§ SIR SEYMOUR KING () Hull, Central
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the fact that the widows and orphans of subscribers to the Bengal, Bombay, and Madras Military Fund who wish to reside and draw their pensions in India are obliged by the Government to draw them at the old fixed rate of 2s. 3d. 1426 to the rupee, thus being mulcted of nearly 50 per cent. of the value of their pensions, whereas if pensions are drawn in England, Ceylon, or elsewhere they are paid at the official rate of exchange; whether he is aware that the effect of this anomaly is to prevent recipients of these pensions from joining their relatives in India who may be engaged in the Military or Civil Service; and whether it can be arranged that such pensions shall be settled for in India at the official rate or may be drawn in London.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Lord G. HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
The pensions to which my hon. friend refers were fixed in rupees by the subscribers themselves, but payments to persons resident in this country or in the colonies are made, not at the official rate of exchange, but at a special rate of about 2s. 3d. the rupee, in accordance with a guarantee given in the Statute 29 Vic., cap. 18. Naturally, this exceptional advantage ceases if a recipient of one of these pensions goes to reside in India; but for the benefit of pensioners wishing to visit that country for a period not exceeding one year, the Secretary of State, as a concession, allows their pensions to be accumulated during their absence, and the accumulations are paid to them on; their return at the exceptional rate of exchange above mentioned. It will be seen that these arrangements give exceptionally favourable treatment to this class of pensioners at the expense of the revenues of India; and I am not prepared to accept the suggestion in the last clause of my hon. friend's question, which would have the effect of increasing the burden on those revenues.