HC Deb 23 May 1873 vol 216 cc354-5

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether he will explain to the House why it is that officers in the Scientific Corps employed in the Public Works Department or holding staff appointments in India are, on promotion from the rank of captain to that of major, kept, as regards Indian pay and allowances, on the rate of pay belonging to the former rank, while officers of the Cavalry, Infantry, or Staff Corps, on promotion to the rank of major, receive the full benefit of the increased rate of Indian pay, and allowances belonging to that rank?


Sir, as my hon. Friend did not find my answer of yesterday quite clear, and as his Question relates to a very complicated subject, the best course will be, perhaps, to read an official Memorandum which enters fully into it, and which will, I trust, be quite satisfactory to him£ With regard to the Public Works Department, Engineer Officers are the only Officers of the Scientific Branch of the Army who are appointed thereto under the present regulations, and they have the option of receiving consolidated salary according to a new scale, or Staff salary under a former scale with regimental pay and allowances. Officers of the other branches of the Service joining the Public Works Department since 1870 have no such option, and receive consolidated salary. In such case the Engineer Officer has the privilege of receiving the net military pay of his rank, in addition to such consolidated salary, a privilege which the Officer of Cavalry, Infantry, or Staff Corps, does not possess. The aggregate pay of the Engineer Officer is, independent of his rank, always superior in that case to the pay of the Officers of other branches of the Service holding similar appointments. As to the case of Staff appointments, when the Staff salary is granted in addition to full regimental pay and allowances, it is believed that none such are held by Engineer officers, unless at their own option, in the Public Works Department. In such cases, however, an Officer of either of the Scientific Corps would receive less in the aggregate on promotion from captain to major than an Officer of Cavalry, Infantry, or Staff Corps similarly promoted, because the regimental pay of the former is in India, as it is in England, less than that of the latter. The explanation of this is, that when, in 1871, the War Office, for purposes connected with Imperial Army organization, converted all the captains of Artillery and Engineers into majors, it was thought unnecessary to give them the full regimental pay of majors of the other branches of the Service, as they enjoyed, especially in India, money privileges associated with their proper and ordinary duties which made their aggregate salaries paid out of the public purse amply sufficient. In adopting this course, the precedent established by the military authorities, both at home and in India, in 1858, was followed. On that occasion all the then majors of Artillery and Engineers were converted into lieutenant-colonels, but continued to receive majors' pay and majors' pension on retirement.