§ Sir J. D. REES
asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that when the Indian troops landed in France chargers which accompanied officers from India were bought up at £30 apiece, which price has not yet been disbursed to the sellers; and, if so, whether he will arrange for speedy discharge of this debt?
§ Mr. C. ROBERTS
The hon. Member might call the attention of the War Office to the matter, as it is one with which that Office and not the India Office is concerned.
§ Sir J. D. REES
asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he is aware of the hardship entailed under the Indian Family Pension Fund, to which officers are compelled to subscribe, and the returns on which are out of proportion to the numbers subscribing; is he aware of the hardship of the Income Tax rules under which, if officers draw more than one month's pay on a single pay bill, as sometimes must happen, they are charged Income Tax, although the individual pay of each of the two months is under the taxable limit; has his attention been called to the inadequacy of our horse allowance, namely, Rs.30 a month, when a pony costs Rs.800, and saddlery, groom, and feed have to be paid for, even on service; is he aware of the hardship of the payment of bandmasters by officers from their pay, while in the case of the British Services the Government bear the charge, which amounts to Rs.300 a month and a house, and the hardship involved in the payment by the officers concerned for rations and transport; and will he take steps to have these alleged grievances abolished?
§ Mr. ROBERTS
With regard to the first part of the question, the rules of the Indian Military Service Family Pensions were recently examined by a Committee 1505W of which Lord Welby was Chairman, and the late Sir George Hardy, the eminent actuary, was a member. The Committee's Report does not support the suggestion that the returns to beneficiaries are out of proportion to the payments by subscribers. As to the second part, the Secretary of State is not aware of any such provision in the Income Tax rules as that referred to. He will inquire whether in practice deductions are made in such a way as to have the effect suggested. The Secretary of State is not aware that the allowance of Rs. 30 per month is insufficient to meet the expenses which officers of the Indian Army are called upon to bear for the maintenance of chargers in the field, and has received no representatians on the subject. The maintenance of regimental bands in the Indian Army is entirely left to the officers themselves, and the scale on which contributions are made is within their discretion. As regards rations and transport the Secretary of State is not aware that officers of the Indian Army serving on the Continent are being charged for transport, and has not received any representations against the usual payment for rations.
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
asked what provision, if any, has been made for the dependants and for the permanently disabled, or for the dependants of those killed, of the Indian Native troops who are serving in the present War; and whether the charge for this is to be borne by the Indian Government or by the British Exchequer?
§ Mr. ROBERTS
The provision made by Government for disabled Indian officers, soldiers and followers will be found fully stated in Army Regulations, India, Vol. I., paragraphs 1044–1061, and the provision for dependants of the killed in paragraphs 1062–69. The adjustment as between the British and Indian Exchequers on account of the charges for pensions and gratuities granted under these regulations will be governed by the Resolution of Parliament regarding the incidence of expenditure on the Indian Expeditionary Forces.
§ Sir J. D. REES
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether the Barnsley battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment is a Regular battalion; if so, will he say why the provision of necessaries for it is not on the same footing as for other Regular battalions; and, if such is not the case, whether the men who joined it in the belief that they were to become Regulars are at liberty to transfer to Regular battalions?1506W
§ Mr. TENNANT
This is a regular battalion for the raising, housing, clothing and administration of which the Mayor of Barnsley has accepted the responsibility until such time as it is taken over by the War Office. So far as is known, the necessaries supplied to it (which are paid for from Army Funds) are precisely the same as those furnished to other Regular battalions.