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History 3
Updated: 6/25/2020
History 3
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the government of India act

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  • The government of India act was passed in 1935. Despite the failures of round table conferences, British announced its proposals for hoe India should be governed. These were published in a "White Paper". It was the last legislation that British government passed before independence was granted.
  • Some of the terms of the act were: - there were to be two houses at central government level.- Diarchy was introduced at central government level but dropped at provincial level. -India was to be a federation.- The part concerning central government was never introduced because the princes rejected the new arrangements. - There was very limited franchise.
  • The act was was opposed on all sides in India. The main reason for opposition was that the Indians demanded independence and self rule or at least the dominion status that was promised by British. Although the number of seats in the council was increased but the members were to be elected by the British themselves. This kept power in the hands of British and not Sawaraj was not granted to Hindus which angered them and they thought it was undemocratic.Another reason for opposition was that one part of the act was published while the other part was not published. The British told Indians about there responsibilities while they kept their duties hidden.
  • Also, Diarchy was dropped at provincial level but introduced at central level. THis did not given enough power to Indians. And they greatly disliked it. Another reason was the voting criteria. According to the act only highly qualified and educated people could vote. As most of the people were illiterate most could not vote. Only 25% Indians were granted voting rights it was considered undemocratic and rejected. Also the Governor-general had the veto power and could veto the laws passed by Assembly. This was rejected.
  • The government of India act was opposed on all sides in India. Nehru called it 'Charter of slavery' and said that it had so much that it was like a 'machine with strong brakes but no engine'. To Jinnah it was simply,'thoroughly rotten, fundamentally bad and totally unacceptable'
  • Although it suited no one, the act was an important point towards independence. It provided the basis for the negotiations which finally resulted in the British leaving India. Parliamentary systems had been set up in which the Indian people were to gain increasing representation. Independence was moving nearer.
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