What administrative changes were introduced in India after 1858? What were the objectives of these changes?

After the revolt of 1857, The Government of India Act of 1858 transferred the control of India from the East India Company to the Crown. Now power to govern India was vested in the Crown through the Secretary of State who was responsible to the British Parliament. Thus, India came under direct rule of the British Parliament as a colony.

Later, a provision was made in the Indian Councils Act 1861 for a Legislative Council but it was merely an advisory body. Gradually, administration was decentralised and powers were given to local bodies, like municipalities and district boards, to overcome financial difficulties faced by the Government due to over centralisation. To put counterpoise in the Indian army, the proportion of European soldiers to the Indian soldiers was increased. Not to give any key and strategic post to Indians, an old policy, was followed strictly after 1857. Indians were not promoted or recruited to higher posts in army.

Indians were intentionally restricted from civil services by making their entry very tough. The maximum age limit was further reduced to 19 years in 1878, under Lytton from the earlier of 23 years in 1858. Princely States were given right to adopt heir, policy of annexation was abandoned but in 1876, the Queen adopted the title ‘Empress of India’ or ‘Kaisar-i-Hind’ and later on Lord Curzon made it clear to the Princes that they were only agents of the Crown.

Thus, after 1858 systematic administrative changes were made to control India more effectively by introducing a new stage of colonialism in India.

Published: July 11, 2019 | Modified:October 15, 2020