Modern Indian History : British Commissions

Commissions and committees set up by britishers in modern indian history

By   @shriyansh,   4 years ago

A comprehensive list of Commissions set up by British Government in India for enquiring into different matters and submitting a report thereof. These Commissions were aimed at educational matters, famines, currency, sedation, army, agriculture, relation of British crown with indian state etc. This list will help you in keeping a separate view on commisions in a chronological order.

Educational Commissions

1854 : Charles Wood Despatch 

  • Viceroy : Dalhaousie

The aim of Wood Despatch - to providing European knowledge (information about western culture) to Indians. Creation of public servants from India. Developing practical, vocational skills and intellectual development. Wood Dispatch is known as 'Magna Carta' of India.


  1. Provision for systematic education from primary to university level
  2. Set up education department in every province
  3. establishment of universities in big cities of India such as Bombay, Calcutta & Madras
  4. At least one school in every district
  5. Education in Anglo-vernacular Language. Vernacular language at primary level and English language at higher level of education
  6. education provided in the government institutions should be secular.
  7. A system of grants-in-aid recommended to encourage private enterprise.  

1882 : Hunter Commission

  • Viceroy : Ripon
  • Chairman : William Hunter
  • Objective : Development of Education  

This commission was set up to review the effect of Wood Despatch on education in India at that time. It oversight the ignorance of primary and secondary education in India. It suggest to improve Primary education and development of Secondary education.It specially focused on Primary Education.


  • Primary Education
  1. Education should be useful, practical and related to life
  2. Education through Vernacular language (mother tongue)
  3. Management for primary education- responsibility on district board and municipal board.
  4. Training school for teachers.
  • Secondary Education
  1. Trained graduate teachers for rising the standard of secondary education.
  2. medium of education should be in English.
  3. Grant in aid system started.
  4. Encouraging education of women, muslims and other backward classes.

1902 : Raleigh Commission (University Commission)

  • Viceroy : Curzon 
  • Chairman : Thomas Raleigh
  • Objective : Study of University and introduce reforms

This commission was intended to make recommendations for reforms of Universities of India.The recommendations enacted by Curzon as Indian University Act, 1904.


  1. Regulations for reform of University senate in India.
  2. Government was to have powers to senate regulations. It could amend or pass the regulations.
  3. Strict monitoring of affiliated institutions by the University.
  4. More attentions should be given to study and research by the Universities.

1917 : Sadler Commission (Calcutta University Commission )

  • Viceroy : Chelmsford
  • Chairman : Michael Sadler
  • Objective : Condition of University

Primarily this commission was set up to review the conditions of Calcutta University (also focused on other field). The main objectives of this commission was to improve the University Education by separating Secondary Education from the University Education.


  1. The Secondary Education should be separated from the University Education to release the burden.
  2. Board for secondary education created in each provinces.
  3. School course should cover 12 years.
  4. the Intermediate examination should be the admission test for Universities.
  5. University should be functions as centralized, unitary residential- teaching autonomous body.

1929 : Hartog Commission

  • Viceroy : Irwin
  • Objective : Development of education

Inspite of remarkable steps taken for education, the condition was not satisfactory. Increase in number of educational institution led to the deterioration of quality of education. Hartog committee was set up to observe the development of education .Recommendations-

  1. Emphasis on primary education. Concentration on consolidation policy in place of expansion of educational institutions..
  2. Duration of primary course fixed to four years.
  3. Focus on quality, training, status and pay of the teachers.
  4. Curriculum and teaching methods should be related to village life and intended for upliftment of the village.
  5. Only deserving students should go for high school and intermediate. So diversified courses introduced for average students.
  6. Admission should be restricted for improvement of standard of higher education ( at University level).

1944 : Sargent Plan

  • Viceroy : Wavell
  • Chairman : John Sargent
  • Objective : Raise the standard of education like Britain

The goal of the Sargent plan was the reorganization of the entire education system of India. The commission under the chairmanship of the John Sargent submitted its report to the Central Advisory Board of Education CABE in (1944).This scheme of post war educational development was mainly focused on the quality enhancement of higher education (ie. university system).


  1. Pre-primary basic school for 3-6 years age group
  2. Compulsory and free education for 6-14 year age group
  3. High school education of two types -1.Academic, 2.Technical and Vocational
  4. Refresher courses for teachers and better salary for them
  5. Abolition of intermediate courses
  6. Standard of the universities must be raised . Admission should be restricted so only the capable students can go for the higher education.

Famine Commissions

1866 : Campbell Commission

  • Viceroy : John Lawrence

1880 : Stratchy Commission (Famine Commission)

  • Viceroy : Lytton
  • Chairman : Richard Strachey
  • Objective : Give relief famine sricken

1897 : Lyall Commission(Famine Commission)

  • Viceroy : Elgin
  • Chairman : James Lyall
  • Objective : Suggestion to earlier report

1901 : Mac Donnell Commission (Famine Commission)

  • Viceroy : Curzon
  • Chairman : Anthony MacDonnel
  • Objective : Investigate events of Bengal famine

Currency Commissions

1886 : Mansfield Commission

  • by Dufferin

1898 : Fowler Commission

  • by Elgin II

1919 : Babington Smith Commission

  • by Chelmsford

1926 : Hilton Young Commission

  • by Linlithgow

Other Commissions

1901 : Scott-Moncrieff Commission (Irrigation)

  • by Curzon

1902 : Fraser Commission (Police Reforms)

  • by Curzon

1919 : Hunter Commission (Punjab Disturbances)

  • by Chelmsford

1927 : Butler Commission (Indian States relation with British Crown)

  • by Irwin

1929 : Whitelay Commission (Labour)

  • by Irwin

1935 : Sapru Commission (Unemployment)

  • by Linlithgow

1939 : Chalfield Commission (Army)

  • by Linlighgow

1940 : Floud Commission (Tenecy in Bengal)

  • by Linlighgow

Author : Shriyansh Gautam
Shriyansh Gautam

Civil Services Aspirant

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