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vened to prevent their levying excessive rents from their tenants; and in the Central Provinces it even took an active share in the original assessment of landlord's rents. In the Punjab, and some other tracts, it had restricted the alienation of land by agriculturists to non-agriculturists. It undertook the management of landed estates when the proprietor was disqualified from attending to them by age, sex, or infirmity, or, occasionally, by pecuniary embarrassment.
(iii) In times of famine it undertook relief works and other remedial measures upon an extensive scale.
(iv) It managed a vast forest property and was a large manu facturer of salt and opium.
() It owned the bulk of the railways of the country and directly managed a considerable portion of them; moreover it had constructed and maintained most of the important irrigation works.
(vi) It owned and managed the postal and telegraph systems.
(vii) It exercised several financial powers:- It had monopoly of note issue, and it alone could set the mints in motion. It acted for the most part, as its own banker, and it occasionally made temporary loans to the presidency banks in times of financial stringency. With the co-operation of the Secretary of State it regulated the discharge of the balance of trade, as between India and the outside world, through the action of the Indian Council's drawings. It lent money to municipalities, rural boards, and agriculturists, and occasionally to the owners of historic. estates.
(viii) It exercised a strict control over the sale of liquor and intoxicating drugs not merely by the prevention of unlicensed sale, but by granting licenses for short periods only and subject to special fees which were usually determined by auction.
(1x) The Government had further intimate relations with the numerous Native States which collectively covered more than onethird of the whole area of India, and comprised more than one-fifth of its population. (D. C. R.)
Apart from these special duties it is also important to observe that the Central Government had to execute two general functions firstly, to discharge certain administrative duties with regard to certain important matters (p. 315 ) and Secondly, to superintend, direct and control the matters of minor importance delegated to the provinces for the sake of administrative convenience. In the first case it worked directly with the help of its administrative departments, but in the second case it functioned not at first hand but as a supervising and appellate authority through the same departments, as indicated in the following extract of the M. C. Report.
"To the Home Department are referred questions from provinces affecting the Indian Civil Services, internal politics, jails, police, the civil medical services, law and justice, and courts; the Departments under the Revenue Member are similarly concerned with revenue, surveys, forests, agriculture, veterinary administra tion, meteorology, and famine and public works and irrigation; the Political Department with such Native States as are in political relations with local Governments; the Finance Department with opium, stamps, income-tax, and the pay, leave and pensions of the Services; the Department of Commerce with commerce, exhibitions, factories, mining, explosives, emigration, fisheries, salt and excise; the Department of Education with education, local self-government, sanitation and so forth". ( para 49 ).
In all these spheres of business that were primarily the concern of local Governments, the Government of India had an unquestioned right of interference. As a rule it contented itself with laying down general principles and watched the effect, keeping at the same time a very strict hand upon the creation of new appointments or increase in the scale of salaries.
C. The Character of the Bonds between the Central and
Legally speaking the control of the Government of
India on its executive but also on its legislative The former, in theory, resembled but, in practice, differed from the bond existing between the Supreme Government and the Secretary of State. (Cf. Sections 33 and 45). The reason for this difference was simply due to the fact that the Supreme Government, being nearer to the cause of action and possessing inore intimate knowledge of it, was likely to be moved to intervene. Thus in fact the Government of India controlled directly or indirectly every governmental activity of the provincial Governments-legislative, administrative and financial.
(a) Legislative Control.-We have already referred to the restrictions in this respect (p. 313) Firstly, the provincial Legislatures were legally fettered for their legislative competence. Secondly, again in the extensive field in which their legislative competence was unfettered, their discretion was curtailed. Thirdly, by means of executive directions the Central Government had kept the whole power practically in its own hands. Lastly, the control could also be exercised, though in an indirect manner on the Private Bills even if they did not affect the revenue. If they did, the control was direct, the previous sanction of the Governor-General being necessary in that case.
"This system will strike the reader who has federal models in mind as an instance of excessive centralisation. It is due to the fact that the Provincial Legislative Councils are even now, in theory, only an enlargement of the Executive Government for the purpose of law making, and that the legislative power has not been recognised as residing in the Provincial Councils as distinct from the provincial Governments, over whom official control is justified and
necessary. Nor has the system been without advantage in the past, as it has enabled the Central Government to curb unprofitable divagations and incidentally to maintain standards of legislative drafting which are acknowledged to be good. None the less, it is apparent that an effective measure of devolution is required before Provincial Councils can possibly acquire any genuine independence in legislation." (M. C. R. para 116).
(b) Administrative Control.-In many respects India is one single and undivided country in which work must be done on uniform lines, to enable the Government of India to discharge its responsibility to Parliament. Hence not only it reserved to its direct control all the important subjects (p. 315), but laid down rules of general policy for the provinces in minor matters entrusted to them. Further by means of appointing a large staff of experts and by demanding annual reports and returns it was in a position to examine the work of the provinces. Lastly by giving its consent in the case of all the important appointments made in the provinces and allowing appeals from private persons and officials, it could exercise control over the executive authority in each province. (For details see p. 315)This interference was considered necessary to safeguard the interests of the public servants recruited from Eng and on terms guaranteed by the Secretary of State and also for the proper development of trade, industry and science throughout India. "Business and industry might be seriously hampered if the provinces were left to administer such matters as statistics, patents, copyright, insurance, income-tax, explosives or mining on different lines. Apart from the idea of uniform policy the Central Government alone could afford to secure the services of the experts required for this purpose. The M. C. Report
"The Government of India have not been content to set the ball rolling; they have insisted on watching its pace and course. It is fair to add that in recent years we find a perceptible tendency
in the opposite direction. The Decentralisation Commission inculcated the principle of devolution and its spirit was embodied in the orders which followed on it. The resolutions in which Lord Hardinge's Government dealt with the large questions of education and local self-government certainly cannot be accused of Prussian rigidity and precision." (para 118)
(c) Financial Control:-We have already seen (Chapter IV of Part 1.) how the "Settlement System" was evolved by the Central Government, that tried to keep full control of all revenues in its own hands. Provincial Governments had in other respects extensive powers but they could not incur expenditure without the formal orders of the Government of India. The "Settlement System" was gradually introduced and modified from time to time for reasons already indicated. The whole arrangement in this respect was defective for the following reasons:
(i) Interference too great- The system ultimately operated "as an obstacle to provincial enfranchisement". A central control over provincial expenditure was not merely justifiable but inevitable, because provincial settlements had been based not on provincial revenues, but on provincial needs. The Government of India could not allow a province to go bankrupt. But if the Government, of India were responsible for provincial solvency, they must be in a position to control provincial expenditure; indeed, in view of their own competing needs, they could hardly avoid feeling a direct interest in keeping down provincial charges. Again as regards revenues, so long as the Government of India took a share in the proceeds, they had a strong motive for interfering in details of administration. Their interest in land revenue, for example, inevitably led them to a close supervision over revenue settlements; and the control tended to become tighter in cases where expansion and devolopment, as in the case of irrigation, depended on capital outlay. "The existing settlements are an undoubted advance upon the