§ (1) Any person mentioned in Sub-section (1) and Sub-section (2) of the section of this Act of which the marginal note is "Application of four last preceding sections to persons appointed by Secretary of State in Council, etc.," shall be entitled, upon not less than three months' notice given by him to the Secretary of State, to retire prematurely from service on such terms as to pension, gratuities, and the like as may be prescribed by rules made by the Secretary of State under the provisions of the next two succeeding Sub-sections.
§ (2) The Secretary of State shall make rules prescribing the terms as to pensions, gratuities, and the like payable to or in respect of any person retiring from service under 710 the provisions of the last succeeding Subsection.
§ Provided that, as far as may be, such terms shall be the same as and in no case shall be less favourable to such person as aforesaid than the terms prescribed by the premature retirement rules made by the Secretary of State in Council under paragraph (b) of section ninety-two of the Government of India Act.
§ (3) The said rules shall provide that in addition to any pension, gratuity, or the like similar to those provided for by the said premature retirement rules, there shall also be payable to any such person as aforesaid as compensation for the loss of his career a special gratuity calculated on a scale to be determined by the Secretary of State and set out in the said rules.
§ (4) The said rules shall further provide that if any person referred to in Sub-section (1) of this section is required by competent authority to retire prematurely from service for any reason other than proved misconduct or incapacity there shall be payable to such person as compensation for the loss of his career a special gratuity calculated on a scale to be determined by the Secretary of State and set out in the said rules in addition to any pension to which such person may be entitled:
§ Provided that the amount of the special gratuity payable to any person under this Sub-section shall be not less than twice the amount of the special gratuity which would have been payable to such person under the last preceding Sub-section if such person had voluntarily retired.
§ (5) The provisions of Sub-section (3) of the section of this Act, of which the marginal note is "Reserved posts," shall apply to any rules made under this section.—[Sir A. Knox.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ 12.2 p.m.
§ Major-General Sir ALFRED KNOX
I beg to move "That the Clause be now read a Second time."
I do so in the absence of the Noble Lady the Member for Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Atholl). The Clause provides for compensation for premature retirement in the case of civil servants and other servants of the Government of India under the new conditions. It is rather complicated and in order to explain it briefly I shall divide it into three parts. In the first place, these Government servants ask that the Secretary of State should be given power to make regulations and rules providing for a scale of proportionate pensions to be given to civil servants and others who retire prematurely when the new Constitution comes into force. In the Government of India Act of 1919 it was laid down that premature 711 retirement by an officer under the Constitution then brought into force, would carry with it the right to proportionate pensions in the case of all civil servants who had been recruited by the Secretary of State in Council prior to 1920. Obviously that was a suitable date for the purposes of the Government of India Act, because the Act came into force in that year. But no similar provision has been made as regards the present Bill, which is going to make much wider changes in the Constitution of India than those brought into force in 1920.
It is true that the Secretary of State in his evidence gave it to be understood that on the inauguration of the new Constitution in India he would make rules which would bring all servants of the Government, recruited by the Secretary of State, under the provisions of the Section in the 1919 Act. But nothing has been done yet. On the day after the issue of the White Paper by the India Office, there was a communiquæ issued from the India Office which practically said that the Secretary of State would do what I have just said. That was on the 18th March, 1933, and it was intimated that on the inauguration of the new Constitution in India, concessions would be extended to all civil servants appointed by the Secretary of State in Council. That is not enough to satisfy the civil servants in India, who want something further. They want these rights put into statutory form, so that they will know exactly where they stand.
In the memorandum which was presented to the Secretary of State a few weeks ago on behalf of the Bengal Civil Service, and which is endorsed by the All-India Association and other civil service associations in India, they said in the foreword:We have studied the Bill with great care and note with grave apprehension that of all the safeguards described in our memorial as essential only one has been given.That is the Indian civil servants' family pensions fund, and I am now asking in this new Clause for what is contained in paragraph (3) of the memorandum. When I am talking of the memorandum, I am talking of the expurgated edition presented to the Secretary of State, a copy of which has been laid in the Library and is, I believe, in possession 712 of all Members of this Committee. They laid down in that memorandum that the right of proportionate pensions should be confirmed by Statute to every member of the civil service, whatever his race or domicile, who joined before the introduction of the new Constitution or who will join during the period preceding the setting up of a judicial inquiry into the service conditions. They particularly laid down in this paragraph their desire that Indian members of the civil service should not be precluded from any rights that they may obtain under this Clause. We realise, of course, that there will be considerable difficulty for the Secretary of State in drafting rules and regulations to cover all cases, and we realise that those rules and regulations would have to be somewhat elastic in form, but the civil service in India really desires to see something definite in the Act.
The second point is this: In Subsection (3) of the proposed new Clause they ask that, in addition to any pension, they should be granted, as a measure of compensation for the loss of a civilian career, a special gratuity. I understand that in the years 1932 to 1934 there was a measure of gratuity granted to officials who retired, but it was on a very low scale. I understand that a man was given on retirement a gratuity amounting to half a month's pay for each year of service he had completed up to 15 years' service. That meant that the maximum gratuity any such man could earn would be 7½ months' pay. Take the case of a man with 15 years' service in India, who is probably married and has a family, who is going to be cast at home on the labour market, with very little chance of getting re-employment, a man who has wonderful qualifications after 15 years in India, which most Members of this Committee do not realise—his knowledge of languages, of working with Indians of all classes, races, and religions, that he has obtained there by his own hard work. All these will count for nothing in the labour market in this country when he becomes a candidate at the employment exchange.
We ask that this gratuity should be put on a definite scale and should be increased. That is the case of people who retire voluntarily, who do their best to serve under the new conditions but who find them impossible and that they 713 cannot do justice to themselves or do their work under Government as before the new Constitution was introduced. They realise that under the new conditions they cannot remain useful servants of the State, and they retire because they cannot continue to be useful servants of the State. Those people, we think, ought to get a gratuity on a sufficient scale to enable them to tide over the time in the old country till they can get some new employment.
The last point goes farther. There will be certain cases of Government servants who may be retired compulsorily, not, of course, cases of misconduct or inefficiency, but for the requirements of the public service We think they ought to get a gratuity on an increased scale, and what we think is right is laid down in Sub-section (4) of the new Clause. I hope the Under-Secretary of State will give favourable consideration to this Clause. As I have said, the Government servants in India who were largely overlooked in the Round Table Conferences and by the Joint Select Committee and who really feel very strongly on this point, should get at any rate some compensation when it is found impossible for them to continue to serve in India in the same spirit of usefulness as they have done in the past.
§ 12.12 p.m.
§ Sir REGINALD CRADDOCK
I rise to support the new Clause, and I do not know that there is very much that I can add to the various considerations that my hon. and gallant Friend has put before the Committee, but I would lay stress on the facts in the communiquæ which was issued on the 18th March, 1933, simultaneously, so to speak with the White Paper. It was obviously intended that this communiquæ should reassure the members of the Secretary of State's service that, as with the inauguration of the now Constitution different conditions had arisen from those under which they had been recruited, it was therefore the intention of the Government to continue the privilege of retiring on a proportionate pension the people who found that they had no future or would be likely to find life unpleasant for them under the new constitutional scheme. There can be no doubt whatever that the inconveniences that these gentlemen in the services may have felt 714 under the Montagu-Chelmsford scheme were comparatively insignificant compared with the change in their fortunes, in the influence they will carry, and so forth under the Constitution contained in this Bill.
I have had many talks with members of the services returning to England, who say that already, with the new Constitution looming before them, a great deal of their work has, as they say, lost its savour. In things which they expected to do, which they have always done and which, in fact, it was their duty to do, they find that their recommendations are just quietly ignored by the Minister in charge, and that really upsets the whole system on which the country is governed. Whatever be the Constitution, so far as Ministers are concerned, the people who have to work it are the district officers and the commissioners above them, and if the recommendations of these officers are liable to be ignored because other persons have private influence with the Ministers and bring pressure to bear on them, it is obvious that the service may at any time relapse into nothing but a disheartened remnant, which cannot possibly work with satisfaction to the people, to their Ministers, or to their own sense of duty. It was, therefore, obviously with this desire that that communiquæ was timed to be issued along with the White Paper, but the Civil servants of Bengal and the European Government servants who have their own associations and, in fact, the Indian Civil Service over the whole of India complained, and with reason that the Bill does not embody the announcement in the communiquæ. I have a copy here of the communiquæ, the meaning of which is quite clear. The first words are:It has been decided that on the inauguration of the new constitution of India, the following classes of officers recruited before the inauguration shall be eligible to retire on pension at any time during the remainder of their service.and so on. And then they set out the whole of the All-India Service still existing in the country. It was then discovered that this particular point was not remarked upon by the Joint Select Committee, and finds no definite reference in the Bill, and they ask that while the details as to the kind of compensation, or the exact rules governing pensions should be made by the Secretary of State, 715 that, as provided in the new Clause, the right to retire on pension should receive adequate sanction in the body of the Bill.
Then there comes the question of compensation for loss of career. Now the man who retires on half his pension retires in one sense voluntarily, but no one will retire voluntarily in the circumstances which would arise. A man, for example, who has to retire on half pension with a wife and with children to educate, will certainly not sacrifice his career unless the circumstances are such that he feels he must do so. Although it may be a voluntary retirement, in effect the pressure of circumstances and the hopelessness of doing efficient work are such that he feels he has no other course. The Bengal Civil servants in their memorial indicated that if their position and rights are duly safeguarded, they will continue to do their duty loyally and faithfully as before, unless and until conditions become intolerable. It is quite clear that members of the Civil Service, who, after all, have been engaged all these years in the government of India, and who are now displaced finally, so to speak, from the positions they have occupied and have had the knowledge that the powers above will always support them when they are doing their honest duties with due care and good faith. Those are the criteria under which the Civil servants have always remained up to the present day. They do their duty in difficult circumstances, and they know that they will be supported as long as they do their duty in good faith.
All these things, their influence for good and their power to help the poor, and so on, have been the attraction of the Service to people who enter it. There are unfortunate cases in which, owing to economy, alleged or real, certain high appointments have to be done away with. In those cases there can be no doubt whatever as to compensation for loss of career. That was recognised in the case of Civil servants in Egypt when the constitution there was entirely altered, and it is only right that that should be done in this case, for as I said before, great loss is involved in retiring on half your pension when half your service is still to run, and in which you could have put by something to supplement the pension you would get. Those conditions are such that no one would want to retire unless 716 he felt the position to be intolerable. Therefore they want the provision in the communiquæ put in the Act itself; and, secondly, they plead for additional compensation for loss of career. It may be that some years ago there were a certain number of retirements because people thought there were possibilities of appointments going, but that prospect is not very great now, and is not likely to attract anyone to throw up his career. Nobody is going to sacrifice half his pension and half his pay for the remaining part of his service in these circumstances, and I hope that, whatever views may be held on the Montagu reforms, the complete overturning of the position as regards Civil servants in India which this Constitution brings about, will carry with it a readiness on the part of the Government to meet them with a concession which might not have been necessary under the Montagu reforms.
§ 12.24 p.m.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I am not quite sure that I understand the effect of the Clause. I understand the suggestion is something like this: There will be, in any case, under the Bill pensions provided for those Civil servants who retire, but certain Civil servants may wish to retire voluntarily, and I understand the proposal is that if notice is given at the appropriate time, they shall be entitled to pensions and gratuities, and that then a special gratuity shall be based on the assumption of the loss of career to the person concerned stated in terms of money. That is in the case of voluntary retirement, but if he is compulsorily retired, that is to say prematurely retired, he is to have a special gratuity, which is to be twice the amount of the special gratuity he would have if he retired prematurely and voluntarily.
§ 12.25 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel APPLIN
A great French writer who visited India a few years ago wrote these wordsI have seen a miracle. I have seen 2,000 Englishmen governing 320,000,000 people of India and governing them well and justly.It is on behalf of those 2,000 Englishmen that we have put down this new Clause. The Committee should realise the great 717 difference between the Indian Civil Service and the English Civil Service. An Indian Civil servant is serving in a great continent with vastly different climates. He is often serving in a part of India where the climate is more or less deadly to the white man. He has to endure that. I have endured the hot weather and have slept night after night in a temperature of 116 degrees at midnight, and I know the effect on the health of even a strong man in the cavalry such as I was. A civilian who has to move about the country for his work is liable to suffer prematurely in his health to an extent which renders it necessary for him to seek work in a less trying climate. A man may possibly have had 13 years' service in India and have a wife and children. They have to endure the same climate as he has to do, because in the lower grades of the Civil Service a man cannot afford to send his wife and family to the hills. I have seen many an unfortunate woman having to stay in the hot weather with her husband because he cannot afford the double expense of a house in the hills for his wife and children and a house on the plains for himself.
The family constantly have to go home for health reasons and the man gets a letter from home saying that they cannot return owing to the risk to health. That is where the voluntary premature retirement comes in. What can the husband do? If he has 13 years' service he would get 3,750 rupees per year, which, at the present rate of exchange of 1/9 granted to Civil Servants, brings in £330 a year. Compare that with an ordinary Civil Servant who, under the same conditions, can prematurely retire on £618. For that reason, it is essential that we should protect those who are serving us so well in India by granting a gratuity which they can invest in order to get an adequate living pension when they have to retire prematurely. I feel certain that if the Secretary of State were here he would receive this Clause sympathically, and possibly accept it, because we are only asking for justice to those who are serving our country in India.
§ 12.29 p.m.
§ Mr. BUTLER
In answering some of the points that have been raised on this new Clause, it would be convenient if I followed the various sub-sections and showed how the position with which they deal is already met. With regard to sub- 718 section (1), there are already premature retirement rules. By rules made under Section 96 B of the present Government of India Act they were applied to all men recruited before the 1st January, 1920. Hon. Members 'have been perfectly right to note that that privilege has been extended on the recommendation of the Lee Commission in 1924, and announced in a communiquæ issued on 18th March, 1933, to all new recruits up to the inauguration of the new Constitution who are recruited by the Secretary of State. That means, as regards rules for premature retirement, that provision has been made up to the date of the inauguration of the new Constitution for all Secretary of State's men. In order not to go too much into detail, I will refer hon. Members to paragraph 71 of the White Paper, which promises the continuance of this right to retire prematurely on proportionate pension to new recruits for the Indian Civil Service and the Indian police, that is, the remaining services recruited by the Secretary of State up till such date as these services are transferred, if indeed they be transferred, as the result of the inquiry that will be held into the services at some period after five years.
Therefore, up to the date of the inauguration of the new Constitution the Secretary of State's men who are new recruits are covered by the present rules which have been promised in the communiquæ to which I have referred up to the inauguration of the new Constitution. After that the Secretary of State's men, who are new recruits, in the Indian Civil Service and the Indian police will have the same right until such date as the inquiry takes place, and, if the inquiry reports that these services shall no longer be under the Secretary of State, new arrangements, if necessary, will have to be made. Up to that distant date, therefore, the matter is covered by existing rules or by rules embodying the announcement of 1933. They lay down that, provided a man is physically fit for further service, is permanently employed in a service under a Government responsible to a Legislature and, if recruited since 1924, the date of the Lee Commission, is of non-Asiatic domicile, he shall have these particular rights for which hon. Members have been asking.
With regard to Sub-section (2) the Secretary of State has already in 719 Clause 236 of this Bill power to make rules for pensions, etc., and this right may be taken under the Interpretation Clause to cover the problem which we have before us. The terms of the present premature retirement rules have been looked into, and in fact are always before us, and the opinion is that they form a just and satisfactory basis upon which to give a pension to those who wish to exercise the right to retire prematurely.
Sub-section (3) raises the point of the special gratuity. I have referred to the present premature retirement rules and have said that the Government regard them as being a just and equitable basis upon which to reward those who wish to avail themselves of the right to retire on a proportionate pension. The hon. and gallant Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox) referred to certain gratuities which had been given. I think the facts are that those gratuities have been given always in cases of compulsory retirement. In the case of voluntary retirement we consider that the rules as to pensions sufficiently reward the officer. I shall come to compulsory retirement in a minute; that is another matter. I am not aware of gratuities being given for voluntary retirement. Those who have retired voluntarily have come under the ordinary rules which provide for that eventuality. At this stage it is important to remind the Committee that in inaugurating this new Constitution it is our wish and determination to provide a career in the Indian Civil Service, for the Secretary of State's men. We have taken particular care in this Bill to insert as many service provisions as are necessary to ensure getting the right type of recruit and to ensure a man a proper future in the services, which are so vital to India and we are convinced that it would be difficult to find a more definite and just set of rights for civil servants than those we have included in this Bill.
Under Clause 235 we assure certain posts and a career to this type of officer, and we take pride in offering him a career rather than in giving him undue opportunities to retire prematurely. We are confident that the future in India will offer suitable opportunities of a good career for officers. Over and above this we have rules for premature retirement, 720 and we consider that they will cover all that is necessary, but in order to make assurance doubly sure we have in Clause 238 given power to the Secretary of State to grant compensation, and we prefer to keep this power of granting compensation general and at the discretion of the Secretary of State rather than to tie him down statutorily to certain fixed rates such as seem to be envisaged by this new Clause. The powers under Clause 238 are absolutely unlimited. In any case where the Secretary of State thinks compensation is necessary he is able to take action under that particular Clause.
Let me come to the question of compulsory retirement. In that case the new Clause asks us to pay double the gratuity we should pay in a case of voluntary retirement. I have already said that owing to the nature of the rules, which we think are just and equitable, the question of a gratuity ought not to arise on voluntary retirement. In the case of compulsory retirement it has arisen in the past, and I can quite see that it could arise in the future, and that is the reason why I revert to Clause 238, which gives the Secretary of State the definite power to grant compensation in cases of compulsory retirement. The hon. and gallant Member for Wycombe referred to previous cases of gratuities which had been granted. Those have been granted chiefly under retrenchment schemes. It has been necessary, unfortunately, to retrench a few officers in a crisis—I am glad there have not been very many cases—but where that has occurred opportunity has been taken to compensate them for being compulsorily retired as an addition to the normal pension they get under the rules, and the Secretary of State has full power in case of necessity to provide such gratuities at his discretion on compulsory retirement. We think this is a much more equitable and sensible plan, and much better for the services, than laying down a rigid set of rules and regulations about gratuities which might not meet the case of a particular man who was so unfortunate as to be retired compulsorily. Therefore, I submit that we have met the spirit of the new Clause in what we have already done. My right hon. Friend did examine the submissions to which hon. Members have drawn attention in the memorandum of the Bengal Civil Service Association, and it was in the sense of 721 the reply which I have given that he considered this matter ought to be dealt with. He is fully aware of its importance, but considers that the provisions of the Bill meet exactly what is required in the most sensible way.
With regard to the last sub-section, which raises the question of machinery and rules, the Mover and Seconder of the Clause wish the provisions of Clause 235 with respect of rules to apply to the particular rules in question here. We have all ready debated this matter at some length, and I do not want to go over the ground again, but hon. Members will recall that it was decided that only the rules relating to reserved posts should be treated in that way and laid before both Houses. Nevertheless the Committee will recall that we deleted from Clause 263, Sub-section (2), relating to the Rules Publication Act, and in that way directed that those rules shall now be published under the terms of the Rules Publication Act, an amendment which the services desired. Therefore, all rules will be published and will be before the world. They will be promulgated by the Secretary of State and his advisers, and in all these matters the Secretary of State will have the benefit of the advice of his advisers, by whom in a great majority of cases he will have to be bound.
The only thing remaining to say is to refer the Committee to Clause 239, under which no rule can be altered to the disadvantage of the officer concerned. I think the Committee will realise that we have tried to meet every single point in this difficult matter, because we entirely agree with the seriousness of it, and the need of providing the services with a reassurance on the point. We have met the principle of the new Clause, and in all the details, either as regards compensation under Clause 238, or as regards the method of publishing the rules, we have gone as near to meeting the desires of the services as is right and, as I believe, is best suited to their interests.
§ 12.43 p.m.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I always speak with diffidence on this Bill, but I was very interested in the remarks of the hon. and gallant Members who moved and supported this new Clause. We on this side of the Committee always desire proper treatment for civil servants. We stand for adequate superannuation, remuneration and compensation as well. I 722 would ask the hon. and gallant Members who are behind this new Clause to remember that no superannuation or pensions schemes have ever been accepted by Parliament without some computation of the ultimate cost, and I should have thought the India Office could have given us some figure as to the increased cost of these provisions. I wish to congratulate the hon. and gallant Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox) on turning out this morning as a first-class trade union advocate. He and the other hon. and gallant Members said that they represented 2,000 members in the Indian Civil Service. I am not sure that it would not pay our own trade unionists to employ them in future if we were sure that they would be always as ardent in favour of trade union principles as they have been this morning. But I was surprised at one point which they made. They said that the climatic conditions in India are literally appalling. I have never been to India, but I have visited Egypt, though a spent only a fortnight there it was enough to get a taste of the climatic conditions in the East.
When hon. Members were talking of the appalling climatic conditions in India, I wondered what they would say if we proposed a superannuation scheme for our coalminers because of the appalling climatic conditions under which they would say if we proposed a superannuation scheme for our coalminers because of the appalling climatic conditions under which they work in the mines. My mouth literally watered when I heard that it is possible for a young man to serve in India for 13 years and then come back to this country and enjoy a pension of £618 a year. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, £300!"] Then I am mistaken, but, if it be £300, my mouth still waters. That is after 13 years. We must understand that we are not dealing here with our own money. We are not deciding to pay this money out of our own coffers. The money will come out of the pockets of the millions of peasants and working people of India, I suppose. We ought therefore to be careful what we are doing.
I understand that the Government are not accepting the proposed new Clause, but I thought that the Under-Secretary of State was in the same breath rather playing into the hands of those who had moved it, and was trying to win them over by indicating that, although this Clause might not be accepted, the Indian Civil Service are safe in the hands of 723 this Government, and will be compensated just as if the Clause were adopted. Does the hon. Gentleman say that the Government will accept the proposition contained towards the end of the proposed new Clause, in Sub-sections (3) and (4)? I am almost sure that no Government in this country would accept that principle.
§ Mr. BUTLER
I pointed out that it had not been the practice to pay gratuities in the case of voluntary retirement and that I did not suppose it would be the practice in the future. In the case of compulsory retirement, each individual case will be examined, and in any case where compensation is necessary compensation will be paid.
§ Mr. DAVIES
That means to say that the hon. Gentleman, on behalf of the Government, is not after all accepting the proposal. It is an extraordinary state of affairs. I am certain that if a proposal to grant a gratuity, a double, special gratuity, were proposed in respect of our own Civil Service, hon. Gentlemen who are supporting the present proposal would vote against it. [Hon. Members: "Hear, hear."]. Even if the first principle laid down in the Clause were proposed in respect of our textile workers, coalminers or iron founders, the same hon. Members would troop into the lobby against it, because they would ask the fundamental question "Where is the money to come from?" Of course, the money in this case comes from India and does not affect taxation in this country, but hon. Members are quite willing to increase the cost on the Indian revenues by proposing what they are now doing.
§ Sir H. CROFT
I feel sure that the hon. Gentleman does not want those words to go down in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. DAVIES
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman can show me how you can carry out these present proposals without increasing the cost to India, I should like him to do so. If we were to carry a proposal to pay a similar special double gratuity in this country, I can imagine the Chancellor of the Exchequer standing up at that box and saying: "Halt. This cannot be done without another 3d. on the income tax."
§ Sir A. KNOX
Surely the case of the textile workers in this country would not be a parallel one, because the amount of money which will be involved in the case of India will be comparatively small and very much less. There are only 2,000 members in all.
§ Mr. DAVIES
When I saw some of the figures the other day I was astounded at the amount already paid away in pensions to gentlemen who have served our country in India. Unless I am mistaken, the total paid in pensions runs to about £4,000,000 already, that sum is paid out of Indian revenues to people who have served this country in India. I am not saying that those gentlemen have not served us well. I urge the hon. Gentleman who represents the Government to go a stage further and, while giving proper treatment to Indian Civil Servants, to say that they shall not get what is propounded in the last few words of the Clause, because if they did it would be an offence to the Indian people who would have to pay the piper without calling the tune.
§ 12.50 p.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The hon. Gentleman who has just addressed us in such a clear and forcible manner has missed the whole point which animates those who have brought forward the proposed new Clause. He dealt with it as though it were entirely a question of the rewards and the personal position of the members of the Indian Civil Service. There is, of course, that aspect, and the aspect of hardship caused to people whose careers are prematurely closed. They have had to go through a long and special educational training, have had to acquire very high competitive distinction before being appointed, have had to fit themselves in free and open competition with the whole of the country and have had to adapt themselves to conditions in India of a very special character; and then they have found that their work in India entailed such intolerable conditions that they could not continue and have been forced to retire at a moment when they looked forward to long years of regular work, to which they had devoted their lives.
§ Mr. DAVIES
There is nothing to prevent an Indian Civil servant retiring and coming back to this country. He is 725 not prevented from following another career, or from entering into business, as some have already done.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
That is true. Nothing in the law prevents them doing that, but the argument which my hon. Friends have brought forward is the special conditions to which the Indian Civil servant has adapted himself for the purpose of the Indian Civil Service may make it extremely difficult for him to obtain any future employment comparable with that which, when he joined the Indian Civil Service, he had a reasonable right to expect. That is the personal, compassionate and equitable aspect, but much more important than the consequences to the individual Civil servant are the consequences to the Civil Service as a whole, and that is the point. The Government are, in my opinion, doing a very great injury to the Indian Civil Service by the Bill; in fact, the Bill will wreck the Indian Civil Service. That is not the Government's position on the matter. They say that the Indian Civil Service will continue for many years to play an important part in guiding the Indian people. They contemplate that the Service will continue to exist. Lord Halifax described it as a new adventure, or something of that kind.
From that point of view it is essential that the Government should offer adequate inducements to those who enter the Civil Service, if the high standard is to be maintained. If once that high standard were lost, if once you get a class of people of low morale, or defective education in that peculiar position where the lives and fortunes of such great numbers of Indians are largely affected by administrative functions, our rule would lose all its repute and virtue, and a most shocking condition would arise. It is therefore of the highest consequence for the Government, who believe that the Indian Civil Service will have a declining but still appreciable part to play in India during the next few years, and it is essential to make exertion to maintain the high qualities of that Service and, in this wicked world, to do so by adequate inducements. I do not say that these inducements should be always money inducements; only partly so. These people pass very high competitive examinations. They 726 are the bright brains of the country. People who want to make their lives in an honourable profession have been attracted to these Civil Service examinations. Those who pass are the flower. Lately I understand that is not so. The Noble Lord rather challenged me on this point when I mentioned on another occasion that the people who have passed high in the Civil Service examinations had not offered themselves for the Indian Civil Service.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Then it remains, like others of my statements, unchallenged and, I believe, unchallengeable. The career is the thing which draws these men. Many of them, under our present capitalist system, before it is swept away by the party opposite, could look forward if they use their ability—the kind of men who pass high in these examinations—to making a considerable fortune if they went in for commerce or manufacture, but instead they have devoted themselves to this special task. If you are to keep up this quality, you must offer them the satisfaction of a career. It is not the payment of a salary; it is the offer of a career which alone creates the authority which enables one white man to hold up the reputation of the Government of India, in an enormous district, with perhaps a million natives around. It is the career, not the sordid material gain which is so wounding to hon. Gentlemen of the Labour party. It is this high sense of civil and social duty, and not the mere payment, which surrounds a profession whose rewards are not measured by cash. Therefore, if you do not offer this career you will lessen your quality, and, in order to preserve this career, it is essential that, if you take it away from them, you should pay a substantial compensation. That is what we have asked in this new Clause.
It is not only the case of those who are compulsorily abolished, because Civil Service rules prevail not only in India but in this country, but it is those people who will be driven out owing to the experiment which the Government are making in creating conditions absolutely impossible for these people to do their work—conditions, indeed, which are hardly possible for honourable men to discharge. 727 We know how the Indian police representatives asked again and again whether it would not be better for them to leave the country with clean hands. When people are put into this condition, with all around them confusion and corruption, and members of the Civil Service find themselves hampered at every stage in stretching out a protecting hand to shield the oppressed natives from the impositions of Government influence installed in power by this reactionary franchise and second chamber and every reactionary force in legislation—when the Indian Civil servant finds himself unable to discharge his duty and shield the helpless millions from the oppression of the worst kind of land owners, the most rigorous millowners and the most intolerant of priesthoods, and has to stand by apparently a helpless spectator of the regime and system which makes this possible, then, if he has to withdraw from the scene—his career broken—from honourable motives, there ought to be a special compensation paid to him. It is really in the interests of the Government proposals, because if they do not do this voluntarily, the deterioration that has already begun and the breakdown of the Indian Civil Service which they are driving forward with both their hands will continue, and grow worse and they will not even have that interval of eight or ten years in which they hope the British public will have accommodated themselves to the disastrous condition of affairs which prevail throughout India.
§ 1 p.m.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
We are indebted to the right hon. Gentleman for having presented to us so attractive a picture of the unattractive conditions of capitalist India. There is no difference on his side and our side with regard to the provision for adequate compensation for the Civil Servants of India. That is agreed ground, but that is not the point. The educational argument he brought forward is irrelevant. Without making any reflection on the Indian Civil Servants their educational achievements in passing examinations into the Service are no greater than those who enter the English side of the Service. The point at issue between us is simple. People who are compulsorily retired must be compensated. That is all right, and an 728 understandable proposition, but my difficulty arises from the other side of this proposal, namely, in respect of the Civil Servant who has entered the Service in India, has served a proportion of time and then of his own free will, not because of anything the Government do, determines that he wants to abandon his service in India and return to England or some other place.
§ Sir A. KNOX
Surely the hon. Gentleman understands that this so-called voluntary retirement is really compulsory in every case, because there is a condition of things under this new Act which was never envisaged by these men when they went up for the examination. A man may have been hunting terrorists and the position under the new conditions may be quite impossible. He has to retire.
§ Mr. JONES
That is really very interesting, but it will scarcely do. Let us address ourselves to the simple point. An individual in the Civil Service wishes to retire. It is a voluntary act on his own part, and, if there are extraneous conditions which compel him to retire even voluntarily, I understand the answer of the Under-Secretary of State was that the Secretary of State has unlimited power—he used those very words—to meet each individual case on its merits. But the case we are here concerned about is that of the person who retires voluntarily. It may very well be that a situation may arise—let us hope it will not—where a large number of Civil Servants might so dislike the regime and the changes that are taking place that they might all desire to retire voluntarily at the same time.
What is the proposal? The proposal is that they should have not only the ordinary gratuity in compensation, but a special one, and that, indeed, if they are compulsorily retired that special gratuity is to be doubled. Really where are we getting? The hon. Baronet on the other side, when we were discussing adult suffrage, promptly wanted to know what the cost was going to be. If I remember rightly, his soul was in torment until he got the information, but I do not see him suffering an excessive disquiet while this discussion is on. Why is there not an anxious inquiry as to the financial effect of this proposal? It really is not just. 729 By all means grant any provision you like for people who are obliged to give up their job, but when people give up their job voluntarily, of their own free will, what case can there be for it? The right hon. Gentleman argued in favour of doubling the special gratuity provided for in Sub-section (3) of the Clause, but surely there is a limit beyond which we ought not to go in these matters. I repeat that none of us wants to do any unkindness or injustice to Civil Servants, but to embark upon this crescendo of compensations, as my hon. Friend called it a few minutes ago, is really intolerable, and we must protest against it.
§ 1.6 p.m.
§ Sir B. PETO
When the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) talked so emphatically about these Civil servants retiring entirely of their own free will, I was reminded of the old controversy as between free will and predestination. I think that predestination is much nearer the mark than free will in the cases we are now considering. It may be true that technically the Civil servant whom we are considering is not forced by Government to retire, but he may very well be forced by circumstances to retire, and those circumstances are circumstances which will be created by this House and by this Bill. The Under-Secretary, in his reply, seemed to deal with Sub-sections (3) and (4) of the Clause on the assumption that we who have drafted the Clause assumed that there was now a gratuity paid to those who retire voluntarily. That, however, is not so. Subsection (3) says:The said rules shall provide that in addition to any pension, gratuity, or the like similar to those provided for by the said premature retirement rules, there shall also be payable to any such person as aforesaid as compensation for the loss of his career a special gratuity calculated on a scale to be determined by the Secretary of State and set out in the said rules.We admit that no gratuity is paid now in cases where the retirement is voluntary, but we think that there ought to be a gratuity in cases of so-called voluntary retirement. The reason seems to me to be obvious. If all that the Civil servant gets on voluntary retirement is, as has been pointed out, half a month's salary in respect of each year of service—if that be the measure of the gratuity that is paid in the case of compulsory retirement—I agree that the sum granted 730 in such a case ought to be much more substantial than that given in cases of voluntary retirement; and Sub-section (4) of the Clause says that Civil servants who are required by competent authority to retire—that is compulsory retirement—should have a gratuity which, as laid down in the proviso, should not be less than twice what would be paid on voluntary retirement.
Let the Committee consider the situation of these Civil servants. They are in India. They have served, perhaps, 10 or 15 years. They find their position intolerable, and they have to hand in their resignations, nominally voluntarily, but really because the conditions of service have become impossible for them. They have to come back to this country. As my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Enfield (Lieut.-Colonel Applin) has pointed out, their pension after 15 years' service would be about £330 a year. Think of all the expense to which such a man is put in his transfer. The hon. Member for Caerphilly says that there would be no hardship, because another career would be open to them; but how much does it cost them to transfer themselves, with perhaps a wife and a couple of children, back to this country before they can begin to look for a career? How many months will they have to wait, and what is going to keep the Civil servant, with his wife and perhaps a family, while he is waiting and receiving no remuneration whatever except his monthly allowance at the rate of £330 a year?
It is obvious that, if we wish to do justice in this matter while we are making this great experiment, which will involve entirely new conditions of service, we must provide that an adequate sum shall be paid to these Civil Servants—call it a gratuity, as in the Clause, or what you like—which will tide them over from the time when their career in India is broken and they have to transfer themselves and their belongings home to this country and commence to search out for themselves a new career at a period when most of them would be considerably older than their younger competitors, who are much more likely to succeed in snapping up the opportunities for employment that may be open. The alternative is to contemplate a state of affairs in which these people are left hopelessly stranded, with no resources 731 to enable them to carry on, for, owing to the cost of living in India, they will not have had, after 10 or 15 years' service, any opportunity of making any material savings which would carry them over from the one career into the other.
Therefore, the scheme is utterly incomplete unless we provide, as the Clause does, that in the case of these so-called voluntary retirements they should receive a sufficiently substantial sum to tide them over the inevitable period when they will be receiving no income at all except their small pension. That is in the case of voluntary retirements, so-called, but it ought in future to cover every case, including compulsory retirement, when, as the Clause proposes, the scale should be at least doubled. Unless a Clause of this kind is put into the Bill, it will fail, not only to do justice, but to make it possible for these Indian Civil servants to contemplate this eight or 10 years' period of transition during which they are asked to form the steel frame, as we have heard it called, of the Government of India, and to carry this very Bill which we are passing to the period when it is possible for it to work. It cannot work straight off without their assistance, and they are being put in a difficult situation at a time of transition when all sorts of things may happen which in many cases may well make their retirement inevitable, and in all such cases there ought to be a substantial and adequate gratuity.
§ 1.14 p.m.
§ Sir H. CROFT
I think everyone will agree that this is a vital matter, which concerns the Civil servants of India perhaps more than any other question. In spite of the fact that this is a Friday, and our minds are already turning towards thanksgiving in another direction, I think we have a special duty to remember the Civil servants of India in this vital discussion. The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies), who is not now present in the Committee, seemed to think that my hon. Friends and I regard lightly the question of additional cost, but what I took exception to in his remarks was the statement that we wanted to increase the cost on the poor Indian peasant. Everyone knows that the cost to the Indian peasant of this whole scheme of reforms is going to be immensely greater than 732 anything we are considering in connection with the small matter dealt with in this Clause. The hon. Member is not now present, but I think his colleague, the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee), will agree with me that in any event the safeguard for which we are asking for the future of these Civil servants is a decreasing and declining one, and is likely, as the days go on and the transition period comes to an end, to be almost entirely obliterated.
Therefore, it is not a question of a large cost which is going to be of a permanent character. The hon. Gentleman also spoke rather scathingly of my hon. and gallant Friend and others who take the view that we do, that we were representatives of a trade union. As these Civil Servants have no representatives in this House whatever, it, is surely our duty as Englishmen and British subjects to see that we do everything in our power to secure that there shall be absolutely fair treatment for this particular class of the servants of the State. The hon. Gentleman also seemed to think that the pension figures mentioned in the moving speech of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Enfield (Lieut.-Colonel Applin) were excessive, and they almost made his mouth water. These men, certainly in my day at the public school, were the absolute pick of those who went up for service of this kind. The brightest brains in the VI form to whom everyone looked up went in for these Civil Service positions. It must be realised that exceptional men went out to India in this great and wonderful service and that they have given evidence of their brains and integrity in the work which they have done in the past. It is true that those men almost inevitably could have secured great positions in any other walk of life, but when they come back here they are men in a groove whose lives have been spent in this wonderful administration work in India, and who find it most difficult, unless they happen to be specially endowed with dual brains, to obtain any kind of employment in this country.
I particularly want to emphasise two points. The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. M. Jones) and the other hon. Member speaking from that bench both spoke of voluntary retirement. Why should you do anything for a man who voluntarily 733 retired? Let us be honest with ourselves for once. I am not making any kind of aspersion against the East, but we know perfectly well that it might be almost impossible for certain men to serve under new masters of an entirely different character from those under whom they have been accustomed to work in the days gone by. It is better that we should be quite frank. I know that perhaps the hon. Gentleman the Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) will disapprove of what I am saying, but I should not myself care to serve in a regiment under an Eastern commander. It is not because I do not respect the Easterners. They have brains and they compare equally in many cases with people in this country, but it is a different condition. These men who are now going to be placed under Indian Ministers did not join this great Service thinking that that was to be the case, except in a very limited extent.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT
Would it not be assumed by anybody who joined the Service there in the last 20 years, that there was likely to be a progressive association of Indians with the administration of their own country?
§ Sir H. CROFT
I do not, complain at all of the interruption of the hon. Member, who is most courteous to me on every occasion, and I do not complain of the idea in his mind, but the men who have joined the Indian Civil Service in the last 10 years had not the remotest idea that there was to be this sudden complete leap out of our responsibilities. That is the point which we try again and again to impress upon the Committee, because there was never any indication of this sort of thing. Of course, in the 1919 Act and in the Montagu-Chelmsford proposals the words used were "progressive association." It has always been spoken of as "progressive association" since Queen Victoria gave her great pledge to the Indian people. The Montagu-Chelmsford reform was to be taken step by step, but we see in this proposal the great change with which the civil servants are confronted. Let us be frank once more. When you talk of a transitional period you mean complete abdication, and you are, in fact, handing over India to Indians. That fact has to be realised, and surely it opens up an entirely different vista of service 734 to men in the Civil Service. It is not always true to say that a man retires of his own free will. There are servants of the State moved to distant parts which are not very healthy who perhaps are not very much liked by their superiors. This sort of thing has happened in the past, and it is possible that it may happen in the future. A man may find his life's work in the future, instead of being one of glory and pleasure, one of discomfort and pinpricks. These are the kind of circumstances some of us may have known in our own lives where you have been under a chief with whom you have found it impossible to work and so have sought employment elsewhere.
I would remind hon. Members that in the Act of 1919 it was realised that there was going to be a different situation. Premature voluntary retirement with proportionately reduced pensions was granted to officers who found it difficult or impossible to continue their service. It will be seen that that very contingency which we are considering to-day existed when you still had the steel framework in existence. Therefore, how much more necessary must it be to make suitable provision at the present moment. This brings me to the second point, that of the man who is forced to go. Is it too much to ask that he should have really generous treatment? When a man is told that he has to go because of retrenchment surely we are not asking too much that the gratuity should be doubled. I will read the paragraph in the letter from the Bengal Association of the Indian Civil Service, which I think, has the support of most of those in the Civil Service. I am referring now to the official document, in which it says:We have studied the Bill with great care, and note with grave apprehension that of all the safeguards described in our Memorial as essential, the only one included in the text of the Bill is that which relates to the founding in England of the Indian Civil Service Family Pensions Fund.I cannot believe from what one reads further in this document that the Members of the Civil Service in India will be satisfied merely because it is stated that there are wide powers in the Bill for making rules. What these men ask, and what I think they are entitled to receive, is that, under any change of government in the days to come, they should feel equal security. That is what we feel. It 735 really is imperative that the Clause should be passed in order that they should know absolutely where they are. It is essential that the flow of the best of our sons should go to India in the Civil Service and that there should not be a drying up of recruitment because there is doubt as to the future.
§ 1.25 p.m.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir Thomas Inskip)
The case that was made by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State has not really been contraverted. I observe that my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) is about to retire. I should like to say something in my right hon. Friend's presence before he retires.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
A less unpleasant duty, I hope. I regretted very much his assertion that there has been a great decline and decay in all the Indian services. There is not a title of evidence to justify that very sweeping observation. I rather suggest that he was run away with by his impetuous steed. There has been nothing like it since John Gilpin was run away with. Another citizen of "credit and renown." If my right hon. Friend will look at his statements to-morrow I think he will see that he said certain things which were unjustified and which will be resented by the representatives of the great Service for whom he is rightly solicitous this afternoon.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Does my right hon. and learned Friend deny that in the Linlithgow Report on the Agricultural Department of India there is a perfectly clear admission of great deterioration, marked deterioration in the efficiency of the Service? I very much regret that my noble Friend the late Member for Perth (Lord Scone) is not here, because he has on repeated occasions given definite instances—with which I have not charged my memory—of services which have markedly deteriorated. I never thought for one moment that that would be denied. Even under the present regime there has been a marked deterioration. What it will be in the future no one can measure.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
We are dealing in this Debate with the Indian Civil Service and I understood, and I think the Committee understood, my right hon. Friend's disparaging references to be to the efficiency of that Service.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am very glad to have elicited that correction from my right hon. Friend. I understood that he was dealing with the Indian Civil Service—the Service which is in all our minds—and that he said that there had been a great decline and decay in all the Services. I understood that he was adducing the argument that the position of the people who had gone out from this country and who were still in the Service was likely to be seriously prejudiced because there had been such a deterioration already.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I am obliged to my right hon. and learned Friend for having shown the ambiguity that might attach to the use of the word "services"—services in the sense of a body corporate. That was not in my mind. I meant services in the sense of functions discharged, the character and efficiency of the services discharged for the benefit of the Indian people. That was what I was directing my mind to.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
I am much obliged to my right hon. Friend for making that matter clear, and now, so far as I am concerned, he may retire.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
If my right hon. Friend so desires. I am sorry that so discouraging, so dismal, so depressing a picture should have been given of the prospects of the young men who enter the Indian Civil Service. I think my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox) used the expression "disheartened remnants."
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
One of my hon. and gallant Friend's colleagues used that expression and he fully agrees with it. That is no service to those whom 737 my hon. and gallant Friend and his colleagues are seeking to represent. It is very easy to produce such an effect by such statements as to make not only the public think but the people in the Service think that there is no prospect for them and that they had better clear out at the earliest possible moment. There is no reason to believe that those who have gone into the Service in the last five years are under any such impression. They are as good a type, as keen in their sense of duty to the Service and as efficient in the performance of their duties as any of the men who have been so rightly praised this afternoon for the part they have played in the Government of India. With a great deal of what my right hon. Friend said about the careers that these men expect I heartily agree. All of us know of the distinction which has characterised the men who have gone into that great public service. What I deprecate is the defeatist tone that has been adopted. I hope that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) will make no mistake about what I mean. He is a defeatist. He and his colleagues have adopted an attitude this afternoon of pretending that the game is up and that the whole of the Civil servants who have gone out from this country when this Bill is passed will be looking for their bags in order to pack them and come home and to draw whatever scanty compensation may be awaiting for them. That is, I believe, a false picture.
Let me say a few words with regard to what was said by the hon. and gallant Member for Enfield (Lieut.-Colonel Applin). Some of the figures he quoted, if they were intended to apply to the Civil Service, were not quite accurate. After 12 years' active service which corresponds roughly to about 15 years' service in all, a man who has voluntarily retired would draw a pension of £570 a year. Hon. Members may want to know the basis of that calculation. It is a proportion of a pension of £1,000. After 21 years' active service a man would be entitled to a pension of £1,000. Therefore, if he serves 12 years and voluntarily retires he will have a pension of £570. I am not saying that that is one penny too much.
§ Sir A. KNOX
That applies to the Civil Service, but does not apply to all the Secretary of State's services.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The right hon. Member for Epping was referring to the Indian Civil Service and the figures that he gave were not the right ones. They may be figures that apply to the Army or to the police. The real point of the Clause is that statutory effect should be given to the permanence of the scale of pensions which is deemed to be adequate to the circumstances. I am not going to say that any reward is high enough for men who have given very great services under very difficult conditions, who are bearing great responsibilities and are running considerable risks even of life or of health. Whether or not we should like to give them more, is not the question. The question always in these cases of pensions for public servants is what is suitable and proper—I will not say adequate—and what is right in the circumstances to give. There is no reason to suppose that under the powers which the Secretary of State has had in the past or which he will have in the future under Clauses 236 and 238, he will provide less adequate pensions or compensation than have been provided in the past. The point made now is that it should be an adequate statutory pension. If hon. Members will look at their proposal they will see that the Secretary of State is still to remain the ultimate master. There is no scale in the new clause; the Secretary of State has to fix the pension at what he thinks is right. It is a distinction without a difference. To my mind there is little difference between leaving the Secretary of State to provide proper compensation in the cases dealt with by Clause 228 and the proposal in the new clause, that there is to be given as a pension a sum to be fixed by the Secretary of State.
§ Sir H. CROFT
May I draw the attention of the Attorney-General to a paragraph in the letter covering the memorial of the Bengal Civil Servants Association:We venture to observe that the exercise of these powers must depend to a large extent on the individual views of the Secretary of State and his advisers for the time being. There is, therefore, no guarantee of continuity in this respect as the Bill now stands.That is the point. If you are going to do it why not put it in the Bill?
§ Sir B. PETO
The Under-Secretary of State when referring to Clause 238 said that the power to give compensation had been very rarely used, only in a few cases of retrenchment. That is exactly why the Civil Service do not think that this arrangement is adequate. They want it put in the Bill for that precise reason.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary said that cases of compulsory retirement as a result of retrenchment had been very rare, but this power has been used and can be used in the future. It is a very ample and elastic power and speaking as one who has had some practical experience in regard to these compensation cases, I would rather give a Minister these powers than go to a Minister who is tied and fettered by rules, and whose answer through a secretary would be "My sympathy is unbounded—but my authority is limited." Nor can I see that you can get continuity or permanence under the new Clause any more than you can under the provisions of the Bill. The real gist of the matter is that hon. Members want provision made for compensation in addition to the existing pension for voluntary retirement, their case being that what is so-called voluntary retirement, is compulsory retirement. That is the real point.
I dispute their proposition altogether. If there be a case where the conditions of service are adversely affected in that way it is covered by Clause 238, but if the proposition be accepted and dealing with cases of so-called voluntary retirement which are in fact compulsory retirements, hon. Members must realise that they will be covering retirements which are really voluntary, and there will be no means of distinguishing between the two cases, between the cases which they think deserve compensation and those cases which, I suppose, they consider do not deserve compensation. A man can voluntarily retire after 12 years and take on a lucrative position under some great public company. In all the circumstances the conclusion of the Secretary of State, presented to the Committee by the Under-Secretary of State, is one which we think should prevail. It is sufficient to provide in the way the Bill does, in addition to the rules which at present exist, for cases of voluntary retirement, and as far as compulsory retirements are concerned adequate arrangements exist. The view I 740 have taken must not be represented as one wanting in sympathy or admiration for this public service, nor is it idle sympathy which I offer. We think that the sums provided are substantial and that the existing provisions are, on the whole, more likely to be in favour of the public servant than hard and fast rules in regard to compensation which hon. Members propose irk the new Clause.
§ Lieut.-Colonel APPLIN
May I refer once more to the figures I gave, which I have since verified. They are perfectly correct. A pension of £330 a year applies to the uncovenanted Civil servants not to the covenanted Civil servants, who get £618. That was the whole point of my argument.
§ 1.42 p.m.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
The hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) really makes the most astounding statements. He has suggested that those who joined the Indian Civil Service did not anticipate any change and that they are seriously upset by having to serve under Indians. Ever since the Montagu-Chelmsford Report they have known what was going on, and that Indians might be in charge of the senior services. There are also Indian councillors, and the reserved departments have been under Indian officials whilst you have Indians in the government of provinces. It was always known that the Montagu-Chelmsford scheme was put forward as a temporary scheme to be revised in 10 years' time. Really there must be a limit to the suggestion that if any changes are made civil servants have the right to ask for large compensation for changes which they did not anticipate. If the hon. and gallant Member is right in saying that those who enter the Indian Civil Service are highly intelligent people, and of course he is right, then he cannot say that they did not know perfectly well what to expect in the way of change. The hon. and gallant Member does a great disservice to the Civil Service of India in constantly suggesting that they are a hopeless set of people who will throw up their jobs at a moment's notice rather than serve under Indian Ministers. He has entirely misrepresented the spirit of the Indian Civil Service. The bon and gallant Member is full of very out-of-date ideas. When he speaks of civil servants being sent to very unhealthy places 741 if they happen to be objectionable I know where he got that from. He got it from "Departmental Ditties." "Departmental ditties" are very interesting, but they are not an Authority for laying down the conditions of the Civil Service at the present time.
§ Sir H. CROFT
I hope I did not convey the impression that I was making any general suggestion that this would happen. What I said was that in certain circumstances it may happen, and it is in those circumstances that we wish to see security given. It has happened before and it may happen again. My information is not as old as the "Ditties" referred to, but comes first-hand from those who are in the Indian Civil Service now.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
That kind of thing happens in every service. It happens in this country. One has had cases brought up of some one being "done down" in some way.
§ Sir H. CROFT
Yes, I agree, but that is no reason why we should not provide against its happening under this Bill. The hon. Member in his rather sweeping way brushed the matter aside by saying that no one joined the Civil service who was not aware of what happened. I ask whether there was a single British Civil servant in India when the late Socialist Government was in office who had any indication that there was going to be Federal Government with all power at the Centre.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
They all knew perfectly well that the Montagu-Chelmsford system was a temporary system and that after 10 years some difference would be made.
§ 1.47 p.m.
§ Mr. FLEMING
Now that the Debate between my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) and the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) has ended, I intervene to refer to one remark made by the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. M. Jones), with regard to the dismissed Indian civil servant, whether voluntary retired or otherwise. His statement does not quite come up to the facts as I find them. I am afraid that it all boils down to this—that in his opinion any Civil servant in India who happens to find himself retired, whether voluntarily or otherwise, will be able to come back here and be able to 742 join those queues which read advertisements to see if there is the possibility of finding some sort of employment for which they have had no training whatever. I know that when a man has had special training, whether in the Indian Civil Service or in the Army or Navy, he does not find that that training helps him a great deal when he comes out of the service. In fact he may possibly find it to be a handicap. I have had actual incidences in my own neighbourhood in the North of men who have been axed from the services in this country and have found that their special training has been a handicap when they have tried to find a civil job.
What the hon. Member for Caerphilly said can be summed up in the statement that the Indian Civil servant should be no better off than any member of the services who happens to come on to the unemployment market in this country. I agree. On the other hand I do know that since 1919 there has been a certain amount of disquiet among the people who have had the idea of sending their sons into the Indian Civil Service, and that, disquiet has been mainly because there seems to be no certainty as to what is to happen to their sons in the future. I agree with the Under-Secretary that Clause 238 does go a great way to safeguard any man who happens to be compulsorily retired. But what is worrying me when I listen to men of the experience of the hon. and gallant Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox) and the hon. and gallant Member for Enfield (Lieut.-Colonel Applin) is the double type of voluntary retirement which undoubtedly has been admitted by the learned Attorney-General himself. As I listened to the Attorney-General I could not help noticing that he agreed that there was the possibility of two types of voluntary retirement in India owing to the circumstances that prevail there now.
There is no doubt in my mind, from what I have been told, that there is at times the growth of such an impossible state of affairs that the European is practically compelled to look for a change. I put it in that way. I do not look upon the man who retires voluntarily in those circumstances as an absolute volunteer. I certainly disagree with the idea that he should be put on the same footing as the man who, to take the instance mentioned by the 743 Attorney-General, retires in order to join the board, say, of an oil company. In the latter case retirement would be absolutely voluntary. I am not worrying about that type of man at all. What I am worrying about is what does happen, as I have seen myself in my experience in the Army. Circumstances can arise in which a man can be as honest as you like, but if he becomes unpopular the conditions become so pressing that he is in a sense compelled to retire and to make out his retirement papers himself. It has to be done as voluntary retirement. I would like to hear from the Under-Secretary whether there is anything in Clause 238 that will safeguard a man in such circumstances as those. Suppose that a man does retire in such circumstances. He can have resort to the Viceroy. Has he any further redress beyond that? Suppose that the man is not satisfied with the treatment that he receives as regards gratuity, is there any further step he can take to safeguard his position with regard to gratuity or pension?
§ 1.53 p.m.
§ Mr. LENNOX-BOYD
There are two questions I wish to ask. Without raising once more the question of gratuities, would it not be possible between now and Report for the Government to meet us in some way with reference to the first sub-section of the new Clause. The minute of 18th March extended the concession of 1920 to all Civil servants appointed by the Secretary of State, but this concession is not embodied in rule. It is in the communiquæ, but those concerned and many members in this House would be far happier if it could be embodied in some definite statutory form. My second question is, has the Government had its last say on the subject of Asiatic members of the service, between whom and the European members a very unfair distinction appears to us to have been drawn?
§ 1.54 p.m.744
§ tary of State's man would have all the channels of appeal which are laid down in the Bill, through the Viceroy, if necessary, to the Secretary of State and his advisers, who will decide upon an appeal. As regards Asiatic-domiciled members of the service, the procedure was laid down by the Lee Commission of 1924 and has been accepted ever since. The hon. Member said there is great feeling on the subject. I can understand his anxiety and his putting the point, but I cannot accept a statement that a great deal of feeling has been brought to our attention. It has been accepted policy, and I do not see the likelihood of it being reversed. With regard to the other point about placing this matter more upon a statutory basis I am afraid I cannot add anything to what has been said already by my right hon. Friend or to the earlier answer which I gave to the Committee. We consider that our proposal amply safeguards the future position as regards the services. We consider the elastic method which we suggest is very much better for their interests and while having in mind exactly the same requirements and the same desire to assist the services as hon. Members, we consider that our method is the best way of meeting the legitimate desire of the services in this matter.
§ Sir A. KNOX
Is it not possible for an Asiatic-born member of the civil service to retire on a proportionate pension? If not, surely such a man would be placed in a very difficult position in some cases, after he had been engaged in combating civil disobedience or terrorism.
§ Mr. BUTLER
This privilege, under the decision of the Lee Commission, will be only given to those of non-Asiatic domicile unless they were recruited before 1924, and as I have said I do not see any likelihood of the policy based upon those recommendations being changed.
§ Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 24; Noes, 174.745
|Division No. 165.]||AYES||[1.58 p.m.|
|Applin, Lieut. Col. Reginald V. K.||Courtauid, Major john Sewell||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y)||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Carver, Major William H.||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Macquisten, Frederick Alexander|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Harrington, Marquess of||Nunn, William|
|Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Held, David D. (County Down)||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Remer, John R.||Wayland, Sir William A.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)||Mr. Lennox-Boyd and Mr. Raikes.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Gledhill, Gilbert||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Goff, Sir Park||Penny, Sir George|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Petherick, M.|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Peto, Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)|
|Banfield, John William||Grimston, R. V.||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Groves, Thomas E.||Preston, Sir Walter Rueben|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th. C.)||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Ratcliffe, Arthur|
|Blindell, James||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Boulton, W. W.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Rea, Walter Russell|
|Bower, Commander Robert Tetton||Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney a Z'tl'nd)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Hanbury, Cecil||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)||Rickards, George William|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Ecclesali)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Heilgers, Captain F. F. A.||Robinson, John Roland|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Campbell, Sir Edward Taswell (Brmly)||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Salmon, Sir Isidore|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A. (Birm., W)||Jamieson, Douglas||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Janner, Barnett||Selley, Harry R.|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||John, William||Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Ker, J. Campbell||Smithers, Sir Waldron|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Law, Sir Alfred||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Leckle, J. A.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C (Gainsb'ro)||Lewis, Oswald||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Cruddas, Lieut-Colonel Bernard||Liddall, Walter S.||Spens, William Patrick|
|Daggar, George||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Stevenson, James|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Loder, Captain J. de Vera||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Storey, Samuel|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Mabane, William||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Denville, Alfred||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassstlaw)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||McEntee, Valentine L.||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Dickle, John P.||McKie, John Hamilton||Thorne, William James|
|Dobbie, William||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Doran, Edward||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|Eastwood, John Francis||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Edwards, Charles||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Elmley, Viscount||Milner, Major James||Whiteside, Borras Noel H.|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Fleming, Edward Lasceiles||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Wills, wilfrid D.|
|Fox, Sir Gilford||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||North, Edward T.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Norie-Miller, Francis||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||O'Donovan, Dr. William James|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||TELLERS Of THE NOES.—|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Paling, Wilfred||Sir Walter Womersley and Captain|
§ The CHAIRMAN
I select the next new Clause on the Paper (Federal Revenue Board) There is only one other that I propose to select, namely, the new Clause of which the marginal heading is (Federal Irrigation Board) That leaves two hours, in which I hope the Committee will get through these two Clauses.