Government of India Act 1919 – Modern Indian History Notes PDF in English & Hindi for all Competitive Exams

Government of India Act 1919: The Government of India Act of 1919, also known as the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, was an important piece of legislation that marked a significant step in the constitutional evolution of British India. This act introduced significant changes to the governance of India and was a response to growing demands for self-governance and greater Indian participation in the administration. Here are the key provisions and features of the Government of India Act 1919:

Government of India Act 1919

1. Introduction of Diarchy:

  • One of the most significant features of the 1919 Act was the introduction of diarchy, a dual form of government. This system divided the subjects of administration into two categories: “transferred” and “reserved.”
  • Transferred subjects were to be administered by Indian ministers responsible to the legislatures, while reserved subjects remained under the control of British authorities.

2. Legislative Councils:

  • The act expanded the powers and functions of the central and provincial legislative councils, making them more representative. The central legislative council was expanded to include more elected members.
  • The provincial legislative councils were also enlarged, and separate electorates for religious and racial communities were retained.

3. Separation of Powers:

  • The act attempted to create a separation of powers between the executive and the legislative branches, with the legislative councils gaining more authority in the governance of India.

4. Provincial Autonomy:

  • Provinces were granted a degree of autonomy in the administration of transferred subjects. They had the power to make laws on a range of issues, including education, health, and public works.
  • The governor was responsible for the reserved subjects, while the elected ministers were responsible for the transferred subjects.

5. Expansion of Electorate:

  • The act extended voting rights, albeit with certain restrictions, to a larger portion of the Indian population, including some rural and urban male voters.

6. Reservation of Seats:

  • The act provided for the reservation of seats in legislative councils for various communities, including religious minorities and other special interests.

7. Public Service Commission:

  • The establishment of public service commissions for recruitment to the Indian Civil Services (ICS) and other civil services was authorized by the 1919 Act.

8. Reforms for Princely States:

  • The act also provided for the establishment of a statutory commission to inquire into the working of the system of governance in the princely states.

9. Minority Safeguards:

  • The act included safeguards for the rights of religious and minority communities.

10. Provincial Councils:

  • The act allowed for the establishment of provincial councils in certain provinces.

While the Government of India Act of 1919 represented a significant step toward self-governance, it fell short of the full demand for “Swaraj” or complete independence, which was a central goal of the Indian National Congress. The act was followed by the Government of India Act of 1935, which introduced further reforms and provided for a more federal structure of governance. These acts collectively laid the groundwork for the eventual attainment of Indian independence in 1947.

Download Government of India Act 1919 Notes PDF in Hindi

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By Team Learning Mantras