§ SIR R. TEMPLE (Surrey, Kingston)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that the covenanted members of the Forest Service Department of India memorialised the Secretary of State for India 10 years ago, praying that the scale of pensions applicable to covenanted officers of the public works should be granted to them; whether the Government of India repeatedly recommended the grant of this scale of pensions, including special additional pensions of conservators of the first and second grades and Inspector General; whether he is aware that in the prospectus of the forest curriculum of Cooper's Hill it is stated that forest officers have been placed on an equality with public works officers in the matter of pensions, and that nothing to this effect has been published in India; whether the concessions, including special pensions to conservators and Inspector General, have been granted to officers now in the forest service and to those to be appointed hereafter; whether forest officers have in every respect been placed on terms of equality with public works officers, as stated in Cooper's Hill prospectus; and whether, if the concessions have not been granted, copies of the several recommendations and of the replies of the Secretary of State for India will be laid upon the Table of the House?
§ MR. H. H. FOWLER
My answer to the hon. Baronet's first question is, Yes. With regard to the second question, the first recommendation of the Government of India did not include the grant to forest officers of the special scale of pensions which, for exceptional reasons, had been granted to the Public Works Department alone. But in 1889 they did make such a recommendation as is described in the question; and they repeated it in 1891 and 1893. My answer to the third question is, Yes. With regard to the fourth question, in a Despatch of the 21st of September, 1893, the Secretary of State authorised the grant to forest officers appointed from England of 1401 pensions on the same terms as are permitted in the case of civil engineers, up to a maximum of Rs. 5,000 a year, with an addition of Rs.1,000 in the case of officers who shall have rendered not less than three years' approved service as the head of the department in any province, and whose special merits may be considered to be deserving of such a concession. In reply to the fifth question, forest officers appointed from England, who are now in or hereafter enter the service, will receive the same pensionary benefit as engineers hereafter appointed, but not the exceptionally high pensions granted in past years to the Public Works Department. The Correspondence is still incomplete, but when it is complete there will be no objection to lay it on the Table.