Marking the 100th year of the Montagu-Chelmsford Report

Marking the 100th year of the Montagu-Chelmsford Report

Article:

  1. Manuj Shunmugasundaram, politician, highlight his views on the Montague-Chelmsford Report (MCR) on the eve of its 100 years completion.

Important Analysis:

  1. The 100 years of the publication of the ‘Report on Indian constitutional reforms’, known as the Montague-Chelmsford Report (MCR) completed this month.
  2. Edwin Montagu, then Secretary of State for India, had advocated for increased participation of Indians in the British Indian administration.
  3. After many meetings with Indian representatives, Montagu and the then Governor-General, Lord Chelmsford, published the MCR on July 8, 1918.
  4. 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.
  1. The Montagu-Chelmsford Committee visited Madras Presidency to gather the views of political leaders.
  2. Finally, the MCR established the framework for devolution of powers.
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