The Federation of India (called British Indian Empire until 1921) is an Imperial Commonwealth Federation (ICF) dominion that correspond to the Indian subcontinent in Asia. It includes the Maldives Islands (since 1922).
India is bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the west, and the Bay of Bengal on the east; and it is bordered by Iran to the west; Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal to the north; and Burma to the east. In the Indian Ocean, mainland India and the Lakshadweep Islands are in the vicinity of Ceylan and the Maldives, while India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share maritime border with Thailand and the Dutch East Indies island of Sumatra in the Andaman Sea.
The kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan are recognized by the British Empire has independent states. The former province of Burma is a separately administered has a colony since 1932. The Federation does not include Ceylon and Aden Colony.
Government of India Act 1921
Between 1916 and 1918, when the war was closing, several prominent Indians like Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Joseph Baptista, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, G. S. Khaparde, Sir S. Subramania Iyer and the leader of the Theosophical Society, Annie Besant decided to organize a national alliance of leagues across India, specifically to demand Home Rule, or self-government within the British Empire for all of India. The All India Home Rule League was founded. The pressure resulted in the Government of India Act 1921 that gave limited autonomy to the provinces of British India.
The Act provided a dual form of government (a "dyarchy") for the major provinces. In each such province, control of some areas of government, the "transferred list", were given to a Government of ministers answerable to the Provincial Council. The 'transferred list' included Agriculture, Health and Education. The Provincial Councils were enlarged. Separate electorates to minority communities (i.e. Muslims) was established.
At the same time, all other areas of government (the 'reserved list') remained under the control of the Viceroy. The 'reserved list' included Defence (the military), Foreign Affairs, and Communications. The Imperial Legislative Council was enlarged and reformed. It became a bicameral legislature for all India. The lower house was the Legislative Assembly of 144 members, of which 104 were elected and 40 were nominated and tenure of three years. The upper house was the Council of States consisting of 34 elected and 26 nominated members and tenure of five years. This structure allowed Britain to use the Princely States (who were directly represented in the Council of States) to offset the growing power of the native political parties. The Act also provided for a High Commissioner who resided in London, representing India in Great Britain. The Act established a revision in 10 years time.
The Indian National Congress (INC) and All India Home Rule League where unhappy at these reforms and termed them as 'disappointing.' A special session was held in Bombay and the reforms were condemned. However, some leaders were inclined to accept the reforms, so they left the Congress and formed the Indian Liberal Federation, which played a moderate role in subsequent affairs. Under the leadership of Gandhi the INC was reformed becoming mass party and having party structures in all provinces of India. The Muslims, out of fear that the Hindu majority would seek to suppress their religion in an independent India and has means to use the separate electorates gathered around the All-India Muslim League, becoming in all means the voice of this constituency.
Growing nationalist propaganda, mass reallies, civil disobedience and boycotts frustrated most of the machinery provided by the Act of 1920. The triumph of labour-liberal coalition in 1928 prompted the decision to shorten the timetable of revision of the Act. A white paper of 1930 proposed a series of conferences to establish some form of home rule, federalism, guarantees for minorities and some form of integration within the framework of the Statue of Westminster.
The Egyptian Crisis of 1931 and subsequent Arab Rebellion of 1932 made it clear in all political sides that if the same conditions arose in India, it would meant the end of the ICF. The general election of 1932 brought back the Conservatives to government. It was decided by the new government to start the revision of the Act of 1910, postponed by the crisis of 1931 and 1932. However with sufficient safeguards where seen has needed in order to give home rule to India. After a long debate in UK and a series of Round Table Conferences, a form of home rule was enacted to India in 1932. Its approval by the British Parliament fractured the Conservative Party. Not all Indian sectors where happy with the new legislation. The INC and All India Home Rule League considered it insufficient, the All-India Muslim League and others has reasonable and the Indian Liberal Federation has the best compromise to all.
Government of the Federation of India
According to the Government of India Act 1932 the Indian Federation is composed of the territories of a) Provinces of the British India and b) the Princely States. These units have different political arrangements.
The Government of India Act 1932 arranges the central administration of the Federation of India has follows.
- The Central Authorities are the the Secretary of State for India and the Viceroy and Governor-General of India.
- Federal Government. The executive is invested in the Viceroy and Governor-General of India (appointed by its Majesty Government) and the Federal Council of Ministers. With the exception of the ministries that deal with reserved powers, the President of the Council and rest of the ministers must have the approval of the Legislative Assembly. The Governor-General can dissolve the Legislative Assembly, he is also in charge of the relations between the Provinces and Princely States and represents them internationally;
- A bicameral Federal Legislature composed of a Council of States and Legislative Assembly. The Council of States is composed of delegates from the Provincial States elected by the respective legislature and Delegates from the princely states appointed by their sovereign or whatever procedure they implement. The Legislative Assembly is composed by delegates elected directly by the States and Princely States.
- Federal Court of Justice is established.
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has the central banking system of India. It controls the monetary policy of the rupee as well as currency reserves
Separate electorate system is the norm for provinces and the federation. It guarantees Muslims at least 30% of seats or directly elected representatives to local government, district boards, provincial legislatures and the Legislative Assembly.
For the Provinces of British India the Viceroy and Governor-General of India in his role of Governor General designates the State Governors. Each Province is to have a bicameral legislature. The executive power is vested in the State Governor and the Provincial Council Ministers. The Governor-General keeps his right to veto legislation passed by a provincial legislature and has emergency powers in the province.
For the Princely States the Government of India Act of provided that in period of 5 years the rulers or citizens of each of Princely States in referenda under universal suffrage, are to decide whether or not they want to join the Indian Federation. If they voted to stay outside the federation they would continue to receive British military protection. The Viceroy and Governor-General of India in his role has representative of His Majesty appoints a British Resident or Superintendent to supervise and advice the princely government. The princely states are sovereign In all affairs with the exception of foreign affairs, defense, communications and tariffs. The princely states of Hyderabad, Mysore, Jammu and Kashmir, and Baroda are under direct authority of the Governor-General of India, in the person of a British Resident. The rest of the princely states throughout a Superintendency Directorate or the Provincial Governor. The Chamber of Princes established, in 1920 by royal proclamation, is keep has a forum in which the rulers of the Indian princely states can voice their needs and aspirations to the Viceroy of India.
Has a mean to pressure their incorporation to the Federation the Internal Financial Act (India) of 1933 provided that all financial and technical help and inclusion in Imperial Tariff System would cease if they decide to remain outside of the Federation. Latter the princely states would agree to provide the means to established constitutional monarchies modeled on the provinces and sign Instrument of Accession.
More details in Provinces and Princely states of India
The officer commanding the Armed forces of India is the Commander-in-Chief in India who reports to the Viceroy and Governor-General. The Commander-in-Chief's and most of his staff were based at General Headquarters, India (GHQ India) The Indian Ministry of Defence (IMoD) is in charge with the responsibilities of coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government relating directly to national security and the Indian armed forces.
The services of the Armed Forces are:
- Army of India, divided in
- Indian Army - Made up of Indian regiments originating in India
- British Army in India - Consists of units of the British Army (with their origins in the United Kingdom) which are on a tour of duty in India.
- Royal Indian Navy (RIN)
- Indian Air Force (IAF)
Central defense planning and coordination during peace time is done by the Commonwealth Defense Board of the ICF. In war times the armed forces of India are under command of Chiefs of Staff Committee.