HC Deb 16 April 1877 vol 233 cc1210-2

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether his attention has been directed to some passages in a speech delivered by the Viceroy of India, at a Convocation of the Calcutta University, in which Lord Lytton expresses views regarding a new classification of civil appointments, and the necessity for the stoppage or rigid restriction of the present system of supplying young civil servants from England; and, if he can say whether the views of the Viceroy had the concurrence of the other Members of the Government of India and of the Secretary of State before being thus publicly announced to the Native Community?


Sir, I have read with great interest the speech alluded to by the hon. Gentleman, and in order to explain the purport of that speech, it will be necessary very shortly to state what the law is as regards these appointments in India. By an Act passed in 1861 Parliament specially reserved certain classes of appointments for the Indian Civil Service, entrance into that Service being by competition alone. In 1870 another Act of Parliament was passed, by which special facilities were given for the employment of Natives of India in offices and places hitherto reserved for the Indian Civil Service, subject to rules to be prescribed by the Governor General in Council and sanctioned by the Secretary of State in Council. Some necessary delay occurred in framing these rules, but they were finally agreed to in May, 1875. Such being the law, Lord Lytton took an appropriate opportunity of alluding to it at some length. He pointed out the practical difficulties of carrying out the latter Act, and the necessity of acting cautiously in "a matter in which one false step might be irrevocable and the mischief of it beyond calculation." He also pointed out that whatever was done should be carried out in such a way as to affect as little as was possible the promotion of the Civil Service; and he concluded by saying that if Natives were to be admitted to certain of the posts hitherto reserved for the Civil Service, it would be in his view advisable to reclassify the appointments, in order that the annual supply of civil servants from England might be properly regulated. The objects the Viceroy had in view seem to the Secretary of State to be in conformity with the intentions of an Imperial Act of Parliament. At the same time, I can assure the hon. Gentleman that no reduction upon the supply of young civilians now sanctioned is in immediate contemplation; and that if in future years any such reduction is necessary, it will be carried out in such a way as to avoid impairing the efficiency of the Service, or the quality of the candidates competing for that Service.


asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether it has been definitely decided that from next year candidates for the India Civil Service are to go up for examination between the ages of 17 and 19; if so, from what date this rate would take effect; and, whether the candidates passing the first examination on those terms are to be allowed, as heretofore, £150 a-year for two years while at the universities, on the condition that they subsequently successfully passed the final examination?


There will be two examinations in 1878, one for the last of the candidates selected under the older system, the other for the first of those who come under the new. To this last examination all candidates will be admitted who are 17 years of ago and are under 19 years of age on January 1 previous. In future years the candidates must be under 19 on June 1 of the year in which they are examined. With respect to the second part of the Question, I have to answer it in the affirmative. I cannot say at what date the first examination under the new system will be held.