§ Mr. RAIKES
asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether it is the fact that the offer of five or more posts in the service of the Forest Department in India for public competition in November next, which was contained in the prospectuses issued in July 1872 and March 1873, has been cancelled since the terms were publicly announced, and the number of such posts reduced to two; whether it is not the fact that, after the next appointments are made, the maximum of age in candidates competing for such posts is to be reduced from twenty-three to twenty-two years; whether the Secretary of State for India has considered the great hardship inflicted on those who have devoted some months to qualify themselves for an examination from which they will probably be excluded; and, whether he will not take steps to remedy the injury thus inflicted on young men desirous of entering the public service by reverting to the offer of a number of posts, not less than four and perhaps six, contained in the prospectus of March last?
MR. GRANT DUFF
In answer, Sir, to the hon. Gentleman's first Question, I have to say that it would appear that some of the prospectuses alluded to, but only a few, were issued without the lines specifying the number of appointments having been struck out. In reply to his second Question, I have to answer "Yes;" and to add that, eventually, the maximum age will be reduced to 20. 36 In reply to his third Question, I have to say that I do not see that there is any hardship, notice having been given so long beforehand, and every candidate having been warned in the published paper of particulars that the regulations were liable to alteration in future years. In reply to his fourth Question, I have to say that the Government of India has informed us that only two Forest officers for 1873 are wanted, and I am sure the hon. Gentleman will agree that it would be quite outrageous deliberately to create two or four useless appointments merely for the convenience of young men. It ought to be remembered that this Forest service is quite a new service, and that, till we have more experience of its working, changes with regard to the age and qualifications of candidates are, I fear, inevitable.