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Bureaucracy in India Under Dyarchy (1919-35)

 

As the movement for Indianisation gained momentum, Indian public and leaders became allergic to All India Services, not on the basis of their actual performance, but because they were controlled by the Secretary of State and were a living symbol of foreign rule.

Intensification of national movement, growing demand for Indianisation of higher civil services and introduction of Dyarchy (which promised progressive realization of responsible and self-government in India) in the post 1919 period brought about many changes in All India Services. Criticism of the individual members of the services by questions in the provincial and Central legislatures, the `ignominy’ of working under Indian Ministers in provinces, the non-cooperation movement of 1920-22, the insufficiency of salaries due to high price-rise in the wake of the World War I, etc., left a dampening effect on the attraction of All India Services as a career service for British Youth. All efforts to attract them fell flat and the number of British Officers began to decline.

In 1923, the Lee Commission recommended abolition of certain All India Services, particularly, those dealing with subjects that had been transferred to Indian hands, namely, Indian Education Service, Indian Agriculture Service, Indian Veterinary Service and the roads and Building branch of the Indian Service of Engineers. It, however, recommended retention of Indian Civil Service, Indian Police Service, Indian Forest Service, Indian Medical Service and the Irrigation branch of Indian Service of Engineers. It recommended increasing Indianisation of these services as well as any British Official belonging to the services of transferred subjects would be free to take voluntary retirement on a proportionate pension at any time. Effect was given to these recommendations.

These changes during Dyarchy adversrly affected the “The E-spirit de Corps” of these services. With the gradual Indianisation of All India Services, the class consciousness of these services became dim. The Indian element was imbued with a national spirit which looked forward to a day when Indian would be independent. It had nothing in common with the British element in the service, which, having lost its old sense of mission, was feeling frustrated. Thus, the solidarity of these services was weakened. And along with it faded the spirit of mild paternalism in them.

In the words of K.M. Pannikar: “The Lee Commission (1923) was the first evidence of the breakdown of the spirit of the civil services in India, for after that there was no claim that the British Civil Service in India, competent though they continued to be to the end, was anything more than a group of officers doing their work for purely material considerations. The idealism of the past had vanished.”

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June 18, 2009 - Posted by | Bureaucracy/Civil Services

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