§ Sir J. D. REES
asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether Indian 2097W military widows' pensions were established when the exchange value of the rupee was 2s. 3d.; and whether it was on that basis that such widows are given full pensions in sterling if they reside out of India at the expense of the Indian taxpayer; whether, as the military widows' fund was instituted by the officers concerned and not by the Government, he will consider whether an equitable claim exists for payment to the widow while residing in India at the rate of exchange which ruled at the time of founding of the fund; whether the extra charge on Indian revenues would be counterbalanced by the fact that the pensions would be wholly spent in India; and whether he will consider the desirability of securing to the widows in question the benefit of the Henley Clause conceded to pensioners of the Indian Army when the Crown took over the direct government of India?
§ Mr. H. BAKER
The old Indian military widows' pension funds were established at different dates, and various rates of exchange were applied in the transactions of the funds; but 2s. 3d. the rupee may be taken as approximately the rate at which the pensions, which were fixed in rupees, were converted into sterling for payment to widows resident out of India. Notwithstanding the consequent heavy loss to Indian revenues due to the great fall in exchange, such pensions are still paid to residents out of India at the approximate rate of 2s. 3d. under the guarantee given in the Act 29 Vict. cap. 18, the second section of which follows the principle of the Henley Clause in Act 23 and 24 Vict. cap. 100. Act the time of the transfer of the funds to Government, and since, concessions have been made to widows which go beyond the terms of the guarantee, and the Secretary of State is not disposed to place a further additional charge on Indian revenues, which would not, in his opinion, be justified by the possibility of the expenditure of increased pensions in India.