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In 1932, Burma became a separately administered colony by the Government of Burma Act. Previously it was part of British India.
The separation from India initially was opposed because it was seen has a setback for Burma. However on the eve of the Legislative elections, it proved to be a divisive issue on the nationalist groups, as some Burmese felt that this was a ploy to exclude them from any further Indian reforms whereas other Burmese saw any action that removed Burma from the control of India to be a positive step. On elections it effectively divided nationalist votes in favor of pro Burma Act parties.
Government of Burma
The Government of Burma Act established the following constitutional structure:
- Governor-General of Burma. He is is vested with the legislative authority for matters concerning executive affairs, defense and the financing of the Federation. The Governor-General, has powers to veto any laws passed by the Legislature. He can appoint up to three counselors for military, tribal and ecclesiastical affairs. He can also appoint a separate financial adviser to advise him and the Council of Ministers.
- The internal administration are in charge of Council of Ministers, appointed by the Governor-General on advise of the House of Representatives. It is chaired by a Premier. The Premier and Ministers must be members of the Burmese Legislature. The Governor-General in his discretion may preside at meetings of the council of ministers.
- An elected bicameral Burmese Legislature. It is composed of a Senate and a House of Representatives with a mandate of 5 years. The Governor-General can dissolve either Chamber or both Chambers simultaneously and call for elections within 3 months.
- A High Court, appointed by the Governor-General in charge of judicial matters and supervision and administration of lower courts. The Advocate-General is that is appointed by the Governor-General, and serves has adviser on legal matters and perform such other duties of a legal character, as may be referred or assigned to him.
Administrative divisions of Burma
The Union of Burma is administratively divided in:
- Divisions, areas that are described as ethnically predominantly Burmese (Bamar). They are administered by an Administrator, appointed by the Governor-General.
- States, areas that have other predominant minorities. The states are four: Federated Shan States, Bawlake, Kantarawadi, Kyebogyi (the last three often called the Karenni States). The Governor-General appoints a Resident Commissioner for the Federated Shan States and Chairman of the Shan Federated States Council, and Resident Commissioner for each the Karenni States.
Divisions and States are in turn are subdivided into townships then towns, wards and villages.
Economy of Burma
The major agricultural product is rice which covers about two thirds of the country's total cultivated land area and makes Burma one of the world's largest exporter of paddy and rice. Rice accounts for more of 90% of total food grain production by weight. Other main crops are pulses, cereals, sesame, groundnuts, sugarcane, hardwood, beans, butter beans, kidney beans, black eye beans, bamboo beans, red beans, mung beans, kenaf and peas. Cotton is also an important industry. In wood resources, Burma produces two thirds of the world's teak.
Burma is an important producer of rubies, sapphires, pearls and jade. Of these, the red stones are prized for their purity and hue.
Burma's oil and gas fields are located in the Magway Division. The Burmah Oil Company and Standard Oil Company are in charge the exploration and drilling of oil and gas.
Transport in Burma is mainly done by railroad and roads. The railroads are under the management of the Burma Railway Board. The coal, the rolling stock, engines, are all imported either from India or from Britain. However the railways are the single biggest debt item when the financial separation of India and Burma as done in 1932. It loses money because of competition from road transport. Under construction is the Yunnan–Burma Railway.
In Central Burma Basin the main means of transport is the road network. The Burma Road (Chinese: 滇缅公路) is a road linking Burma with the southwest of China. Its the main international cargo link of Burma. The road is 1,154 km long and runs through rough mountain country. Its terminals are Kunming, Yunnan, and Lashio, Burma.
The main port is Rangoon, that is also the main river port for the Irrawaddy River. the Irrawaddy is the country's largest river and most important commercial waterway. Passenger and cargo services are operate by a ferry company, The Irrawaddy Flotilla Company (IFC).