible to the legislative council. 
    4. This dual scheme of governance was known as ‘Dyarchy’. 
  4. Bicameralism was introduced at the Centre: Thus the Indian Legislative Council was replaced by a bicameral legislature consisting of an Upper House (Council of State) and a Lower House (Legislative Assembly).
  5. Direct elections were introduced in the country. Majority of the members from both the houses were chosen by Direct election. 
  6. Extended Separate Electorate: The Act extended the principle of communal representation by providing a separate electorate for Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo Indians and Europeans. 
  7. Three of Six members in Viceroy’s executive council were Indians. 
  8. Budget: It separated, for the first time, the provincial budget from the central budget.
  9. Public Service Commission: It provided for the establishment of a public service commission. [Hence a Central Public service commission was set up in 1926 for recruiting civil servants].
  10. A High Commissioner for India was appointed, who was to hold his office in London for six years and whose duty was to look after Indian trade in Europe
  11. The Secretary of State for India who used to get his pay from the Indian revenue was now to be paid by the British Exchequer, thus undoing an injustice in the Charter Act of 1793.

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