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Civil Service (Pensions)

Volume 155: debated on Tuesday 20 June 1922

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3.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India why the concession of proportionate pensions is not given to officers of the Indian Medical Service in permanent civil employment; and why such officers do not receive the same privileges and concessions as have been, or may be, accorded to other civil officers as a result of the detriment to their prospects and the altered conditions of service resulting from the reform scheme?

Officers of the Indian Medical Service in permanent civil employment are permitted to retire on proportionate pensions if they are unable to be re-employed in military duties to which, under the terms of their appointment, they are always liable to recall. I am in correspondence with the Government of India in regard to the applicability of these conditions to officers who, by reason of the length and nature of their civil employment, have had a reasonable expectation of continuance therein up to the time of their normal retirement.

Can the Noble Lord say when he expects some reply or decision about this matter?

I hope shortly. It is an important matter which requires consideration.

4.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what steps he proposes to take to remove the grave fears as to the security of their pensions which have caused the European officers in Government services in India to form associations for the protection of their interests and to memorialise the Secretary of State on this and other associated matters?

I can add nothing to what was said on this subject in paragraphs 3 and 4 of a despatch from the late Secretary of State, dated the 9th February last, which was presented to Parliament, and a copy of which I will send to the hon. Member.

6.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India why an arbitrary limit of time was fixed after which no proportionate pension could be, claimed; and whether he is aware that the effect of such a limit is to compel the retirement of a considerable number of officers before that date and before they would otherwise retire?

I would refer the hon. Member to my observations on this matter in the course of the Debate on the India Office Vote on Thursday last but I might say in amplification that an arbitrary date was first fixed, because it is clearly not an ideal condition in the public service that its members should be able at any time to claim to retire on pension at short notice. On the other hand, it has now become apparent that if the date in 1924 originally fixed is adhered to, many officers will not be sufficiently assured as to future conditions by that time, and will therefore retire while the opportunity is open. It has therefore been decided that the opportunity must be kept open for a considerable additional period, and, as I said on the 15th, a definite announcement on the subject will be made shortly.

Is there any decision being come to with regard to these civil servants which can be announced all at once, or are the points raised in these memorials being taken separately?

I am afraid I do not quite understand the hon. Gentleman's question. He refers in his question on the Paper to the arbitrary limit of time after which no proportionate pension can be claimed. I referred to that in ray speech last week, and I have endeavoured to amplify that reply to-day.