First Round Table Conference – Participants, Issues, Effects

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The first round table conference took place in London from November 1930 to January 1931. During the early 1930s, the Labour Party-led British government held a series of three round table conferences to discuss and implement constitutional reforms in British India. The participants of the first round table conference comprised representatives of native princely states, and British Indian political leaders, delegates from major political parties of the UK. Various issues were discussed during the first round table conference related to the federal government and the constitution of the province.

Though the first round table conference proved to be a failure as Congress continued with the civil disobedience movement, it forms an integral part of Indian history. This article will assist the candidates in gaining insight and a deeper understanding of the topic. The aspirants preparing for the IAS exam can get complete knowledge of the first round table conference by downloading the PDF.

What was First Round Table Conference?

The round table conferences were held in order to devise reforms in the constitution. It took place in London from November 1930 to January 1931. There were varied participants in the round table conferences who belonged to the native princely states.

The Congress leaders boycotted the conference. The British delegates, representatives from native princely states, and representatives from United Kingdom were a part of the first round table conference as established for altering and modifying the Constitution. Numerous issues were discussed in the conferences,such as the perspective of the All India Federation. Dr. B.R Ambedkar also presented the idea of having separate electorates for the untouchables.

Background of First Round Table Conference

There were numerous reasons that led to the first round table conference and meeting of the Britishers and Indians. Check here the points that will take you through the history of the first round table conference.

  1. An increase in the number of members of the British polity put forth the demand for India to be granted dominion status.
  2. In India, the freedom movement was leading further, with the principles and ideology of Gandhi for swaraj or self-rule.
  3. The conferences were in accordance with Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s request to the Viceroy of India Lord Irwin and British Prime Minister James Ramsay MacDonald and the Simon Commission report.
  4. The 1930 round table conference is remarked to be bringing the Indians and Britishers the status of being equals for the first time in history. The inaugural conference embarked on 12th November.

Participants of First Round Table Conference

The Indian National Congress had chosen to boycott the meeting. Numerous INC leaders were in jail due to taking part in the civil disobedience movement. Check here the list of the participants of the first round table conference.

  1. 58 British Indian political leaders.
  2. 16 representatives who were representing the native princely states.
  3. 16 delegates related to the three major political parties established in the United Kingdom.
  4. Government of India representatives were among the British Indians who participated in the first round table conference.

Issues Discussed in First Round Table Conference

Several issues were discussed in the first round table conference such as the notion of an All-India Federation. The Muslim League assented to this idea. The princely states favor it till the time their internal sovereignty was enshrined. Take a look at the points illustrated here for gaining knowledge of the other issues that were discussed in the first round table conference.

  • Federal government
  • The constitution of the province
  • Minorities Defence Services in the NWFP services and Sindh
  • The Franchise Executive’s Legislative Responsibilities
  • Dr B.R. Ambedkar brought forth separate electorates for the ‘untouchables’

Effects of First Round Table Conference

The First Round Table Conference was conducted on January 19th 1931. The conference agreed on the major reform principles that were discussed. Some of the laws were executed. But, after the discussions as well the civil disobedience movement was continued by Congress. The importance of the Congress party in the decision-making was acknowledged and realized by the British government.

First Round Table Conference- Outcomes

Eight plenary sessions were conducted along with one final closing session at this Conference. The planned federal structure of India included concerns pertaining to defence, concerns pertaining to Sindh, and NWFP. It also discussed the defense-related concerns of Burma and minority issues were all considered. However, the absence of the Indian National Congress in the 1930 round table conference brought negligible results.

All India Federation

Tej Bahadur Sapru brought forth the All-India Federation during the First Round Table Conference. The majority of the parties along with the princely states assented to the idea till the point their domestic authority is not getting vulnerable. The Muslim League was also in favor of this plan. The British wanted to establish a representative government in India at the provincial level in India, but they agreed later not to establish representative government.

Demand for Separate Electorate by Dr B.R. Ambedkar

Dr B.R Ambedkar brought forth the demand for the Untouchables to be provided electorates. The first round table conference assented to the idea. They also suggested that the Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Suppressed Classes, Anglo-Indians, and Europeans should also be represented.

  • The First Round Table Conference frames out to be an integral and eminent part of Indian history.
  • The failure of the Conference made them realize how things can be handled better. After the First round table conference failed, numerous leaders of the Indian Liberal Party, specifically the pro-British members like C. Y. Chintamani, Srinivasa Sastri, Tej Bahadur Sapru, requested Gandhi to meet with the Viceroy.
  • The meeting between Gandhi and Irwin had been planned. To create a favorable situation, many congress leaders were released.

First Round Table Conference UPSC Notes

This topic is essential for UPSC aspirants and forms an integral part of the UPSC syllabus. The candidates can get complete knowledge of all the factors pertaining to the topic in order to solve the questions in the stipulated time period.

The aspirants can get access to the notes for bringing forth a methodical strategy to solve the questions. It is highly recommended to the candidates to practice the sample questions to gain insights into the types of questions asked in the exam.

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