In 1764, after the Battle of Buxar, the British became supreme power in Bengal. When the British took control of Bengal, they tried to establish administration according to their requirements. However after 1857 British Administrative policies were modified but it never lost sight of its main objects which were −Company’s profits, to enhance the profitability of its Indian possessions to Britain and to maintain and strengthen the British hold over India.

Administrative measures British adopted initially to rule India:

  1. From 1765 to 1772, in the period of the Dual Government, Indian officials were allowed to function as before but under the over-all control of the British Governor and British officials. In 1772, the Company ended the Dual Government and undertook to administer Bengal directly through its own servants.
  2. Continuous wars and mismanagement by the company officials made British parliament to pass Regulating Act of 1773.
  1. Regulating Act, 1773: The government, headed by a Governor General in Bengal and four Councillors, having the supervisory authority over the presidencies of Bombay and Madras. The Act recognized the right of Parliament to regulate the civil, military and revenue affairs of the company’s territories in India
  2. Pitt’s India Act, 1784 gave the British Government supreme control over the Company’s affairs and its administration in India. It established Board of Control. The Board of Control was to guide and control the work of the Court of Directors and the Government of India.
  3. Charter Act of 1813 Government and the revenues of India continued to be in the hands of the Company. The Company also continued to appoint its officials in India.
  4. Charter Act of 1833 Government of India was reconstituted on a new model which gave it in all India character. This Act re-designated the Governor-General of Bengal as the Governor-General of India. The Governor-General was given exclusive legislative powers for the whole of British India. It attempted to introduce a system of open competitions for the selection of civil servants.

Initial Administrative approach changed later on 

  1. From 1853 onwards changes begun in administrative policies, but major changes seen after 1857 revolt.
  2. Charter Act of 1853 separated, for the first time, the legislative and executive functions of the Governor-General’s council. It introduced, for the first time, local representation in the Indian (Central) Legislative Council. It introduced an open competition system of selection and recruitment of civil servants. The covenanted civil service was thus thrown open to the Indians also.
  1. Government of India Act of 1858 abolished the East India Company, and transferred the powers of government, territories and revenues to the British Crown. It ended the system of double government by abolishing the Board of Control and Court of Directors. It created a new office, Secretary of State for India, vested with complete authority and control over Indian administration.
  2. In pursuance of this policy of association, three acts were enacted by the British Parliament in 1861, 1892 and 1909.
  3. Act of 1861 made a beginning of representative institutions by associating Indians with the law-making process.
  4. Act of 1892 It increased the functions of legislative councils and gave them the power of discussing the budget5 and addressing questions to the executive.
  5. Act of 1909 provided (for the first time) for the association of Indians with the executive Councils of the Viceroy and Governors. Satyendra Prasad Sinha became the first Indian to join the Viceroy’s Executive Council. He was appointed as the law member
  6. Government of India Act of 1919 relaxed the central control over the provinces by demarcating and separating the central and provincial subjects. The central and provincial legislatures were authorized to make laws on their respective list of subjects. It introduced, for the first time, bicameralism and direct elections in the country. It provided for the establishment of a public service commission. It separated, for the first time, provincial budgets from the Central budget and authorized the provincial legislatures to enact their budgets.
  7. Government of India Act of 1935 introduced ‘provincial autonomy’. The provinces were allowed to act as autonomous units of administration in their defined spheres. It provided for the establishment of not only a Federal Public Service Commission but also a Provincial Public Service Commission and Joint Public Service Commission.

Factors that led to such change in the approach:

  1. 1857 Revolt against British Policies.
  2. English Education and interaction between the Indian and the western cultures helped Indians to know the world affairs, this raised aspirations of the people which forced British to change in Administrative process.
  3. Establishment of Indian National Congress in 1885 forced British to Include Indians in Administration.

The Revolt of 1857 gave a severe jolt to the British administration in India and made its reorganization inevitable. Some of the British administrative policies were highly effective which are even today reflecting in Indian Government administration.