§ MR. TALBOT
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India what has been done by the Indian Government to carry into effect the 26th paragraph of the Despatch of Lord Kimberley, No. 18, of the 22nd March, 1883, with regard to the grievances of the Civil Engineers of the Indian Public Works Department in relation to their occupation of the higher posts in that Department; whether, in point of fact, the Civil Engineers have for a long period of years composed about four-fifths of the entire strength of the Department, the Military Engineers constituting the other fifth; whether the latter have the monopoly of all the higher administrative posts; whether this has been recognised by more than one Secretary of State as an injustice to the Civil Engineers; and whether it is not possible to give more practical effect to the policy laid down in the above-mentioned Despatch by the appointment of competent Civil Engineers to fill the highest departmental administrative posts either alternately with Military Officers or in any other way?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Baron H. de WORMS,) (for Sir J. GORST) Liverpool, East Toxteth
The Secretary of State is. confident in the words of the Despatch referred to—That the choice by the Government of India of fit persons for the higher posts in the Public Works Department has been made with perfect impartiality.The answer to the second question is in the affirmative. To the third and fourth the answer is in the negative, but for some time after the introduction of the Civil Engineers into the Department, the Royal Engineers, who formerly constituted the whole staff, were the seniors and the first to become eligible for promotion to the higher appointments. Now, however, the Civil Engineers are reaching the higher grades and are being-promoted on their merits in the same way as Royal Engineers. In reply to the last question, the Secretary of State is of opinion that the responsibility of selecting officers for promotion to high, appointments must rest with the Government of India under whom these officers work. He cannot adopt the hon. Member's suggestion.