§ (1) Provision may be wade by Rules under the Government of India Act, 19[...] as amended by the Government of India (Amendment) Act, 1916 (which Act, as so amended, is in this Act referred to as "the principal Act")—
- (a) for the classification of subjects, in relation to the functions of Government, as central and provincial subjects, for the purpose of distinguishing the functions of local government and local legislatures tures from the functions of the Governor-General in Council and the Indian legislature;
- (b) for the devolution of authority in respect of provincial subjects to local governments, and for the allocation of revenues or other moneys to those governments;
- (c) for the. use under the authority of the Governor-General in Council of the agency of local governments in relation to central subjects, in so far as such agency may be tumid convenient, and for determining the financial conditions of such agency; and
- (d) for the transfer from among the provincial subjects of subjects (in this Act referred to as "transferred subjects") to the administration of the governor acting with ministers appointed under this Act, and for the allocation of revenues or moneys for the purpose of such administration.
§ (2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing powers, Rules made for the above-mentioned purposes may—
- (i) regulate the extent and conditions of such devolution, allocation, and transfer;
- (ii) provide for
xing the contributions payable by local governments to the Governor-General in Council, and making such contributions a first charge on allocated revenues or moneys;
- (iii) provide for constituting a finance department in any province, and regulating the functions of that department;
- (iv) provide for regulative the exercise of the authority vested in the local government of a province over members of the public services therein;
- (v)provide for the settlement of doubts arising as to whether any matter does or does not relate to a provincial subject or a transferred subject, and for the treatment of matters which affect both a transferred subject and a subject which is not transferred; and
- (vi) make such consequential and supplemental provisions as appear necessary or expedient:
§ Provided that without prejudice to any general power of revoking or altering Rules 430 under the principal Act, the Rules shall not authorise the revocation or suspension of the transfer of any subject except with the sanction of the Secretary of State in Council.
§ (3) The powers of superintendence, direction, and control over local governments vested in the Governor-General in Council under the principal Act shall in relation to transferred subjects be exercised only for such purposes as may be specified in Rules made under that Act, but the Governor-General in Council shall be the sole judge as to whether the purpose of the exercise of such powers in any particular case comes within the purposes so specified.
§ (4) The expressions "central subjects" and "provincial subjects'' as used in this Act mean subjects so classified under the Rules.
§ Provincial subjects, other than transferred subjects, are in this Act referred to as "reserved subjects"
§ Sir D. MACLEAN
On a point of Order. It might be for the convenience of the Committee. If you, Mr. Chairman, would give us some guidance on a point I respectfully submit to you. Amendments standing on the Paper in the names of two hon. Members are quite contradictory in terms and in intent, but they both propose to leave out paragraph;(d) to achieve their very different objects. Can you give us any guidance as to how in your opinion the Committee can corn to a definite conclusion on the policy submitted by both these Amendments, and any other suggestion with regard to ancillary and subsequent Amendments?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Before a ruling is given, may I put it to you that this Bill is probably the most important Bill that has yet come before this House since it was elected, and may I put it to you that the ordinary Rules of Procedure in Committee should be strictly followed within your province, and that we should not in any way damp down discussion on the very important Amendments which appear later in the Bill? May I also put it to you that the proceedings of this House on this Bill are being watched— [HON. MEMBERS: "Order, Order!"]
§ The CHAIRMAN
That does not seem relevant. I am obliged to the hon. and gallant Member. I shall always endeavour to perform my duties in the Chair. With regard to the question put to me, I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman (Sir D. Maclean) for raising the point of Order, because I had in my mind the same Object—namely, to enable the Committee to have a clear discussion and a clear issue on the various points which are raised. Apart from the first three Amendments on the Paper which deal with another subject, there are at the beginning of the pro- 431 ceedings three main points. The first one stands in the name of the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Spoor), and his proposal may be described as for greater devolution than the Bill at present provides. There is then the Amendment next following, in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Melton (Colonel yate), who wishes to strike out paragraph (d) of Clause I and to insert new proposals different from those in the Bill as it stands. Further on I notice two Amendments to Clause 3, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. T. Wilson) and other hon. Members. That is a proposal that the period before the second step in self-government shall be less than is provided by the Bill. Those are the three main points which arise in the early stages of the Bill, and my endeavour is that on each of those three the Committee should have a clear and separate issue. Therefore, I suggest, taking the first of those three, the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Melton, to leave out paragraph (d), and to insert his own paragraph (d). Following that, I will take the Amendment of the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland as an addition to paragraph (d), to make it read, "but subject to rule made," etc. That. I think would achieve his object. We shall follow with a Debate later on the Amendment of the hon. Member for Westhoughton. I think that course will enable the Committee to discuss the different questions and take Divisions on the point.
The CH AIRMAN
Is that Amendment to be read along with another Amendment standing in the name of the hen and gallant Member, and third on the Paper?
§ Colonel YATE
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), to leave out the words, "under the Government of India Act, 1915, as amended by the Government of India (Amendment). Act 1916 (which Act, as so amended is in this Act referred to as the principal Act'),"and to insert instead thereof the words, "under this Act"
432 I certainly agree with what has been said just now by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Lieut.-Commander Ken-worthy) that this is the most momentous Bill we have bad before us, certainly in this Parliament. It must he remembered that it concerns not 4,000,000 of people in Ireland or Scotland, but 315,000,000 of people in India, and it vitally concerns the whole of our Eastern Empire. It affects British interests in Aden, along the Persian Gulf, Mesopotamia, Afghanistan, Bombay, Colombo, Calcutta, Singapore, Shanghai and Wei-hai-Wei. If once the pax Britannica is destroyed in India, you may say that the foundation of all those places is also destroyed. Therefore I would like to ask the House to approach this Bill with the most careful consideration. I would ask hon. Members also to look at the Report of the Joint Committee. In Clause 2 of that Report the Select Committee record that they were not chargedto consider the best form of government for India, but only with the duty of dealing with this Bill which had been read a second time in the house of Commons …I would ask hon. Members to recollect that we have to consider this Bill, which was read a second time under extraordinary circumstances. The House will recall how the Bill was brought in on the Thursday before the Whitsuntide Recess, and was passed in a few hours, with hardly any Debate, and rushed through before any body had time to consider it, and then submitted to the Joint Select Committee. We are here, I take it, to legislate for the best form of government for India. Just consider how India has been treated in this matter! We sent to Egypt Lord Milner, who is, I suppose, the greatest living authority on Egypt, thoroughly conversant with that country, which is a small country, with 12,500,000 inhabitants, almost all of the same religion. The Milner Commission goes out to Egypt to make a complete inquiry into the best form of government for that country. Here are we discussing a Constitution for India, produced by the Secretary of State for India, who knew nothing about India, but went out there and, having consulted some persons there, comes back and forms a Constitution for a country bigger than the whole of Europe, without Russia. It is our duty to consider most carefully all the provisions of this Bill. Take up this point on which I have moved the 433 Amendment, and we see that everything is to be left to the Rules and by reference to two former Acts. I ask hon. Members to look at the copy of the principal Act with the proposed Amendments which are given to us, and see the Amendments of the principal Act. It; is stated that all the new things in the Act are underlined, and hon. Members will see that the whole Bill is a mass of underlinings. Here is the Secretary of State taking to himself power under these Rules to amend the whole of the Constitution for India and the Acts which have been in force ever since the announcement of Queen Victoria.
I ask the House to consider this question. These Rules ought not to be left simply and solely to the idiosyncrasy of any particular Secretary of State. The Secretary of State throughout the whole of this Bill, by means of references which none of us understand or know, is putting everything into his own autocratic power; he is making himself an absolute autocrat. There may be some good in that, because we may have another Secretary of State who will make good Rules and upset all the bad Rules made by the present Secretary of State. We are, however, in this House very much against legislation by what we call Orders in Council. We want to legislate in this House, and we do not want to leave things to be upset. We had the Aliens Act before us a short time ago. We all remember the Aliens Act of 1905. In 1906 we had another Home Secretary who, by the Rules which he issued, absolutely nullified that Act. We do not want to see that done here. We want to pass a really good piece of legislation. I am in favour of the announcement of August, 1917, and I am longing to see self-government for India, but that announcement, on which this Bill is based, ought to have been made by the King himself as Emperor of India, and it ought not to have been made by the Secretary of State in answer to a question in this House.
The point now before us is to insert the words "under this Act" instead of the words under the Government of India Act, 1915, as amended by the Government of India Amendment Act, 1916 (which Act, as so amended, is in this Act referred to as 'the principal Act')." I ask hon. Members to look at the Act and see the alterations which are covered by this particular Clause, and I ask that those words should be left out and that we should insert the words "under this Act." There 434 is no hurry about this Bill. I quite agree that the right hon. Gentleman is anxious to have a Bill to send out to India in time for the Peace celebrations on the 13th of this month. I agree that is the proper thing, and I should like to see a Bill passed to show that we are really in earnest to give self-government to India, not necessarily in time for the National Congress, because I do not consider that of any importance. I should like to see an assurance given to India that we are going to give them a proper form of self-government, but this Bill cannot under any circumstances be brought into operation for the next two years. It cannot come into force until well on into 1921. Sir James Meston has himself said that this Bill cannot come into operation until the summer of 1921. Therefore, let us pass the Bill, but, as to the Rules, we ought to know exactly where we stand and we ought to have time to send them out to India, so that we may know if the Government of India agrees to them and if the Governors of the eight Provinces agree to them. We sent out a special Commission to a small country like Egypt. Take every one of the Provinces of India—Bombay with 20,000,000, the United Provinces with 40.000,000, and Bengal with 50,000,000—all with different nationalities, languages, colour, and creeds! Each of those requires a Commission to itself. We must know from the Governors of those Provinces what they consider is right and proper. When we have got the Rules back again we shall know what they think in each Province, and they can then be passed by this House and attached to the Bill.
It seems to me important that we should have no legislation by reference. I could not find out what the original Act was. It was only to-day that I managed to get the Act, and I have not had time to go through the whole thing. We have only had a week since this enormous mass of correspondence and printed matter was launched at our heads, and we do not know what the effect of these Rules is going to be. My Amendment will enable us to have these rules properly considered without delaying the Bill. I do not want to delay the Bill. We could then have the rules considered and attach them to the Bill before it comes into operation. If hon. Members will look at my second Amendment they will see that it reads:Such Rules shall be laid in draft before both Houses of Parliament, and such Rules shall not be made unless both Houses by Resolution approve the drafts, either without modifications 435 and additions or with modifications and additions to which both Houses agree. Upon such approval being given the Secretary of State in council may make such Rules in the form in which they have been approved, and such Rules on being so made shall he attached as Schedules to the Bill and have the same force and effect as if they formed part of the Bill, and the Bill shall not be brought into operation till all such Rules have been approved and attached to the BillI think hon. Members will agree that that is a very reasonable proposition. It is one by which we hope to ensure properly considered legislation, not legislation rushed through without anybody knowing what it means. It will give us time to get the opinion of the Governors of all the various Provinces in India, and the rules can then be attached to the Bill long before it can come into operation. I do ask the Committee not to pass blindfold legislation leaving everything to be worked out afterwards according to the views of the Secretary of State. This is a great Imperial matter on winch our whole Eastern Empire rests. Let us pass the Bill, but let us first have a sure indication what the effect of the rules will be and then attach them to the Bill and make them part of the Bill.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Montagu)
I am not sure whether we are to discuss this and the latter Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member, which I gather cuts out the Amendment of the hon. Member for Oxford University (Mr. Oman). In Sub-section (1), after the word "Act" ["the principal Act"], to insert the wordsSuch Rules shall be laid in draft before both Houses of parliament, and such Rules shall not be made unless both Houses by Resolution approve the draft. either without modification or additions to both Houses agree. But upon such approval being given the Secretary of State in Council may make such Rules in the form in which they have been approved and such Rules on being so made shall be of full force and effect
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Amendment of the hon. Member for Oxford University (Mr. Oman), if it stood by itself, would be a matter for Clause 44, and not Clause It is only the later words that have any relevance to the first Clause.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
The first part of the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, I think, arises from a misapprehension. Of course, this is a Bill to amend the Government of India Act, 1915, and it amends it substantially, but in order to avoid confusion, as soon as this Bill is passed, then by means of the Schedule this kill will he automatically incorporated into the old Act. The consequence is that there will be no necessity for any fresh consolidation, or any fresh reference to a complicated system of Acts. There will always be only one Act. Therefore, the words "principal Act," as printed in this Clause, under the operation of the Schedule and the action of the King's printers, when this Bill gets the Royal Assent, disappear, and the words "this Act" are substituted, "this Act" meaning the whole Constitution of India as embodied in the principal Act and these Amendments. If my hon. and gallant Friend be successful in that part of his desire, we lose the definition of the principal Act, we lose the whole of the scheme upon which this Bill is constructed, and are deprived of the opportunity of automatic consolidation, which will prevent hon. Members in the future having the trouble and difficulty which my hon. and gallant Friend has described on this occasion. Therefore, I most earnestly trust that that part of my hon. and gallant Friend's scheme will not be accepted. It does not make for greater or less clearness; it is simply a question of drafting, and, when he sees the Consolidated Bill after the Royal Assent is given, he will find that the words "principal Act" disappear and the words "this Act" are substituted.
As regards the autocratic power of the Secretary of State, I may say that there never has been a Bill introduced for the Government of India which makes the Secretary of State so amenable to the control of this House. Rules under former Acts were not made with all the provisions which have been incorporated in this Bill to secure the control of Parliament. All the Rules under Clause 1 have to be brought before Parliament by the Secretary of State. It is suggested that all the Rules shall first be investigated and reported upon by a Joint Committee of both Houses. Therefore, the House will have the advice of a committee of their own 437 appointment on all the Rules before they come before them. The only difference which my hon. and gallant Friend seeks to make is that instead of lying on the Table the Rules should have a Resolution of both Houses. Heaven knows that this House is sufficiently congested as it is. We do not want to increase unnecessarily the work thrown upon its shoulders. By all means let us have the important Rules, but do not let us bother to have a Resolution on every trifling alteration in what, I fear, will be a very complicated set of Rules. I think my hon. and gallant Friend would defeat his own object, because, if all the Rules are brought before Parliament for affirmative Resolutions, it will become so customary an affair that it will lose its great significance. We had the whole of this discussion upstairs, and it was agreed that the best way was that all the Rules should be submitted to the Joint Committee, if Parliament appointed it, and that all the Rules with the Report of the Committee, should come before the House of Commons. The Secretary of State is authorised by this Bill, if it passes in this form, to decide whether he will adopt the affirmative Resolution rather than the negative laying upon the Table of the Rules. The Secretary of State, as a matter of Parliamentary practice, will act after taking the advice of the Joint Committee—he would be a fool if he did not—and really in practice it will be the Joint Committee which will say to him, "These Rules are so important that you had better have an affirmative Resolution. This is such a trifling alteration that it is necessary only to draw the attention of Parliament to it and to leave it upon the Table of the House" I think that is really the most businesslike way of doing it. My hon. and gallant Friend speaks very feelingly, and I accept with gratitude his statement that he wants to see working a measure of self-government in India, but he wants to preserve Parliamentary control over that measure of self-government. I agree with him, and I will do anything in my power to assure that that control is maintained, but he does not want to cumber up the procedure of the Houses of Parliament and to make difficulties in putting into force the Bill when it is passed. I think the Clause as drawn gives control of the House of Commons in every necessary particular, and does not fall into the difficulties which my hon. 438 and gallant Friend suggests. It may interest the House to know that I have had some correspondence with the Viceroy and with the Government of India on what will happen if, as my hon. and gallant Friend and I both hope, this Bill receives the Royal Assent before Christmas. We estimate, we hope, that the Rules under the Bill after publication in India, after receiving the opinions of all concerned, including the local governments, will be brought home here in sufficient time to hold the new elections in November of next year, and we hope that the new Legislative Assembly will sit in India in January of 1921. I merely wished to say that now, because my hon. and gallant Friend gave alternative dates, and I wanted the House to know what the Government of India and the India Office were aiming at as the programme if everything went well. I hope I have gone some way to convince my hon. and gallant. Friend on the matters which he has brought to the notice of the Committee.
§ Colonel YATE
The right hon. Gentleman says he hopes to get this Bill by January, but we most of us think it will not come till the autumn of 1921, although that is a small difference. Both dates give equal time for us to have the opinion of the local governments. We know what laying Papers on the Table of the House means. A Paper may lie for nine days or for twenty-nine days, and who knows anything about it? If we are to have a proper procedure we must have a Resolution of the House, or else who is to decide which of these Rules is necessary or unnecessary? I think we should be wrong in passing this Bill if we are not able to give our opinion on all the Rules that are to be brought in when it is passed. It is a most momentous Bill, and it is the duty of this House to give its opinion on the: Roles to be brought into force by the Bill. I must, therefore, stick to my Amendment.
§ Mr. OMAN
I rise to support the hon. and gallant Gentleman in not withdrawing his Amendment, and the reasons I have to add are very simple. I formed one of the not inconsiderable body of persons who voted against the way in which this Committee was nominated. We thought the Commons members of the Joint Committee were not chosen on fair principles. There was only one member among them—
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is quite out of order. The hon. Member is not allowed to criticise the constitution of the Committee, which was the act of the House.
§ Mr. OMAN
The right hon. Gentleman was saying he was going to set up this Joint Committee for good as a revising body for this Bill. I was, therefore, merely pointing out that some of us had no confidence in the Joint Committee so far as it was appointed by ourselves, and therefore we regarded it as a most unsatisfactory body to set up.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Perhaps the hon. Member will see the reason of our rule. A minority always thinks itself in the right. But when the House has decided by a majority it is not open to further criticism of that kind.
§ Mr. OMAN
The other point I wish to make is that, as I gather from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, we shall have dropping files of rules for a. very long time coming before us at intervals which it will be impossible for us to study with the other things which will be claiming our attention. There may be a strike on, there may be trouble in Germany, there may be trouble with Russia, and nothing can compare with the advantage of considering the mass of material at the time when the main Bill is in band. To refer all this to casual times and seasons seems to me wholly unsatisfactory. The whole system of rules in itself is unsatisfactory, but if anything can possibly palliate the system it is that they should be taken in one mass, and, as the Mover of the Amendment proposes, they should be attached to the Bill in Schedules. Then we could consider them altogether, whereas if they drop in from time to time, as they will do under the system of Rules laid before us at irregular intervals, there will be no proper way in which the House can concentrate itself on Indian subjects.
Sir J. D. REES
The Bill having received a Second Reading, I was not personally prepared for the arguments put forward by my hon. and gallant. Friend, nor am I anxious now to follow them. I believe the more we stick to the particular Amendments and get through the particular Bill, the more properly the House will now be executing its duty. My hon. and gallant Friend suggested Egypt as an analogous case, but surely that analogy is without foundation. Egypt has never been immediately under British rule, and there is nothing whatever analogous between 440 what is proposed in Egypt and what is proposed to be done in India by this Bill. When he referred to the Joint Report, he omitted a consideration which I will mention, because I think it is habitually forgotten in writings, in speeches, and in all comments on this Bill, and that is that the Report upon which the Bill is based was not solely the work of the Secretary of State and the Viceroy of India, but that Report had the general concurrence of the Council of India and of the Council of the Secretary of State, who by common consent are serious and sober statesmen and not rash young reformers. As regards my hon. and gallant Friend's speech, I think he fell into some error in saying the principal Act had been in force since Queen Victoria's Proclamation. I was a member of the Joint Committee of both Houses which consolidated the Act of 1915, and I think we incorporated in it a very great many Amendments which had been made since the date of Queen Victoria's Proclamation, and all that is now proposed is to admit into that Act such Amendments as are now made by the present Act. I think my hon. and gallant Friend was also in error in stating that Lord Meston said this Bill could not come into force, however quickly it was passed, for three years. I understood him to say eighteen months. There is no reason whatever, from the point of view of the consideration of these Rules, for the Amendment, because Clause 44 provides in the most unequivocal manner for the Rules coming before Parliament when necessary, and the only Rules that I think would be particularly affected by this Amendment, if passed, would be Rules which by common consent might be fairly disposed of in India by the Governor in Council.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I find myself, with no personal knowledge on this subject, in some difficulty about the matter. It seems to me to be quite clear from Clause 44 that these Rules will have the force of law if they lie on the Table of tile House in the ordinary way, and I was rather surprised at the laughter which greeted the statement made by the hon. and gallant Member that nobody reads Rules laid on the Table. My experience is that the House takes very little interest in documents laid on the Table of the House. As somebody wittily observed, "For all the good they do, they might as well lie on the floor of the House" The other day certain Rules under the Housing 441 Act would have become law had certain of us not raised the question, and one day before they became law they were unknown to a great number of Members. Many hon. Members came up to my Noble Friend the Member for Hitchin (Lord R. Cecil), and myself, and thanked us for calling their attention to the matter. The question here is whether it is better in a matter of this kind that the Rules should be passed by Resolution of both Houses, or whether they should become law automatically by being laid upon the Table of both Houses. I must say I do not think any Minister should use the argument that the house is so congested already that it has no time for more work. I have heard that argument for over twelve years in this House, and if Ministers hold that view, why do they not bring in a Bill to alter the existing Constitution? Whenever Ministers wish to get a matter easily through this House, they invariably use that argument, whether in regard to India, Ireland, or Kamskatka. It is always the same argument—we have so little time, and Parliament is so congested that we must do it by this method. Therefore I hope the Committee will not allow their minds to be affected at all by that argument. The question is, What is best in the interests of India, whether these Rules should become law by means of a Resolution or by means of lying on the Table of the House? I confess that without further argument from the Secretary of State to show that it would involve a tremendous strain on his office and a greater strain on the time of Parliament than he has shown already, I should be inclined to vote for the Amendment. I think it is highly important in future that Parliament should take far more interest in the affairs of India than in the past, and with considerable experience of Indian Debates I am pleased to see for the first occasion in my recollection something like a full Committee in discussing an Indian question. It is in very pleasing contrast to what used to happen years ago, for when we discussed the Secretary of State for India's salary we used to have about a dozen people in the House, mostly experts.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
Under Clause 44 either the Rules may lie upon the Table of the House or they may be submitted for an affirmative Resolution.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
The question is whether all Rules shall be submitted to this process or only some of them. Although I think it would be much better to come in as an Amendment to Clause 44, I should have considerable sympathy with the Noble Lord's desire as a safer plan, if it were not that I do hope that, for the first time in the history of Parliament, there will be appointed, not by any Minister, but by the House itself, a Standing Committee on Indian affairs. If such a Committee exists, it will be their business to point out to the House the change of Rules, and the fear of the Noble Lord that nobody will look at them will be obviated by the existence of that Standing Committee But, further than that, the Standing Committee will have the power to advise Parliament when there are Rules of sufficient importance that they should be submitted for affirmative Resolution, and, if they do that, I feel quite convinced Parliament will insist on supporting its own Committee and standing up for the advice which is given. I do not think it is necessary to have a Rule which is universal and without exception.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am anxious to prevent the Committee getting on to a wrong issue. Some of these points had better he kept until we get to Clause 44. The real point here is whether the present Bill shall not be brought into operation before all this process huts been gone through, and all the Rules have been approved. Let us clear that away first, and leave any; points on Clause 44 until we reach that Clause.
§ Colonel YATE
That is the point I wish to bring forward, that all these important Rules should be approved by this House and attached to this Bill before it comes into operation.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
The chief point which we have considered is time advantage or inadvisability of doing so much of our legislation by Rules. But in this case there are many serious issues before us, and I am afraid that, even as a member of a minority on the Joint Committee, I cannot say that I think the Amendment moved by my hon. and gallant Friend is really one of vital importance. Although I had the misfortune of being in the minority in the votes of that Committee, this was not the point on which we divided. We weighed all the circumstances. My hon. and gallant Friend led us to think that this was something introduced for the first 443 time in Indian legislation. That is not so. In the Act of 1915 precisely the same course was followed with regard to Rules. In section 44 on, this Bill we have increased its stringency, and, besides that in our Report we urged that there should be a Standing Committee of the two Houses to consider this matter. I would ask my hon. and gallant Friend really to consider what would be the effect of suspending this Bill until all these elaborate Rules, which no previous legislation has attempted to put in the four corners of a Bill, were drafted, considered and approved by Parliament. Meanwhile, what is to become of this Bill? Is this Bill to be kept hanging in the air while we go through the elaborate process, which could not take less than a year or a year and a half? In view of all the points on which my hon. and gallant Friend and I are united, I do not think that this point, on which I think I am right in saying the Joint Committee came to a unanimous decision, is one which we should press.
§ Sir J. RANDLES
The Secretary of State told us that the Standing Committee would deal with these Rules. Are we to understand that no Rules will be laid on the Table that have not been before, and been approved by, the Standing Committee which it is proposed to set up?
Lieut.-Colonel A. MURRAY
I do not see that there is anything in the Bill to compel the Secretary of State to take the advice of the Standing Committee, and I am in some difficulty for this reason—
I am in some difficulty, with due respect to your ruling, without discussing Clause 44, how I am to decide which way to vote on this Amendment. If I were assured that the Secretary of State would favourably consider any Amendment to Clause 44, making it compulsory upon him to accept the advice of the Standing Committee, or omitting from Clause 44 the words with reference to Rules in Council, then I should vote against the Amendment of the hon. And gallant Member, but otherwise I think I should have to vote with him. I am in entire agreement with the Noble Lord opposite that anything which will ensure a fuller discussion of Indian affairs in this House, is all to the good, and if the omission of words in Clause 44 will mean the 444 discussion of Indian affairs in this House, I shall be bound to vote accordingly, and I think it is a very material point on which side the right hon. Gentleman's sympathy lies.
§ Mr. STEWART
May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman's reference to the Standing Committee is a pious hope? Can he assure us that a standing Committee will be set up?
§ Captain ORMSBY-GORE
I think the hon. Member opposite is under a misapprehension as to what the effect of this Amendment will be. The effect, as I read it, is that no port of this Bill can be put into force until I all the franchise rules, and things of that kind, have received the affirmative support of this House. That seems to me quite unreasonable. It is quite impossible for the new local legislatures or the proposed Ministries to come into force until these. Rules have been approved by this House. But there are things in the Bill, such as the appointment of a High Commissioner for India. Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman want all this sort of thing held up pending the settlement of the franchise Rules? It is really unreasonable that you should hold up a Bill, which is to receive the assent of the King Emperor, and prevent the coming into farce of many of its important Clauses while we are waiting for the machinery to come from India for the approval of this House of certain franchise and other Rules.
§ Colonel YATE
The appointment of a High Commissioner is in this Bill, but there is nothing in this Bill as to what these Rules are to be. This Bill cannot, in any circumstances, come into force before those Rules are promulgated.
§ Captain ORMSBY-GORE
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is, I am sure, absolutely wrong. The Rules which he has in mind affect, notably, franchise and certain other subjects. Those Clauses which are affected by Rules cannot come into force until those Rules are made. But a large number of Clauses can come into force before, as they do not require Rules, and the Amendment would prevent their coming into operation. The other point is really this, that on Clause 44 the House should decide whether they consider the machinery of a Standing Committee of Parliament, or the affirmative process, in giving effect to Rules, should be adopted But all we are asked to 445 decide here at this point is the question of the holding up of the Act, and I do implore my hon. Friends not to support this Amendment because it would be open to the worse misconstruction, and would complicate further dealing with the Bill enormously, and I am sure it is quite unnecessary, as my right hon. Friend, who was on the Joint Committee, has said. I know the feeling of the hon. and gallant Gentleman is that the Joint Committee has not done its work. He will have the chance of working against it next Session, when another Committee is set up. Meanwhile I do urge him not to press his Amendment to a Division, because I am sure it will merely cause great difficulty in machinery, and will not do any good to anybody.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I trust the Committee will come to a decision on this matter. I should not have permitted this Amendment if I had thought questions were going to be raised affecting Clause 41. But in the last part of the Amendment, I saw it was the purpose of the hon. and gallant Member to hold up the Bill until this other process had been gone through, as has been correctly stated by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Captain Ormsby-Gore).
§ Colonel YATE
I do not want to hold up the Bill; I only desire that the Rules shall be approved and attached to the Bill.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The whole effect of the Amendment is in the last words, "the Bill shall not be brought into operation till all such Rules have been approved and attached to the Bill." That is the only thing which brings the Amendment in order at this stage, and it is on that that the Committee will take its decision now.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Colonel YATE
I beg to move, to leave out paragraph (d), and to insert instead thereof(d) for the constitution of the Governor's Executive Council, in which there shall be an equal number of official Ministers and of Ministers chosen by the Governor from the elected members of the Provincial Legislature, and for the allocation of revenues and money for the purposes of administrationThe Amendment raises the whole question of diarchy. I would like to ask the House to consider for a moment what diarchy means. There is no word in any known language that represents such a form of government I suppose there has never been such a form of government 446 since the world began. The word is one apparently coined for the purpose, How it is to be applied we do riot know. I think I saw the meaning of the word "diarchy a newspaper the other day. It practically means, if I may put it so, that if applied to this country the Prime Minister would have half of his Cabinet chosen out of the followers on the benches behind him, and the other -half composed of leaders of the trade unions—of Smillie's and Cramp's and other leaders of that type That is exactly what would happen in India. There the Governor of the Province would have half of his Cabinet as stated, and the other half would be of members chosen from the elected members of his Legislative Council, whose whole fame and notoriety would rest upon the manner in which they succeeded in opposing the official members of the Cabinet. There would be one continual fight—although I do not like to use the word. If hon. Members will turn to the Report of the Joint Select Committee they will see what is recommended to be done to avoid this great evil. I am absolutely at a loss to know how the Secretary of State could manage to get a dozen men together on this Committee to write such an idealistic Report as this.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have allowed the hon. and gallant Gentleman a great deal of latitude, but I trust that every proposition of his will not produce such a long preamble. I should be glad if he will come to the point. Would he, first of all, be good enough to take the purpose and effect of his Amendment?
§ Colonel YATE
The purpose of my Amendment, Mr. Whitley, is to leave out paragraph (d), which deals with a system of diarchy. I am endeavouring to urge my objection to the proposal of the Government. I suppose I may be allowed, with your permission, to try to explain what diarchy is, and what is the result of it.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is what I am asking the hon. and gallant Member—exactly what is his substitute? I cannot enter into the minds of all hon. Members on occasions like these, and I must ask them to help me by a clear explanation.
§ Colonel YATE
My substitution is in the words of my Amendment on the Paper. 447 This I want to substitute for the proposal to constitute a diarchy. My proposal is that the Government of the Provinces should be a unified Government and not a dual Government; that we should not have this preventable friction between the two sides of the Government. Let me refer to the Joint Committee on this subject. I was asking and now ask, hon. Members to take the Report and look at what has been said on this particular point. On page 4 we read:Each side of the Government will advise and assist the other; neither will control nor impede the otherIf you can imagine any body of men appointed in which neither side are to oppose the other, for Heaven's sake put it in the Bill, and do not leave it in the region of pious hopes. So the Report goes on. You will find the same thing on page 5. The Committee sayThey are of opinion that the Rules governing the allocation of these revenues and balances should be framed so as to make the existence of such friction impossible. … The Committee desire that the relation of the two sides of the Government in this matter, as in all others, should be of such mutual sympathy that each will be able to assist and influence for the common good the work of the otherThat also is a pious hope. But we do not collect a dozen men together to write down pious hopes. We want this sort of thing put in the Bill, and so make it impossible for these things to happen. Therefore, I am moving that we should have a unified Government for India instead of this absurd system of diarchy. Think what this system of diarchy does? The official members of the Governor's Council take all the unpleasantness. They have to collect the taxes. They have to control the people, keep law and order, and do everything that is unpleasant, and the other party are to be able to raise complaints of every kind and criticise, as unofficial members, and oppose what the other half of the body have done. We see, day by day, now that would work out. Every disturbance will be the occasion for an attack upon the official members. What we want is to prevent that in every possible way we can. I do desire hon. Members to think of this and to see how absolutely unworkable is this system of diarchy. Unless the Prime Minister of this country will undertake himself to say, "I am willing to undertake a government of this country with one-half of the Cabinet composed of 448 hon. Members behind me and the other half of the leaders of trade unions, "then, I say, he has no right to impose such a form of government upon the Governors of the great Provinces in India. If the right hon. Gentleman will undertake to apply the system to this country, then by ail means let it be applied to India: not otherwise.
On this question of unified Government I welcome the Governor's Council, half of officials and half of elected representative members, for they are all one executive committee and they will work together to carry on the Government. Indians realise only one Government. You cannot in their minds divide it. There is only one Sircar. Nothing that you can do will alter the idea in the mind of the Indian that a thing is done by one Government—one official Government. He has no idea of anything else. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Montagu) went out to India, and, so I am told, came across a man named Curtis. It was from this gentleman that he obtained the idea of the diarchy. The right hon. Gentleman comes down to the House of Commons, and says, "I will go down to history as the founder of the diarchy" He proposes in this House this Form of government, and I cannot imagine a more hopeless form. I cannot conceive how it came into his mind. But, as I have said, that is the way I am told he got it. If hon. Members will look at the observations on Clause 6 in the Report, they will see that members of the Executive Council are not to be allowed to express their opinions when those opinions differ from the opinions of other members. Why? You might just as well say that any Minister on the Treasury Bench is not to be allowed to express an opinion contrary to what is expressed by the Opposition! How is it possible for government to go on under such circumstances? Again, I should like to refer to page 5 of the Report, where you have reference made to a list of transferred subjects. It says:The lists of central, provincial, and transferred subjects included in the Functions Committee's Report have been somewhat altered after consultation with the India OfficeI should like to know about this alteration. We have heard nothing from the Government of India, or the Governors of Provinces, to show that they agree. It you look at the Blue Book you will see that all these alterations are carried out I by a Committee under, I believe, the 449 chairmanship of Mr. Charles Roberts. This is in Appendix III. I should like to know what is the authority of Mr. Charles Roberts for making all the alterations that are here put before us. We have no information as to the views of the Government of India on this scheme. We have no information as to the views or the Provincial Governments at all about it. We are asked to legislate blindfold for these things. I do say that no measure of this sort should be brought in without consultation with the Governors of the great Provinces. Even we do not put forward a new Constitution for Malta—a little place like that—without asking for the opinion of the Governor.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Really, I must ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman to keep more closely to the point, and to deal with this matter in a businesslike way. The Bill has already been before a Select Committee, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman should bear that in mind.
§ 5.0 P.M
§ Colonel YATE
I will try to obey your ruling, Mr. Whitley, but really the point raised by the Secretary of State, the 'definite point, is such an indefinite point that I perhaps have gone further than I ought to have done. But I do ask hon. Members to consider this matter very carefully, for this system, new and foreign to every Government, is one which is not lightly to be undertaken. This is a very serious questions and if hon. Members will only think it over they will see the intense seriousness of it, and how it may, under certain circumstances, upset the whole of the Government of India.
§ Mr. ACLAND
Having been a member of the Committee referred to, I want to explain that I was not able to be present during the most vital part of the discussion. This question of the diarchy is absolutely the fundamental question we have to consider. The Chairman has ruled that we must consider this question only in relation to the alternative which the hon. and gallant Member proposes. No one has said that a system of diarchy is ideal. There will certainly be difficulties, and naturally this must be so. All we have claimed is that it is the best system of carrying out the declaration of the Acts of 1917 in order to make a real step towards the attainment of responsible Government. Therefore we must consider whether the basis proposed in the Bill is 450 or is not, on the whole, better than what is proposed to be substituted by the Amendment. The Amendment means that there will be an executive council consisting of an equal number of official members and persons chosen from the elected re presentatives. There would be no duty of any sort or kind on the Governor to allot any particular portlolios, or any real executive responsibility to the persons selected from those elected by the constituencies.
Is that really a proper carrying out of what this House determined when they gave this Bill a Second Heading? Is it compatible with what we say in the pre amble of the Bill, that we want to get a gradual development of self-governing institutions with a view to the realisation of responsible Government? Can you re gard a system under which you have an equal number of elected representatives alongside of official members, without any guarantee that the elected members will have any powers at all, as a real step to wards responsible Government for India. This system involves dualism and diarchy every bit as much as the system of the Bill. You cannot avoid having differences of opinion between the official members and those selected from the legislature, and even if the governor acts fairly and does make a distribution of portfolios, you will have the dual system and you cannot avoid it, but it will be in a very unfortunate form. To say that you avoid all the difficulties by the alternative proposal in the Bill simply will not hold water, because you have dualism without having that de finite responsibility which alone will make-dualism a real success.
Will the House visualise the way in which the alternative which the hon. and gallant Member proposes is likely to work? I suggest that you will not get the maximum of friendly working unless each side of the Executive Council has a definite responsibility at tached to it in consequence of the passage of this Bill. If everyone is responsible for everything, there is much more likelihood of friction than if the two sides are responsible for different things, although having the right to give one another ad vice and help one another with regard to those two different responsibilities. Let us realise that it is part of the policy of this country, as laid down by the Secretary of State for India on the Second Reading of this Bill, that it should constitute a stage from which further steps forward 451 are possible, if this stage shows by its working that it is justified. Under the system that is proposed by the hon. and gallant Member opposite no further step is possible unless you postpone the operation of the Bill for a certain number of years, and that is a thing which I think the majority of this House does not wish to do, or else the complete responsibility must be put on the elected Legislature which I am sure the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Yate) would be the first to say was much too big a step to take all at once. It is only by giving real responsibility for certain subjects, so that the Ministers selected from the Legislature will have to stand absolutely on their own legs, and if they fail or succeed it will be owing to their own action, and then this Parliament will be able to judge whether it is right to take a further step forward and then entrust the elected representatives with further powers.
We wish to educate the Indian electors, and is not the way to educate any electorate to let them see that they have something like a direct responsibility for the actions taken by the persons selected to be Ministers. In this Parliament we all realise that we have responsibility for the action of the Government which we wish to have put into power. That method of having an electorate is useful, and is one of the things which we think most necessary to take place in India, and unless you can show to the electorate what they have done to elect persons with real responsibility for portfolios, you will not arrive at the responsibility which is very vital in a country like India. One of the principal things is that there should be in a certain number of years power given to this House to judge definitely whether we should take a further step, and if so what step to take. As long as you give the ministers selected from the Legislature the power, which the hon. and gallant Member's scheme would give, of saying that any failure was not their fault because the official members interfered, you will not be able to arrive at a real judgment as to whether the administration of those representatives has been a success or a failure, and one of the main purposes of legislation will be defeated. Let the House visualise what will happen. These members will be selected from the elected representatives and will be given either no work or some work, or at any rate they will have no definite responsibility.
§ Colonel YATE
I never contemplated that. Every member of the executive will have his portfolio the same as anybody else, and, of course, every elected member will have the same responsibility as the official members.
§ Mr. ACLAND
Let us take the Bill with the Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend. There will be no obligation on the part of the Governor to allot any portfolios.
§ Mr. ACLAND
I am dealing with this Bill as the hon. and gallant Member wishes to amend it. The persons selected will have a very difficult position. They will not have any real responsibility of their own, and in course of time they will gradually become the tools of the official members, and maybe of the Governor, in carrying out the official policy, in which case they will lose the touch and confidence of those who have elected them, or else they will claim their right of interfering with every mortal thing, and try to make every action of the Government impossible and make it difficult for things to be done in the interests of India. I have tried to express my points clearly, and having done so, I will not continue the discussions any further. Such an Amendment as this would be absolutely fatal to the Bill, and is not in any sort of way carrying out the policy which this House determined upon when we gave this Bill a Second Reading.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
When the Second Reading of this Bill was discussed there was no one who pointed out the effects of diarchy more clearly than I did myself. The right hon. Gentleman, who has just sat down, and the Secretary of State for India, know perfectly well that this principle is open to the widest and most serious objection. It cannot work. What does my hon. and gallant Friend opposite propose to substitute? I am disposed to take the interpretation of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Acland) as to the effect of this Amendment. It seems to me that this proposal would introduce diarchy in the most dangerous and unworkable form possible, and, if I am not mistaken, I think it was the very proposal made by an extremist at the Conference. I do not think there can be the slightest doubt that with an equal number of elected ministers and official ministers as members of the Executive Council, it would be necessary 453 that these people should represent different points of view which were almost diametrical. If the elected members of the Assembly did not take the unofficial view they would immediately be discarded by the electors. They always stated that this equal number of members representing absolutely opposite points of view would result in every case in difference of opinion, and you would have the Governor stepping in with his casting vote. But we must look at this matter in the light of the great body of evidence, both from the Government of India and from the Civil Service evidence, which under cross-examination, while being strongly in favour of the proposal did not carry to my mind full conviction. The witnesses were unable to suggest, at this time of day and after all we have gone through any alternative for the proposal contained in this Bill. I have been for twenty years or more in correspondence with members of the Civil Service in India, and the last letter I had only this week was from a promient member of that service. In it the writer said that while they disliked diarchy they did not see how, now that the thing had gone so far, it was possible to substitute anything else. There appears to be a general agreement in the House that the Bill must go through, and I will therefore ask hon. Members to consider the suggestions before them and to concentrate their minds upon the Bill itself, for the more they examine it the more clearly they will see that, good or bad as diarchy may be, it is interwoven in the very woof of the Bill. I do not believe you can take diarchy out of the Bill and then pass the Bill itself. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman has any suggestion to make, let it be a practical one.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
Yes, and they realised the difficulty, and the only suggestion they made was that an increase in the number of elected members really meant Home Rule and independence—a step I for one am not prepared to take. I cannot accept my hon. and gallant Friend's proposal instead of that in the Bill, and I think he will admit that it presents in a most dangerous form the very thing he condemns.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I think the purport of this Amendment has not been 454 quite clearly understood by the Committee. My right hon. Friend below me (Mr. Acland) treated this Amendment as though it was merely a different form of diarchy. But the Amendment is perfectly clear. Really it removes all responsibility from the Provincial legislative assemblies. The Executive Councils, if the Amendment is carried, are to be all nominated by the Governor, both the Indian Civil Service men and those selected from among the elected representatives in the legislative assembly. They are all to be selected by the Governor and put on the Executive Council to administer the affairs of the Province, but they have no responsibility whatever to the elected legislative assembly. The Governor may, in fact, select two reactionaries. He has, indeed, the whole field to select from. He may select people who are not in any sense representative of the legislative assembly or leaders of any party majority in that assembly, and they will not be responsible to that assembly. Now, the promise made in August, 1917, was that there should be a beginning of the grant of responsibility to Indian legislative assemblies. If this Amendment is carried, there will be no grant whatever of responsibility. It is true that certain lucky Indians may be chosen by the Governor and may be given personal responsibility for the conduct of certain offices, but the responsibility of the legislative assembly will be just what it is now, and that is nothing at all. We want to transfer responsibility from the Indian Civil Service—from the bureaucracy to the democracy—in India, but if this Amendment is accepted there will be no transfer of responsibility whatsoever, and, therefore, I submit that the Government cannot possibly agree to the Amendment.
§ Mr. BENNETT
Under Mr. Speaker's ruling I feel I must be particularly wary lest I wander into the Second Reading field. But diarchy is directly before us, thanks to the Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Yate), and until I am checked by the Chair I shall discuss it, although, in my opinion, it is essentially a Second Reading question. It may be some relief to the hon. and gallant Gentleman if he will only face the fact that, although diarchy is quite a scarecrow—a terrible word—it does not occur either in the Report of the Joint Committee or in the Bill itself. We hear it frequently employed by opponents of the measure, and by abusive journalists for their own purposes, 455 but in itself it should have no terrors. Imaginary terrors certainly have gathered around it. My hon. and gallant Friend gave us a picture of the conditions under which a dualised system of government would work. It was a terribly dark view, but nothing like so dark as some views conjured up by the imagination of the Noble Lord who has been quite a protagonist against this Bill. There are two ways of looking at it. The hon. and gallant Gentleman spoke of pious hopes that the arrangement would succeed. There are pious hopes, and there are also pious fears, and I cannot look on their estimate of the way in which it will work as otherwise than a pious fear. There is an attitude of mind which too many of our opponents have taken up in regard to this measure. By them hope is forbidden. To their mind the only possible thing is disaster. They take a dark view of the operation of the scheme in all its aspects. I maintain there is no warrant for that, and I do not think I could find a more important witness than Sir William Meyer, the late Finance Minister of the Government of India. His evidence will be found in the Blue Book. He was asked:Do not you think that a little too much has been made of the assumption that there would be mutual antagonism between the two halves of the Government?His answer was, "Very much." Then he was asked, "You think that has been exaggerated?" He replied:Absolutely. I think, for instance, this whole idea of a separate purse is based on the untenable supposition that the two halves will always otherwise be at one another's throats. I think, as a matter of fact, in most cases the two halves would work quite amicably.I will not weary the House with any further evidence of that kind. There is to be found in the Blue Book a great deal of evidence which warrants us, as cautious people, in taking a hopeful view of the way in which this scheme will work. Some eminent men I have in mind, and one very eminent man in particular, who was quite forgetful of the need for creating an atmosphere of conciliation and good feeling in relation to a scheme like this, gave us a picture of the two sides at each other's throats, and added that Ministers would be playing to the gallery. We have no right to think that the Ministers in the Indian Council will play to the gallery. I am afraid even in this country Ministers—I will not say present, but past Ministers —have played to the gallery; and if 456 Indian Ministers do the same thing it will only be an imitation of a not unfamiliar Western example. Let us look hopefully on this measure. Let us dismiss these monotonous prophesies of conflict and discord which we are told will prevail in these councils. We have an alternative which the hon. and gallant Member has put before us. I need scarcely say that that alternative is not new. It is not original. It is practically the scheme which was put forward by the five Governments. It has been submitted to very critical and careful examination by the Government of India, and they take the same view of the operations of that scheme as was put forward by the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench (Mr. Acland) just now. They said that they had found dualism or diarchy in the scheme: that it was inherent in it and contained every bond that attached them to the Legislature and did not pull them apart from their official colleagues. But once the stage is reached by which any of the official members of the Government feel their obligation to the Legislature stronger than their obligations to their official colleagues, then dualism would, in fact, have established itself. The scheme confessedly contains dualism of a peculiarly unfortunate type, for the two halves of the Executive will have no separate, spheres of work and will be likely to have friction over the whole range of their work, so that the peace which some of the supporters of this scheme look for in a unified Government is very doubtful.
The great defect of the alternative which the hon. and gallant Member has submitted to the House is, first of all, that it does not develop responsibility in the least degree, and, secondly, that it is not educative. You might have the scheme in operation for five, ten, or twenty years, and at the end of that period those who have taken part in it would have made no progress, would have learnt nothing and would have, in practice, no responsibility for the work of administration and legislation. Our scheme is educative, and does develop responsibility from the very beginning. It is educative in the sense that it gives men an opportunity to show what they can do. Though one does not like to bring the sacred text into a secular discussion, the scheme does embody the idea that "Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler also over many things." We shall see whether the Indian Ministers and those who sup- 457 port them are faithful in a few things. I believe they will be. It is to the interest of their country that they should be. To use words with which we have become familiar, the faith that is in them will encourage them to be faithful in the tasks which are to be entrusted to them. Therefore, I hope hon. Members will support the scheme in the Bill with a, confidence that it will achieve the purpose for which it has been devised, that it will educate the people and help them forward in the path of self-government. I believe that all the dangers and evils which have been so confidently prophesied will never come to pass.
Sir J. D. REES
There never was a more classic case of giving a dog a bad name and hanging him than these dissertations upon diarchy. I cannot think from whence the expression was derived. I believe that upon some hot day, in some meeting held in some educational institution, under the impulsion of some academic influence, this term must have been born. In point of fact, if I may say so in the presence of the President of the Board of Education, we are suffering from too much education. What does it mean? It is nothing whatever but the allocation of portfolios among those available to deal with them. The objection to it is not the objection to the dual system; it is an objection to letting the Indians into half of it, and not to the division into two halves. The whole of India is a classic case of diarchy. The whole country is administered partly by the Government of India and partly by the local Governments. There is a diarchy running through the whole of it. I abhor the expression, and I am sure it arose through the introduction of some unfortunate academic influence at the impulse of some student of constitutional law. In referring to the Preamble my right hon. Friend left out one thing in his admirable speech. He did not say that the Preamble requires that "Substantial steps in this direction should now be taken." He left out the word "substantial," to which the Government and Parliament stand committed by the passing of the Second Reading. If you do not do this, there is not only no substantial step but hardly any step at all taken. If you do not put matters of administration in the hands of Ministers to deal with them in a substantial fashion, you are not making a substantial step in that direction. Nor did my right hon. Friend, in 458 his admirable speech, refer to this statement in the Preamble:the action of Parliament in such matters must be guided by the … extent to which it is found that confidence can be reposed in their sense of responsibility.That means the sense of responsibility of those to whom the new powers are given. How are they to develop that sense of responsibility unless they have charge of some subjects? The Amendment would give them a finger in every pie. The suggestion of my hon. and gallant Friend is merely to convert a nominal diarchy into an actual anarchy. That would be the result of the acceptance of the Amendment. Will the Committee allow me to suggest that if it is committed to making a democratic advance, which is perfectly obvious—how can we avoid being so when we have been saying, whether directly or not, that the War has been made to make the world safe for democracy—how can we say, "You shall have no part in it"? There is no use at all in having an advance unless it is one which concedes actual responsibility to the Ministers appointed. The Amendment actually draws the pith and substance out of the whole of the Bill, of which my hon. and gallant Friend who moved it is perfectly well aware, although he is so anxious, he says, to see self-government introduced. He would have a Bill, but not this Bill nor this Clause. Parliament has to see whether the transfer of subjects to responsible Indian Ministers is workable. It is upon that that Parliament has to act in conceding further advances in the direction of self-government. With regard to the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for New-castle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), he said there was nothing in the Bill to prevent the Governor from choosing any two subservient Indians. Why should he say that?
Sir J.D. REES
I know that the Bill does not go far enough for my hon. and gallant Friend, and that it goes too far for the hon. and gallant Member for Melton (Colonel Yate), which shows that it probably hits the golden mean, and is a just and moderate measure. Why does the hon. and gallant Member for New-castle-under-Lyme assume that two 459 Ministers will be selected by the Governor who are not really representative of advance?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The hon. Gentleman has entirely misunderstood the point of my remark, which was that under the Amendment the Governor could select any body of the elected members he liked as Ministers, but that he could not do that under the Bill. Under the Bill the Ministers must have the support of the Legislative Assembly, and therefore you have responsibility and responsible government. The whole difference between responsible government and irresponsible government is the difference between the Bill and the Amendment.
Sir J.D. REES
May I point out to my hon. and gallant Friend that the Report of the Committee says:The Committee are of opinion that the Ministers selected by the Governor to advise him on a transfer of subjects should be elected members of the Legislative Council, enjoying its confidence, and capable of leading it.
Sir J. D. REES
I do not know what the hon. and gallant Member means, nor do I wish to deal further with the matter.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. SPOOR
I beg to move, at the end of Subsection (1, d), to add the wordsbut subject to rules made under the principal Act all provincial subjects other than the subjects of law, justice, and police (as defined in the Rules) shall be transferred to the administration of the Governor acting with the Minister in charge of the subject. Subjects so transferred are in this Act referred to as "transferred subjects.I have no intention of entering into a discussion of the principle of diarchy, which has already been exhaustively discussed, nor have I any intention whatever of attempting a Second Reading speech at this stage of the Bill. The proposal I submit simply asks for a greater measure of devolution of powers to Provincial Governments. Those of us who sat on the Select Committee have heard a great deal during the last few months of the great experiment that this proposal is. It is a great experiment. There has been much speculation as to what the actual result of that experiment is going to be. Suggestions have been made again and again that under this system of dualism a certain amount of friction between the two sides of the Government is inevitable. Every mem- 460 ber of the Committee will agree—I am sure the Secretary of State for India will agree—that in the transitional period which must be passed through before India receives a full measure of complete self-government, it is very desirable indeed that that transitional period should not be accompanied in any way by anything that will lead to misunderstanding or ill-feeling. We want to get over the period of transition as easily as possible. I submit that in asking for Provincial autonomy—that is really what the Amendment asks for; it means the transfer of all subjects except those of law, justice and police—we are making a very reasonable demand. I would ask the Committee to consider two subjects which, at present, are included in the list of reserved subjects, but which are really vital to the well-being of India, the questions of land revenue and irrigation. Eighty per cent. of the population of India consists of people who rely upon agriculture only as their means of securing an existence, and unless there is a transference in all the Provinces of the subjects of land revenue and irrigation, it seems to me that we are giving no real control whatever to the representatives of the people in the Provinces. When the Functions Committee was considering which subjects should be transferred and which reserved, the three Indian representatives on the Committee pressed very hard indeed for the transference of these subjects. I believe the Bombay Government actually recommended a complete transfer of all the subjects which are included in my Amendment. In evidence which was submitted to the Joint Select Committee, we have proof that this demand has been made, and that there was a considerable body of opinion in India which believes it would be possible, without any danger whatever, to have complete autonomy, so far as the Provinces were concerned. I should like to quote some evidence given before the Committee by one of the representatives of the National Indian Congress. There was practical unanimity of opinion amongst all the witnesses we examined that during recent years there has been an extraordinary political awakening in India. So far as I can remember, not a single witness appeared before us who did not bear very eloquent testimony to that fact. Perhaps during the last five years the development of that political consciousness has been even more marked, but it is certain that the political awakening of India is of a very widespread character, and there 461 was complete unanimity of opinion amongst the witnesses regarding that. Amongst the political organisations which were represented before the Committee was the Indian National Congress, which can claim to be, perhaps, the most representative body of political opinion in the country. At all events, they were so regarded at the time the Montagu-Chelmsford Report was issued, because there is a paragraph in that Report which refers to this organisation, so that anything they may submit as evidence deserves our very careful consideration. When one of their witnesses was speaking on this very question with which my Amendment deals, he used these words. Talking about the action of the Bombay Government, he says:I have not been able to get a copy of the Report of the Bombay Government, but as far as I understand it is not even included in the letter of the Government of India dated 5th March, which is before your Lordships to-day, and I do not know why it is not included. That Report really says that if diarchy is to be introduced all subjects except law, justice and police, and perhaps, if I mistake not, political, should be transferred to the representatives of the people. The Bombay Government is clearly of opinion that the representatives of the people should control all subjects except those I have mentioned.Further on occurs this interesting statement from the same witness:I do not understand why the Functions Committee should not have accepted the recommendation of the local Governments when it chooses to accept the recommendation of the local Governments in regard to franchise. I was present when Lord Southborough was examined and Lord Southborough clearly gave me the impression that he was very anxious to accept, as far as possible, the recommendations of the local Governments on the question of franchise. If that were so, why, on such an important matter as the transfer of subjects to the popular representatives, should not the recommendations of the Government of Bombay have been accepted?The statement is there made that the Government of Bombay agreed that if they were to take just the first step in the direction of redeeming the promise which was made in August, 1917, it was imperatively necessary that in the Provinces, at all events, the representatives of the people should have a full measure of control, and the point that is brought out by the witness—that the Functions Committee was prepared to accept the recommendations of the local Governments with regard to franchise, but refused to accept the recommendations of the same Governments with regard to the division of subjects—appears to suggest a certain inconsistency in attitude and in action.
462 I realise the tremendous difficulty of the task that the Bill proposes to perform. There are those who fear that it goes too far. It appears to me that there is a very much greater danger of it not going far enough. I have been thinking during the discussion that there is too great a disposition to look at this question purely Irons the British point of view. There is too little disposition to look at it from the point of view of India herself. I believe if the Bill does not go far enough the net result will be the strengthening of that small band of extremist politicians in India who probably do not desire home Rule within the Empire but complete separation from the British Empire, and it is with a very full sense of the seriousness of the position and with a real desire to meet as far as possible the quite natural and legitimate aspirations and demands of the Indian people that I would ask the Secretary of State, even at this stage of the Bill, to accept the suggestion that this Amendment contains, and let the Indian people, so far as their Provincial Governments are concerned, have full and complete control. I am sure a rather niggardly policy to India, a policy which may be interpreted there as being hesitant, is a policy that is full of danger. So far as I have been able to read the history of our relations with subject peoples in different parts of the world, I have never yet come across a case where a generous policy on the part of the home Government has not always been followed by very valuable results. I would, therefore, ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will not be prepared to accept this quite reasonable Amendment, which simply asks for a greater measure of devolution. Show the people of India that we trust them. I am sure we shall lose nothing by adopting that attitude, and I would ask him to give the people of India not only a chance to govern themselves completely so far as Provincial subjects are concerned, but also to proceed along constitutional lines in the further devolution of the wider political responsibilities which we hope in a very short time will be given them.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to second the Amendment.
The Amendment we have just disposed of lays down quite clearly that there is to be a transfer of a certain amount of responsibility for local affairs to the Provincial Legislative Assembly. This Amendment is directed towards transfer- 463 ring most of the matters of local administration to the Legislative Assemblies and giving them responsibility in these matters. We wish to transfer, in each of the eight great Provinces of India, all subjects of local administration, except law, justice, and police to the local legislative assemblies. The subjects which are transferred under the Bill are few and meagre. The subjects which are reserved for administration by the bureaucracy are numerous and important. These are the ones which are transferred in which the Indians can govern themselves. First of all, local self-government. That is a very important matter. It includes the whole administration of the municipal councils and of the district boards, which are really more important than the municipal councils, and any real development in India must begin from the district boards and the municipal councils, and the reform of those bodies, and giving them responsibility and full representation is the basis upon which all subsequent reforms must be built. I think the right hon. Gentleman has made a mistake in starting his reforms, as it were, in midair. He is developing a great Provincial Legislative Assembly, but nothing in the Bill and nothing in the rules and regulations deals with the far more fundamental question of the constitution of the municipalities and the district boards. At present the district board is managed by a nominated chairman and a council which is largely nominated also. That must come to an end if we are to get back to the fundamental Indian conception of a national life built upon the. village community governing itself. We have the prospect, at last, under this Bill of having local self-government transferred to the Provincial Councils, and therefore those Provincial Councils will be able, in future, to restore Indian life on the old lines. I would press upon the right hon. Gentleman the, urgent importance, when this Act comes to be translated into actual facts in India, of having a genuine Local Government Board appointed with a Minister in charge of it. There are generally supposed to be two of these native Ministers, one takes Education and the other Public Health. There should be certainly a native Minister in charge of local government, because, to my mind, that is the most important branch to transfer.
464 The next branch that is transferred is public health and sanitation. That is all right, too. It would be much better looked after by the responsible Indian Ministers, because all questions of public. health and sanitation involve a great deal of interference with the private life of the Indian people, and that can obviously be done much better by people who are in. the closest touch with the electorate and are responsible to them.
§ 6.0 P. M.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
We are talking of India, not China—a different country. The next question transferred is education, and there enormous opportunities are open. When you consider that a. hundred years of English rule has left India a more or less illiterate people, and even in the native States of Mysore, Travancore, and Baroda, you have a compulsory education system which we do not see in British India, the Committee will realise the importance of trans ferring education and the great step that this transfer of education is in giving a chance of better development for India. Public works are handed over, but in an emasculated form. They are handed over without the inclusion of irrigation. Irrigation, the most vital public work in India, public work on which the future of that country depends, is not handed over, but is reserved for the Indian Civil Service bureaucracy to administer. That should be altered. This Amendment that we have upon the Paper can perfectly well be rejected by the House, as no doubt it will be by the mechanical majority of the Government, and yet the right hon. Gentleman could, in spite of the rejection of the Amendment, indicate in a few words to the Government of India that there ought to be, certainly in some of the Provinces, particularly in the Provinces of Bombay and Madras, the transfer of irrigation as well as other public works to the Indian Administration. Agriculture is also transferred, and all the varieties of small departments depending upon agriculture. The development of industries is handed over, in spite of the protest of the "Times," to the Indian Ministers to administer. But there, again, you have this very vital qualification, that the development of minerals is reserved to the bureaucracy, and only the development of industries is handed over 465 to the Indian Administration. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to see if the development of minerals could not also be handed over, if only for this reason, that the reservation of the development of minerals gives rise in India to a large amount of misconception and misconstruction as to the attitude of Britain towards India. They have an idea, and the past has done nothing to deprive them of it, that that subject is reserved because the concession of the development of minerals would be better in the hands of Europeans. This War has done a great many things. In the first place it has built up a large amount of capitalism in India. You have in India now people like the Tartars, who are capable of developing India themselves with their own capital, and I ask that there should not be this misconception created, that the development of minerals, of mines, oil, and all these great developments that we expect to see in India in the near future, are reserved in order that they may be at the disposal of European capitalists and developers instead of being at the disposal of the Indians themselves.
I ask the Committee now to pass to the reserved subjects. Irrigation, absolutely vital to the future of India, is reserved for administration by the Indian Civil Service. It is reserved because there has been a good deal of criticism of the comparative amount of money which has been spent by the bureaucracy upon the railways and irrigation. Everyone in touch with India knows that one of their chief complaints is that too little is spent on irrigation and too much on railways. The reservation of irrigation for continued administration by the bureaucracy is, therefore, looked upon with peculiar suspicion. Even the vital question of land revenue is reserved. That ought certainly to be transferred. The land revenue system in India is based entirely not upon law, but upon administrative action. I suppose the Committee is aware that the larger proportion of Indian revenue comes from land; that there is a quinquennial or decennial reassessment of the value of land, which is made by the Deputy Commissioner, who goes round from district to district almost in a Royal progress. When he visits a village he calls up the head men and lays down the basis on which the land tax or rent is to be paid during the succeeding five or ten years. Every witness before the Committee, and every member of the com- 466 mittee, know perfectly well that the right way of dealing with this land revenue is to have a Land Revenue Act passed, which shall give protection to the people who have to pay this rent or tax. They should have the protection of law instead. of, as at present, being absolutely at the mercy of the decision of the Deputy-Commissioner, who has no law but merely practice to guide him in his work of making this assessment. It is of enormous importance that the power of the Deputy-Commissioner should be curtailed, and the only way to do that is to hand over the powers of collecting the land revenue to the Indian Ministers, and to make the collection subject to an. Act passed by the local Legislative Assembly. This blot upon our administration in India—even those people who have been in the Indian Civil Service. know well that the collection of land revenue is a blot on our administration—could be cured if it was subject to an. Act of Parliament of the local Legislative Assembly, instead of being purely an administrative Act by the bureaucracy.
Famine relief is reserved. It ought not to be reserved. It is one of those things which bring the intimate relations of family life into contact with inspectors and with the administration. If there was one Department which should be subject to Indian administration, it is the administration of famine relief, which involves inquisitorial inquiries into family life. I have already mentioned that the development of minerals, ought to be transferred and not reserved. Waterways could very well be transferred. Above all, I ask the Committee to observe that industrial matters are not transferred All questions affecting legislation. inspection, smoke abatement—all questions connected with welfare work are reserved for the Indian Civil Service. This question of industrial legislation ought to be transferred to Indian administrators. We have seen in the Press over and over again in the last three months references to the horrible conditions under which the factory workers in Bombay, Cawnpore, and Calcutta live and work. They work at wages of 8d. a day, and sleep twelve in a box-room about 10 feet square, where they also cook their food and live. The conditions under which the Indian factories are carried on are known to be scandalous, both as to wages and conditions. Yet this part of Indian life is reserved for the Department which is respon- 467 sible for these conditions to-day. The Indian Civil Service are responsible for the factory conditions in India. They could not be worse than they are, but they could be better. This Department should be transferred. More particularly ought it to be transferred when we remember that at the present time, when any factory legislation for the shortening Of hours or the improvement of conditions is brought in in India, the Indians, particularly the Indian factory owners, are apt to say that these restrictions and interferences with individual liberty are brought in, not primarily for the benefit of the Indians, but primarily for the benefit of competing Lancashire. We want to get rid of that idea. We all know perfectly well that that is not the reason why factory legislation is introduced, and not the reason why factory legislation will be introduced. We do not want that sort of thing said. Above all, we do want the Indian people themselves to look after legislation for the control and conduct of their own factories. There has been growing in India—and the evidence on the point of some of the leading witnesses before the Committee is very remarkable—during the last five years of the War, a very large civic spirit—a desire to do their duty by their own people. The welfare work done in Bombay has been a new thing, and vary well done. This is what Sir Stanley Reed, who, I think, is the owner of one of the largest newspapers in India, said on the subject:There has arisen in India two main forces. One is the desire of Indians to take the larger share in the government of their own country, not from purely selfish motives, but with the idea of quickening the growth of those forces on which they think its national progress depends.This is the testimony of an Englishman who has spent his life in India and who has no particular interest in painting the development of India any more rosily than it actually is, and when he points out this growth of a desire for social service and this awakening of national consciousness, we should do well to realise that that spirit is abroad and to use it for amending the existing factory conditions in India. I do hope that even though this Amendment is refused—and I quite understand that the Secretary of State for India cannot allow a single comma in this Bill to be altered lest there should have to be a Report stage—the right hon. Gentleman might bring pressure to bear 468 upon the most progressive Province, the Province of Bombay, to have the transference of practical legislation and of industrial matters from the Indian Civil Service to the Indian Ministers. It would be a step in the right direction. One of the things I regret most in the Bill is that we are prevented from making any changes for a period of ten years. That will not bind subsequent Governments, and it will mean that this Bill will have to be repealed or altered in material respects. It is lamentable to think that those Councils and those Provinces which indicate a real progressive spirit and a desire to work this Act harmoniously will not be able in less than ten years to have any other subjects transferred to them or to enable them to carry on this very important work of factory legislation. It is of vital importance that we should pass over these subjects to Indian administration. This Bill is looked upon in India now with well-merited hesitation and doubt. Probably they will take up the Act and try to work it, but the point to which they object most is the very limited amount of confidence shown in these Provincial Governments, in the meagre powers which are handed over, compared with the great promises made in August, 1917. The promise was made not only of representative government but also of the beginning of responsible government. The beginning of responsible government in the legislator is not visible in the Bill. There is not even a pin's point of light, and the few subjects transferred to the Provincial Legislature are hardly a worthy gift from this great nation. If we are going to confer responsible government on India let us do it as we did in the case of South Africa with a bold geste and then we shall find our courage rewarded with the confidence and friendship of the Indian people.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I have listened with interest to the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend, and he seemed to me, as he got more and more enthusiastic in pleading his case, that he departed more and more from the studious moderation with which he opened. He began by saying, what is undoubtedly true, what nobody denies, that the powers given to Ministers under this Bill are of vital importance to the future welfare of India, giving them the opportunity if they wish of revolutionising the system of the local Government in the Provinces, in which they are 469 going to operate, and then he began to paint to us a picture of the things that are left out, and he ended by saying that the powers given were unworthy of this House. Is it nothing then that the whole development of that in which India stands most in need, a great system of education, is to be entrusted at once and for the first time to Indian administration? My hon. and gallant Friend attaches enormous importance, as I do, to the restoration of local government in India, and to the reformation, if it be possible, of the village system, and the creation of Local Government Departments with a Minister in charge. All that is done, and the Indian Ministers can in each Province set themselves to devise the form of local government which they will regard as most satisfactory to them. In asking for more, it is neither necessary, I submit, at the dawn of what I hope will be a new era in India, to carry on old controversies as to who is to be blamed for this or for that, nor to paint in too gloomy a way what this Bill does.
I will explain to my hon. and gallant Friend why I hope the House will not accept this Amendment. It is not that I do not sympathise of necessity with those who are in a hurry. It is simply for the reason, which some of the critics of this measure forget, that it is not given as a concession to a demand. It is based rightly or wrongly on a. principle, which I hold to be of the utmost importance, which is this—that it is not the aim of the Government to ask Parliament to surrender its trusteeship in exchange for the present Civil Service. It is the intention of the Government to ask Parliament gradually to surrender its trusteeship in favour of an Indian electorate. You have got, first, to create that electorate. It is not a question, as some of my hon. Friends think, of putting a whole stream of men upon a list. You have not then got an electorate. You have got to find out whether you can get an electorate to vote, and whether they are going to vote on the question at issue or upon religious questions or something of that kind. Now, I believe with deep conviction, though I know that my critics sitting on the opposite side below the Gangway do not, that you will create, and more quickly than they think, that real Indian, electorate, who can be given by this Parliament the trusteeship of India, but until you have done that, you are not entitled to surrender that trusteeship.
470 The only way you can get that electorate is to give is as it grows, something to do. That is why we commence with giving real substantial powers, powers on subjects with which they are familiar, in which they have taken a great interest, but at the same time powers which will not preclude our regarding the interests of that electorate which has not yet come into existence. The whole question of land revenue, which is the most important exception to the transfer, is the creation of an electorate. Whatever we do the first electorate will not be thoroughly representative of all classes who are interested in the land. You cannot get the peaasnts sufficiently interested at the present time. I know that my hon. and gallant Friend and my hon. Friend and colleague on the Committee, who moved the Amendment, would like to get a more representative electorate at once. So would I. But you have got to consider the existing electorate. Then you have got to consider the enormous increase you are making. You have got to consider whether you can invent the electoral machinery at once in these vast areas, and then you have got to consider whether they are ready to-day and now to safeguard their interests from the landlords and the big landowners and whether they are going to be guided by that sort of personage in the difficulties they will undertake. There is no distrust of India, but there is a jealous maintenance of the principle of which the Bill is founded, that we ask for a few years before we transfer these services until we can speak with certainty, and that there is in India a functioning electorate. My hon. and gallant Friend is very unfamiliar really with the way in which the land revenue works. I believe it to be one of the finest land systems in the world in the way in which it takes the unearned increment of the land for the State. There is much in it that we might copy.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I agree with my hon. and gallant Friend that the reason why it is so much misunderstood is that it is difficult to understand, and before we transfer we ought to codify it in a Statute. That is one of the recommendations of the Report which His Majesty's Government and the Government of India propose to adopt. Then when we have got that land revenue codified and when we have got our functioning electorate, the whole of the questions connected with the land, I hope, will 471 be transferred. It has often been said that diarchy is a novel system which cannot he permanent. This is the defence of it. You transfer some things at first in order that in the future, when you have created an electorate, you shall transfer the others, including the land revenue—because that I take to be the most important distinction between what my hon. Friend proposes and what we propose. There are others also, but the real necessity is to develop first of all your electorate before you can transfer these things. Take factory legislation. My hon. Friend referred to the condition of factory legislation in India to-day. No Government in the world can go far ahead of popular opinion. There is a great awakening interest in this, and I hope that it will receive a tremendous impetus and that it will be a great improvement on former conditions, but I do not want to hand over factory legislation, even if it could be separated from other things, to India until I am sure that there is in India a responsible electorate that can take an interest in the work of the Minister in charge and hold him responsible. It is because of that that we have these reservations, and it is because I hope it is going to be successful that I ask the House to accept the recommendation of the Committee. Like my hon. and gallant Friend, I believe that when once this Bill is through the progress of India towards complete self-government is irresistible, and nothing can stop it. But there is one enemy, and that is if, in order to satisfy those who do not understand our endeavour, we depart from the principle on which the Bill rests and wreck the Bill by overloading it.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I understand that the whole principle of the concessions by the Government—[HON. MEMBERS: "Divide!"]—will be taken on this particular Amendment. Certain hon. Members have cried out "divide." This is perhaps unusual. I have visited India, only I admit as a tourist when in the Naval Service, but, neverthelees, I have seen other Protectorates of other Powers, Dutch and French, and if one goes to these places he may see things which may be of use in these Debates, and my right hon. Friend has not spent many years to the advantage of himself and of India, in the Indian Civil Service. His speech is on the same lines as the speeches made from the Conservative benches in this House against the extension of the franchaise 472 to agricultural labourers. There are the same sorts of arguments and exactly the same crusted Tory arguments. In the case of the factory legislation, the factory workers in India, who are now rapidly organising themselves into trade unions, and who have been agitating by direct action, unfortunately, for improvements, are unable, we are told, to vote intelligibly; they will not function as an electorate. When we talk of democracy after all, when we get 50 per cent. or 60 per cent. of our own people to the polls, and they are all. too easily led away, I fear, with catch cries, not only at the last election which returned this House, but at previous elections, I do not think that it is for us to cast too big a stone at those in India. I do beg that in this and other Amendments to be moved the Government will be generous in this matter of giving self-government in India. Is it a fact that in Lord Hardinge's dispatch of 1915 he recommended full self-government for the Provinces? That dispatch has not been published, but if it is a. fact it is a very great argument for enlarging the transfer of subjects on the lines of this Amendment.
I have an Amendment myself to include two of these things, land revenue and irrigation, in the transferred subjects. I will not deal with those two, but I would remind the Committee that the position to-day is very different in India from what it was in the late nineties. Even a few years ago it was always possible to point to Russia as the bogey. All our world politics were directed for generations to the defence of India against the encroachment of Russia on land. We could hold up to the Indian people by the ordinary method of propaganda, and no doubt justly, the fear of the Czar's Cossacks riding into the plains of India. To-day there is a Russian menace, but it is very different. There is a menace of Moscow, which is offering the fullest degree of self-determination to all the peoples of Asia and Asia Minor. I believe that we may have need of friends in India. If the transfer of these subjects, factory legislation and so forth, will make more people our friends, it may be well worth our while as an Empire. We may need all the friends we can get, and a loyal and contented India may be of vital importance to the Empire. I do not want to enter into foreign politics, but there is a menace to us from the East, and India is the half-way house. I regret that we shall have to divide on this subject. I 473 hope that before that is done the right hon. Gentleman will give us an assurance that at any rate he will meet us half way and grant one or two extra subjects for the transferred list. We do not want to move the rejection of the Third Reading of this Bill, but if there are not some concessions made I fear that the Bill as it stands will have to be voted against, if only by a few, as at any rate a gesture to those in India who may be disposed to despair of the British Parliament.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
The hon. and gallant Member used the expression "We do not want to move the rejection of the Bill." For whom does he speak?
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I speak for a few Members who will speak against the Bill and move its rejection if we do not get some Amendments.
§ Colonel J. WARD
I want to refer to the observations which have been made on the question of handing over sanitation and factory legislation. Those subjects are naturally most important, and I am afraid that if my Labour Friends thought they were giving an advantage to the people of India, especially to the lower castes, the workmen of India, by this transference, naturally they would support the proposal. Therefore I want to make a few remarks on those two points. With reference to sanitation, I am sure that those of my Friends who have been in the East know perfectly well that the ideas of sanitation in the Eastern mind and in the European mind are such in comparison that we could never dream of handing over that Department. It is necessary only to consider the lines of demarcation where the white man decides the sanitation of a district and where he does not. Then there is the question of factory legislation. My hon. Friends may not be aware that the hon. and gallant Member for East Leeds and I took this subject up in 1909–10. If you look through the OFFICIAL REPORT you will find that questions ranging over months and relating to this problem were brought before the House by the hon. Member for East Leeds and myself. What did we discover? We discovered that these factories are almost exclusively owned by Indians, who have no mortal idea of European conditions of labour, who have naturally nothing but the Eastern idea, who object to any regulations at all; and the explanation as to why more had not been done to improve the factory system 474 was that there was fear of the hostility of educated Indians, who largely controlled and owned these factories. It is not the fault of the Indian Government nearly so much as it is due to the native hostility of the factory owners themselves. As long as the Indian Government is responsible, this House of Commons and the Labour Members can protest, and, if necessary, insist upon improvements; but once these questions are out of our hands and handed over most likely to the Indian employers of labour, it would be inflicting a fatal blow, and would not be in the interests of decent labour conditions in India.
§ Mr. N. MACLEAN
I think the speech of the hon. and gallant Member strengthens the demand from these benches for a Labour electorate in India. He has told us quite frankly that it is the Indian employers who would be opposed to granting the conditions that we seek to obtain for the Indian people, and the right hon. Gentleman who is in charge of the Bill has admitted that the reason for withholding certain of the things that we wish to have transferred is his desire to protect the labouring people until such time as he can have a Labour electorate. We want to know why we do not establish a Labour electorate under this Bill?
§ Mr. MACLEAN
I admit that, but we want to speed you up. We wish this particular thing to be done now. There are people in India who, though they may not understand English, can vote. Why cannot they have something to assist them in fighting against the conditions which the Indian employer seeks to impose on them? I suggest to the hon. and gallant Member for Stoke (Colonel Ward) that it is not only the particular Indian employer whom the Indian worker has to fear, but it is the Dundee employer who has mills in Dundee as well as in India, and who plays the Indian worker off against the British worker when the Dundee operative seeks increased pay or better conditions. It is the whole labour question over again, the question of the vested interest of the employer as against the workman who has to sell his labour. We want the workman to have the right not only to fight for his conditions in India, but we desire to have some particular methods adopted to enable them to establish their own conditions of work.
I would like to ask one or two questions. A good deal has been said about transferred subjects. I do not find any list in the Bill itself. As far as I can gather from the Bill there is nothing which ties the Bill down to a particular list, so that I take it that it may be quite possible, within the ten years before the statutory Commission sits, to extend the list of transferred subjects. At all events, there is no obstacle in the way.
I gather from what little knowledge I have of India—it is very small indeed—that there are probably differences in the capacity of various Provinces to undertake matters of administration. I assume it is likely that where Provinces are more advanced it is not impossible that they may leave something transferred to them which may be denied to other Provinces?
§ Captain ORMSBY-GORE
I think the hon. Members who have spoken from the Labour benches have not quite realised that in India the industrial population is an insignificant proportion of the whole population. Here we are accustomed to think of the industrial portion of the population as forming the bulk of our electorate. In India, even if you gave them the lowest labour franchise, if you gave it to every man in India who worked in a mill, it would still affect only an insignificant part of the electorate. The population of the towns is nothing compared with the rural population it is only in a few towns where there are these factories. Out of a total population of 315,000,000, if there are 5 per cent. dependent on industry, it is all there are. I am perfectly certain that the Secretary of State is abso-
§ lutely right when he says that if we want to improve the conditions of labour in this comparatively small number of factories in India, it can be done only when the general mass of the electorate, who will not be industrial, are in a position, by their experience of politics and the use of the Vote, to take part in levelling up the factory conditions of India to those of other countries. Meanwhile it is absolutely essential to retain machinery which will enable us to carry through, if necessary, against Indian opinion, the decisions of a conference which is going on in Washington to-day. I am certain that in the next few years it will be necessary for the Government of India, not merely Provinces, to pass legislation applying to the whole of India, if we are to get any advance in Indian labour conditions. I regret, from what I have seen of the literature of the Indian politicians, who have been most active in advocating constitutional changes, that there is very little said in favour of dealing with factory conditions and industrial legislation. The pleaders and the lawyers of India have only just begun to deal with these subjects. During the first few years, at any rate until the Indian voter in the villages and towns has had some experience of the effect of the vote, it is true to say that a large measure of political power will fall into the hands of a few rich educated Indians, and we have got to remember that we have no right to hand over the trusteeship of Parliament until there is the dawn of a real democracy in India.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 47; Noes, 260.479
|Division No. 144.]||AYES.||[6.45 p.m.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Halias, E.||Robertson, J.|
|Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.)||Hartshorn, V.||Royce, William Stapieton|
|Bell, James (Ormskirk)||Hayday, A.||Short, A. (Wednesbury)|
|Brace, Rt. Hon. William||Hayward, Major Evan||Sitch, C. H.|
|Bromfield, W.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Widnes)||Swan, J. E. C.|
|Brown, J. (Ayr and Bute)||Hirst, G. H.||Thorne, W. (Plaistow)|
|Cairns, John||Hodge, Rt. Hon. John||Tootill, Robert|
|Clynes, Rt. Hon. John R.||Irving, Dan||Walsh, S. (Ince, Lancs.)|
|Edwards, C. (Bedweilty)||Jones, J. (Silvertown)||Waterson, A. E.|
|Finney, Samuel||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander||Wedgwood, Colonel Josiah C.|
|Glanville, Harold James||Lunn, William||Wignall, James|
|Graham, D. M. (Hamilton)||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh)||Murray, Dr. D. (Western Isles)||Williams, J. (Gower, Glam.)|
|Griffiths, T. (Pontypool)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Rattan, Peter Wilson||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Guest, J. (Hemsworth, York)||Richardson, R. (Houghton)||Tyson Wilson and Mr. Spoor.|
|Hall, F. (Yorks, Normanton)||Roberts, F.O (W. Bromwich)|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Greene, Lt.-Col. W.(Hackney, N.)||Nall, Major Joseph|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Greig, Colonel James William||Neal, Arthur|
|Adkins. Sir W. Ryland D.||Gritlen, W. G. Howard||Nelson, R. F. W. R.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Hailwood, A.||Newoould, A. E.|
|Alien, Colonel William James||Hambro, Angus Vaidemar||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter)|
|Astor, Viscountess||Hamilton, Major C. G. C. (Altrincham)||Nicholson, W. (Petersfield)|
|Atkey, A. R.||Hancock, John George||Nield, Sir Herbert|
|Bagley, Captain E. A.||Hanna, G. B.||Oman, C. W. C.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Hanson, Sir Charles||O'Neill, Captain Hon. Robert W. H.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Haslam, Lewis||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick||Henderson, Maj. V. L. (Tradeston, Glas)||Palmer, Major G. M. (Jarrow)|
|Barrie, Charles Coupar (Banff)||Hennessy, Major G.||Palmer, Brig.-Gen. G. (Westbury)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hickman, Brig.-General Thomas E.||Parker, James|
|Bell, Lt.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel F.||Parry, Lt.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Benn, Com. Ian Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hills, Major J. W. (Durham)||Pearce, Sir William|
|Bennett, T. J.||Hinds, John||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Betterton, H. B.||Hoare, Lt.-Colonel Sir Samuel. J. G.||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Blair, Major Reginald||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Perring, William George|
|Borwick, Major G. O.||Hope, Harry (Stirling)||Pretyman, Rt. Hon, Ernest G.|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur Griffith-||Hope, Lieut.-Col. Sir. J. (Midlothian)||Purchase, H. G.|
|Brassey, H. L. C.||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Rae, H. Norman|
|Breese, Major C. E.||Hopkinson, Austin (Mossley)||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Briant, F.||Horne, Sir Robert (Hillhead)||Raw, Lieut.-Colonel Dr. N.|
|Briggs, Harold||Howard, Major S. G.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Hunter, Gen. Sir A. (Lancaster)||Rees, Captain J. Tudor (Barnstaple)|
|Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William James||Hunter-Weston, Lieut.-Gen. Sir A. G.||Remer, J. B.|
|Burden, Colonel Rowland||Hurd, P. A.||Randall, Athelstan|
|Burn, Colonel C. R. (Torquay)||Hurst, Major G. B.||Renwick, G.|
|Campbell, J. G. D.||Jackson, Lt.-Col. Hon. F. S. (York)||Richardson, Sir Albion (Peckham)|
|Campion, Colonel W. R.||Jephcott, A. R.||Rodger, A. K.|
|Carew, Charles R. S. (Tiverton)||Jesson, C.||Rogers, Sir Hallewell|
|Carr, W. T.||Jodrell, N. P.||Roundell, Lt.-Colonel R. F.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Johnstone, J.||Rowlands, James|
|Cecil, Rt. Han. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Royden, Sir Thomas|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)||Royds, Lieut.-Colonel Edmund|
|Cheyne, Sir William Watson||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Samuel, A. M. (Farnham, Surrey)|
|Chilcott, Lieut.-Com. H. W. S.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)||Samuel, S. (Wandsworth, Putney)|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Kidd, James||Sassoon, Sir Philip A, G. D.|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward F.||King, Commander Douglas||Scott, A. M. (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Coats, Sir Stuart||Knight, Captain E. A.||Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Lane-Fox, Major G. R.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone)|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General G. K.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Boner||Seager, Sir William|
|Colfox, Major W. P.||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Shaw, Hon. A. (Kilmarnock)|
|Colvin, Brig.-General R. B.||Lindsay, William Arthur||Shaw, Captain W. T. (Forfar)|
|Cory, Sir James Herbert (Cardiff)||Lioyd, George Butler||Shorit, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T., W.)|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Courthope, Major George Loyd||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (Hunt'don)||Simm, M. T.|
|Cozens-Hardy, Hon. W. H.||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Smith, Sir Allan|
|Craig, Captain Charles C. (Antrim)||Lansdale, James R.||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lorden, John William||Stanier, Captain Sir Beville|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirk'dy)||Lort-Williams, J.||Stanley, Col. H. G. F. (Preston)|
|Davies, T. (Cirencester)||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Stephenson, Colonel H. K.|
|Denniss, E. R. Bartley (Oldham)||Lowe, Sir F. W.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander H.||Lowther, Col. C. (Lonsdale, Lancs.)||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|Doyle, N. Grattan||Lyle-Samuel, A. (Eye, E. Suffolk)||Sturrock, J. Leng.|
|Duncannon, Viscount||M'Donald, Dr. B. F. P. (Wallasey)||Sugden, Lieut. W. H.|
|Du Pre, Colonel W. B.||M'Laren, R. (Lanark, N.)||Surtees, Brig.-General H. C.|
|Edge, Captain William||M'Lean, Lt.-Col. C. W. W. (Brigg)||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Macmaster, Donald||Talbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)|
|Elliot, Captain W. E. (Lanark)||McMicking, Major Gilbert||Terrell, G. (Chippenham, Wilts.)|
|Elliott, Lt,-Col. Sir G. (Islington, W.)||Maddocks, Henry||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Elveden, Viscount||Mallalleu, Frederick William||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, S.)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Commander Faicon, Captain M.||Malone, Major P. (Tottenham)||Thomson, Sir W. Mitcheil- (M'yht)|
|Falle, Major Sir Bertram Godfrey||Manville, Edward||Townley, Maximilian G.|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Marriott, John Arthur R.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|FitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A. Forrest, W.||Mason, Robert||Wallace, J.|
|Foxcroft, Captain C.||Matthews, David||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Meysey-Thompson, Lt.-Col. E. C.||Walton, J. (York, Don Valley)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Middlebrook, Sir William||Ward, Col. J. (Stoke, Trent)|
|Gange, E. S.||Moison, Major John Elsdale||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Ganzoni, Captain F. C.||Montagu, Rt. Hon. E. S.||Wardle, George J.|
|Gardner, E. (Berks., Windsor)||Moore, Maj.-Gen. Sir Newton J.||Weigall, Lt.-Col. W. E. G. A.|
|Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir A. C. (Bas'gst'ke)||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Weston, Colonel John W.|
|George, Rt. Hon. David Lloyd||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Wheler, Colonel Granville C. H.|
|Gilbert, James Daniel||Morrison, H. (Salisbury)||White, Colonel G. D. (Southport)|
|Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Whitla, Sir William|
|Glyn, Major R.||Mount, William Arthur||Wlgan, Brig.-General Sir Tyson|
|Geff, Sir Park||Murchison, C. K.||Wild, Sir Ernest Edward|
|Wilson, Capt. A. Staniey (Hold'ness)||Wood, Majer S. Hill- (High Peak)||Young, Sir F. W. (Swindon)|
|Wilson, Colonel Leslie (Reading)||Woolcock, W. J. U.||Young, William (Perth and Kinross)|
|Wilson, Col. N. (Richmond, Yorks.)||Worsfold, T. Cato|
|Winterton, Major Earl||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Captain|
|Wood, Major Hon. E. (Ripon)||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward||F. Guest and Lord E. Talbot.|
|Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge and Hyde)||Yeo, Sir Alfred William|
Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask. leave to sit again"—[Mr. Montagu]—put, and agreed to.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1, d), to insert the wordsProvided that the subjects of land revenue and irrigation as defined in the Rules shall be included among the transferred subjects in all provinces in Section three of this Act.If the Secretary of State is not prepared to accept this Amendment, I should like to know the reason.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I do not want to weary the Committee by repeating the arguments which I have already used, and which I am sorry did not commend themselves to the hon. and gallant Member, it is true that land revenue and irrigation in my view go together, and there is the idea of getting a rural electorate and the other matter I mentioned before we consider transfer.
§ Amendment negatived.
Mr. MacCALLUM SCOTT
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1, d), to insert the wordsProvided that in the presidency of Bombay all subjects outer than law, justice, and police as defined in the Rules, shall be included among the transferred subjects.7.0 P.M.
What has been said already dispenses with the necessity of saying much on this subject. The general question whether in all the Provinces the subjects which are to be transferred should be specified in the Bill has been discussed. I am confining myself to the Province of Bombay. Naturally the various Provinces in India vary, and very widely, in respect of their development. Some can be trusted with a certain amount of administration and some with a very large amount of administration. You have Assam at one end of the scale and Bombay at the other end of the scale. This distinction is thoroughly recognised in the Report of the Functions Committee, which proposes that certain subjects be transferred to the popular element in all the Legislatures in all the Provinces with the exception of Assam. On the other hand, it is proposed that certain subjects shall be transferred in Bombay and shall not be transferred in any of the other provinces. It is true that it is merely a recommendation and that 480 the Bill does not specify which subjects are to be transferred. I suggest, in view of the notable development in Bombay, in view of the experience of the men who have come to the top in local affairs there, in view of the comparatively much higher development of the people of that province as compared with Assam, that we should officially recognise it in the Bill and should specify, at any rate in the case of Bombay, that a larger number of subjects should be transferred. The discussion has ranged pretty fully over the general merits of the subject so that there is no necessity to go into detail, and I confine mystelf to stating in general terms the precise object of the Amendment.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
If I were to recommend the acceptance of this Amendment, the whole of the argument which I addressed to the Committee on the other Amendment would be gone. Bombay is one of the most progressive provinces in India, but it is not in the direction of the development of the rural electorate that that will be found. It is in the fact that in Bombay especially, all races have learned to act and work together in such harmony as is seldom, if ever, equalled, and it augurs for Bombay a very happy future and a very speedy achievement of self-government, but the factors which prevent the transfer of such subjects as my hon. Friend suggests in other provinces are equally operative in Bombay.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
Did the Government of Bombay itself suggest and recommend that these subjects should be transferred?
§ Mr. MONTAGU
No; so far as my recollection goes, I think my hon. and gallant Friend will find that they recommended the transfer of irrigation by a majority and the reservation of land revenue by a majority.
§ Captain ORMSBY-GORE
I was impressed by the evidence before the Joint Committee against making any really wide difference between the Provinces. When I first went on to the Committee I was very much bitten with the idea that we should make experiments in certain Provinces and not in others, but on examining witnesses 481 on the point I found that there would be tremendous jealousy between the different Provinces. The non. Member (Mr. Scott) has said things about Assam which will be strongly resented in Assam. I particularly asked the former Chief Commissioner of Assam some questions about that Province, and he said that Assam had always hotly contested the idea that it was a more backward Province than any other Province. The valleys of Assam, where the tea planters are settled, are quite as forward as Bengal. You are up against that difficulty directly you try to differentiate between the Provinces. It is quite impossible, at any rate at the outset. It may be possible later, when we see. how the scheme works, to make some small alterations, but to make any big difference between the Provinces will only lead to endless jealousy and endless trouble between one Province and another.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have a manuscript Amendment from the hon. Member for the Royton Division (Mr. Sugden), in which he proposes that certain subjects shall not be transferred but shall be reserved. That seems to me to be the policy with which we have just dealt. We cannot have it debated again, but if he likes he may move it.
§ Mr. SUGDEN
I beg to Move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to add the wordsProvided, however, that, matters dealing with the welfare of labour shall be a reserved subject under the control of the Governor and ins Executive Council.I have put down this Amendment strictly for the purpose of reserving the question of the welfare of labour, and I will support the arguments which have already been used by suggesting that this has a bearing upon our Lancashire labour. Lancashire labour has educated Indian labour industrially, and, if it is to be possible to exploit trade on the Japanese markets, then the Secretary of State should use his power to determine the council that shall dominate the question of what shall obtain in the Labour market in India and see that higher standards of conditions obtain in India, so as to make it possible for our Lancashire and Indian markets to run together, and not allow India to undersell, by its cheap labour, the proper-priced textile labour of Lancashire. If the Clause, as drafted; is passed, it will be possible for the Indian employé agricultural, mining, and textile, to ex- 482 ploit our enemy countries and to use the rates of exchange in obtaining goods from enemy countries to the detriment of ourselves in the European and China markets.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I really do not think it is necessary for the hon. Member to press this Amendment, and it would be very dangerous to do so. There are all sorts of reserved subjects. We have just had a very interesting Debate in which it has been sought to diminish those subjects. If you put into the Statute one out of all the subjects that have to be reserved, you destroy the symmetry of the Bill. It is the intention of the Government for the present to make the welfare of Labour a reserved subject. When the reserved and transferred subjects are incorporated in Rules, they have to come to this House, and, if the Government have transferred Labour welfare, my hon. Friend will then have his opportunity.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I have one further manuscript Amendment on this subject, and it is the last that I can accept, after the previous decision of the Committee.
§ Major ENTWISTLE
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to add the wordsProvided that the education of Europeans be included among the reserved subjects.In view of what the right hon. Gentleman has said, I only propose this Amendment with a view of getting an assurance as to the intentions of the Government on what I consider to be a very important subject, namely, the education of Europeans in India. I have just had a cable from India on this subject, and I can assure the Committee that it is a matter which is of vital interest to those who are engaged in the education of Europeans in India. I have had a wire from the headmaster of the Cathedral High School in Bombay, and I would like to have a statement from the Secretary of State as to the intentions of the Government. It seems to me that the question of the education of Europeans is one which should be left within the control of the Executive as at present. It is essential for the success of this Bill that we should have good will on all sides. That is eminently desirable, and I move this Amendment to get the right hon. Gentleman's assurance.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I am afraid that I cannot give the assurance that education is to be a reserved subject. I speak with great diffidence with the Minister of Education sitting beside me, but I cannot persuade myself, after a very lengthy discussion on another aspect of this important question in the Committee upstairs, that we can separate one kind of education from another. That is my first objection. My second objection is that there is a case where reservation would show distrust of the native. I should be very sorry to put into the Bill a racial qualification which does not appear in any other part. Therefore I could not possibly accept this Amendment in any form.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
I quite agree with my right hon. Friend that to introduce this into the Bill might be dangerous, and had he merely said that I would have assented, but he went further. I understood him to say that this will not be dealt with as anything but a transferred subject.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
I certainly understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that this could not be treated as anything but a transferred subject, and I must protest most strongly against that. I am one of those in the minority of the Committee who strongly support the view that education should not be taken over as a whole, but I am quite certain that we never thought it was competent to take the schools for Europeans in India and hand them over. On page 12 of our Report we say that we have accepted the recommendations of the Functions Committee, subject to certain reservations. Words are added, I agree, about the universities, but I am quite sure that that would be a matter for further consideration.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I am afraid I got up very hastily after I had not been paying due consideration to my hon. and gallant Friend opposite. I understood him to ask that we should incorporate a separate provision for Europeans in this Act, and that I did not want to do. As I understand it, there is a hill system of European education in India that is separately organised and separately treated, and that that European education was recommended by the Committee for reservation. That I propose to adhere to. If 484 I have made any mistake in my argument, it was owing to the fact that I did not pay full attention to my hon. and gallant Friend.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Two Amendments down in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle under Lyme(Colonel Wedgwood), to leave out paragraphs (ii.) and (iii) appear to me to be hardly fresh points.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2) to leave out paragraph (ii.)This raises the whole question of the contributions from the Provincial Governments to the Central Government. I want to leave this paragraph out not so much with a view to pressing it to a Division as to get a statement from the right hon. Gentleman as to the arrangements which he intends to make in the next ten years. The Committee will be aware that the Central Government of India—
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is what I was afraid of. That would cast on this Committee the task of discussing the Indian policy of the Secretary of State, and this is the wrong day on which to do that. When we have his salary, as we shall have under this Bill, that is the proper time to debate policy.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I realise, Sir, that policy is not a question we can deal with here, but under paragraph (ii.) we provide for contributions, and what I object to is that contributions should be claimed from the Provincial Governments for the Central Government in India. The Central Government already has large sources of revenue. It has the Income Tax, which is now a considerable tax in India; it has the Salt Tax, it has the Railway Revenue, and as soon as this Act is passed it will have a large number of Import Duties, and, therefore, we have got for the Central Government a large and an increasing revenue, and I wish to enter my protest against the demand that is made that all the eight Provinces should also contribute their quota to the Central Government. I am afraid, and I know many Indians are afraid too, that if these contributions are stereotyped at their present amounts the Central Government will have, so to speak, a perpetual mortgage 485 on the revenues of the Provinces, while, as a matter of fact, the Central Government, has within its own fiscal ambit an ample revenue for all the Central needs. The present system of claiming contributions from the Provinces is particularly unfair on certain Provinces because these contributions are not made on a per capitabasis. The contributions are based upon what happens to be the present amount drawn from such Provinces as Madras or the United Provinces. It is notorious that the revenue taken by the Central Government from Madras and from the United Provinces, where you have two vast Provinces in which, generally speaking, all the land is owned by the State, and where the land revenue forms the bulk of the contributions to the Exchequer, is very much more than their fair share. Naturally this land revenue is looked upon by the people of the Province of Madras or the United Provinces as being the proper subject, just as rates are here, for local rather than for Imperial needs, and therefore any system which tends to perpetuate this unfair pull upon Madras and the United Provinces and which adds to the advantage of such a Province as Bengal, where we have re-established Western landlordism and consequently the State does not own the land, results in Bengal benefiting and Madras paying, because Madras has a sound system and Bengal an unsound system. I think we might legitimately, when we are making this great new start, cease to penalise those Provinces where they have a natural revenue for the advantage of those Provinces where we have set up a Zemindari system.
There are two main arguments for the Amendment. The first is that the Government of India has resources of its own which must increase as the years go on. The Import Duties alone are an enormous increasing asset in India. Beyond that, they have not any sort of Death or Succession or Transfer Duties, and all those when they come will be central taxes which will amply recompense the Government of India for any loss due to cessation of the contributions from the Provinces, and therefore I move this merely as indicating that in the next step, when we give really responsible government to the Provinces, at the same time the grants from the Provinces to the Central Government shall cease and the Central Government become 486 self-supporting. Anything less will lead to bitterness in the Provinces and extravagance at Delhi. There is nothing which makes people so susceptible to extravagance as unlimited resources, and if we have a clear indication that these Provincial contributions are to cease and that the taxation from the Provinces, the land revenue and all the other local taxes, are to be for local and not for central purposes, then you will have a prospect not only of the harmonious working of this Act, but of a real step forward in Indian rule and a genuine federal Government of India, in which the Provinces will be financially independent of the Central Government and the Central Government financially independent of the Provinces.
Sir J. D. REES
My hon. and gallant Friend has made a statement which it would ill-become me as regards the inequality of these contributions to contest. Many a time when I represented the Madras Presidency on the Viceroy's Council have I represented it. What I cannot understand is what advantage to my Province and to the United Provinces, which are the milch cows, will result from this Amendment. So far as I can see, absolutely none. These contributions must be fixed by somebody, and who is to do it except the Governor-General in Council?
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
My Amendment is only to leave out paragraph (ii), which deals with the contributions.
Sir J. D. REES
I repeat that while my hon. and gallant Friend has made a statement which it is very difficult for me to contest as regards the inequality of these contributions, it is inexplicable what advantage will result to these Provinces from taking out the provision in the Act.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
The inequalities of the present system are notorious. All that can be said for the scheme under this Bill is that it certainly does not make them worse.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
No, it keeps them in a different way. Instead of dividing the land revenue, they propose to fix the contribution from each Province. I quite agree that it unmasks the unfairness under which Madras and the United Provinces labour. At the same time, it would be 487 quite impossible either to saddle the Government of India with the necessity of raising its own revenues entirely all of a sudden, or to make the Presidency of Bengal, for instance, make good the deficit of Madras at once. These inequalities must take time to redress. The views on which this procedure is based are in the Montagu-Chelmsford Report. The Government of India., in their dispatch of March, suggested the appointment of a Provincial Financial Relations Committee, a proposal which has been endorsed by the Joint Committee, and we are now proposing, always assuming that this Bill goes through, immediately to appoint a Financial Relations Committee, whose first duty will be to try to find a way, most approximating to equality, of apportioning the burdens among the Provinces. It is a very difficult Committee to constitute, because, obviously, the representative of any Province is interested in the solution, but I am happy to be able to inform the Committee that Lord Meston, who has now left India, and has a unique knowledge of its financial problems, has consented to go to India, in a short time, to be Chairman, and I hope to get a Committee together that will be quite impartial as between Province and Province, and assist us in coming to the end which my hon. and gallant Friend opposite and I desire.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Will the right hon. Gentleman address himself to the argument that these contributions are not necessary, in view of the fact that the Indian Government itself could raise its own revenue without any necesary contributions whatever?
§ Mr. MONTAGU
I would really not like to commit myself to a view as to the taxable capacity of India. That is a subject I would wish to leave to the Government of India to decide, but, whatever the facts, they could not be decided in a day or two.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), to leave out paragraph (iii).
I move this Amendment with a view of eliciting from the right hon. Gentleman whether he contemplates the new Provincial Executive having Cabinet responsibility, or whether, as I am told is the case, the Indian Ministers will present demands for money which they will have to balance by making suggestions for additional taxa- 488 tion. Supposing the Education Minister wants an additional Grant of £3,000,000 in order to bring the education up to date, has he, as is the case in this country, to put that demand before a Cabinet, and secure Cabinet approval, and then transfer to the Finance Minister the necessity of raising that money in some way or other; or are we to have a diarchy, a new system, in which the Minister who has to get additional resources has, at the same time, to suggest some form of tax which shall raise the money necessary. The system that all friends of India will want to see is Cabinet responsibility. The two Indian Civil Service members of the Executive, and the two or three Ministers will, I hope, form a united Cabinet, and that when any of those Ministers has made good his case in that Cabinet for an increase of the allocation for his Department, then it will be the duty of the Cabinet as a whole to decide on the additional taxation necessary to raise their revenue. But at present I am not clear from this paragraph whether by constituting a Finance Department you mean to have one Finance Department for Bombay or Bengal, or whether you mean to have each Minister arranging for his own finance, and consequently being saddled with the opprobrium and the unpopularity of being responsible for additional taxation. It is. perfectly well known here that when the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Education brings in an Education Bill which involves the country in some £30,000,000 of additional taxation, he does not get the unpopularity of it; it is the Government which gets the unpopularity of the expenditure of public money. Are we to understand that in India a similar Minister, bringing in similar demands for education there, would find that all his colleagues would shift their responsibility on to him, and make him the scapegoat, and be able to save their own skins at the expense of a colleague?
§ Mr. MONTAGU
This is not intended to deal with taxation at all. The idea of this Department, which was suggested in a Government of India dispatch, is that there is a necessity in every Province for a Department to advise the Government as to the financial result of any measure they might be prepared to undertake, and to prepare estimates. It is an Advisory Department only. The questions which my hon. and gallant Friend raises are very important questions of taxation, to which 489 I should be glad to give him an answer, but which I do not think come within the scope of this Amendment.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The right hon. Gentleman, I presume, does not want me to repeat that speech on the Clause as a whole, and perhaps he will give me an answer now.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
The situation is really this. So far as I understand, the Provincial Government in India now has practically no powers of taxation. The powers of taxation are absolutely a new thing. To my mind taxation ought not to be imposed on the Provinces, except when the whole Government, after consideration of the resources at its disposal, agrees to go to the Legislatures and ask for taxation, and I take it all Budget proposals will be discussed in common between all the parties concerned.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
I do not wish to enter at this stage upon the point raised by my right hon. Friend and the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite, but my right hon. Friend will know that many of us, and I think I am right in saying the Government of India, are in favour of a separate purse.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
We shall have another opportunity of discussing that. I take a very different view from the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite with regard to the responsibility that will fall on the Minister who, in respect to his own work, increases the taxation. I think if a divergent view is taken by a Minister, he ought to be prepared to bear the responsibility. However, that is not a matter we need enter into now.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. OMAN
Having had eleven consequential Amendments ruled out, and not being able to speak on the subject to which I addressed myself, I will confine myself to a very few remarks on the Clause as a whole. It may be looked upon as a whole as the sanctification of diarchy. As a trained historian, perhaps I may be permitted to say that "diarchy" is a German word invented by the late professor Mommsen, and was applied first of all to the relations of the Emperors Tiberius and Augustus to the Senate, and 490 was probably the most loathsome: piece of political farce ever foisted an a great nation, because the Emperor was the predominant power in the so-called diarchy, and the Senate carried out the wishes of the Emperor, the penalty for lèsemajesté being relegation to a distant island or the opening of veins in baths. The word is not a happy word, and least of all happy possibly because those members of the Committee, when drawing up the Report, seemed to be quite unable to make out whether the word is spelt with a "y" or an "i." Going through the Report I find an infinite number of places where it is spelt one way and an infinite number of places where it is spelt the other way, and there does not seem to be among the individual members any general agreement. I only wish to point out how much I regret this Clause, sanctifying as it does, first of all, that racial difference, which, as we have been hearing so much, ought to be avoided. It creates a body in the Provincial Government which is purely Indian. On the other hand, it leaves a body which is Indo-British in the Governor and Council, and it is lamentable that there should have been substituted an Indian Service which is one-half Indo-British and the other half pure Indian. A member of the Joint Committee put the case very humorously in the following way: We have to consider whether we shall give the Indians a slice of every tart on the table or whether we shall give them several of the tarts whole. That, very much in a humorous form, illustrates the condition of affairs. We have given over to a purely Indian administration a great part of the provincial functions of Parliament, and it would have been very much better if the whole functions of the Government had been partly given over to Indians. I see no difficulty whatever in allowing a part of every one of these functions to be conducted by Indian Ministers or Indian officials, but the lamentable thing is that we have created a special Indian body of Ministers in the Legislature which will have charge of some things in what most precisely one would have wished to see the Indo-British Civil Service, the great old Indian Service, with its traditions, holding sway. I refer to such things as sanitation. Could anyone, after hearing the discussion this afternoon, prefer to hand over sanitation to an Indian Government Department 491 rather than an Indo-British Government Department, with the old traditions of the Indian Civil Service, worked both by British and Indian functionaries? Then, with regard to education, that Indian education should be handed over entirely to the Indian part of the newly-created Government seems to me deplorable. It would have been very much better to have left it under Indo-British control. There is—unfortunately, as some of us think—a great medical agitation going on in India in connection with so-called Aryavedic or indigenous medicine. It has great popularity. There is very little doubt that a great push will be made when the new Act has come in to get in the so-called indigenous medicine, which is a curious mixture of folk-lore and other things, recognised as serious medicine. That will come before, not an Indo-British medical service, but a service entirely controlled by the newly formed half of the Indian Provincial Administration. It seems to me wholly deplorable that, instead of having an Administration in which the natives, the Indian Minister, and the Indian Executive have a part in everything, we have decided to divide a fair share to all.
§ Colonel YATE
I should like to support what has fallen from my hon. Friend, especially in regard to education. I should also like to support the point raised by the hon. Member sitting on the bench on my right—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I think I ought to point out a thing not generally known to Members of the House, that when we come to the Question, "That the Clause stand part," it is not open to rediscuss matters which have been decided on specific Amendments. We decided to retain paragraph (d) by a definite decision of the Committee; we must not review the decisions of the Committee in the progress of the Clause on the question before us.
§ Colonel YATE
The point I was endeavouring to bring out—I do not know whether the question of education has or has not been specially passed—is that we have had no information, although we have had one or two speeches on it, whether the Government of India agree to the transfer of education. So far as we are aware, the Government of India is entirely averse to this transference. So far as we know, they will oppose this transfer of education. 492 They simply propose that elementary education should be transferred. This is a point I made before in connection with the Bill. These Amendments which have been added have run the Bill to double its original size, yet we have no information as to what has been approved by the Government of India and what has not been approved by the Government of India. The whole Bill has been entirely altered. It has been raised from thirty to forty-eight pages. I certainly think that the thing should not go forward until we know exactly what is the opinion of the Governmnent of India as to the alterations that have been made. We are absolutely legislating in the dark, and blindly—
§ Clause 2 (Borrowing Powers of Local Governments)ordered to stand part of the Bill.