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Government of India act of 1919

This was the next major revision of the administration policy of the British in India. The earlier Morley-Minto reforms had failed to satisfy the aspirations of the nationalists and hence a report was tabled called the Montague-Chelmsford report which eventually became the Government of India act of 1919. The British aimed to subdue nationalist feelings by involving Indians more in the administration.


Its main provisions were:
  • The introduction of dyarchy or dual rule in the provinces. The aim of this was to give the legislature more of a say in the administration without compromising on the powers of the Governor. The matters of the state were divided into two broad categories, the transferred subjects and the reserved subjects. The former was administered by the Governor in consultation with his council of ministers from the legislature while on issues concerning the latter, the Governor did not need to consult the legislative assemblies.
  • The administration was made more de-centralized and the states were given more power in governing their internal matters, however this did not create a federation, for the centre still held far reaching powers.
  • The legislatures were made more representative and for the first time were split into a bicameral legislature in some of the bigger provinces. The electorates remained organized in the communal and sectional basis of the Government of India act of 1919.
  • The governor general still retained the supreme power in the administration. His approval was required prior to the introduction of certain bills in the legislature, he could veto any decision of the legislature and refer it to the British parliament, he could refuse to pass a bill referred to him by the legislature, and he could pass ordinances which were as effective as law.

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