Cabinet Mission Plan: Impact & Purpose
On 22nd January 1946, the decision to send Cabinet Mission was taken and on 19th February 1946, the British PM C.R Attlee Government announced in the House of Lords about the mission and the plan to quit India. A high-powered mission of three British Cabinet members- Lord Pethick-Lawrence, the Secretary of State for India, Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade, and A. V. Alexander, the First Lord of the Admiralty reached Delhi on 24th March 1946.
Proposals of Mission
• The Mission proposed to secure an agreement on the method of framing the Constitution to the discussions with elected representatives of British India and the Indian states on Preceding and preparing.
• Proposes to set up a constitution body
• Proposes to set up an Executive Council with the support of the main Indian parties.
Purpose of the Mission
• To resolve political deadlock between the Indian National Congress and the All-India Muslim League at their stance to prevent a communal dispute whether British India would be better-off unified or divided.
• The Congress party wanted to obtain a strong central government with more powers as compared to state governments.
• All India Muslim League under Jinnah wanted to keep India united but with political safeguards provided to Muslims such as ‘guarantee’ of ‘parity’ in the legislatures.
• On 16 May 1946, this plan was announced and preceded by Shimla Conference of 1945.
Recommendations of Mission
• The unity of India had to be retained.
• It proposed a very loose union of all the Indian territories under a centre that would control merely defence, the Foreign Affairs and the Commucation. The Union would have the powers necessary to raise the finances to manage these subjects.
• All subjects other than Union subjects and residuary power would vest in the provinces of British India.
• The Princely Legislatures would then elect a Constituent Assembly or a Constitution making body with each province being allotted a specified number of seats proportionate to its population.
• The proposed Constituent Assembly was to consist was to consist of 292 member from British India and 93 from Indian States.
• The Mission proposed an immediate formation of Interim Government at the centre, enjoying the support of major political parties and with the Indians holding all the portfolios.
The main objective of Cabinet Mission was to find out ways and means for the peaceful transfer of power in India, to suggest measures for the formation of a Constitution making machinery and also to set up the Interim Government.