In March, 1931 the Indian National Congress (INC) passed the Swarajya Resolution in its Karachi session. This session saw numerous speeches by prominent members of the party such as Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan. The President of the Session was Sardar Vallabhai Patel. The Resolution is three pages long and contains 20 points which were a combination of Fundamental Rights and economic principles to be followed in Independent India.
The Swarajya Resolution (also known as Karachi Resolution) reiterated the INC's commitment to Purna Swaraj or complete independence. The primary objective of the Resolution was to inform the people as to the aims of the freedom struggle and the structure of the constitution the INC would provide.
The Karachi Session was conducted in the shadow of three major events. Mahatma Gandhi had just been released from prison following his Salt Satyagraha. The Gandhi-Irwin pact had just been concluded which had brought to an end the first non co-operation movement and which lifted the ban imposed on the INC. However, the Colonial British Government had just executed Shaheed Bhagat Singh a week before the Session was to commence, a move seen as a grave provocation.
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"This Congress is of opinion that in order to end the exploitation of the masses, political freedom must include real economic freedom of the starving millions. In order therefore, that the masses may appreciate what Swaraj as conceived by the Congress will mean to them, it is desirable to state the position of the Congress in a manner easily understood by them. The Congress therefore declares that any constitution that may be agreed to on its behalf, should include the following items, or should give the ability to the Swaraj Government to provide for them.
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1. Fundamental rights of the people such as
i. Freedom of association and combination.
ii. Freedom of speech and press,
iii. Freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion, subject to public order and morality,
iv. No disability to attach to any person of religion, caste or creed In regard to public employment, office of power honour and the excercise of any trade or calling
v. Equal rights and obligations of all citizens, No civic bar on account of sex.
vi. Equal rights to all citizens of access to and use of public roads, public wells and all other places of public resort.
vii. Right to keep and bear arms in accordance with regulations made in that behalf and such reservations as may be required- for public safety.
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2. Religious neutrality on part of the state.
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3. A living wage for industrial workers, limited hours of labour, healthy conditions of work, protection against the economic consequences of old age, sickness. and unemployment.
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4. Labour to be freed from serfdom or conditions bordering on serfdom.
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5. Protection of women workers, and specially adequate provisions for leave during maternity period.
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6. Prohibition against employment of children of school going age in factories.
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7. Right of labour to form unions to protect their interests with suitable machinery for settlement of disputes by arbitration.
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8. Substantial reduction of land revenue and rent and in case of uneconomic holdings exemption from rent for such period as may be necessary.
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9. Imposition of a progressive income-tax on agricultural income above a fixed income.
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10. A graduate inheritance tax.
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11. Adult suffrage
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12. Free Primary education.
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13. Military expenditure to be reduced by at least one-half of the present scale.
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14. Expenditure and salaries in civil departments to be largely reduced. No servant of the state, other than specially employed experts and the like to be paid above a certain fixed figure which should not ordinarily exceed Rs 500/- per month.
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15. Protection of indigenous cloth by exclusion of foreign cloth and foreign yarn from the country.
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16. Total prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs.
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17. No duty on salt,
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18. State regulation of the exchange ratio so as to help to Indian industries and bring relief to the masses,
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19. Control by the state or key industries and mineral resources.
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20. Control of usury-direct or indirect.
*It will be open to the All India Congress Committee to revise, amend or add to the foregoing so far as such revision, amendment or addition is not inconsistent with the policy and principles thereof.