HC Deb 16 June 1924 vol 174 cc1706-7
3. Sir C. YATE

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether, considering the disastrous effects in Mesepotamia, of the retrenchment in hospitals establishment in the Army in India carried out in pre-War days, the India Office is prepared to sanction the proposed reduction of 1,957 beds in British and 2,041 beds in Indian station hospitals, of 15 officers of the Indian Medical Service, and 60 assistant surgeons?


These reductions have been or are in process of being carried out, with the sanction of the Secretary of State where that was required. They are partly due to reductions of combatant strength, and in any case will not seriously affect the improvements introduced since the experience of Mesopotamia.


Does the hon. Gentleman consider it safe to effect these reductions in the army in India at the present time?




asked the Under-Secretary of State for India how many assistant-surgeons of the Indian Medical Department were dismissed during the financial year 1923–24, and how many it is proposed to dismiss during the current financial year; whether any representations have been received on this subject; and whether, in view of the very serious unemployment among Anglo-Indians at the present time, the Government of India can take steps to avoid reduction of cadre until some of the unemployed have been able to obtain other work?


A reduction of 92 assistant-surgeons has been sanctioned, including 32 who are in excess of the establishment, but it is not known how many of these were discharged in 1923–24. Certain representations on this and other matters relating to the Anglo-Indian community have been received and transmitted to the Government of India. As in the case of other services, retirements are being carried out on favourable terms, and I fear I cannot hold out hope of any exceptional measures in the case of this Department to mitigate the hardship involved in the reductions.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the unrest which exists in the Indian Medical Department, in view of the reduction of its staff; whether it is the intention of the Government of India to dispense with the services of that Department altogether; whether the Department has asked for an official inquiry into the whole matter; and whether the Government of India can see its way to institute such an inquiry?


It is not intended to dispense with the Indian Medical Department. Certain representations have been received regarding the present condition of the Department. My Noble Friend awaits the Government of India's views before deciding on the request for an inquiry.


Is the Under-Secretary aware that unless they wish to get rid of this service altogether recruiting will become almost impossible?


I think it will be very difficult.