HC Deb 21 July 1881 vol 263 cc1465-6

asked the Secretary of State for India, Whether his attention has been called to the fact that, in the native regiments of the three Presidencies, there are 625 field officers to 560 captains and subalterns, several regiments having but one captain and subaltern a-piece; whether the establishment for native regiments is not two field officers only to five captains and subalterns; and, whether so disproportionate a number of field officers, many of whom are no longer young, and are simply waiting for off reckonings, does not impair the efficiency of the, native regiments and add considerably to the costs of the commissioned ranks? He wished further to ask when the revised rules relating to pensions and retirement in the Indian Service would be promulgated?


Sir, the revised rules have been settled; they are now being put into formal shape, and I trust they will be published in a short time. With regard to the assumed proportion of field officers to captains and subalterns in the performance of regimental duty, I can only refer to the reply I gave on the 20th of June, to the effect that the latest Return in the Office shows that of the 1,058 officers of the Staff Corps and Indian Services in the three Presidencies holding regimental commands, 430 are field officers and 628 are captains. A reference to the latest "Bengal Army List" shows that throughout that Army and the regiments under the Government of India—105 in all—there are only 21 substantive field officers holding positions which should be held by captains or subalterns, and of these only three are in the actual performance of such duties, the rest being either on leave or acting in higher regimental positions, or on the Staff. It does not appear that one of these regiments is reduced to one captain and one subaltern. The disproportion, where it exists, is in the Armies of Madras and Bombay, aggregating 81 corps. It is purely temporary, and will be greatly alleviated, if not altogether removed, by the measures with regard to pensions and other matters which are now under consideration and will very shortly be announced. There is no establishment of the several Army grades for Native regiments. The duties to be performed by the European officers, who it is to be remembered are not troop and company officers, justify three field officers with each infantry and four with each cavalry regiment. The employment of the existing field officers with corps does not add to the cost of the Army, as the officers would equally draw their pay, whether in the performance of regimental duty or not.