Monday, November 30, 2009



Local self-government means management of local affairs by such local bodies as have been elected by the people living in that particular locality. The Charter Act of 1793 put the municipal institution on a statutory basis. The Governor-General was el1}powered to appoint Justices of Peace in the presidency towns. The Indian Council Act of 1851 inaugurated the policy of legislative devolution and Mayo's Resolution of 1870 on financial decentralisation was a natural corollary. The provincial governments were authorised to resort to local taxation to balance their budgets. Ripon's viceroyalty saw the liberalisation of ad­ministration in every sphere. The Resolution of 1882 stands out as a landmark in the development of local self­government. Ripon desired the provincial governments to apply in case of local bodies, the same principle of finan decentralisation which Mayo's Government had bet towards them. The provincial governments were asked undertake a careful survey of provincial, local and murl pal finances.

In 1908, the entire subject of local self-government reviewed by the Royal Commission on Oecentralisation a important recommendations were made almost in evi sphere. The Commission laid emphasis on the -developmi of village panchayats and sub-district boards. Regarding municipalities, the commission urged the withdrawal
existing restrictions on their powers of taxation and a! stoppage of regular grants-in-aid from provincial govel ments except for undertaking large projects such as thJ concerning drainage or water supply. It suggested tl} municipalities might undertake the responsibility for pI mary education, hospitals, famine relief, etc.

The historic announcement of August 20, 1917, ma the government review the functioning of the local se government. It suggested that the local bodies should
made as representative as possible of the people. Regarding the village panchayats, the resolution stated that the local bodies could not be looked upon as mere mechanic, adjuncts of local self-government but as associations designed signed to develop village corporate life, keeping in miIi.l social and traditional realities. The provincial government were urged to make an effective beginning towards deve!
opment of village panchayats.

With the coming of the Government of India Act 191 local self-government became a 'transferred' subject und popular ministerial control. Each province was allowed to
develop local self-governments according to their needs and requirement. By the Government of India Act, 1935 furth
impetus was given to the development.



The bulk of the Company's army consisted of Indian sepoys. The army grew in size along with British expansion. In 1857, the strength of the army in India was around 3.5 lakh of whom about 2.5 lakh were Indians, but its officers were exclusively British. The highest Indian officer was a subedar. After 1857, Indian soldiers were excluded .from arsenals and artillery. The number of English soldiers was increased. Recruitment of Indians was restricted to particu­lar regions and a propaganda made of 'martial' and 'non­martial' communities of Indians. Punjabis, Gurkhas and Pathans, who had assisted the British in the suppression of the revolt, were declared to be 'martial' and were recruited in great numbers. By 1875, nearly half of the British soldiers were recruited from Punjab.

Lord Cornwallis gave proper shape to the police force by establishing the system of circles or thanas headed by a daroga, who was an Indian. Later, the post of district superintendent of police was created to head the police organisation in a district. In the villages, policing was left to the villagers. In 1791, a superintendent of police for Calcutta was appointed and soon other cities were placed in the charge of kotwals.



At the commercial stage of its career, the East India Company had its own courts of law for administering justice among its servants. In 1772, Warren Hastings took the first step in providing a well organised judicial system. The system was stabilised by Lord Cornwallis. The Bengal Regulation (also known as the Cornwallis code) of 1793 bound the court to take decisions according to the provi­sions contained in it. To a great extent, the regulation accommodated the personal laws of Hindus and Muslims and stated them in clear terms in English and regional languages. The full codification of the Indian system of law and court procedure was taken up in 1833 when the government appointed the India Law Commission.

The Islington Commission, The Montagu-Chelmsford Report and The Lee Commission

The Islington Commission (1912) Following more Indian pressures for greater share in public services, the British Government set up a Royal Commission on Civil Service under Lord Islington in 1912. It recommended:
(i) 25 per cent of the posts in the superior civil service should be filled from among Indians, partly by direct recruitment and partly by promotion.
(ii) the examination for the recruitment of civil ser­
vants should be held in India.

The Montagu-Chelmsford Report (1918) The Montagu­Chelmsford report, which took a more liberal and sympa thetic view on Indians missing the civil service proposed that
(i) India should be the venue for conducting exami­nation for 33 per cent of the superior posts and that this percentage should increase by 1.5 per cent annually;
(ii) there should be nQ racial discrimination in matter
of appointment; and
(iii) there must be a system of appointment in India for all those public services for which there was a recruit­ment in England, open to Europeans and, Indians alike.
These proposals were accepted and became the basis of appointment for about ten years.

The Lee Commission (1923) A Royal Commission under Lord Lee was appointed in 1923. The Lee commission submitted its report in 1924. Its major recommendations were as follows:
(i) 20 per cent of the officers should be recruited by promotion from provincial civil services and of the remain­ing 80 per cent, half should be British and half Indian; and
(ii) a Public Service Commission with five full-fledged members should be appointed immediately. (Such a com­mission was appointed in 1925.)
The government accepted most of the Lee Commission recommendations.

The Aitchison Commission (1886)

In 1886, Lord Dufferin appointed a "Public Service Commission" under Sir Charles Aitchison to investigate the problems of the civil services in India. The commission made the following decisions:

(i) It rejected the idea of simultaneous examination for covenanted service and advised the abolition of the statu­tory civil service.
(ii) It proposed the setting up of provincial civil service, the members of which would be separately re­cruited in every province either by promotion from lower ranks or by direct recruitment.
(iii) It suggested that the terms 'covenanted' and 'un­covenanted' should be replaced by the terms 'imperial' and 'provincial' respectively.
(iv) It suggested 19 and 23 as the minimum and maximum age limits for Indians at the open civil service examinations.

The recommendations of Aitchison were accepted and the covenanted civil service came to be known as Civil Service of India. The provincial service was called after the particular province.

Administration Under British Rule


As the British Parliament was in a position to exercise only occasional or limited control over Indian administration, the Government of India was a bureaucracy or government by officials in the strict sense of the term. Hence the character of the higher civil services under British rule assumed more than usual significance.
The credit for providing India with a civil service in the modem sense of the word goes to Lord Cornwallis. Efforts were made to make the service as attractive as possible. But it was only Lord Wellesley who realized that the Company's growing empire could not be.-administered satisfactorily by those who were recruited and trained as the agents of a commercial concern.

Desiring that they be given proper training before being assigned any job, he established the Fort William College in Calcutta in 1801 to train the Company's civil servants in literature and lan­guages of India. However, the directors of the company disapproved of his action. In 1805, the Company established the East India College at Haileybury (England) for two years' training of young persons nominated for service in India. Wellesley's policy of imperial expansion opened to the Company's servants new avenues of lucrative employ­ment and distinction. Closer relations with the country's powers called into existence a new class of diplomats, known as Residents, who formed the link between the Governor-General and the subordinate allies of the Com­pany. But this system was not a proper method of attracting young men to assume heavy responsibilities. The system of recruitment through competitive examinations held in England was introduced after passing of the Charter Act of 1853. The first examination was held in London in 1855. But Indians had to face a lot of hurdles in appearing for these competitive examinations.

Despite the removal of the colour bar in the matter of appointment by the Charter Acts of 1833 and 1853, the highest posts which were actually thrown open to Indians were those of Deputy Collector and Deputy Magistrate.

Viceroys during the British Rule

LORD MAYO (1869-1872) He was very popular among the Indian princes. During his reign were relations were improved with Sher Ali; for the first time in Indian history a census was held in 1871; and a college was set up at Ajmer, the 'Mayo College'. Lord Mayo was assassinated in 1872, while he was touring the convict settlement in the Andamans.

LORD NORTHBROOK (1872-1876) The events in his reign were: the deposition of the Gaekwar (1875); visit of Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII); abolition of income tax; and the Kuka Movement.

LORD LYITON (1876-1880) During his reign, the Parliament passed the Royal Titles Act conferring upon Queen Victoria the title of 'Empress of India'; Lord Lytton held a magnificent Durbar at Delhi on January 1, 1877 where the Queen was declared 'Kaiser-i-Hind'; the Vernacu­lar Press Act was passed in 1"878; the foundation stone of the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College, Aligarh was laid in 1877; Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880); lI;)wered the age of candidates giving the I.C.S. examination to 19 years; and a Famine Committee under Gen. Richard Stratchey was appointed (1878).

LORD RIPON (1880-1884) The chief events of his period were: end of the Second Anglo-Afghan War; Mysore restored to the deposed Raja Krishna (188i); Factory Act of 1881; the Vernacular Press Act repealed in 1882; the Punjab University founded in 1882 (now in Pakistan); and po~cy of free trade introduced. The most important con­structive work of Lord Ripon was the enactment of a series of Acts, which made local self-government more effective. The llbert Bill was intrpduced during his time. The Hunter Commission Report on education came in 1882. Lord Ripon . was the most liked of the British Viceroys.

LORD DUFFERIN (1884-1888) The important events of Lord Dufferin's time were: the Third Anglo-Burmese War, leading to annexation of upper Burma; the Punjdeh Affair (1885); formation of the Indian National Congress (1885); and Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee celebration in 1887.

LORD LANSDOWNE (1888-1894) lmportant events were: demarcation of the Afghan boundary (Durand line); rebel­lion in Manipur; and the Second Indian Council Act (1892).

LORD ELGIN II (1894-1899) He was the son of Elgin I. The important events of his period were: a bubonic plague in Bombay (1896); and severe drought in 1896-97 at Bikaner and the Hissar district.

LORD CURZON (1899-1905) He was the ablest among the viceroys. Some of the important events of his period were: creation of the North-West Frontier Province in order to suppress the revolt of the frontier tribes (1897-1898); a mission sent to Tibet (1904); reduction of the salt-tax to one­half and raising of the limit of taxable income; enactment of the Punjab Land Alienation Act (1900); founding of. an Agricultural Research Institute at Pusa (Bihar); improvment of irrigation with the construction of the 'Triple Canal Project'. Also, in 1904, he passed the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act and founded the Archaeological Depart­ment. Victoria Memorial was constructed in 1905, in memory of Queen Victoria, who died in 1901; and the second Delhi Durbar was held in 1903 to mark the accession to the throne of Edward VII. The most eventful event of his reign was the partition of Bengal on October 16, 1905.

LORD MINTO II (1905-1910) Great-grand son of Lord Minto I, his reign is especially known for the Minto-Morley Reforms (1909).

LORD HARDINGE II (1910-1916) He was the grandson of Lord Hardinge I. The chief events of his time were: Coronation Durbar in 1911, in honour of George V; r:evo­cation of the partition of Bengal (1911); capital shifted from Calcutta to Delhi (1911); and laying of the foundation stone of the Banaras Hindu University (1916).

LORD CHELMSFORD (1916-1921) Lord Chelmsford's regime proved to be reactionary and it led to great Unrest in the country. The chief events of his time were: passing of the Government of India Act, 1919, which introduced dyarchy in the Provinces; Rowlatt Act 1919; the Jallianwala Bagh massacre on April 13, 1919; starting of the Non­cooperation Movement; and the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919.

LORD READING (1921-1926) The chief events were: put an end to the Non-cooperation movement; arrival of the Prince of Wales, who ascended the throne as King Edward VIII; and the Moplah Revolt of 1921 on the southwestern coast .of India.

LORD IRWIN (1926-1931) Lord Irwin, afterwards Lord Halifax, was the grandson of Charles Wood. The chief events of his period were: (i) the appointment of the Simon Commission (1928); passing of Independence R~solution (1929) by the Indian National Congress; the Civil Disobe­dience Movement started on March 12, 1930; the First Round Table Conference (1930); and the Gandhi-Irwin Pact (1931).

LORD WILLINGDON (1931-1936) The important events of his period were: Second Round Table Conference (1931); Communal Award of August 1932 announced; the Poona Pact of 1932; the Third Round Table Conference (1932); and passing of the Government of India Act, 1935.

LORD LINLITHGOW (1936-1943) He had the longest reign as viceroy of India. During his time, the Act' of 1935 came into operation on April 1, 1937; Congress ministries were formed; Cripps Mission (1942) came into being; and Quit India Resolution passed on August 8, 1942. A terrible
famine occurred in Bengal in 1943.

LORD W AVELL (1943-1947) The important events of his time were: founding of Indian National Army (1943); Simla Conference (1945); a Naval Mutiny in Bombay (1946); coming of the Cabinet Mission to India; observation of 16th August, 1946 as the Direct Action Day in Calcutta by the Muslim League; riots in Bengal and Bihar; setting up of an Interim Government; and British Prime Minister Attlee's announcement of 20th February 1947, that power would be transferred to the Indians by June 1948.

LORD MOUNTBATIEN (March 1947-August 1947) tie was the last viceroy of India. Some of the important events of his period were: Declaration of June 3, 1947; passing of Independence Act, 1947; Pakistart's coming into being on 14th August 1947, and at midnight of August 14-15, the British authority in India coming to an end.