7th January in Dalit History – Provincial (State) Civil services due to Dr. Ambedkar’s efforts

7 January 1931: Dr. Ambedkar, at the second sitting of Round Table Conference in London, recommended provincial autonomy by allowing to ‘cut their coats according to their cloth.’[1]  

This was the seond sitting of Round Table Conference in London on the sub-committee No VII where Indianisaton of Indian Civil Service was being delieberated.

Dr. Ambedkar: This question has to be considered from more than one point of view. There is, first of all, the point of view of Provincial autonomy. We are framing a Constitution in which we propose to give as large a degree of Provincial autonomy to the provinces as possible, and it seems to me that no province can be deemed to have Provincial autonomy if it has not the right to regulate the Civil Service that is going to work in its area. There is another and very important point of view, namely, finance. When we have an All-India Civil Service we have a fixed scale of pay. Salaries, remunerations, and other privileges are on a scale which is somewhat remote from what would be obtainable in the various provinces. A Civil Service that will not be costly to Bombay or Bengal may be costly to smaller and poorer provinces, like Assam, Sind, the North-West Frontier Province, and Punjab, and it may be that these provinces will feel themselves satisfied with a little less efficient service than the All-India basis would give them. Having regard to finance at their command, they may regard the brains and efficiency obtainable as quite sufficient for their purpose. Finally, I agree with Mr. Basu regard to specialisation.  I do not understand how the passing of an  examination like that of the I.C.S. can give any man the competence to serve in certain specialised Department.  A man was passed his I.C.S. examination, with mathematics as a special subject, may be placed in the  Department of Agriculture or in that of Indian currency.  We ought to have a Service which not merely assures a certain standard of education in those who participate, but also allow for a certain degree of specialisation.  It is  necessary, in my view, that the All-India character of some of these Services should now cease, and the provinces should be allowed liberty to cut their  coats according to their cloth. 

Sir A. P. Patro : The objection which has been raised by Dr. Ambedkar is a very relevant one.

Chairman : Mr. Basu’s point of view on Dr. Ambedkar’s remarks should clearly be considered. We should be careful to make it plain that in recommending recruitment for the I.C.S. we do not regard the I.C.S. as perfect, good though it is, or as a thing which must be continued for ever on exactly the same basis. It will be necessary to do whatever is possible to remould and recast it. Those of Dr. Ambedkar’s school of thought suggest that the All-India Services should be done away with and small Provincial Services set up in their stead.

Dr. Ambedkar: I think that I should make my position clear. I hold, with the rest of the members of this Committee, that it is very necessary to have a European element in the Service, but I do not share the view of the noble Lord, Lord Zetland, when he said that if you make the Service provincial it will dry up the source of recruitment.

Chairman: The suggestion is that we should fix 1939, or any other date you like. There is no magic in a date. The suggestion is that we should fix some date, and make it plain that thereafter it is a matter for the Government of India to consider. That is the suggestion which I make in order to try to meet everybody.

Dr. Ambedkar: My view is that your recommendations should be applicable only to the Indian Civil Service and the Indian Police Service.

Chairman: I would agree to that, and I will make that plain.


On the basis of the discussions in the Round Table Conferences, the British Government prepared the white Paper Proposals which formed the basis of the Government of India Act 1935[2]. Subsequently, The Government of India Act, 1935 provided for the establishment of a Public Service Commission for each Province. Accordingly, under the 1935 Act seven Public Service Commissions were established in 1937 for the provinces of Assam (at Shillong), Bengal (at Calcutta), Bombay and Sindh (at Bombay), Central Provinces, Bihar and Orissa (at Ranchi), Madras (at Madras), Punjab and North-West (at Lahore) and the United Provinces (at Allahabad). All the State Public Service Commissions including the successors of the older Provincial Public Service Commissions came to be established after the reorganization of States after independence.

7 January 1940: Periyar’s Bombay (presently Mumbai) visit

In a public meeting in Dharavi, Bombay, Preiyar maintained that Tamil Nadu was as populous as England and as large as Germany and that which Jinnah’s and Dr. Ambedkar’s help he would establish its freedom.[3] On the same day, Dr. Ambedkar arranged a meet of Periyar in the Gokhale Educational Institute (presently Gokhale Educational Society’s College of Education and Research) at Parel in Mumbai and hosted a dinner. S. C. Joshi, M.L.C., Dr. R. R. Bhole, M.L.A., D. G. Jadhav, M.L.A and others attended the function. Dr. Ambedkar introduced the guest (Periyar) to them.[4]


[1] Proceedings of Sub-Committee No. VIII (Services), Government of India, Central Publication Branch, Calcutta, 1931, pp. 44-46, 57-58 & 85.

[2] Raghunath Rai, History Class XII, Text book Pg 223

[3] R Kannan, Anna: The Life and Times of C.N. Annadurai, book Pg 57

[4] K V Ramakrishna Rao, The Historic Meeting of Ambedkar, Jinnah and Periyar, A paper presented during the 21st session of South Indian History Congress held at Madurai Kamaraj University from 18 to 20 January 2001 and published in the proceedings, pp.128-136



Filed under Buddhism, Caste Discrimination, Dalit-Bahujans, Dr B R Ambedkar, Today in Dalit History, Today in History

5 responses to “7th January in Dalit History – Provincial (State) Civil services due to Dr. Ambedkar’s efforts

  1. Pingback: 6th January (1940) in Dalit History: Periyar met Dr. Ambedkar at Mumbai | Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's Caravan

  2. learningtocry

    Thanks for the like on my blog at learningtocry.wordpress.com. I really appreciate it.
    I am impressed with your knowledge of history.
    Suzanne in Missouri, USA


  3. Pingback: 6th January in Dalit History – Reservation for all Dalits & Dr. Amedkar’s dream of university unfulfilled | Dr B R Ambedkar Books

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