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Formation of Interim government of India

Topics Covered:

Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues


Formation of Interim government of India


What to study?

For Prelims: Key composition of the interim government and various decisions executed.

For Mains: What led to the creation of interim government and what was the outcome of it?


Context: On September 2, 1946, the interim government of India led by Jawaharlal Nehru was formed.


About the Interim Government:

It was the only such cabinet in India’s history in which both Congress and the Muslim League shared power at the Centre.

The interim government functioned with a great degree of autonomy, and remained in power until the end of British rule, after which it was succeeded by the Dominions of India and Pakistan.


What led to the formation of India’s interim government, who were its members, and what decisions did it take?

Starting with the Cripps mission in 1942, a number of attempts were made by colonial authorities to form an interim government in India.

In 1946, elections to the Constituent Assembly were held following the proposals of the British Cabinet Mission dispatched by the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

Viceroy Wavell subsequently called upon Indian representatives to join the interim government.

The interim government functioned according to the older Government of India Act of 1919.


Some of the decisions by the cabinet:

  1. To engage in direct diplomatic relations with all countries and goodwill missions.
  2. Support for the independence of colonised nations.
  3. In November 1946, ratified the Convention on International Civil Aviation.
  4. In the same month, a committee was appointed to advise the government on nationalising the armed forces.
  5. In April 1947, the US announced the appointment of Dr. Henry F. Grady as its ambassador to India.
  6. On June 1, the Indian Commonwealth Relations Department and the External Affairs Department were merged to form the single Department of External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations.


Sources: Indian Express.