- Manuj Shunmugasundaram, politician, highlight his views on the Montague-Chelmsford Report (MCR) on the eve of its 100 years completion.
- The 100 years of the publication of the ‘Report on Indian constitutional reforms’, known as the Montague-Chelmsford Report (MCR) completed this month.
- Edwin Montagu, then Secretary of State for India, had advocated for increased participation of Indians in the British Indian administration.
- After many meetings with Indian representatives, Montagu and the then Governor-General, Lord Chelmsford, published the MCR on July 8, 1918.
- The key highlights of the report:
- The MCR proposed administrative changes for giving provincial legislatures the mantle of self-governance.
- The report advocated the need “to emancipate the local governments and legislatures from central control; and to advance, by successive stages, in the direction of conferring responsible government on the provinces.”
- The report recommended that “the Provinces are the domain in which the earlier steps towards the progressive realisation of responsible government should be taken”.
- Another one of the most far-reaching objectives of the report was to elucidate the principle of accountable governance by directing that the “Government of India must remain wholly responsible to Parliament.”
- Laid the platform for the development of a responsible government.
- However, in the 32nd session of the Indian National Congress, led by British theosophist Annie Besant, there was strong opposition to the Montagu declaration.
- The key principles of responsible government, self-governance and federal structure grew out of these reforms.
- The MCR along with the Montagu Declaration are worthy claimants of the title of the Magna Carta of modern India.
- The Montagu-Chelmsford Committee visited Madras Presidency to gather the views of political leaders.
- Finally, the MCR established the framework for devolution of powers.