Citation
Report of the Royal Commission upon decentralization in India [and] minutes of evidence taken before the Royal Commission upon decentralization

Material Information

Title:
Report of the Royal Commission upon decentralization in India [and] minutes of evidence taken before the Royal Commission upon decentralization presented to both houses of Parliament by Command of his Majesty
Creator:
Great Britain. Royal Commission upon Decentralization in India
Hobhouse, C. E. H.
Primrose, Henry William, Sir.
India. Royal Commission upon Decentralization
Great Britain. Parliament
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
H.M.S.O.
Copyright Date:
1909
Language:
English
Physical Description:
10 vols.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
India -- Politics and government ( LCSH )
India -- History -- British occupation, 1765-1947 ( LCSH )
Burma -- Politics and government ( LCSH )
Bangladesh -- History ( lcsh )
Burma -- History ( LCSH )
Myanmar -- History
Great Britain -- Parliament ( LCSH )
Temporal Coverage:
1908 - 1909

Notes

General Note:
Chairman: Sir Henry William Primrose; C.E.H. Hobhouse.
General Note:
Vol. 1: Report.--2: Evidence from Madras.--3: From Burma.--4: Bengal.--5: Eastern Bengal and Assam.--6: Central Provinces.--7: United Provinces.--8: Bombay.--9: Baluchistan, the North-West Frontier Province, and the Punjab.--10: Witnesses serving directly under the Government of India.
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : India. Royal Commission upon Decentralization : URI https://viaf.org/viaf/149441372

Record Information

Source Institution:
SOAS University of London
Holding Location:
SOAS University of London
Rights Management:
This item is licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial License. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this work non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms.
Resource Identifier:
570786 ( ALEPH )
L JA351.0073 /14071 ( SOAS classmark )

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Full Text
MINUTES OF EVIDENCE

TAKEN BEFORE THE

ROYAL COMMISSION

UPON

DECENTRALIZATION

IN

B E N G A. L.

VOLUME IV.

Pre&enteb to both Rouses of Parliament bn dtommanb of g)is Majesty.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR HIS MAJESTY’S STATIONERY OFFICE,
By DARLING & SON, Ltd., 34-40, Bacon Street, E.

And to be purchased, either directly or through any Bookseller, from
WYMAN and SONS, Ltd., Petter Lane, E.O., and
32, Abingdon Street, Westminster, S.W.; or
OLIVER & BOYD, Tweeddale Court, Edinburgh; or
E. PONSONBY, 116, Graeton Street, Dublin.

[Cd. 4363.] Price 2s, Id,

1908.


TABLE OF CONTENTS.

Page.

Friday, 27th December, 1907.

87. Evidence of Hon. Mr. E. A. Gait ... 3

88. Do. of Hon. Mr. H. 0. Streatfeild ... 20

89. Do. of Hon. Mr. 0. E. A. W. Oldham 25

90. Do. of Hon. Mr. W. A. Inglis ... 30

\ i Saturday, 28th December, 19Q 7.

91. Do. of Raja Ban Bihari Kapur ... 35

92. Do. of Raja Peary Mohan Muk-

herjee ................... 39

93. Do. of Maharaja Manindra Chandra

Nandi of Cossimbazar ... 41

94. Do. of Rai Kisori Lal Goswami

Bahadur ... ........ 45

95. Do. of Mr. Madhusudan Das ... 49

96. Do. of Mr. H. R. Irwin ..... 52

97. Do. of Nawab A. F. M. Abdur

Rahman ................... 54

98. Do. of Khan Bahadur Serajul Islam 56

Monday, 3Qth December, 1907.

99. Do. of Maharaja Sir Ravaneswar

Prasad Singh Bahadur of
Gidhaur .................. 58

100. Do. of Rai Tarini Prosad Bahadur 60

101. Do. of Hon. Babu Kalipada Ghosh 65

102. Do. • of Babu Srigopal Bhattacharjee 69

103. Do. of Mr. C. H. Bompas ............ 71

Tuesday, 31s£ December, 1907.

104. Do. of Babu Jogendra Nath Muk-

herjee ................... 78

105. Do. of Maharaj-Kumar Kristo Das

Law ...................... S4

106. Do. of Mr. F. G. Dumayne.......... 85

107. Do. of Mr. G. W. Kiichler......... 88

Thursday, 2nd January, 1908.

108. Do. of Raja Ranajit Sinha Bahadur

of Nashipur............... 97

109. Do. of Rai Sitanath Roy Bahadur... 100

110. Do. of Mr. A. L. McIntire.......... 103

111. Do. of Mr. A. Knyvett ............. 106

112. Do. of Col. R. Macrae .............. 108

Page.

Friday, 3rd January, 1908.

113. Evidence of Mr. F. F. Lyall ........ Ill

114. Do. of Mr. H. J. McIntosh...... 120

115. Do. of Mr. A. Ahmad ........... 130

116. Do. of Mr. F. W. Duke ......... 131

117. Do. of Dr. A. Campbell ........ 139

Saturday, \.th January, 1908.

118. Do. of The Maharaja Bahadur of

Darbhanga ................ 142

119. Do. of Sir Charles G. H. Allen ... 144

Tuesday, 28th January, 1908.

120. Do. of Sir Gooroo Das Bauerjee,

C.I.E..................... 148

121. Do. of Hon. Babu Bhupendra Nath

Basu ..................... 150

122. Do. of Babu Baikunta Nath Sen ... 160

123. Do. of Babu Moti Lal Ghose ... 164

Wednesday, 29th January, 1908.

124. Do. of Hon. Mr. F. A. Slacke ... 169

125. Do. of Hon. Mr. W. C. Macpherson 180

Friday, 31st January, 1908.

126. Do. of Khan Bahadur Maulvi

Sarfaraz Hosein Khan ... 189

Monday, 3rd February, 1908.

127. Do. of Babu Ambica Charan

Mazumdar ................. 192

Appendices.

I.—Memorandum showing the organisation
of the Government of Bengal, filed by
the Hon. Mr. E. A. Gait, Chief Sec-
retary .....................' ....... 198

II.—Letter from the Chief Secretary to the
Government of Bengal to the Secretary
to the Royal Commission on Decentrali-
zation, No. 1550, dated the 16th March,

1908, with enclosures ............. 199

Index .................................... 237


MINUTES OF EVIDENCE

TAKEN BEFORE THE

ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

TWENTIETH DAY.

Calcutta, Friday, 27th December, 1907.

present :

C. E. H. Hobhouse, Esq., M.P., Under-Secretary of State for India, Chairman.

Sir Frederic Lely, K.C.I.E, C.S.I. W. S. Meyer, Esq., C.I.E., I.C.S.

Sir Steyning- Edgerley, K.C.V.O., C.I.E., I.C.S. W. L. Hichens, Esq.

R. C. Dutt, Esq., C.I.E.

The Hon. Mr. E. A. Gait, C.I.E., was called and examined.

11238. {Chairman.) You are Chief Secretary to the
Government of Bengal ?—Yes.

I am not in favour of any wholesale alteration in
the relations which exist between the Supreme and the
provincial Governments in regard to financial matters.
The present system is, on the whole, a good one. The
changes which seem desirable are in the direction of
allowing to the Local Governments more latitude than
they now enjoy in the application of the rules con-
tained in the Codes of the Financial Department. The
Government of India should lay down principles
and leave to Local Governments their application to
particular cases. No wholesale revision of the restric-
tions imposed on the Local Government by the Civil
Service Regulations or the Civil Account Code is
required, but the rules in the Codes are, in some cases,
too detailed, and they are interpreted with too great
rigidity. In many cases, the Local Government might
be empowered to make exceptions for special reasons.

The powers of the Government of India in respect
of new appointments and deputations have recently
been enhanced by the Secretary of State, and the
powers of Local Governments might be enhanced to
the same extent.

In all matters, the Government of India should
exercise a general control and supervision, and all
questions of general policy should be decided by them,
but they should avoid interference in matters of
debail. If the Government of India have any criti-
cisms to make regarding the details of a scheme, it
should ordinarily suffice to state what the objections
appear to be, and then to leave it to the Local Govern-
ment to decide whether it will modify its scheme
accordingly or not.

It is desirable, in many cases, to relax statutory
restrictions as to details imposed on Local Govern-
ments, This might be done by a general Act of dele-
gation, like Act V. of 1868, but it would be necessary
to provide safeguards and restrictions. In cases where
the question as to what authority should exercise a
particular power has formed the subject of animated
discussion in Council at a time when an Act was under
consideration, it would be inexpedient to provide for
a delegation of that power otherwise than by means of
an amending Act.

The extent to which the influence of the Depart-
ments of the Government of India is carried in the
direction of excessive rigidity or uniformity varies
from time to time. It is a matter in which the per-
sonal element enters very largely. At one time, the
tendency towards rigidity or uniformity is marked in
1250 Wt T L 261 12/08 D & S 6 33263

one department; and at another time, in another.
When Local Governments are overruled in matters of
detail, they should have a right to ask for a recon-
sideration of the matter ; and if they do so it might
be made the practice to lay the case before the Executive
Council. If the Legislative Councils are enlarged, so
that each Government has an official member, that
member might, with advantage, be employed as the
representative of his Government with the Govern-
ment of India ; and when cases sent up by the Local
Government are under discussion in the Executive
Council, he might be allowed to attend aiid state the
case of the Local Government.

The proper sphere of work of special officers under
the Government of India should be inspection, com-
munication of information, and advice. These officers,
however, not only correspond with departmental officers
in the different provinces direct, but they also act as
advisers to the Government of India. In their latter
capacity, they may be responsible to some extent for
the interference in details which undoubtedly occurs
at times.

Local Governments should not be given power to
introduce reforms of an important or far-reaching
character, if any considerations of general po’icy are
involved, without the p”evious sanction of the Govern-
ment of India. It should, however, be recognized that
proposals should not be negatived merely on theo-
retical grounds, or because they differ from the existing
practice elsewhere.

I do not think there is much need for curtailing the
right of appeal to the Government of India or to the
Local Government in respect to administrative action.
It should, however, be clearly recognized that the
Government of India should not interfere with the
Local Government unless there are strong grounds for
so doing. It should not do so merely because some
other course of action seems slightly preferable, but
only when the orders of the Local Government appear
to be seriously wrong.

Appeals against dismissal or reduction should lie to
the Government of India only in the case of Gazetted
Officers drawing a salary of Rs. 500 and upwards a
month. No appeal should fie against a refusal to
appoint or promote otherwise than from grade to grade.
As regards appeals to the Local Government the rules
were revised only three years ago, and I do not think
that any further alteration is necessary.

I do not think that there has been any serious
increase in recent years in the demand for returns and
information from Local Governments.

The Hon.

Mr. E. A.
Gait.

27 Deo., 1907.


4

MINUTES OF evidence:

The Hon.
Mr. E. A.

Gait.

' Dec., 1907.

A good deal has already been done in Bengal in the
direction of delegating powers to the Board of Revenue,
Commissioners, and other authorities subordinate to
the Local Government. The general principle under-
lying these proposals is that powers should be delegated
in respect of matters which are sanctioned as a matter
of routine in the office where the power is now
exercised.

Commissioners at present have allotments from
which they can make grants for the construction of
minor works costing not more than Rs. 5,000. They,
also, have allotments from which they can make grants
to local bodies for works and for other purposes of
public utility. These grants have proved most useful.
Similar grants on a smaller scale should be given to
District Officers.

The opportunities for personal contact with the
people are naturally not so great in Bengal as else-
where, owing to the Permanent Settlement, which
reduces the outdoor work and increases considerably
the work to be done in office in connection with col-
lections, partitions, mutations, revenue sales, and the
like. Most officers, moreover, are overworked, and
have not the leisure necessary for free intercourse with
the people. The only remedies I can suggest are in
the direction of increased establishments, including
Sub-Divisional Officers for headquarters sub-divisions.
Correspondence regarding discrepancies in returns and
the like might be carried on direct between the sub-
ordinate officers concerned. The importance of free
intercourse with Indians has often been pointed out.
Attention is drawn to it in the letter sent to Collectors
when new Civilians are posted to their districts. The
matter is also dealt with in the Board’s rules. Many
officers do not possess a sufficient knowledge of the
vernacular. Bengal, Bihar and Orissa each has its own
language, while numerous aboriginal languages are
spoken in Chota Nagpur. Proposals have been sub-
mitted to the Government of India with a view to
ensuring a more adequate study of the vernaculars,
but the question will always be a difficult one in
Bengal.

A considerable increase in the Provincial Service was
sanctioned last year, but it has not yet become effective.
The Civil Service is weaker in Bengal than in any
other province.

Transfers are undoubtedly frequent. This is due
partly to the weakness of the staff, which leads to
transfers whenever officers go on leave, and partly to
the large number of special appointments which have
to be filled by selection. The number of transfers
might be reduced to some extent by regulating the
dates when officers may proceed on, and return from,
leave.

I am not in favour of Advisory or Administrative
Councils to assist Divisional or District Officers, but
they should be required to consult leading Indian
gentlemen of their districts in respect of all important
measures, not only in cases where reports are required
by higher authority, but also, in respect of matters
which they can deal with on their own initiative.

There are no village communities in Bengal. The
only local institution is the chaukidari panchayat which
is an invention of our own. Attempts are being made
to develop them and to encourage people to employ
them as arbitrators, but progress must necessarily be
slow. Proposals have recently been made for giving a
few of them petty criminal powers.

14239. What is the organization of the Government
of Bengal ?—The Head of the Government of Bengal is
the Lieutenant-Governor ; he is assisted by five Secre-
taries—three Civil Secretaries and two Public Works
Secretaries. The Civil Secretaries are, the Chief Secre-
tary, the Judicial Secretary, and the Financial and
Municipal Secretary ; one of the two Public Works
Secretaries is in charge of roads and buildings, and the
other of irrigation and railways.

14240. Then below that is the Board of Revenue ?—
The Board of Revenue deal with all matters in con-
nection with revenue and the administration of land.
The Board consists of two members, one taking land
revenue, survey and settlements, land registration, the
management of ward’s estates, the collection of cesses,
and the< like and the other taking miscellaneous
revenue, including excise, opium, income tax, salt,
customs, &c. Each member is vested with the full

powers of the Board in respect of his own departnlenl.
In all revenue matters the Board is the final Court of
Appeal, or of revision in cases where an appeal is not
allowed. The Board refer to Government all matters
of general importance, as well as those requiring the
sanction of Government according to law or practice.

14241. Below the Board of Revenue are the Heads
of Departments ?—Yes, among the Heads of the
Departments subordinate to the Board ate the Director
of Land Records and the Director of Agriculture ;
the other Heads of Departments are immediately below
the Local Government, such as the Inspector-General
of Police, the Director of Public Instruction, the
Inspector-General of Civil Hospitals, the Sanitary
Commissioner, the Commissioner of Excise, and so on.

14242. Then come the Commissioners of Divisions ?
—There are six Commissioners of Divisions, and below
them are 33 District Officers—Collectors in Regulation
districts and Deputy Commissioners in Non-Regulation
districts. In a very few districts there are Joint
Magistrates ; there are Assistant Collectors, Deputy
Collectors, and Sub-Deputy Collectors or Sub-Deputy
Magistrates. The Deputy Collectors constitute the
Provincial Service, and the Sub-Deputy Collectors
constitute the Subordinate Service.

14243. Are there any village officers?—There are
practically no village officers in Bengal.

14244. There is nothing below the Sub-Deputy
Collector ?—No, except in Government estates where
there are tahsildars, &c. There are also a few
kanungoes.

14245. I understand that you are speaking here on
behalf and with the authority of the Government of
Bengal ?—That is so.

14246. Your Government thinks that there should
be some further devolution in the matter of financial
control ?—In matters of detail. We are not in favour
of any wholesale alteration in the relations which at
present exist between the Government of India and
the Local Government.

14247. There must be some control over the pro-
vincial Government, and that must be exercised by the
Government of India ?—Yes. That is essential.

14248. But in matters of detail there might be
further devolution ?—There are a great many matters
of detail in which we might have more latitude. Every
petty deviation from the letter of a rule at present
requires the sanction of the Government of India.
Among other things, we might have more power in
regard to appointments than we have at present.

14249. You consider that while the central G overn-
ment ought to control matters of principle, so far as
details go, you ought to be free ?—Yes, entirely. We
think that very often improvements in the details of a
scheme might occur to the Government of India ; and
that if so they should be put in the form of suggestions
to be considered ;in the light of local conditions, but
that it should be left to the Local Government to
adopt them or not as it may think fit.

14250. Subject in financial matters to the control of
the Accountant-General ?—Yes, but I would not allow
the Accountant-General to. insist on references to the
Government of India simply because they do not
altogether fit in with the rules. He would only do so
if he were of opinion that the order contemplated was
of such a character that the Government of India
would not be likely to pass it if the case was referred
to them.

14251. Suppose you have the power practically to
over-ride the Accountant-General, how is the Govern-
ment of India going to exercise its control ?—I would
not propose to have power to over-ride the Accountant-
General, but that the Local Government should have
power to put a liberal interpretation on the rules which
are laid down. For instance, there was recently a case
of an officer on fixed pay who was posted to Foreign
Service. Under the rules he could not have a rise of
pay for three years ; he was subsequently put into a
Grraded Service ; if he had been in that Graded Service
at the time he was posted to Foreign Service he would
have been allowed, as he obtained promotion in the
Graded Service, to draw, in Foreign Service, the pay of
the next highest grade. It was held by the Accountant-
General. that because the man was not in the
Graded Service at the time he was transferred to


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

Foreign Service, therefore he could have no increase of
pay until the time came when he would get an increase
under the rule for officers not in Graded Services.
Obviously the reasonable interpretation of the rule
would have been that, having gone into a Graded
Service, he should have the benefit of the rule which
applied to Graded Services.

14252. Is that a case of too strict adherence to rule ?
—Too strict an interpretation. The Local Government
in a case of that sort should have power to say “ The
reasonable interpretation of the rule is this.”

14253. Suppose you pushed that to an extreme,
would not the provincial Government override the
Accountant-General?—No ; I would give the Ac-
countant-General power always to insist on a reference
to the Government of India, but I would lay down
certain principles for his guidance in deciding whether
he would do so or not.

14251. If he has the power always to say that a
reference must be made, how are you going to get over
his interference ?—I would tell him to exercise reason-
able latitude in interfering.

14255. You would get the Government of India to
give him that kind of instruction ?—Exactly. I would
lay it down as the general rule that he should not
interfere if the order which the Local Government
proposed to pass was one which the Government of
India might reasonably be expected to pass if reference
was made to them.

14256. Would you have some sort of tabulated list
or form sent to the Government of India from time to
time showing the cases in which exceptions had been
made ?—That might be done as a safeguard ; I would
have no objection to that at all. Of course it would
increase work to a certain extent, but it might get over
the objection that the Government of India might
otherwise have to parting with their control.

14257. You tell us that really the difficulty at the
bottom of the present arrangement is that the District
Officer is overwhelmed with correspondence ?—Yes.

14258. All of which is in English ?—It is all in
English now.

14259. Is that a good thing ?—It would be very
difficult to go back now ; but I do not think it is a
good thing. Men know far less of the vernaculars now
because of this correspondence in English. When I
first came to India (Assam) all the revenue work was
done in the vernacular. The sub-divisional Peshkars
seldom knew English at all ; all the reports came in in
the vernacular, and all the investigation of cases was
done in the vernacular.

14260. Did that make for efficiency ?—It is of course
much easier to inspect an office if the records are kept
in English ; an Inspecting officer can see more easily
what is going on than if everything is in the vernacular.
On the other hand, our officers do not know the
vernacular nearly so well as they used to, when all the
reports, &c., were in the vernacular.

14261. If you had a perfectly free hand in the
matter, would you return to the old system ?—I think
it would be rather difficult to return to the old system
because we have gone so far in the other direction. In
some ways I would return to it. I would have police
reports again in the vernacular.

14262. Has the adoption of English led to a multi-
plication of correspondence ?—Correspondence has
always been in English ; it Was the reports and the
returns from the subordinate staff which were in the
vernacular.

14263. Then has the adoption of English led to a
multiplication of reports and returns ?—No, I cannot
say that it has.

14264. Is not nearly everybody in agreement that
transfers are much too frequent?—Yes. Transfers
are very bad indeed ; the difficulty is to find a practical
remedy. It is a thing we have been seeking for many
years, and we have never yet succeeded in finding.
One great cause of transfers is that the cadre is so
weak ; there are practically no Joint Magistrates at
present. There are 33 collectors ; there are 18 to 20
appointments higher than that of Collector ; every
vacancy in those appointments has to be filled by
transferring a Collector and a selected man. We have
sent four men to the Government of India this year ;
this alone involves four transfers. Leave is much
more frequent than it was formerly.

14265. You can suggest no remedy except an increase
in the number of Joint Magistrates ?—The only remedy
is the strengthening of the cadre.

14266. You are responsible for all transfers and
appointments ?—Yes.

14267. Have any efforts been made in your depart-
ment to decrease the number of transfers ?—One thing
is that leave is not given unless it is convenient; a
man has to wait till an opportunity occurs for relieving
him. But it is difficult to apply that rule in the case
of higher officers. Before I became Chief Secretary I
thought, as I have no doubt all my predecessors did,
that one of my first steps would be to stop transfers ;
I did not realise the enormous practical difficulties in
the way of stopping them. There is a case now of a
district in which several transfers have recently taken
place ; a man was sent with the intention of keeping
him in the place for a term of years ; a short time
afterwards he was found to be the only man suitable
for a particular appointment, and he was taken away ;
another man was sent there with the intention of
keeping him in the district ; then the Director of Land
Records was taken up to the Government of India and
he had to be replaced, and the only man we could find
was a man from the same district. There you have
three transfers in 18 months, although we have
recognised all the time that it was most desirable that
there should be none at all.

14268. When you put an officer into a position such
as that of Inspector-General of Police or Director of
Public Instruction, do you make it a condition with
that officer that he shall not expect further promotion
or further transference even though it comes in
the way of promotion ?—That is the condition
that is made or understood, but very often Govern-
ment itself has to break through it, either because
the man is most suitable for some other appoint-
ment or because he is wanted for the Government
of India. At present it is very possible that a
new Inspector-General of Police will be appointed,
and the man who will be selected for the post will be
told that he must not accept it unless he is prepared to
stay for at least three years, and that he must not
expect to get an acting or permanent Oommissionership
in the meantime.

14269. Do you not think that even at the risk of
some other Secretariat difficulties having put a man
into a responsible position such as that of Director of
Public Instruction or Inspector-General of Police, you
ought at all hazards to keep him ?—It is very desirable
in theory, but sometimes in practice other consider-
ations arise.

14270. The promotion could be made up to him
afterwards ?—As far as he is concerned I think he
ought to have no claim ; it may be that Government
wants him.

14271. You mean the Government of India ?—Or
the Local Government possibly ; one has to weigh the
disadvantage of having a transfer with the disadvantage
of not getting the best man available for the other
appointment.

14272. Do you know whether these same difficulties
occur in the case of Crown Colonies ?■—I am not able
to answer that. I believe in Colonial Governments
promotion goes more inside the Colony ; it is com-
paratively rare for a man to be transferred except at
regular intervals.

14273. One of the consequences of this system of
transfers, whether in the higher or the lower appoint-
ments, is that the man does not know his business, and
that the people who live in the district do not think it
worth while to get into touch with him ?—That is so.

14274. And that is a very serious drawback to good
government ?—Very.

14275. The Government of India itself have issued
some resolution upon this question of transfers ?—It
was chiefly with regard to short leave vacancies, saying
that they were to be filled within the district. That
is being done. We can appoint a Deputy Magistrate,
for instance, to hold charge of a vacancy in the post
of District Magistrate for any period not exceeding
6 weeks ; for a longer period we have to go up for
sanction.

14276. When a Collector goes away for short leave
—say three months’ privilege leave—-do you fill his

The Son.
Sr. E. A.
Gait.

27 Dee., 1907


6

MINUTES OP evidence:

The Han.
Hr. E. A.
Gait.

27 Dec.. 1907.

post by a Deputy Collector?—That is occasionally
done, but it requires the sanction of the Government
of India.

14277. Is that necessary ?—I do not object to having
to go up for sanction to make such appointments for
a longer period than three month3, but, for anything
up to that, I think we ought not to be required to get
sanction.

14278. But why should you be required to go for a
period of more than three months ?—In the case of
short vacancies it does not matter so much who acts
Important cases can be left over till the permanent
incumbent returns. But in the case of long acting
appointments it is necessary to avoid the risk of
incompetent men being appointed.

14279. What knowledge has the Government of
India of the man ?—No direct knowledge.

14280. Then what is the necessity of applying to
the Government of India?—For more than three
months I think there should be sanction. I think the
facts are thus much more fully considered.

14281. Suppose the responsibility rested with you,
not with the Government of India, would you then
recognise the responsibility of taking greater care ?—
Yes, I think I should. Asa matter of fact I do not
think this Government ever would put in an officer of
the Provincial Service unless he was a really good
man. Certain Deputy Collectors are promoted to be
District Officers, but they are specially selected from
the whole of the Service.

14282. But the Government of India can have no
knowledge of the officer, whether he is replacing
somebody for three months or six months, beyond
what you give them?—No.

14283. And if you had the responsibility of putting
in the acting officer, do you not think that you are
quite as well qualified to do it as the Government of
India ?—Yes.

14284. What reason is there why you should not
accept the responsibility ?—There is no reason except
that if reference has to be made, it ensures full con-
sideration. The practice might grow up of appointing
Deputy Collectors too freely.

14285. What harm would that be?—If it happens
to be the senior Deputy Collector in the district, he
might not be qualified to hold the office for a long
period. It would of ten save trouble to put in a Deputy
even though it might not be sound to do so from the
point of view of the work.

14286. You also tell us that a great number of
reports and returns which are now called for might be
abolished?—We have already, so far as our reports and
returns are concerned, overhauled them, four or five
years ago, and a very great number were abolished.

. 14287. I understand that the Lieutenant-Governor
would like to do away with a whole series of annual,
reports ?•—Yes. That has not been gone into in detail,
but the idea is that a District Officer would tike much
more care over one annual report than he takes over a
series of reports.

14288. Instead of having to report upon police,
education, and so on separately, he would combine the
whole in one report ?—Yes. We used to have a
General Administration Report, containing an abstract
of all these other reports, and also detailed reports on
each subject. The detailed reports on each subject
survived, but the General Administration Report has
been more or less abolished.

14289. Is there anything to prevent your doing away
with these annual reports now ?—They are prescribed
for the whole of India ; the initiative would have to
be taken by the Government of India. They are sent
in under the rules and regulations of the Government
of India, and we would have to obtain leave from the
Government of India to abolish them.

14290. Are you approaching the Government of
India on this question ?—No ; the question has only
been mooted in connection with the present Com-
mission.

14291. Then with regard to the selection of officers.
Have you got a free hand in the selection of officers
here ?—Yes,, we may say that we have a free hand.
Of course, an officer might appeal to the Government

of India if he is passed over ; we do get such cases .;
the Government of India do not ordinarily interfere,
but we have to justify our action.

14292. At what stage in an officer’s career upwards
does the principle of selection begin ?—A man is only
passed over for a Collectorship if he is manifestly unfit.
At the stage of promotion from Collector to Com-
missioner a little more selection is exercised ; there
are generally two or three men at any rate who have
been passed over.

14293. If you had a free hand, would you begin
your selection at the stage of a Collector ?—I would
do so, if I could compulsorily retire a man who was
not selected. I think officers who were passed over
and kept on would be a great incubus to the Service.

14294. What you would like to do is to select at
the end of about ten or twelve years’ service, and
pension those whom it was undesirable to promote ?—
Yes ; I would give them the same pension as they
would have retired for medical reasons.

14295. More or less—&pro rata pension?—Yes.

14296. Suppose you were able to apply that system
to your present Service, would you have to get rid of,
or pass over, a considerable number ?—I should not
say a considerable number, but there would be two or
three that one would like to weed out.

14297. As to those exceptions, would it add largely
to your efficiency to get rid of them ?—It would ;
there are defects not only of mental capacity but of
character.

14298. Tne Lieutenant-Governor has inaugurated a
system by which Commissioners have allotted a certain
sum of money which they can dispose of more or less
as they think fit ?—They have two grants—one for
minor works, as they are called, works costing not
more than a certain sum, and the other for distribution
to local bodies or for other public purposes.

14299. With regard to the Minor Works grant what
is the sum total which is put at the disposal of the
Commissioner ?—The total for the province is
Rs. 60,000 at present, but it is going to be increased.

14300. That is, roughly, Rs. 10,000 to each Com-
missioner. Within that sum he can spend on any
minor works without reference?—Yes, unless it is an
addition to a residential house ; that requires sanction
if it exceeds the permissible limit of expenditure.

14301. What is the sum at his disposal for the pur-
pose of giving other grant ?—The same amount—
Rs. 10,000 on the average.

14302. What is your definition of a minor work ?—
A work costing not more than Rs. 2,500. Jf any work
costs more than Rs. 2,500, it has, under the Public
Works Code, to be sanctioned by the Government.

14303. Has the price of materials gone up very
much?—It has undoubtedly gone up. I am not in a
position to give figures, but building is very much
more expensive than it was ten or twelve years ago.

14304. Therefore the kind of work which the Local
Government or the particular officer can sanction now
for Rs. 2,500 is of a much smaller character than he
could do, say, ten years ago ?—That is so.

14305. Both on account of the fall in the value of
the rupee and also on account of the increased cost of
labour and materials ?—Yes.

14306. How long has this system been at work ?—
Since 1904.

14307. You have had no reason to grumble at the
result ?—I think the result has been highly satisfactory.

14308. Has not the Government here a system of
conferences of Commissioners?—Every year, in Sep-
tember or October, there is a conference, and all
questions of importance, which at the same time are
not urgent, are kept over and discussed at the con-
ference.

14309. Who presides at the conference ?—The
senior member of the Board of Revenue ; the other
member attends, also the Heads of Departments, and
the Secretaries to the Government.

14310. How long does the conference last ?— It
varies ; the first two or three conferences were longer
than they are now ; the first lasted for nearly three
weeks, sitting on alternate days and towards the end
daily.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 7

14311. Do you think, taking the period for which
the Commissioners and Heads of Departments are
withdrawn from their other work, that that has been
an advantage ?—Part of the time, during the longer
conferences, was covered by gazetted holidays ; besides,
each Commissioner had his ordinary work sent on to
him while the conference was sitting, and the Heads
of Departments did their own work in addition, and
so did the Secretaries. It was a great tax on the
officers, but I do not think the work suffered.

14312. On the other hand, a certain amount of
correspondence and detail work was saved ?—That
is so.

14313. Do the Commissioners extend that system
to their own divisions ?—Yes : each Commissioner has
a conference with his District Officers.

14314. Does that depend upon the will of the Com-
missioner, or is it laid down as part of his duty ?—It
is practically laid down.

14315. Has that system got so fast a hold in Bengal
that it now no longer depends upon the idiosyncrasy
of the particular Lieutenant-Governor ?—I could not
say that, because the system has existed at intervals
before ; there have been cases in the past in which
conferences have been called to consider special
difficulties.

14316. Having been a Commissioner and also Chief
Secretary to Government, do you think that the system
is so advantageous that it should be made permanent ?
—I think it would be a very good thing.

14317. If it were established beyond the possibility
of alteration?—Yes, I think so. Of course there is
this to be said ; that as time goes on and different
branches of the administration are overhauled and
discussed, the same number of subjects will not come
up for discussion, and the work might be disposed of
in three or four days annually; but I think the
principle is a very sound one. Apart from the subjects
set down for discussion at the conference various local
matters are discussed by the Commissioners with the
officers at headquarters. Much time is thus saved ;
misunderstandings are removed, and Commissioners
are brought into closer touch with the Government.

14318. You rather wish us to understand that you
are not in favour of what may be called Advisory
Councils for District Officers ?—Not in the sense of a
rigid body. I think it ought to be very clearly understood
that every officer must consult the leaders of native
opinion on subjects of importance, especially subjects
connected with their religion, or racial customs, and
that he must be accessible to everybody, making them
realise and feel that he is glad to see them if they wish
to consult him.

14319. But you would deprecate the formation of a
formal body which would, perhaps, by its very con-
stitution prevent him having those informal consulta-
tions which he now ought to have, and perhaps does
have, with native gentlemen of position ?—My feeling
is that it is never sound in Indian administration to go
too fast. I would begin by recognising that these in-
formal consultations must be held by District Officers,
and I would gradually proceed further if they are
found to be successful. But if you begin by establishing
formal Advisory Councils, and you find that for any
reason they are not a success, it would be a very awk-
ward thing to abandon them.

14320. If such bodies were formed would native
gentlemen of position be prepared to serve upon
them ?—I think they would, but it would depend a
great deal on the extent to which their recommenda-
tions were acted upon : if they found that their
recommendations were not acted upon, it would do
more harm than good ; it would create a sense of
irritation.

14321. Therefore your, view is that a mere Advisory
Council would be superfluous ?—At present. Proposals
have been made for widening the basis of representa-
tion on District Boards. I think if that is adopted,
the District Board would be a very useful body for the
Collector to consult informally about many matters.

14322. The interests of self-government would be
better forwarded, perhaps, by the extension of the
powers of existing bodies than by the creation of new
ones ?—Partly, but in any case I would proceed slowly.

14323. But if that were the alternative you would
prefer the extension of existing powers rather than the
formation of new bodies ?—Ye's, and I also think it

would be better to have committees appointed adlioc.
For instance, in case of plague you might appoint a
committee of people living in the town affected1,
whereas you would discuss questions of policy and so
on with the big zamindars ; the same body would not
be suited for consultation in all matters.

14324. Therefore you would leave the Collector free
as he is at present ?—Yes, but I would insist very
strongly indeed on the necessity of his ascertaining and
consulting Indian opinion,—much more strongly than
it is now insisted on.

14325. Is it at all commonly done now ?—It is fairly
frequent. Very often when officers are asked for a
report it is stated that public opinion must be ascer •
tained. The best of the men of course always do
ascertain it, but some treat references as a matter of
routine, and deal with them without consulting
anybody.

14326 When you have appointments to make, is it a
fact that an officer has deliberately not associated him-
self with the people in his district and not consulted
local opinion held to count against him ?—It would
certainly be held to count against him in selecting him
for, any special appointment ; but it has not hitherto
been held to count against him so much as it should
have done in the matter of promotion. I am strongly
of opinion that it should count against him in ordinary
promotion, even for the charge of a district.

14327. That is not the present practice ?—No. If a
man is a capable man and does his work well he gets
the appointment ; he is not passed over because he
has been inaccessible or wanting in consideration
towards public opinion.

14328. You tell us that there is less knowledge of
the vernacular now than there used to be ?—Yes.

14329. Is there less knowledge of Indian customs
and etiquette amongst officers iu the Civil Service than
there used to be ?—I cannot say that. The decennial
census gives an opportunity for enquiries with regard
to marriage customs and so forth ; and Settlement
Officers make a point of finding out what they can
about the people, but as regards social intercourse there
may be less knowledge of Indian etiquette than there
was formerly.

14330. Is any effort made to teach young Civilians
when they first come out the importance of regarding
other people’s feelings and views ?—It is one of the
points on which stress is laid in the letter sent to every
Collector of a district when a young Civilian is posted
to it. The matter is also dealt with at length in a
circular of the Board of Revenue.

14331. But is any effort made to see that the young
Civilian is taught these things ?—I cannot say that any
systematic effort is made.

14332. Is it desirable that it should be ?—It would
be very desirable.

14333. Has the Government of Bengal the means of
collecting and disseminating information upon these
points ?—It can only be done by the senior officers.
Voung Civilians are generally sent to selected officers,
and the best officers no doubt to teach them.

14334. In this province do not most young Civilians
go to Bihar ?—Yes, the majority do. There are several
reasons. One is that Behar is the healthiest part of the
province ; it is thought that when a young Civilian first
joins it is necessary that he should get acclimatised ;
and it is only fair to appoint him to a healthy station.

14335. Is the language spoken in Bihar the language
most prevalent in Bengal ?—There are three languages
spoken in Bengal—Hindi in Bihar, Bengali in Bengal
proper, and Uriya in Orissa.

14336. Is Hindi as common in Bengal as the other
two?—Hindi is by far the most widely spoken lan-
guage.

14337. So that an officer so far as knowledge of the
vernacular is concerned, is not disadvantaged by going
to Bihar?—Not in that way, but a man who learns
Bengali when he first comes out finds it easier to pick
up Hindi afterwards than the contrary process. A
man who is posted to Bihar very seldom becomes a
good Bengali scholar later on.

14338. Is that a disadvantage?—Tt is a great dis-
advantage, no doubt. The difficulty is to find fairly
healthv stations in Bengal proper to which to post

The Hon.
HA.
Gait.




8 MINUTES OF

The Hon. new-comers ; the first essential is to post them to fairly
Hr.E. J. healthy stations. They might be transferred more

(xa^* quickly to Bengal than is now the practice. A man
7 Dec 1907 ha.s to Pass jn tw0 vernaculars ; when he has passed in
* Hindi he might be transferred to a Bengal station ; by
that time he will be more acclimatised. There is,
however, another point. In the Bihar districts, there
are a large number of sub-divisions in which there are
numerous indigo planters ; and it is considered desire-
able to have European officers in charge of those sub-
divisions. We are so shorthanded that as soon as a
man is passed he is posted to a sub-division ; we need

most of our junior men to man our sub-divisions.

14339. Have you any rules in this Government as
to the employment of officers in the Secretariat?—
The rule is that no officer should be employed for
more than three years continuously in the Secretariat.

14340. And is that observance strictly carried out ?
—Yes, I can think of no case in which it has not
been of late years. In the last seven or eight years,
at any rate ; there may have been one or two excep-
tions before then.

14341. When the Government of India call for men
from you, do they generally take a man from the
Secretariat or from the districts ?—Almost invariably
from the Secretariat.

14342. So that, though you may make a rule that a
man shall not be employed more than three years in the
Secretariat, the Government of India may step in and
wipe your rule out ?—Yes.

14343. Does that constantly happen?—Yes, it
constantly happens. Most of our men who have gone
to the Government of India have been men who have
been some years on end in the Secretariat.

14344. How long as a rule do they go to the
Government of India for ?—Three years is the present
rule, but it has not been enforced until lately.

14345. So that practically, if a man is once employed
by the Government of India, it means that he is at
least six, and probably a dozen, more years away from
district work ?—If he were appointed to the Govern-
ment of India when he had just finished his three
years in Bengal,, it would mean six years.

14346. Is, he not generally so appointed?—It is
difficult to Hay, because there has only been one recent
appointment of a Bengal Secretary to the Government
of India.

14347. I am not talking only of a Secretary, but an
Under-Secretary also?—It is generally towards the
end of his time that he goes ; practically you may put
it at five or1 six years.

14348. Does he generally come back to you at the
end of the three years with the Government of India ?
—Yes ; I am talking of since this rule has been made ;
it has only recently been applied to Secretaries of the
Government of India. An Under-Secretary would
come back at the end of three years.

14349. Will you tell us about your relations with
the Board of Revenue ?—The old system was that the
Board of Revenue, when their powers did not allow
them to dispose of matters themselves, or when the
Government of India called for a report on any
matter, wrote official letters to the Government of
Bengal. About four years ago that was changed to a
certain extent, and we now get no official communi-
cations from the Board of Revenue except annual
reports, and in certain matters where it is desirable
that the opinion of the Board, as a Board, should be
properly on record. If the Government of India call
for a report, the report is received in the Secretariat,
and is passed on unofficially to the Board ; the Board
collect the opinions of the District Officers, and the
Board’s Secretary, instead of putting up the case to the
member as he formerly would have done, passes it on
to the Government Secretary concerned with the
department ; the Government Secretary submits it to
the Honorable Member, who expresses his opinion ;
then it goes to the Lieutenant-Governor, and the
reply is issued from the Government. So that one
official letter is saved both ways.

14350. Do the Board sit as a Board?—As a rule
they do not. On important matters both members
sit, but as a general rule each member deals
independently with his branch.

EVIDENCE:

14351. You tell us that a great deal of work of a
routine nature is disposed of by the Under-Secretaries?

—Yes.

14352. Is there a certain amount of routine work
which comes up to you from the Board of Revenue ?—

The routine work which comes up from the Board of
Revenue is now disposed of by the Board of Revenue
Secretary, but the official orders are signed by the
Chief Secretary or his Under-Secretary.

14353. Is there not a certain amount of revenue
work which comes to you from the Board of Revenue ?

—Yes, a great deal ; but it is not routine.

14354. Nothing comes to you from the Board of
Revenue which is routine ?—I cannot say that either.

14355. Is there an increase in the routine work ?—

I do not think that the routine work which comes to
me from the Board is appreciable in quantity.

14356. Does some of it come which might not come
to you at all ?—Certain things, undoubtedly ; some
matters have to be referred to Government under the
law ; if the law was changed these things might be
disposed of by the Board.

14357. Is that a general Act or a Bengal Act?— V-

There are various Acts under which references have to
be made ; for instance, the Board of Revenue has no
power to cancel a sale for arrears of revenue on the
grounds of hardship ; only the Government can do it.

14358. Is practically all the routine work that
comes to you from the Board of Revenue, and all the
routine work which goes to the Board of Revenue
and is settled by their Secretary, included in these
schedules of devolutions which you have put in?—

We have endeavoured to include all. Those schedules
have been prepared partly on an examination of the
tables of cases disposed of in the Secretariat, and
partly on an examination of the rules, etc.

14359. Have you found that the Government of
India, either in the case of Medical Officers or in the
Public Works Department, have sent you officials who
have been unsuitable for the work which the Local f

G overnment desired to send them to ? Take the case
say, of a Superintending Engineer who is wanted for
irrigation ; have they ever selected a man who knew
nothing except about roads ? That is only an illus-
tration?—We have had cases of unsuitable men being
sent.

14360. Have you any remedy against that?—I do
not think there is any remedy, except more careful
selection, and that is difficult, because if you have an
incompetent man and want to pass him on, there is a
tendency not to stand in the way of his promotion
When he is promoted Superintending Engineer he
often goes on to another Government.

14361. As regards the Inspector of Civil Hospitals,
has he any control over the promotion of the officers
under him ?—Their promotion is a matter of seniority
mainly until they get near the top of the tree, but the
Inspector-General has influence in the selection of the
stations or appointments to which they are posted,
which is a very important thing.

14362. With regard to the power of the Govern-
ment of India to criticise the details of any scheme
proposed by a Local Government, is it not generally the
case that if one provincial Government adopts a
particular scheme all other Governments agree to
adopt the same course of procedure ?—I do not think
so at all, unless pressure is put upon them by the
Government of India to be uniform. Local conditions
vary very much.

14363. Does all uniformity come from above? Is
there no sort of trend of public opinion, quite apart
from the Government of India, which forces one Local
Government to adopt the proceedings of another ?—

I cannot think of any particular case.

14364. Would there be no danger of that kind?- I
think not. I think under my suggestion (viz., that
the Local Government should be given a free hand in
matters of detail) there would be less danger than
exists at present.

14365. Have you any particular complaint to make
with regard to Directors and Inspectors-General?—

No ; I think, generally speaking, their work is found
to he beneficial; the Inspector-General of Agriculture
at any rate has been most useful.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

9

14366. Supposing an Inspector-General advised the
Government of India not to do, or to do, a particular
thing which a provincial Government desired or
objected to, would you wish, before the Government
of India adopted his view, that the matter should
come before the Local Government for further
criticism ?—Yes, we should like to see what the
Inspector-General has to say.

14367. Is that not the course now adopted?—I
think not.

14368. Do you mean that it may be adopted, but
that it is not adopted to your knowledge ?—Of course
the Government of India may put the matter before
us and say, “ This view has been presented.”

14369. Would you like to see the formal and
detailed advice of Inspectors-General communicated to
you in full ?—It occurs to one as a remedy ; of course
it might possibly lead to friction, but I think the
advantages would be greater than the disadvantages.

14370. Friction between whom ?—I will not say
exactly friction, but a certain amount of feeling. The
Local Government might not like to see strong
criticism by a man in a subordinate position.

14371. Whom afterwards they might actually employ
themselves ?—That is possible.

14372. Might it even lead to the overlooking of the
particular officer who had offered the criticism?—I
could not say that.

14373. Do you have much difficulty with regard to
the collection of revenue in this province?—Very
little indeed.

14374. You used the term “ Settlement Officer.”
What is the Settlement Officer in this province ?—It
all depends on what the settlement is. In some settle-
ments the settlement staff not only ascertain the area
and boundaries of each holding and the existing rates
of rent, but also fix the rates ; in others the zamindar
applies to have them fixed.

14375. Does the Settlement Officer deal with the
permanently settled districts ?—Yes, and he disposes of
all sorts of questions as regards the status of the
raiyat, etc.

14376. Do you mean that he disposes of differences
of opinion between raiyat and zamindar?—Yes. He
settles disputes regarding status, rates and rent, etc.

14377. Has the Permanent Settlement been of any
advantage to you ?—It has been a disadvantage.

14378. Have you anything to say with regard to the
proposals to try to recreate an interest in village
communities to deal with matters of Local Self-
Government? There never has, as I understand,
been anything in Bengal in the way of a common
village interest ?—With a few local exceptions the only
village organisation we have got is one of our own
introduction, viz., the chaukidari panchayat. We
have made efforts to improve the state of the
panchayats and increase their powers, and we are
anxious to persuade the villagers to refer disputes to
them for arbitration. I should not like to go very
far in the way of extending their powers until we
have seen the result in other provinces where there is
an indigenous system.

14379. Have you a system of village panchayats in
this province ?—We have only the chaukidari pan-
chayats ; we have Honorary Magistrates, but they are
mainly at district and sub-divisional headquarters.

14380. What is a village panchyat in Bengal ?—It
exists primarily for the collection of the chaukidari
tax.

14381. Is a member of the panchayat the village
head-man ?—He is appointed by Government ; you
can scarcely call him a village head-man. The pan-
chayat usually consists of three members, one of whom
is President. The President has been vested by
Government with certain powers.

14382. In Bengal at present would it be possible to
join him with three or four other people who would
be of assistance to him in settling petty civil and
criminal disputes ?—I think experiments might be
made in selected cases, but I would not do it generally.

14383. Would you like to see a beginning made in
that direction ?—Yes I should like to see a beginning
made with regard to selected cases in districts where

33263

the District Officer would be able to pay special atten-
tion to them, but I would begin very slowly ; in
Bengal I do not think it is a thing which should be
hurried at all ; there are other provinces where the
experiment might be made with a better chance of
success.

14384. (Sir Frederic Lely.) Have you had a good
deal of experience of district work ?—I have been in
charge of five districts altogether.

14385. The Joint-Magistrate is the Assistant at
headquarters and generally the senior Assistant ?—Yes,
but he his almost extinct in Bengal.

14386. So that the Collector has to depend chiefly on
the Sub-Divisional Officer ?—On his deputy Magis-
trates at headquarters and the officers in charge of sub-
divisions.

14387. Are the Sub-Divisional Officers distributed
over the district ?—Yes. There are 66 sub-divisions in
Bengal, but very few of them are manned by Civilians.
The rest are manned by Deputy Collectors.

14388. But the Deputy Collector has practically the
same power as an Assistant Collector ?—Yes.

14389. Does each Sub-Divisional Officer live in his
sub-division ?—Yes, with only one exception.

14390. Who is the Sub-Divisional Officer’s agent
through whom he deals with the people ?—He has
practically no local staff at all.

14391. Then there is no one who takes the place of
the tahsildar ?—No, in ordinary administration there is
no one.

14392. Supposing the Sub-Divisional Officer wanted
to make some enquiry connected with vital statistics,
how would he do it ? — The police are the usual
agency.

14393. In ordinary administration, if the Sub-
Divisional Officer takes any action, would he do it
through the agency of the police ?—Yes

14394. Is that system a good one ?—No, it is not a
good one but it is difficult to suggest a remedy.

14395. Would the people look to the police officer
under the Sub-Divisional Officer as the representative
of the Government ?—They regard them as the local
officers of Government.

14396. With regard to touring, does the Collector
make regular tours in the district ?—Yes. In the
majority of districts 120 days in the year is the stan-
dard, but in a few districts it is only 90 days a year.

14397. It has been said that regular touring by
District Superintendents of Police is practically now
no longer done, but that they pay flying visits to
particular parts of the district; what have you to say
with regard to that ?—The District Superintendent of
Police confines himself very largely to inspecting thanas
and visiting places where heinous forms of crime occurs.
He does not tour as the Collector does.

14398. You do not approve of Advisory Councils ?
Will you explain why you do not ?—My reason is that
I would not go too fast. It is always difficult to make
a backward movement, and it is quite possible that
they might not prove to be a success for various
reasons. I should look upon it as a good goal to
work up to by slow degrees.

14399. You are a strong advocate for the Collector
consulting with the chief people of his district with
regard to any important point ; have you any such
thing in Bengal as a darbar list containing the names
of people who might be consulted ?—Yes, every
district has its darbar list.

14400. So that, if a new man went into a district as
Collector, he would have a ready means of ascertaining
who the representative persons in his district were ?—
He would, no doubt, have a note left by his prede-
cessor giving him a good deal of information. A good
officer always leaves a note for his successor.

14401. Are these darbar lists formally recognised ?
Do the people themselves know whether their names
are upon them or not ?—It would all depend upon
whether darbars were being held or not; there is no
publication of the d?rbar list.

14402. I was rather referring to a list which might
be ^prepared for the use of the Collector, containing the
names of representative men of every class in his

B

The Hon.
Mr. E. A.

Gait.

27 Dec., 1907


10

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE:

The Hon.
Mr. E. A.
Gait.

21 Dec., 1907.

district with whom he might consult ?—A darbar list
is a list of people who are entitled to be invited to
darbars.

14403. Are there no recognised means by which a
new-coming Collector can ascertain who are the men in
his district who would be most worth consulting ?—I
know of none except a reference to the notes left by
previous Collectors ; you would probably find several
such notes left by each.

14404. But such notes may or may not exist ?—
They always do exist. For instance, when I left
Ranchi, I left not only my own behind me, but the
note of my predecessor.

14405. But those notes are not public, and no man
in a district, however important he may be, would
feel that he was a personality whom the Collector
might wish to consult ?—I think any man of impor-
tance would tell you that he finds successive genera-
tions of Collectors consulting him as a matter of course.

14406. Would not the publication of such a list be
a safe step to take, and would not the people think it an
honour to be placed upon a darbar list of that char-
acter ?—I think it would be a little invidious to publish
a list of that kind ; inclusion in a darbar list depends
largely upon a man’s berth, but what you are suggesting
would depend upon certain qualifications.

14407. The darbar list would not include men of
certain castes of course ?—No.

14408. Then would it be a wise step to take ?—I do
not think so.

14409. In the Commissioners’ conferences, is the
non-official element represented at all ?—The matters
which are to be discussed at conferences are divided
into two classes, those which are purely of official im-
portance, and those which are of general importance ;
and at the discussion of the latter Indian gentlemen
are asked to attend. At the last conference for
instance, several Members of Council attended, and
one or two other leading men.

14410. Is the Commissioner expected to introduce
any gentlemen from his division whom he may
think desirable?—We state beforehand what subjects
are coming up for discussion, and ask each Com-
missioner to nominate one or two gentlemen in his
division who he thinks would be qualified to represent
public opinion, and to assist in the deliberations.

14411. Do such gentlemen attend?—Yes, they are
glad to come.

14412. Has a Collector an effective influence over
every branch of Government work in his district, or
not ?—It all depends upon the Collector ; I should
think a good Collector would.

14413. Does the system secure to the Collector an
effective influence over every branch of Government
work?—I think the amount of business very often
prevents him exercising that close control that he
ought to do.

14414. If he had time, would attention to the out-
side departments be considered part of his work?
For instance, taking excise, has the Collector direct
control over excise matters in his district ?—Yes. It
is his duty to inspect all excise shops, and to look into
proposals for the opening and closing of shops ; and he
usually holds the excise sales himself.

14415. Suppose when inspecting shops he found
something of which he did not approve, what would
he do ?—That would depend. If he finds an offence
under the Act has been committed, he would prosecute.

14416. That is as to the law, but has he any
personal authority to act, supposing he finds a shop
is being couducted so as to be clearly a nuisance ?—
When sending up his proposals for the next year’s
settlements he would suggest either removing the shop
to a new site, or closing it altogether.

14417. Has he any power over Public Works?—He
has not very much power. The Commissioner is very
often shown the budget for the next year, but I think,
generally speaking, the Executive Officers might be
consulted more than they are at present.

14418. At present the administration of Public
Works stands in an entirely isolated position ?—It
does to a certain extent, but in practice a great deal
depends on the personal element. I think a Com-
missioner who wished to interest himself in Public

Works would have his views listened to. When I was
Commissioner of Chota Nagpur I succeeded in getting
the Public Works Department to take up the question
of making roads and bridges where they were needed.

14419. Supposing the grossest frauds were being
perpetrated with regard to Public Works in a district,
would the Collector be held responsible ?—Not at all.

14420. Has he any control with regard to education?
—Yes, over lower education he has considerable control.
In the case of secondary education he has not very
much power.

14421. Is he bound to pay visits to schools?—He is
not bound to do so, but he is told it is desirable that
he should do so, and he does all that he can to raise an
interest in regard to school work.

14422. Supposing that the discipline in a Normal
School had become very lax would it be held to reflect
upon the Collector at all ?—It would depend upon
whether he had had opportunities of finding it,out.
It would be his duty to report it if he had found it
out, but I do not think he is bound to keep himself
sufficiently informed upon such a matter as that.

14423. Do you not think, in his position as the
representative of the Government, he ought to have a
hand in all branches of administration, such as educa-
tion and Public Works?—Certainly, up to a certain
point, but I think higher education is, more or less, a
special subject.

14424. I do not mean that the Collector should
interfere in technical work, but ought he not to have
an authoritative standing to prevent abuses in all
Government matters ?—If he found that discipline was
lax, and reported it, there is no doubt his report
would receive every attention from the educational
authorities.

14425. Would blame attach to him if he did not
report?—Not unless it was a matter which was so
notorious that he ought to have known of it.

14426. With regard to municipalities, do you think
that any development of self-government or delegation
of powers would be advisable ?—I do not think so, but
I think that the control of education might very well
be vested in the Municipality of Calcutta.

14427. Is the Chairman of a municipality usually
elected ?—Yes.

14428. Is he usually a non-official ?—When he is
elected, he is practically always a non-official.

14429. Is any further development with regard to
that advisable ?—Not immediately.

14430. Is it the fact, as we have been told, that
Government has power to get an assessment of the
house-tax made by a specially appointed assessor?
—Yes. There are two modes of assessment, one by
the municipal Commissioners themselves, and the other
by an assessor whom they may ask Government to
appoint.

14431. If they do not ask for his appointment, may
the Commissioner impose it?—If the assessment is
inequitable the Local Government on the report of the
Commissioner may call on them to raise it, and in the
last resort may insist on the appointment of an
assessor.

14432. As to District Boards, have you any sugges-
tion to make as to the way in which they are appointed ?
—We have submitted proposals recently to the Govern-
ment of India for widening the basis of selection and
securing the representation of different classes.

14433. Is the main portion of the Road Cess spent
on the roads ?—It is spent on the roads and sanitation.
A comparatively small portion is spent on sanitation.

14434. Does sanitation include dealing with wells
and tanks ?—Yes.

14435. Are those small works done by the people,
or by the staff of the Board ?—They are usually done
by the staff of the Board, but periodically Government
makes special grants-in-aid for the construction of
tanks. What usually happens is that the Local
Government gives a third, the District Board gives a
third, and the other third is given by the person
wishing to excavate the tank, who makes his own
arrangements for carrying out the work. As a general
rule wells are always made by the District Board’s
staff.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

11

14436. In the case of a road through the estate of a
zamindar, is the grant in respect of that road ever
handed over to the zamindar to spend himself?—
Practically never, unless he happens to be an indigo
planter.

14437. Would it not be a good thing to extend such
a system, if you could find the men?—Finding the men
is the difficulty, and, of course, there are other
difficulties connected with a system of that kind.
Various obstacles are put in the way. It has been
tried in special cases. I know of cases in a good many
districts where it has been tried, but only with regard
to selected men ; it is done largely in planting districts
where the owners or managers of indigo concerns or
tea-gardens undertake to repair their own roads.

14438. Would you advocate an extension of that
system ?—I think the advisability of it is sufficiently
recognised already, wherever a suitable agency is
forthcoming.

14439. With regard to village panchayats, are they
elected or are they nominated by the Government ?
—They are nominated on the spot; an officer goes
round and makes a selection, and we try as far as
possible to obtain representative people.

14440. Would you entrust the carrying out of local
works in a village to the existing panchayats ?—I think
it would be difficult to do so.

14441. Would not the panchayat be able to carry the
help of the village with them in such a work as con-
structing a tank, for instance?—I do not think it
would be easy for them unless they were persons with
considerable influence, such as a zamindar, or a
zamindar’s agent.

14442. Does it not often happen with regard to
transfers that if a man comes back from leave and is
sent to an unpopular district, though a senior man he
claims to be removed because of his seniority to a
better district ?—There have been at times cases of the
sort, but not recently.

14443. Would it be well if an attempt were made to
equalise districts, and, as far as possible, to assimilate
the length of service in healthy and unhealthy districts
amongst officers?—Yes, I think that would be de-
sirable. I think there ought to be some compensation
for having to serve a great length of time in an
unhealthy or unpopular district.

14444. With regard to the Under-Secretary, it has
been suggested that all the work done by him alone
without reference to the Secretary should be handed
over to the Commissioner, or to some inferior officer ;
would that be possible ?—It would be possible to
delegate to other authorities the power to dispose of
cases which the Undersecretary disposes of now, but
the Under-Secretary does an immense amount of work
besides disposing of cases. He has for example to see
that all cases are properly presented and to pass many
of the drafts based on the orders of higher authority.

14445. Is the Under-Secretary generally chosen for
his special ability from among the junior officers?—
Yes.

14446. What would you say as to the appointment
of a permanent Under-Secretary ?—I do not think it
would be a success as a rule.

14447. The work performed by the Under-Secretary
is not work which calls for any special ability?—I
think it does ; and it needs first-hand knowledge of
work in the districts. I think a Civilian would usually
do the work much better.

14448. You would not approve of any change?—
Not as a general rule, but there may be exceptional
cases.

14449. With regard to the Board of Revenue, you
have described the work under the new system inaugu-
rated in Bengal, and, as I understand, the Board of
Revenue is now brought into more immediate contact
with the Lieutenant-Governor ?—But only as advisers ;
there is no attempt to divide the control.

14450. The next step would be to make them his
colleagues?—No ; there is an essential difference
between that and the present system.

14451. Would it not strengthen the Government if
you were to associate those two members with the
Lieutenant-Governor, so that any action taken should

33263

be their joint action?—I think with a Governor in
Council the different Members of the Council dispose
of a great bulk of the work without its being seen by
the Governor himself.

14452. But it issues with the authority of the
Government?—It issues with the authority of the
Government, but there is a divided responsibility.

14453. At any rate it would obviate a great many
official references?—The Board would not have to take
the Lieutenant-Governor’s orders, and the present
members of the Board, who would then be Members of
the Council, would dispose of matters instead of
submitting them to the Lieutenant-Governor, but I see
no advantage in this. The saving in time would be
only one day, and I think it is desirable that the
Lieutenant-Governor should see everything and dispose
of it himself.

14454. As a matter of fact many things do not go
before the Lieutenant - Governor ?—All important
things go before the Lieutenant-Governor ; all cases in
which it is proposed to over-rule a Commissioner or a
Head of a Department go to him ; and all letters to
and from the Government of India are seen by him.

14455. {Mr. Dutt.) If the members of the Board
were made colleagues of the Lieutenant-Governor, all
important matters would be attended to by the three ?
—Very important matters would.

14456. Would orders in those very important matters
be passed by the Government as a whole ?—No doubt.

14457. Therefore in that respect would not the
Government be somewhat strengthened?—I do not
think it would necessarily mean that the Government
would be strengthened. The Lieutenant-Governor is
the responsible authority, and he always has the opinion
of the Board before passing any orders.

14458. But still the orders at present are his own?—
Yes.

14459. While, under my proposal, the orders would
be the orders of three Members ?—This might resolve
itself into the orders of one, because there might be a
conflict of opinion.

14460. In that case it would be a majority of the
three Members which would decide ?—Quite so, but
the majority would consist of one, and it might happen
that the opinion of a junior Member would in that
case prevail.

14461. That is to say if he agreed with the Lieu-
tenant-Governor ?—Whether he agreed with the
Lieutenant-Governor or not; the latter might be in a
minority against the Members of the Board.

14462. But the majority would have to agree?—Two
out of three, of course, would agree.

14463. You would allow the Local Government to
give a liberal interpretation to the rules laid down, the
Accountant-General being told that he must not inter-
fere if a case was such that the Government of India
would be likely to support tbe Local Government in
any interpretation they might have put upon the rules ?
How would that be carried out ? If the rules are there,
and if the Accountant-General is there to interpret the
rules, he is bound to interpret them as strictly as he
possibly can ?—There are a great many rules, but they
cannot be framed so as to cover all cases. The Local
Government at present has no power to make an ex-
ception ; but if a reference is made to the Government
of India, very often a thing is allowed as a matter of
course ; the Accountant-General knows from his ex-
perience that the Government of India is likely to
deal with a particular case in a particular way, and if
he thinks the order proposed by the Local Government
is one which would under the present system be
sanctioned by the Government of India, he would not
interfere.

14464. Would the Accountant-General, as Ac-
countant-General, be justified in passing over these
exceptions?—He would be justified in carrying out
the orders of the Government of India, and if the
Government of India gave him instructions on those
lines he would be justified in carrying them out.

14465. Would a schedule have to be made of such
points ?—I think it might very well ' be left to his
discretion, because he would have been trained in the
department, and know the principles underlying the
rules.

B 2

The Hon.
Mr. JE. A.

Gait.

27 Dec., 1907


12

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

The Hon.
Mr. JS. A.
Ga it.

27 Dec.. 1907.

14466. But when rules are framed, the Accountant-
General, as Accountant-General, would be bound to
see that they were carried out strictly ?—It would
depend upon the instructions given him. He is quite
right at present in insisting on a reference to the
Government of India, but if a rule was laid down
giving the Local Government a certain latitude, he
would only insist upon references when he thought
that the Local Government was going too far.

14467. It would be rather difficult to allow him
latitude in such matters ?—Of course it would have to
be left to his discretion.

14468. Do you say that it would not be wise to
provide for delegation of legal powers which have
formed the subject of debate in Council, except by an
amending Act ?—I think this procedure should be
adapted only in cases where the question as to who
should exercise those powers has formed the subject
of animated discussion when the bill was passing
through Council.

14469. Would it not be difficult to find out in what
cases a point has been the subject of animated dis-
cussion in Council ?—The proceedings of the Council
would show.

14470. Would you refer to the proceedings of the
Council to make a distinction of that nature ?—If a
question arose, one of the points to ascertain would be
whether the question as to what authority should
exercise the power had, or had not, formed the subject
of discussion in the Council, and if it had, I would say
“ This is not a case which ought to be dealt with under
the general delegating Act,” or rice versa.

14471. In cases where the power was reserved to
Government there would not be any occasion for
discussion ?—Yes, that is so.

14472. If the Government propose that the power
should be kept in its own hands it would not form the
subject of discussion at all ; under those circumstances
would Byou not rather recommend that in every case, if
a delegation was intended, it should be done by an
amending Act ?•—No, I would not go so far as that,
because that gives a lot of trouble. I think some other
safeguard might be found. I think it would probably
meet the difficulty if no delegation was allowed until
previous publication of the intention of Government
to delegate, and if no delegation were allowed except
with the sanction of the authority superior to the
authority proposing to make the delegation.

14473. But that would not secure a debate in
Council?—It would not secure a debate in Council,
but it would secure the ascertainment of public
opinion.

14474. Would it minimise labour if a schedule of
the powers proposed to be delegated were prepared,
which, at the same time, would give an opportunity of
raising a debate with regard to anything mentioned in
the schedule ?—That would be a circuitous method ;
and would involve delay. Some Act containing powers
of delegation is necessary, and in future I think it
might be a good thing if the power to delegate were
expressly provided for in the body of the Act. This
is already done sometimes, as in the case of the Epi-
demic Diseases Act. I think delegation should be
made with a certain amount of caution under a general
delegating Act, but I think notification would meet
the case. If Government announced an intention
to delegate in the Gazette, I think that would be a
sufficient safeguard. I assume, of course, that Govern-
ment would listen to hostile representation. If public
opinion was strongly adverse to the proposed delega-
tion, Government should either abandon the proposal
or make it the subject of an amending Act.

14475. With regard to appeals to the Government
of India, would you only give the right of appeal to an
officer drawing Rs. 500 or upwards ?—Yes.

14476. That would exclude Deputy Collectors ?—I
would put men in graded services in which the maxi-
mum pay was more than Rs. 500 in the same category
as men drawing Rs. 500 and upwards.

14477. There may be Services where the men get up
to a maximum of Rs. 200 or Rs. 300, or even Rs. 401 ?
—Yes.

14478. In those cases, if a man is dismissed by the
Government of Bengal, would you deny him a right of

appeal ?—I should be prepared to allow an appeal in
the case of all Gazetted Officers, and all officers whose
maximum pay is Rs. 500, or upwards.

14479. Would it save much trouble if your scheme
were carried out ?—The number of appeals is small,
but they give a very great deal of trouble.

14480. On the whole would it not give a greater
sense of security to Government officials if you left
the rules untouched in this respect ?—As a general
rule the authority which should have power to appoint,
has power to dismiss ; and as we have asked for power
to make appointments up to Rs. 500,1 think we should
have the same powers in regard to dismissal.

14481. With regard to the right of appeal to the
Local Government, do you propose any change at all ?
—No.

14482. Has it been the practice for a number of
years to invite Indian gentlemen to annual conferences ?
—It has been the practice for the past two years.

14483. Is it intended to continue the practice ?—
Yes. I may add that the non-official Members of
Council are now invited informally to discuss tee
budget before it is framed.

14484. Are you of opinion that District Officers
should consult leading men of their districts, and
would you also recommend a kind of periodical con-
ference of the District Officer with the leading gentle-
men of his district, in order to ascertain their views ?
—I should prefer to begin by insisting strongly on the
necessity of consulting Indian gentlemen regarding all
important matters, and I think certainly it would be a
very good thing to ask them periodically to come in,
and discuss important matters ; if something could be
done towards developing more social intercourse than
has existed up to now, it would be a move in the right
direction. The advantages would be two-fold ; not
only would it give the Government more correct infor-
mation with regard to native feeling, but it would also
tend to remove misunderstanding as to the objects of
the Government.

14485. Would you have any strong objection to
laying it down that such a conference should be held
at least once a year ?—No, I would have no great ob-
jection, but I think it is as well to go slowly at first
and lay down no fixed rules.

14486. Supposing some of the gentlemen invited to
these conferences had any proposals or representations
to make, would you allow them to make them after
giving previous notice ?—I would recognise at any
time the right of an influential person to bring to
notice proposals he wishes to put forward. Any man
of position should have free access to, and receive
sympathetic attention from, the District Officer.

14487. Do you say that the functions of the chauki-
dari panchayats are limited to raising money ?—That
is the object with which they are first appointed, but
they have recently been given a good deal of control
over the chaukidars

14488. You have no objection to adding cautiously
to their functions ?—Quite so, but I should prefer to
see any big experiment conducted in some province
where there is already an indigenous village com-
munity.

14489. Have you any objection to having that ex-
periment made in certain selected areas in Bengal
which might be called advanced districts?—I would
prefer to say in selected unions.

14490. Would you propose the appointment of a
Special Officer to deal with the matter ?—Certainly, I
think that is essential.

14491. In cases of officers of the Indian Civil Ser-
vice who are considered unfit for higher appointment,
you would propose that they should be compelled to
retire on such pension as they may have earned ; would
you extend that rule to other Services ?—Of course, it
would get rid of a certain number of inefficient people,
but I should rather hesitate to lay down any hard-and-
fast rule for the Provincial and Subordinate Services,
because, amongst other things, one sees so much oiver-
gence of opinion expressed regarding the same officer.
The fitness of a man in the position of a Collector of
a district is a matter regarding which there can be
little room for doubt, but a Deputy Magistrate may
possibly be judged upon the results of a particular
case.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

13

14492. You would not extend that rule beyond the
Indian Civil Service ?—I would not extend it to the
Provincial Service.

14493. Or to the Ministerial Service ?—No, I would
deal with any case there under the ordinary rules.

14494. Have you had experience in the management
and working of District Boards in different districts ?
—I have not had to do with many District Boards.

14495. Have you known men upon them who do give
some assistance to the District Officer in the performance
of his work ?—Yes, undoubtedly.

14496. As a body, do you think the elected members
go there mainly for the purpose of self-advertisement ?
—Mainly? Certainly not. Of course there are a
good number of elected members whom it pays to be
before the public.

14497. You would not agree with the criticism that
the work is mainly confined to men whose object is
self-advertisement ?'—It is difficulty to say. My own
opinion is that it is not the main object, but I think
the elected members belong largely to a class whom it
pays to be before the public.

14498. In the Civil Service Regulations the rule is
laid down that a recurring honorarium or reward
requires the same sanction as an increase of salary.
Is that a sound rule ?—Quite, and we do not propose
to make any exception to it.

14499. But you say that it should be for the Local
Government to decide whether an honorarium is, or is
not, a recurring fee ?—That is not an exception, it is
only an interpretation of the rule. The Local Gov-
ernment is to decide whether the fee which is paid is
of the nature of a recurring fee or not, that is all.
Supposing, for instance, a man gets an honorarium for
presiding at an examination, the Accountant-General
may say : “This man has presided two years running,
therefore it is a recurring fee ” ; it should be open to
the Local Government to say it is not recurring.

14500. And you think the decision of the Local
j Government ought to be accepted as final ?—Yes.

The Local Government knows all the relevant facts.

14501. Are not mining leases granted by the Gov-
ernment of India in Native States ?—Yes.

14502. Is there any reason for making an exception
with regard to Orissa?—We are not suggesting an
exception ; we are proposing that all Local G o ?ern-
ments should have the same powers to grant mining
leases as they have in British territory.

14503. You do not see any difference between
British territory and the Feudatory States in that
respect ?—No essential difference.

14504. Would there not be more danger of abuse in
a backward State ?—We begin by assuming that the
Chief wants to give the lease.

14505. But the Chief is not always a man of very
sound education ?—No, but the Local Government is
on the spot, and knows the conditions, and I do not
think there is any danger in giving that power.

14506. With regard to the transfer of officers, it is
suggested that the power to transfer a Deputy
Magistrate might be delegated to Commissioners;
would that not sometimes lead to difficulties, because
a Deputy Magistrate is transferred sometimes from
one division to another ?—It is only intended to
delegate the power to transfer within the division. A
man who has been serving in an unhealthy division for
some time might come and say : “ I should like to be
transferred somewhere else” ; in a case of that kind
the Local Government would still in its discretion
order a transfer, but usually, I think, it should be
regarded that the posting of all officers within the
division is a matter for the Commissioner.

14507. Are not Deputy Magistrates considered to
be officers for the whole province ?—Yes.

14508. And is it your idea that hereafter they
should be considered officers of a division ?—They
should remain in a division unless there was a strong
reason for removing them. A man who was in the
Presidency Division might say : “I have been in this
place a long time, my health has suffered, please
transfer me to a better climate ” ; but usually I would
keep them in one division. This is desirable for
several reasons. The proposed procedure is already
in vogue with regard to Sub-Deputy Collectors, and it

gives rise to no trouble whatever ; in fact it is very

convenient, because the Commissioner is able to post 2 ^ait

men to places where they are likely to be most useful, _____’

and it saves delay. 97 ]}ec, 190

14509. When leave is granted to a Deputy Magis-
trate, do you propose that the Commissioner should
have power to grant it ?—Yes, provided the Commis-
sioner can arrange to carry on without asking for an
officer from another division.

14510. With regard to appointments, would not a
man carry a higher prestige if appointed by Govern-
ment ?—The order aopointing him would be signed by
a Secretary to the Government, but I do not know
that that would make much difference.

14511. With regard to the sanction to forest leases,
if your proposal were carrie 1 out might it not
sometimes lead to abuse ?—Sometimes injudicious
leases might be granted, but I do not think there is
much danger, as the Conservator of Forests would
always be consulted.

14512. Would it not be safer to leave that in the
hands of the provincial Government as the number of
cases is very few ?—I do not think there is such a
strong case for delegating that power as there is in
regard to some of 'the others. I may mention,
however, that the only case we have had this year
involved a good deal of correspondence, and that we
ended by accepting the recommendations which the
Commissioner had originally made.

14513. Then there is a recommendation that the
appointment and promotion of certain Gazetted
Officers should be delegated, but in the case of the
appointment and promotion of those officers should
not the power be retained in the hands of the pro-
vincial Government ?—I think a reference should be
made to Government in the case of proposals for
supersession, but a great majority of the proposals
for promotion are purely routine, and I do not see
the necessity for referring them to Government.

14514. Are promotions and appointments ordered
on the recommendations of the Heads of Departments ?

—The Heads of Departments send in their lists which
are approved.

14515. If that is so, does it give the Government of
Bengal much trouble in sanctioning and gazetting ?—

If you take one of these proposals for delegation by
itself, it does not involve much trouble, but in the
aggregate it means an enormous burden of routine
work.

14516. But would not the officers themselves rather
like the order to issue from the Government, as it
would give them greater prestige in the eyes of the
people ?—That is possible, but I am not sure that the
people know who gives them their promotion.

14517. Do not the orders appear in the Gazette ?—

But who sees the Gazette ? Only their brother officers ;
the people know nothing about it.

14518. Do you not think that, in the estimation of
those who do know about it, these officers would carry
more prestige if appointed by the Government instead
of being appointed by the Heads of Departments ?—

Possibly.

14519. {Mr. Hichens.) With regard to recurring
honoraria, how would you apply the control in this
case ?—It is purely a question of fact. The Local
Government give an honorarium to a man, and it is
for the Local Government to say whetner it is an
isolated case, or whether it is a recurring thing. For
instance, if a man is appointed a regular examiner in
a particular subject, whatever reward he gets would
be a recurring one. But if the question is reconsidered
each time, it would not be, even if the same man
happens to be selected.

14520. Supposing the Local Government sanctioned
an honorarium to-day, which in the opinion of the
Accountant-General was a recurring charge, would he
report it to the Government of India ?—He would
ask the Local Government to refer it.

14521. How would you alter the powers of the
Accountant-General ?—I merely want to limit them.

I would only let him insist on a reference where the
interpretation of the rule is unreasonable.

14522. But who is to judge if it is unreasonable ?—

I would leave the Accountant-General the right to


14

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE :

The Hon.
Mr. H. A.

Gait.

' Dec., 1907.

judge ; from his previous experience of the way in
which the Government of India deal with these things,
he knows perfectly well what the Government of
India would be likely to do if the case were to come
up to them.

14523. That would give him a good deal of power ?
—Yes, but he already has that.

14524. Are you prepared to allow the Local Gov-
ernment to say absolutely that such a fee is not a
recurring honorarium, and that the Accountant-
General should not raise any question ?—Yes ; it is
purely a matter of fact.

14525. Why are you not prepared to say generally
with regard to all regulations that the interpretation
of them should be left with the Local Government ?—
I think that is going rather further than I should be
prepared to do. I think the Accountant-General
ought to be able to say, “ You are straining the
interpretation ; the Government of India would not
approve of this sort of precedure.” Under the present
system, if a rule is infringed, we have to refer to the
Government of India, and in many cases they allow
the exception. The Accountant-General knows from
his experience whether they are likely to allow it, or
not ; therefore, I would give him power to ask for a
reference to the Government of India, but I would
tell him only to do so in cases where he thinks that
the Government of India would not approve of the
action taken.

14526. Do you say that the police are the adminis-
trative agents of the Sub-Divisional Officer?—They
are the agency through which the Sub-Divisional
Officer gets his information. I think it is unfortunate
that in Bengal we have no other agency.

14527. Can you suggest any remedy for that ?—No,
I am afraid I have none to suggest.

14528. You do not suggest the appointment of any
officer ?—No, it would be too big a business altogether.

14529. So that although it is unfortunate, it is
unavoidable ?—It is almost unavoidable in the circum-
stances of Bengal.

14530. How long has the new procedure as regards
the Board of Revenue of which you have spoken been
working ?—About four years.

14531. Has it been a success ?—It has brought the
Board into much closer touch with the Government.
It has certainly expedited work, and it has prevented
misunderstanding. The whole of the papers come up
now, and if an official letter is incomplete you can
remedy the omission by reference to the file, so that
there is no correspondence backwards and forwards,
and orders are thus issued more promptly. Therefore,
so far, it has been distinctly a success. It imposes,
however, a certain amount of work upon the Secretary
to Government which was formerly done by the
member of the Board.

14532. Does it mean in practice at all that the
Board’s Secretary becomes, so to speak, Under-
secretary to the Secretary to Government ?—To a
certain extent, undoubtedly. It does not, however,
alter his work in any way ; instead of submitting the
case to the member, he submits it to the Secretary to
Government.

14533. He submits it as an Under-Secretary might ?
—Yes ; the Under-Secretary to Government is elimi-
nated from the chain.

14534. And for all practical purposes he is the
Under-Secretary ?—Yes ; or Deputy Secretary ; of
course a great part of his work is not seen by the
Government Secretary at all. The bulk of this work
is connected with ordinary revenue administration, for
which the Board are responsible themselves. It is only
in “ Government cases,” where a reference has to be
made to Government, that the Board’s Secretary
submits cases to the Government Secretary.

14535. We have been told that the number of rules
and regulations, speaking generally, is excessive, and
that the tendency is to pass a rule or regulation to
cover every conceivable case which might arise, rather
than to leave matters to the discretion of individual
officers. I should like your opinion with regard to
that ?—I do not think I can agree with that altogether.
In some directions the rules have reduced work a good
deal.

14536. You would not say that regulations in
practice were passed upon matters which were too
minute to be regulated by a rule ?—I do not think I
should say so, generally speaking. It is easy enough
to turn up a rule.

14537. Then is it your opinion that that criticism is
not a fair one ?—That is my opinion. I do not think
the rules are too elaborate, and in fact I think it is
desirable, when further powers are delegated, to lay
down the principles which should be followed in
exercising those powers.

14538. Would you agree that it is desirable to allow
a large amount of initiative to an individual officer ?—
Undoubtedly, but in dealing with the case, for instance,
of allowing an officer to take his horse by train at
Government expense, it is desirable to specify the
circumstances under which this should be done ; other-
wise there will be no uniformity of procedure. I do
not think, as a rule, the regulations are too detailed,,
but they are applied too rigidly.

14539. It has been alleged that officers spend most
of their time in trying to find out precedents, what do
you say as to that ?—I do not agree with -it, and
another thing is you can always ask the office to quote
the rule if it is one you are not familiar with.

14540. Is your position with regard to the inter-
pretation of rules and regulations that rules and
regulations to be framed under an Act should be
made by the Local Government ?—That is not the
point ; the point is, supposing the Local Government
propose to introduce some new scheme which has to be
submitted to the Government of India, the Govern-
ment of India should pass orders only on the general
principles, and should leave the decision as to the details
to the Local Government, after consideration of any
criticism that may be made by the Government of India.

14541. Another way of putting that would be that
the Government of India should lay down general
principles in an Act, but that the regulations or rules
for the carrying of them out should be left to the Local
Government ? —I think that rules which are applicable
to the whole of India might very well be laid down by
the Government of India. I was not thinking so much
of rules under Acts, as of general administrative work.

14542. Would you agree that there are a large
number of regulations of a more or less minor type—
certain regulations which could not be called general
principles, but which it is desirable to have uniform ?
—Undoubtedly ; for instance, under the Explosives
Act, it is most desirable that the rules should be issued
by the Government of India.

14543. What is the procedure to-day with regard
to matters of that sort ? Are uniform rules issued by
the Government of India ?—In a great many things
they are. They prepare the draft rules which are
circulated to the Local Governments and published in
the Gazette for criticism ; after the Government of
India have received all the criticisms the rules are
considered and brought out.

14544. Is that a satisfactory procedure ?—Yes.

14545. Does it not lead to great delay ?—I do not
think delays are so much to be deprecated when it is a
case of elaborating rules under which action is to be
taken in future ; these rules merely replace existing
rules of procedure and the change is seldom very
urgent. It is in the disposal of individual cases in
which prompt action is called for that delays are so
harassing.

14546. In the case of explosives, for example, would
it be a good thing to have a small conference of the
officers of the different Governments to deal with the
subject and so reduce correspondence and delay ?—It
very often happens that the officers of the different
Governments know very little about special subjects
like that ; for instance, with regard to the rules under
the Explosives Act, the Secretary is not an expert in
explosives, and his personal opinion would not be of
much use ; he would first have to obtain his informa-
tion from other people qualified to advise.

14547. The Local Government to-day can put
forward its views in writing, but there is no oppor-
tunity for general discussion?—No.

14548. Would that not be a good thing in regard to
the rules and regulations with reference to explosives ?
—I do not think so ; I think that the matter can be


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

15

very well dealt with under the present system. It is
mainly a matter for experts, and I am not aware that
it has given rise to any marked difference of opinion.

14549. Have you any suggestion to make with
regard to the class of regulations that should be left to
the Local Government and the class which should be
called general ?—It would perhaps be easiest to answer
by quoting a particular case in connection with the
Local Self-Government Act. We proposed to amend
it in such a way as to ear-mark the Road Cess for
Public Works and sanitation. The Road Cess was
originally levied under an Act, a section of which laid
down that the cess was to be spent on communications
and sanitation, but afterwards that section was repealed,
and for some years the Road Cess was spent partly on
other items, such as education. Then the Indian press
agitated about it, charged us with a breach of faith in
devoting the Road Cess to objects for which it was not
intended, and so forth. There was a great deal of
dissatisfaction, and we, therefore, proposed to revive
the old section and ear-mark the Road Cess as before ;
but the Government of India, while agreeing with us
that the Road Cess should be spent on the objects for
which it was originally intended, said it was inexpedient
to tie ourselves down by legislation. I think that is a
case which the Local Government ought to have power
to deal with. The principle was accepted, and the only
objection was that it would be inconvenient to tie
ourselves down.

14550. With regard to Inspectors-General, would it
be advisable if the Local Government consulted them
before submitting any scheme to the Government of
India ?—I do not think it is desirable ; the Local
Government consults its own experts, and I think
any further consultation would cause unnecessary
•delay.

14551. Is not one of the main purposes of these
Imperial Officers to advise ?—Yes, they do advise.

14552. Then surely, in a big scheme it is not
A advisable that they should be consulted ?—They

7 collect information and they advise the Head of the

Local Department ; for instance, the Director of
Agriculture gets a good deal of information and advice
from the Inspector-General of Agriculture, but I do
not think the Local Government should submit its
schemes to a man of that standing before sending

them up to the Government of India.

14553. Not necessarily the Local Government, but
the officers responsible for preparing such a scheme ?
In the case of a large sanitary scheme, for instance,
would it not be advisable that it should be submitted
to an authority which had already discussed such
matters ?—Yes, I think so.

14554. Could you not apply that system generally,
and say, if Inspectors-General are there for the purpose
of giving advice, before a scheme was submitted, that
the Local Government should see at any rate what
these officers’ views were ?—I think the tendency
would be to bring the local officers more under the
control of the Inspector-General, and to weaken the
control of the Local Government ; this is what 1
apprehend would be the result if the local officers had
to obtain the approval of the Government of India
expert.

14555. I do not suggest that they should obtain his
approval, but his opinion. Is there likely to be less
friction if that is done first than if the scheme is
submitted after the local officer has given his approval,
and then a difference of opinion occurs ? Is not the
local officer more likely to be convinced before
definitely committing himself to a scheme on paper
than he would be afterwards ?—I think that with such
a system there would be a tendency for the man with
the Government of India to have more power than he
should have, and that due weight would not be given
to the diversity of local conditions.

14556. Is that your objection to it ?—That is my
objection. The local officer would know that what
the Inspector-General approved would be more likely
to receive sanction, and he might thus be persuaded to
recommend things which were not suitable to local
conditions.

14557. Do you object to the Inspector-General
acting as the adviser to the Government of India ?—I
do not object to his acting as an adviser ; but I think

when he expresses an opinion adverse to a scheme, the Hon.

Local Government should have an opportunity of

knowing what he has said before the Government of

India pass orders. When cases go up to the Govern- 27 j)eG 1997

ment of India, which are within the department of _________

these officers, their opinions are noted on the file ; they
have the last word and there is always a danger that
the Government of India may accept their opinions
and decide accordingly, without giving due weight to
the views of the Local Government.

14558. What, briefly, is the general principle under-
lying the revised rules as to appeal ?—The general
principle is that in the case of inferior servants, that
is to say, in the case of men whose pay is Rs. 10, or
less, a month, there should be only one appeal ; that
in the case of other people there should be two appeals,
subject to the condition that, with a man whose pay is
less than Rs. 50, there should be no appeal against the
order of the Commissioner, or Head of Department,
or Board of Revenue.

14559. Under that practice what is the maximum
number of appeals that can be made ?—There can be
two appeals in practice ; the appointing officer would
dismiss and there would be an appeal to the Com-
missioner and an appeal to the Board.

14560. Broadly, can the man who appoints dismiss ?

—Yes, that is the rule.

14561. Speaking from the point of view of the
public, the function of appointment is just as im-
portant as the function of dismissing?—Except, of
course, that there is no appeal in the case of a refusal
to appoint.

14562. Should a man who is capable of appointing
be capable of dismissing ?—Yes, subject to appeal.

14563. Do you not think one appeal is enough ; why
do you want more than one ?—We only allow one for
subordinates, but in the case of a man with better
pay I think it as well he should have an opportunity
of appealing twice. I think a man has a sort of feel-
ing that there is safety in a second appeal. I mean
that a ministerial officer, liable to dismissal, feels more
secure in his appointment when he has a right of
second appeal. Supposing he is in a sub-division and
is dismissed by the Sub-Divisional Officer, he would
feel more secure with two appeals.

14564. Is not the result of having more than one
appeal to keep inefficient members in the Service who
ought to be turned out of it ?—I do not think there
is very much risk of that. Of course one has known
cases of men being put back, who, one thinks, ought
not to have been put back.

14565. Does it not prevent the officer who would
dismiss taking action, because the procedure is so
tedious and cumbrous ?—I do not think so, and after
all it gives no more trouble to the officer who origi-
nally dismisses a man if that man appeals a second
time, because he has no fresh report to write.

14566. But there is the additional risk of his
decision being upset ?—Yes, but I do not think that is
a great thing.

14567. (J/r. Meyer.) With reference to your evidence
with regard to the interpretation of the Civil Service
Regulations, all financial powers are delegated powers ?

—I suppose they are.

14568. Under the Act of Parliament of 1858 the
control of expenditure is vested in the Secretary of
State ?—I am not sure.

14569. The Secretary of State delegates the powers
to the Government of India, and then, in turn, they
are delegated to the Provincial Governments. Are not
these Civil Service Regulations intended to set forth
the limitations of the powers thus delegated ?—From
a theoretical point of view, it may be so.

14570. Would it not be dangerous to allow Local
Governments to be themselves the judges as to the
limits which should be imposed upon them ?—We are
not suggesting that we should be the judges ; we are
suggesting that the Government of India might give
us further powers.

14571. It is suggested in certain cases that you may
tell the Accountant-General to stand aside ; for in-
stance, that you are to settle what a recurring honora-
rium means, and what it does not mean ?—Yes, that
is a question of fact which we know.


16

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

The Hon.
Mr. E. A.
Gait.

27 Dec., 1907.

14572. What would be the use of a rule then,
saying that a recurring honorarium should be treated
as a part of salary? Could not the Local Govern-
ment evade this rule if it had power to say whether
honoraria are recurring or not ? — Of course, if it
comes to a question of evasion, it would not be safe
to delegate anything to the Local Governments. You
must give Local Governments credit for common
honesty.

14573. Would it not be far better to relax the
general rule,,, than to give discretionary dispensing
powers to Local Governments?—We are not asking
for 'discretionary dispensing powers to Local Govern-
ments ; we are asking that the Local Government’s
statement should be accepted on what is really a
question of fact.

14574. Would you maintain that in the case of an
action on a point of law the Local Government should
interpret it ?—There is a great difference between the
two things, because the certainty of the law is the
essential thing. If there is no great expenditure
involved in the interpretation of a financial rule. I do
not see any harm in leaving its application to Local
Governments. If a large sum of money is involved,
then the matter ought to go up to the Government of
India ; if it is a small thing, a large amount of
time and trouble would be saved by the Local Govern-
ment dealing with it.

14575. Do you say that the Accountant-General is
to be overruled by the Local Government ?—Yes, if it
is the case like the one of recurring honoraria with
which the Local Government can deal best as being
mainly a question of fact.

14576. Are you aware, as a general principle, that an
officer of the Government is supposed to do work for
municipalities and District Boards ?—Yes.

14577. Are there not claims now and then on the
part of officers for allowances for doing municipal
work ?—I cannot recall them at the moment.

14578. Might not that principle be evaded in general
practice by the granting of liberal honoraria ?—If a
Local Government is to be looked upon as likely to
evade the rules, why delegate any power at all.

14579. There are many rules under which the
sanction of the Secretary of State is required, and you
are probably aware that the Audit Officer can chal-
lenge the Government of India ; would you similarly
allow the Government of India to interpret those
rules ?—It seems to me quite reasonable that the same
thing should be held to apply.

14580. You spoke of the desirability of giving the
Local Governments larger powers in matters of detail
as apart from principle ; do you include appointments
and pensions, and matters relating to the Civil Service
Regulations generally, in detail ?—The detailed
powers which we think should be delegated are
mentioned in the schedule appended to my letter.

14581. I was speaking of your answer in which you
say: “ The Government of India should avoid inter-
ference in matters of detail.” When a scheme goes up
it includes a number of appointments ; do you con-
sider the creation of an appointment a mere matter of
detail ?—No, I do not.

14582. By “ detail,” do you mean such instances as
you gave with regard to Road Cess ?—Yes or to take
another : we recently applied to the Government of
India for funds to alter the beat system in Calcutta.
We sent up a scheme to the Government of India
which had been carefully worked out with the Com-
missioner of Police, and in reply they said they did
not approve of it, and suggested a different scheme. I
think that was interference in matters of detail.

14583. Is it not sometimes an advantage that you
should have an opportunity of thinking over a scheme
and testing it ?—It is sometimes, but the result is, as a
rule, that the thing is delayed so long that everyone
gets tired of it. In this particular case the alteration
in the beat system, which we suggested, was recom-
mended by the Police Commission and had been men-
tioned at the time with approval by the Government
of India, and we had sent it up with an intimation
that we found it would be peculiarly suitable for
Calcutta.

14584. With regard to the Road Cess, which you
mentioned, was not the original provision set aside by

actual law ?—It was not set aside exactly, but the
section was repealed.

14585. Was that not setting it aside ?—To a certain
extent, of course it was ; but for a Jong time past
it had been recognised that it was wrong to set it
aside.

14586. It is not the case that four or five
Lieutenant-Governors took one view of the matter and
the present Lieutenant-Governor took another view ?
—It may be so.

14587. And the Government of India said : “We
agree with you, but you had better not put it into a
stereotyped form of law,” because it was thought that
other Lieutenant-Governors might differ again. Do
you not think that reasonable ?—I do not think you
should veto things because you think the opinions of
the Local Governments may change.

14588. Let me take another case. There was an
educational matter in which a Lieutenant-Governor
wanted a wholesale transfer of educational institutions
and the Government of India objected, rightly or
wrongly. Do you consider that a matter of detail ?—
No, I do not think the whole scheme was a matter of
detail. It included the transfer of the Engineering
College to Ranchi, and it was a big scheme.

14589. You put forward the view that in matters of
detail Local Governments ought not to be overruled
except by the Council of the Governor-General as a
whole ; are you aware that under present conditions
Local Governments cannot be overruled without
reference to the Viceroy?—But the Viceroy has no
local knowledge in these matters.

14590. And that the Viceroy may direct any matter
to go to Council ?—Yes.

14591. But you desire that the question of referring
matters to the Council should be transferred from the
Viceroy to the Lieutenant-Governor or the Head of a
province ?—I think if a Local Government wants to
have a matter reconsidered, it ought to be considered
by the Council.

14592. Are you aware of any authority in England
subordinate to the Government which could require
the Prime Minister to submit a case to the Cabinet ?—•
No, but I do not think the cases are at all parallel.
We are not asking that the Local Government should
have power to insist on a reference to Council, but
that the Government of India should themselves
extend the principle which you have just referred to.

14593. Is not the Government of the Lieutenant-
Governor a single-man Government?—It is a single-
man Government, but the Lieutenant-Governor does,
not pass orders until he has the opinions of all his
advisers.

14594. A Lieutenant-Governor might be a man of
impulsive character, and he might go contrary to the
advice of his advisers ?—Of course, all things are
possible.

14595. There would be nothing to indicate to the
Government of India that that was so, and conceivably
there might be a Member, or a Secretary in the
Government of India, who knew more about the
province than a Lieutenant-Governor ?—Yes.

14596. Would you still propose that the Lieutenant-
Governor, under such conditions, should not be over-
ruled except by Council on matters of detail ?—What
I mean is that I do not think in matters of detail the
Lieutenant-Governor ought to be overruled, and that,
if detailed criticism is made, it should be made in the
form of criticism, and left to the Local Government
to adopt, or not, as it may think fit. I am not
objecting to the control of the Government of India
on matters of principle at all; it is only that
tremendous delay is caused by having details thrashed
out in the course of correspondence.

14597. With regard to Imperial Inspectors-General,
you resent the Government of India overruling you
and your advisers, but at the same time you are not
prepared to seek their advice ?—That is not quite as I
put it. I think the business of an Inspector-General
is to furnish information or give advice to local
departments; if the local departments think it
necessary to obtain that advice regarding any scheme,
I would not object, but I would not make it a rule
that they should be obliged to seek it.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 17

14598. What is to prevent you seeking the advice of
any one on any matter ?—There is no harm, and it is
already sometimes done, but I would not have a
regular rule laid down that it should be done.

14599. You may be overruled as to details on the
advice of the Inspector General, but is it not more likely
you would be overruled as to details if there were no
Inspector-General acquainted with the details of the
province, and the matter went to some one who did
not know the province ?—The latter would probably
not have the time to go into detail which the specialist
could devote to it.

14600. Have you been overruled more since there
have been Inspectors-General than you were before ?—
I have not sufficient experience to enable me to say,
but I think the tendency is probably in that direction.

14601. As regards listed appointments, did you say
that you could not ordinarily fill appointments that
were not listed by Deputy-Collectors ?—Yes.

14602. Is the reason that the Act of Parliament,
subject to certain exceptions, vests the appointments
in the Indian Civil Service ?—Yes.

14603. Are you of opinion that this Act should not
be departed from save in exceptional cases, and for
short vacancies ?—I was only dealing with the question
of expediency without any reference to existing law.

14604. But you recognise the distinction between a
listed appointment and one which is not listed ?—Yes.

14605. The Lieutenant-Governor has not full power
over the appointment of members of the Board of
Revenue ?—He has to get sanction.

14606. Is that under one of the local laws ?—Yes ;
he has to go for sanction to the Government of India.
I remember only one case in which there was any
interference.

14607. With regard to the system of dealing with
the Board’s work, have you not a double office doing
the same work ?—I think there has been a good result
from the double office, because you have an independent
examination of the case, and very often the Govern-
ment office is able to look up precedents and things
which are not open to the Board, so that it corrects
the Board, so to speak. It does seem to be redundancy,
but at the same time I think it has its advantages.

14608. As I understand, a matter goes from the
Board’s clerks to the Government clerks ; then from
the Government clerks to the Board’s Secretary ; then
from the Board’s Secretary to you, skipping the
Under-Secretary ?—Yes.

14609. And you can, if you like, call upon your
clerks again to give you information ?—I could, but I
usually deal with the Board’s Secretary.

14610. You say more precedents would be available,
but if the Board’s separate office were abolished they
would have the precedents in the Secretariat here ?—
The Board’s office could not be abolished because a
great part of their work is concerned with the revenue
administration of the country, as to which their
authority is final and no reference is made to
Government.

14611. But they could still deal with that as a
branch of the Government Secretariat ?—I should
prefer to see the present system continued, for some
years longer, at any rate.

14612. But is it necessary to keep on your Under-
secretary ?—My Under-Secretary still has plenty to do.
He does not have to do with the Revenue Department,
except in respect of famine and forest; but he has to
work up all cases in the Political, including the Police
and Appointment Departments. This is quite enough
for one man.

14613. You do not think the reduction sufficient to
warrant dispensing with the Under-Secretary?—No;
I think he is still over-worked.

14614. In regard to the chaukidari panchayat system
and an extension of it, do I understand you to say
that before giving further powers you want to see how
the system works in other provinces ?—Yes, before
widely extending the powers.

14615. Is there any other like system in existence?
—There is no similar system, but there are village
agencies in other provinces.

14616. One is a natural village, and yours is an
artificial agglomeration of villages ?—Yes, therefore I

would not give any more powers to the people in
charge of this artificial agglomeration of villages until
we see how the people are able to exercise those powers
where there is a natural system.

14617. Would that afford you any evidence?—It
might afford negative evidence at any rate.

14618. When you make a new departure, is it not
always better to proceed by way of experiment in
small areas ?—Yes, I think so.

14619. On what grounds do you allege that Bengal
is worse off than other provinces in respect of
establishment?—We have only six Commissioners for
our 54 millions, as compared with nine Commissioners
for 45 or 50 millions in the United Provinces.

The Hon.
Mr. E. A.

Gait,

27 Dee., 1907

14620. But you have hardly any revenue work to do
compared with that of the United Provinces ?—We
have an enormous amount of revenue work to do, but
it is of a different kind ; our tauzi roll, for instance,
involves separate accounts and an immense amount of
trouble ; we have numerous petty Government estates
in every district ; there are 2,000 altogether mainly on
the banks of the rivers ; they are continually being-
washed away and thrown up again ; then there are
partitions, land registration, revenue sales, Court of
Wards work, etc.

14621. Surely you have no work in connection with
remissions and reassessments ?—No, but we have other
things instead.

14622. You spoke of the desirability of having more
Joint-Magistrates ; your Joint-Magistrate, I under-
stand, is a sort of personal assistant to the Collector,
or District Magistrate, is he not ?—Where we have a
J oint-Magistrate he is practically in independent charge
of all the criminal work. He receives complaints,
disposes of police reports, looks after the conduct of
cases before the subordinate Magistrates, and sees
their registers every week.

14623. But he has no independent territorial charge ?
—-No, but he has well-recognised functions.

14624. Would you keep the headquarters sub-
division at its present size, putting it under the Joint -
Magistrate as a Sub-Divisional Officer ?—I think I
would keep it at its present size as a rule.

14625. And convert the Joint-Magistrate into a Sub-
Divisional Officer ?—Where there is a Joint-Magistrate
he might be in charge of the headquarters sub-division,
but we should never have enough Joint-Magistrates to
go round ; we have only asked for Joint-Magistrates in
12 or 14 of the biggest districts.

14626. Do you see any objection to the system in
force in Madras being applied to Bengal ?—It would
be very difficult to have a wholesale re-arrangement
of the existing administrative arrangements.

14627. Have you certain sub-divisions allotted to
Civilians and others to Deputy Collectors ?—Yes.

14628. With regard to the point that you have no
intermediate officers, might you not increase the
number of your Sub-Deputy Collectors, if necessary,
and give them charge of the areas covered, say, by a
couple of thanas ?—That would mean a large increase
of establishment.

14629. You have them now at sub-divisional head-
quarters ?—But every sub-divisional headquarters has
not a Sub-Deputy Collector.

14630. Are there not enough Sub-Deputy Collectors
to go round?—Not when you consider the number
needed for special work such as settlement, and so
forth.

14631. I put it to you as a possible solution, though
it might involve expenditure ; do you see any advantage
or disadvantage in it ?—I am not sure whether there
would be enough work for them to do.

14632. Would the supervision of the chaukidari
panchayats be part of the duty they would attend to ?
—Yes.

14633. You hav^ these Sub-Deputy Collectors in a
provincial list?—Why should not the Commissioner
appoint them ?—They are appointed mainly on the
recommendation of Commissioners each Commis-
sioner sends up his nominations.

14634. Why not go a step further and make the
Commissioners the appointing authority ?—We have
other sources of appointment as well ; we get a few
from nominations by Heads of Departments.

33263

C


18 MINUTES OE

The Hon.
Mr. E. A.
Gait.

21 Dec., 1907.

14635. Could not the Commissioner consider those ?
—He cofild. I think it is better to have a provincial
list. As a matter of fact Sub-Deputy Collectors are
posted to divisions.

14636. Does it not result sometimes, in a Sub-
Deputy Collector going from a division where he
knows the language and people to a place where he
does not ?—They are not moved very freely from one
division to another ; and when they are, it is usually
because of the demands of the Settlement Depart-
ment. The Director of Land Records at the begin-
ning of the cold weather asks for a fresh staff, and a
lot of men may be nominated from one division who
have to be replaced by transfers ; as far as possible,
we try to keep Biharis in Bihar and Bengalis in
Bengal, but we cannot do it altogether.

14637. As the Commissioner has power of allotment
for minor works, would you not go further and give
him a regular little budget, including Public Works,
which he might sanction ?—We are going one step in
that direction this year by increasing the works for
which he can sanction Kinds up to Rs. 5,000 instead
of Rs. 2,500.

1469>8. But you only give him Rs. 10,000 in all.
The idea would be to increase his grant very largely ;
would you be in favour of that ?—I think T should be
in favour of that.

14639. Would you be prepared to give a Com-
missioner more control over the educational work of
his division, with regard to expenditure on schools and
so forth ? With regard to primary education, the
District Board has the control ; with regard to
secondary education, I am rather doubtful ; I think if
•the Commissioner had any views on the subject he
would be always listened to by the Director of Public
Instruction.

14640. To put it generally, one view which has been
held is that the Commissioner should be regarded
more as a sub-governor ; does that view recommend
itself to you ?—Yes, it does, but I think in most
matters he has a great deal of control already and a
great deal has been done of late to increase his
powers.

14641. Are there not a great many appeals in regard
to administrative matters to the Board of Revenue ?
—In most cases it is a matter of revision, not an
appeal, when a case gets to the Board of Revenue ;
the Board have power to revise, but they do not exer-
cise it very freely.

14642. The power can be exercised so as to make
it a complete appeal ?—There is no cause of com-
plaint in that respect.

14643. Might it not be possible to limit the pro
cedure in this respect ?—No, I do not think it would ;
I think it might be possible to abolish the Excise Com-
missioner.

14644. At any rate an economy could be effected
somewhere ?—Possibly.

16445. (Sir Steyning Edgerley.) Do you think the
function of the Government of India in relation to
Local Governments is simply to settle the principles
and rules of administration and that everything with
regard to particular detail is the work of the Local
Government ?—Yes.

16446. Would you make that an absolute line of
division?—I would lay that down as the principle.
Of course there might be cases where it could not
always be aoplied in practice, and the Government of
India would have to decide where exceptions should
be made.

14647. Would you advocate a general revision of
the Civil Service Regulations and the Government of
India Codes on that basis ?—I think it would probably
suffice if the latitude which I advocate were given to
the Local Government to make exceptions in certain
cases.

14648. In fact you wonld bridge the gap by a
system of delegation, subject to the submission of a
return. Would that be sufficient ?—There would then
be two safeguards ; one is that the Accounts Officer,
if he does not think anything reasonable, can insist
on a reference, and the other is the return you
refer to.

14649. But do you think that would get over the
difficulty of construing the relations between the

EVIDENCE I

Government of India and the Local Government ?—
I should not put much reliance on a periodical state-
ment ; things are very likely to be overlooked, and
unless they were very fully stated, it would be very
difficult for the Government of India to know exactly
what was the case in point. A return, to be of any
use, wTould take much trouble to prepare.

14650. Supposing a general delegation took place,
would you base it on that principle, namely, that the
functions of the Govei nment of India should be
simply to lay down principles of general policy, and
that all details and particular cases should be left to
be disposed of by a lower authority?—Yes, I cer-
tainly would.

14651. Taking it broadly, would that be your prin-
ciple, subject to whatever exceptions there might be ?
—Yes, that would be the general principle.

14652. As to the Delegation Act, taking it al-
together, you are in favour of a general Act ?—I am
in favour of a general Act, but I think there ought to
be certain safeguards.

14653. The safeguards are, I take it, preliminary
notification, the sanction of higher authority, and the
power to withdraw ?—Yes.

14654. As regards the sanction of higher authority,
supposing your preliminary notification disclosed
that there was no objection at all, would it be neces-
sary ?—No. It would only be necessary in cases where
there was a conflict, or where objection had been
raised.

14655. Was it not suggested that it might be
possible to define certain spheres which a general
Delegation Act should not touch ?—Yes, we have
thought it over, and we think there w’ould be great
difficulty about it.

14656. One sphere, for instance, was taxation, which
it has been suggested should be dealt with by specific
legislation ; what do you think about that ?—It is
difficult to lay down rules.

14657. Do you think the other safeguards sufficient ?
I cannot quite say that, but I cannot see any practical
safeguard which one could add.

14658. As to the expert advisers of the Government
of India, whether they are called Inspectors-General
or Directors-General, would you limit them to offer-
ing advice on principles only ?—I see no objection to
their advising on details if the Government of India
pass on that advice simply in the form of comment
which the Local Government may adopt or not.

14659. But if the functions of the Government of
India are confined to principles, what is the object of
their advising on details ?—If the Local Government
send up a scheme which requires the sanction of the
Government of India, the Government of India goes
into it as a whole, and if certain criticisms on minor
points present themselves, which very likely may be
improvements, it is desirable that they should be stated
for the consideration of the Local Government.

14660. They would say : “ Our expert advisers have
noticed these matters of detail which we hope you
will consider ?—Yes.

14661. In certain cases you rather object to the
advice of the Inspector-General being obtained before
the Local Government has expressed its opinion ?—
I would not mind the local officer consulting the
Inspector-General at any stage informally, but I
should object to its being laid down as a rule that
he was to consult him.

14662. Taking the illustration which was given in
Burma of forest working plans, they go from the
Chief Conservator to the Inspector-General, and then
to the Local Government which passes final orders.
Do you see anything in that to object to ?—We have
had one or two cases in which the criticism has been
valueless, perhaps due to ignorance of the local con-
ditions, but I do not object in the ordinary way.

14663. If the Inspector-General’s criticisms pre-
ceeded those of the Local Government would it not
make the former very much more careful how they
dealt with these matters?—I do not think so, and
I think it would tend to make the correspondence
more cumbrous.

14664. Assuming the procedure that I put to you
were adopted, would it not be possible for the Govern-
ment of India to say to themselves: “Our expert

*


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

19

V

f

\



has advised, or will advise, therefore we can at once
give the Local Government final power ? ”—Yes, it
might be so.

14665. And they might in that way become an in-
strument of further decentralization ?—I am not quite
sure on that point ; it might or might not.

14666. You used the word “ inspection,” with regard
to the advisers of the Government of India ; do you
mean inspection, or do you mean study ?—I would go
further than study. Take, for instance, the case of an
experimental farm : I think it would be a very good
thing that the Inspector-General of Agriculture should
make an inspection, the result of which he would not
necessarily send to the Government of India, but to
the local Director of Agriculture for his information.

14667. Then assuming you once permit inspection,
would it be right that the Inspector-General should,
on leaving a province, send a memorandum * of
everything he has seen in the province to the
Lieutenant-Governor ?—Yes ; or to the Head of the
Department.

14668. Is it the case that they occasionally take in-
formation past the Local Government, and the first
you hear of it is by letter from the official department
of the Government of India ?—I cannot think of any
case, but I cannot help thinking it might be likely.

14669. The other system suggested would prevent
that ?—Yes, I think so. In fact we have just sug-
gested that in connection with the proposal made by
the Inspector-General of Forests to send a man to
report on our working plans.

14670. Have you not had to deal recently with the
proposals of the Police Commission. You mentioned
a controversy with regard to the beat system in
Calcutta which arose out of the Police Commission
proposals ?—The beat system which we proposed to
introduce was the system recommended by the Police
Commission, and which the Government of India had
previously, more or less, approved of.

14671. And you told the Government of India that
you did not like the alternative scheme ?—We have
not replied to it yet.

14672. Have you had any great difficulty in carrying
out your proposals with reference to the Police Com-
mission ?—No, not generally speaking.

14673. One witness mentioned that certain proposals
with regard to inspectors had been negatived ; that
would be against your principle, and is an illustration
of interference ?—I do not remember the case.

14674. Can you give any illustrations of Acts of
general delegation passed in Bengal ?—I have here
two lists of statutory provisions in force in Bengal
authorizing delegation, and also a list of delegations
made under those Acts.

14675. Are you aware whether the existence of
such provisions, or the use of them, has led to any
public complaints ?—No, not to my knowledge.

14676. (Supposing you were laying out the area of
Bengal again, what would be your constitution of the
province with regard to the Local Government ?—I
think I should advocate the existing one.

14677. You would have the Board of Revenue plus
the Commissioner ?—Yes.

14678. Do you know that a system of Chief Com-
missionerships has been recently publicly suggested ?
—Yes.

14679. Do you think that a system of six Commis-
sioners with very large powers under the Local
Government would be a good one ?—It is practically
our system now, except that we think the Commis-
sioners might have more powers ; we already have
only six Commissioners for 54,000,000 people.

14680. Would it be a good change in your opinion
to increase the number of your Commissioners, and
simply to absorb the Board of Revenue in the Local
Government ?—I do not think the Board of Revenue
could be done away with ; they correspond on the
revenue side to the High Court on the civil side ; you
must have some central revenue authority, and
zamindars have great faith in the Board of Revenue.

14681. Do you think the Government so constituted
could not deal direct with the Commissioners ?—I do

not think you would have the same continuity as now
when the two most experienced men in the province
are members of the Board ; I think you would have
the risk of friction and divided responsibility.

14682. What would be your criterion for a division
of functions as between the Local Government and
the officers subordinate to it ?—I think the Local
Government should deal with questions of policy or
principle and other matters of general public import-
ance and leave the subordinate authorities to deal with
the details of local administration and matters of
local interest.

14683. Practically, are you in favour of the principle
of maintaining as much power as possible in the higher
offices ?—It is very difficult to think of any powers
now exercised by Government, other than those
included in the schedule of proposed delegations,
which could be delegated with advantage and safety ;
you want a certain amount of uniformity of procedure
throughout the province. We have for some years
been engaged in delegating powers which can be safely
delegated.

14684. It was suggested in Burma that the principle
should be to vest powers as low down as possible with
safety ; what do you think as to that ?—I agree.

14685. The difference of attitude would probably
be that you would build up from the bottom instead
of unloading from the top ?—In preparing our
schedule of proposed delegations we examined the
tables of cases disposed of by Under-Secretaries and
the Proceedings of Government for the last three
years and the Acts and rules under which references
to higher authority are now required. We have
proposed to delegate all powers which it is considered
safe to delegate, especially in matters which are found
to involve frequent references under the present
system.

14686. With your present system of working with
the Board of Revenue, how do you provide for a
separate record ; do you duplicate the whole record ?—
No ; if it is an unprinted case it is kept as the Board’s
record, but if it is a printed case, we take out the
papers which would otherwise form the Government
record and print them only.

14687. Will that cause any difficulty, say, twenty
years hence?—Of course it is a thing that wants
watching. I have found difficulty in some respects
owing to delays, but, I think difficulties of that kind
will be avoided as the system settles down.

14688. You have six Commissioners in Bengal: how
far do their charges represent natural linguistic
divisions ?—The Orissa Commissionership is confined
to the Uriya-speaking people ; in Chota Nagpur the
language is chiefly Hindi ; in Bihar, where there are
two Commissioners it is Hindi ; and in the Commis-
sionerships of Bengal proper the people speak
Bengali.

14689. With regard to transfers, it has been
suggested that it would be possible to avoid them in
some small degree by distributing the reserve of
officers. At present the whole reserve is kept in the
lowest grade of Civilians, is it not ?—Yes.

14690. The suggestion was that in order to be able
to provide for leave and a reserve for special duties
there should be two or three Collectors in excess of
the number of districts ?—Yes, either that or our
proposal for extra Joint-Magistrates.

14691. Would it be a good thing to have several
extra Collectors ?—I think if you had the extra Joint-
Magistrates, you could do without them.

14692. What is a Sub-Deputy Collector exactly ?—
He was originally intended to be an officer for local
enquir es, but he has gradually developed into a
Magistrate of a subordinate grade, either at district
or subdivisional headquarters; if he is at sub-
divisional headquarters, he generally does treasury
work.

14693. One witness has pointed out the great
hardship to people engaged in petty cases, in getting
their cases disposed of at present ; where does a petty
case come for disposal ?—A great many of them are
tried by the ordinary Magistrates.

14694. If the Sub-Deputy Collector could be
developed into a revenue enquiry officer and residential

The Hon.
Mr. E. A.
Gait.

27 Dee., 1907

33263

C 2


20

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE:

Ihe Hon.
Hr. E. A.
Gait.

27 Dec., 1907.

Magistrate, would that add considerably to the con-
venience of the people ?—Yes, but you would have
largely to increase their number.

14695. Could some reduction then be made in the
police force ?—No, I do not think you could do that.
Our thanas are very big as it is ; there are very few
thanas of less than 100 square miles.

14696. But you could relieve them from all this
outside work ?—You could, but still I do not think it
would be possible to reduce their number.

14697. Would you allow compulsory retirement for
Civilians who had fa led, on the same terms as retire-
ment under a medical certificate ?—Yes.

14698. That is to say you would put inefficiency on
the same footing as misfortune ?—I think it would be
an administrative gain to get rid of incompetent men
even on those terms ; and in order to avoid hardship
as much as possible, I would treat them liberally ; I
might have said, perhaps, that unsuitable men should
be retired on the same terms as were allowed until
recently for those who have to go on medical certificate.
The rules for the latter have recently been made more
liberal than they were formerly.

14699. Have you a strict probationary period for the
Provincial Service?—We have probationers, but there
are very few cases in which they are not confirmed.

14700. From the point of view of pensions, would
it not be wise to considerably lengthen the period of
probation so as to enable you to fully test a man ?—
It would be so in theory, but it might make it more
difficult to recruit the same class of men ; men who
are willing to come to us now, might not come if they
thought they were liable to be turned out.

14701. Does any recruit come into any Service with
the idea that he is going to be a failure ?—No.

14702. Then how will it affect you ?—Because a
man might see another cast adrift after a time, and he

The Hon. Mr. H. C. Streatfeild was called and examined.

The Hen.

Hr. II. C.
Streatfeild.
27 Dec., 1907.

14709. {Chairman.) You are Officiating Secretary to
the Government of Bengal in the General and Judicial
Department ?—Yes.

I do not consider that any great extension of
financial powers can safely be given to Local Govern-
ments. There are many points of detail on which the
â– control of the Imperial Government is vexatious and
leads to delays and unnecessary correspondence ; but
the main principles of that control are salutary. The
importance of continuity in our administration is
supreme ; frequent change in the main lines of policy
must necessarily cause uncertainty in the minds of the
officers of Government and confusion and dissatis-
faction in those of the general public. The Head of
the Local Government changes of necessity every
five years, frequently at shorter intervals ; and while
the impress of a personality on the administration
is often healthy, it is most undesirable that the
principles of the administration should be funda-
mentally altered at short intervals according to the
personal predilections of its Chief. The control of
the Government of India has the effect of preserving
a general continuity of policy, and I should therefore
regret to see it relaxed : and this control can best
be exercised by means of financial rules. I am not
therefore in favour of any general relaxation of the
existing financial rules. Though there are numerous
details in which those rules might be modified with
advantage.

As regards principles, the control exercised by the
Supreme Government is not unduly close : but Local
Governments should have a free hand where no
questions of principle are involved. There is a general
feeling that the proposals and schemes of Local
Governments are unduly delayed and hampered, and
their officers discouraged, by unduly detailed criticism
on the part of the Government of India. In my own
short experience a number of cases have occurred,
especially in regard to educational matters, where it
has been impossible Dot to feel that a hypercritical
attitude had been taken up by the Supreme Govern-
ment. Much delay and friction might be avoided if it
were understood that where the proposals of a Local

would say to himself that it was not safe to run the
risk of a similar fate.

14703. (Chairman.) Has the Commissioner power
to post officers, not merely in the subordinate ranks
of the Provincial Service, but in the Civil Service ?—
No, the only officer he can post is the Sub-Deputy
Collector ; he has no power to post Deputy Collectors,
but I think he should have. It has already been
decided to give him this power when the recent
increase in the cadre becomes effective.

14704. What is the training for an Accountant-
General ?—The Accountant-General is generally a
Civilian u ho has been dealing with general work for
several years ; then he is transferred to the Accounts
Department as mi Assistant Accountant-General, and
after serving as Assistant Accountant-General in
several provinces, he is promoted to Accountant-
General.

14705. Is he an officer of sufficient experience and
capacity, as a rule, to be entrusted with the rather
large powers which you propose to give him ?—Yes, I
think so, you might have an eccentric man now and
again, but generally I would entrust him with all
those powers.

14706. Are you certain, as a class, that Accountants-
General could be trusted with the delicate and
extensive powers which you propose ?—I do not
consider that I have proposed to give him extensive
powers ; I have proposed to define the cases in which
the might insist on reference to India.

14707. Are there a great number of manuals in
existence ?—Yes.

14708. Has any attempt been made by the Govern-
ment of Bengal to codify them, or amend them and
bring them up to date ?—That is being done
constantly.

(The witness withdrew.)

Government are accepted in principle, that Government
should be trusted to work out details, and criticism on
points of detail should be confined to suggestions,
which the Local Government should be at liberty to
accept or reject after considering all the circumstances.
Schemes should not be returned for revision on points
of detail unless this course is for special reasons
unavoidable.

There are objections to the delegation by executive
order of powers conferred by Statute on a particular
authority. For instance, the authority by whom a
certain power is to be exercised may very well be a
matter on which a Legislative Council has strong views ;
and it seems to me doubtful whether those views, once
incorporated in the law, should be modified otherwise
than by a change in the law itself.

The right of appeal to higher authority is greatly
valued by the people, and is in accordance with the
traditions of the country. There is no question,
however, that, with approved communications appeals
have become infinitely more frequent, and that a
result of this is general disregard for authority. The
protection afforded to officers in Government Service
by the existing system of appeals unquestionably adds
greatly to the prestige and value of that Service. I
would not, therefore, recommend any curtailment of
the existing rights of appeal. However, more
authority would rest with the local officers if it were
understood that appeals, except where made under
a provision of law, should not • be considered in
detail as a matter of course, but should be summarily
dismissed unless there is prima facie reason to believe
that a mistake has been made. I hold the same views
about appeals to Local Governments as about those to
the Supreme Government.

As regards the relations of provincial Governments
with the authorities subordinate to them, any general
modification is impracticable. Unless the system of
Government is to be completely altered, the Head of a
provincial Government must have absolute discretion
as to his control over subordinate authorities. Any-
thing in the form of a constitution is outside the form
of practical politics. A great deal in the way of


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

21

devolution in matters of detail has been done in
Bengal of recent years—and probably more might be
done—but I see no opening for any general change.

fc might rest with the Board of Revenue, who should
have a specialised officer under them who would work
direct with the managers, Commissioners and Collectors
being only advisory authorities with no definite
responsibilities. The necessity of relieving District
Officers of some portion of their work is generally
admitted. Court of Wards’ work is of a specialised
nature ; and, except on certain points, requires little
local knowledge. On the other hand, the work,
especially where newly-assumed, encumbered, or
litigious estates are concerned, falls very heavily on
the Collector. Expert managers are rare, and the
Collector is constantly called on at a moment’s notice
to go into complicated legal questions and decide
off-hand the action to be taken with regard to pending
litigation.

Allotments to local officers for special objects may
be made more freely than at present, but the idea of
separate budgets for divisions and districts seems to be
quite impracticable. This would necessitate small
local Secretariats and greatly increased audit offices.

There can be no question that the authority of local
officers has fallen off of late years. This is in part
due to the pursuit of departmental efficiency. For
instance, in the Registration Department, the old
system of part-time local Registrars has been sup-
planted by a highly qualified whole-time provincial
establishment. But in the main the improvement of
communications has made this inevitable—formerly
the difficulties of appeal to higher authority rendered
it wiser to accept the decision of local officers. There
is now no doubt that in a great part of the province
the order of a local officer is regarded merely as a
vehicle for an appeal to higher authority. Transfers
also have much to do with this. It is vitally important
that a District Officer should know his people, and
even more important that his people should know him.
Transfers are certainly far too frequent, but this is
owing to unavoidable circumstances, specially the
shortness in the supply of officers capable of managing
important districts. In Bengal the difficulties of
avoiding transfers are increased by the unhealthiness
of many of the districts, and the language difficulty is
accentuated by the fact that the Bengali-speaking
districts are, as a rule, the least desirable in every
respect. No officer would wish to be in the Bengali
area longer than he can help, and has therefore little
motive to become expert in Bengali. No officer should
be confirmed in the charge of a district until he knows
its language really well, and special allowances should
be attached to those districts of which the amenities
are the least.

Office work is certainly too heavy to allow sufficient
contact with the people. Many districts are too large,
and the absence of competent subordinates ties the
District Officer to his desk. A good Joint-Magistrate
is a necessity for every large district. Selection of
officers on a freer scale than at present is desirable.
If obviously unsuitable candidates could be weeded out
before the open competition, it would save much
vexation later. At the same time every safeguard is
necessary to ensure that the power of selection is used
reasonably—it would ruin the Service, and with it the
administration, if any suspicion of personal animus
governing promotion once got established. There is
no question that we are short of officers in Bengal, and
that the ever-increasing demand for picked officers for
special work has lowered the average qualifications of
District Officers. The ordinary district administration
is in the lump infinitely more important than any
department, and it would be lamentable if the idea
were established that it was carried on by junior men
and comparative failures.

I am not in favour of the grant of larger powers to
local bodies or the creation of Advisory or Admini-
strative Councils until, by a revised election system, or
some other means, we have contrived to arouse more
general public interest in local institutions than exists
at present. In my personal opinion the village com-
munity in Bengal is defunct past any possibility of
resuscitation.

14710. With what matters do you deal?—I have to
•deal in the General Department with education,

emigration (that is inland emigration and emigration
to the colonies), registration, ecclesiastical, and mis-
cellaneous matters such as mines, factories, explosives
and things of that kind. In the Judicial Department
I deal with all questions directly affecting judicial
matters, criminal and civil appeals in which Govern-
ment is concerned, departmental appeals of all kinds
from all departments, and with the Jail Department.

14711. Have you any remarks to make upon
Mr. Earle’s suggestions as to making the Director of
Public Instruction a Joint-Secretary to Government?
—I am not in favour of that proposal myself.
Educational matters, when they come up from a
specialist such as the Director of Public Instruction,
should be considered from a non-departmental and
general point of view before they are finally submitted
to the Lieutenant-Governor, and although it might be
very well that matters should be discussed by the
Director and Secretary before the Director formulates
his proposals in an official letter, I think it is right
that he should have the opportunity of putting
generally what he has to say in a final form before it is
criticised by the Secretary, as it would be very difficult
for the Secretary to criticise it before he had the
proposals in a complete form before him.

14712. Is the Director of Pubic Instruction in-
variably a specialist ?—At present he is not, but as a
general rule he is.

14713. Would your objections to this principle be
fatal ?—I think it would be better for his own sake
that the Director should have a chance of fairly
stating any scheme which he might wish to push
through.

14714. While you think the Local Government
should have freedom in detail, is there any objection
to there being some control in matters of principle ?
—No.

14715. How are you going to draw the line between
principle and detail ?—The principles, I should
say, were laid down by the financial rules. For
instance, if a scheme costs more than ten lakhs of
rupees, it would have to go up for sanction. Possibly
principle and detail are hardly the right words to
supply, but what I mean is if the Government of India
objected to a scheme in toto, they have a full right to
veto it, but, on the other hand, if they approve of a
scheme, it leads to a good deal of delay and discourage-
ment on the part of the officers who have sent it up,
if it comes back on minor matters of detail, such as
the class of construction and site, and other things of
that kind.

14716. You have referred to a work costing ten
lakhs of rupees which you have now power to sanction.
Have the Government of India an adviser in the
Public Works Department ?—Yes.

14717. Suppose on examination of the principle of
your scheme their expert adviser detects serious
defects in details, are the Government of India to
make any objection ?—Certainly, I should say they
could make an absolutely final objection in that
case.

14718. But they ought not to object to details
although they might object on matters of principle ?
—Where they simply advise alterations in matters of
detail, it should be left to the discretion of the Local
Government to accept those amendments or to go on
with the scheme as originally devised ; but where
fatal objections, even in the matter of detail, were
discovered by the Government of India, it is only
right that they should say the scheme should be
altered.

14719. Who is to be the judge of whether an
objection is a fatal one or not ?—The Government of
India themselves.

14720. Therefore they must examine the details ?—
I think they should examine the details.

14721. Then with regard to educational matters,
you think there has been rather a hypercritical
attitude taken up by the Government of India?
Will you give an example of what you mean ?—The
transfer of the Sibpur Civil Engineering College,
which was a very large scheme, came back with a
suggestion that the playground and laboratories of
the College should be amalgamated with those of
another College. The suggestion did not cause any

The Hon.

Mr. H. C.
Streatfeild.
27 Dec., 1907


22

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

The Hon.
Mr. H. C.
Streatfeild.

27 Bee., 1907.

delay, but it might have been taken for granted that
the Local Government would be able to deal with a
point of that kind.

14722. But upon the details of education, do you
imply that they are supersensitive ?—No, I do not,
and I am not prepared really to say that in any par •
ticular case the objections of the Government of
India have been unreasonable, but a large number of
schemes have come back during the six months I have
been in the office and the experience has been such as
decidedly to discourage the sending up of big schemes.

14723. Do you say that a large number of matters
have come back to you in the last six months ?—Four
or five matters. Upon smaller matters, such as the
salary proposed for a Head Mistress and things of
that kind.

14724. Do you know whether that would be because
there were similar classes employed by other provinces
at a rate similar to that which you proposed should be
paid ?—No, I think in that particular case of the
Training College for girls at Patna the idea of the
Government of India was that a lower salary would
have been sufficient, and that a lady employed in the
country would be as good as a lady got out from
home.

14725. Is the Director of Public Instruction inclined
to correspond, without your cognizance, with the
Director-General of Education ?—I have never heard
of such a case.

14726. As a matter of fact, does such correspondence
as he carries on with your knowledge shorten your
labours ?—I do not think, while I have been in the
office, there has been any correspondence with the
Director-General, which has come to my knowledge at
all.

14727. Or any conf erence ?—Just recently there has
been a conference which tended to help matters, I
think.

14728. Would you alter the title of the Director-
General to that of Adviser-General, as rather connoting
what his duties ought to be ?—That might be of
advantage.

14729. Have you ever found in disciplinary matters
the Director-General has trenched unduly upon the
functions of the Local Government?—I have only
been six months in the Department, and during that
time the permanent Director-General has been on
leave, so that nothing of the kind has come up.

14730. So far as you know, has there’been any trace
of it in former times ?—No.

14731. Do matters connected with the Court of
Wards come before you?—No.

14732. You say that the final authority as regards
the Court of Wards work might rest with the Board
of Revenue ; whom does it rest with now ?—The final
authority is the Board of Revenue, and my proposals
were that they should be brought into direct touch
and control of the whole thing. I think the Board of
Revenue should be brought into control through a
special officer who should be advised by the Com-
missioner and District Officers, but that these officers
should no longer be directly responsible, as they now
are, for the management of any estate.

14733. Would that not tend to put a fifth wheel
into the coach ; things must go through the Collector
and Commissioner ?—The thing I was principally
thinking of was litigation in which the Court of
Wards is concerned. In one case 1 had to enquire
into, and immediately come to a decision upon, a legal
matter, although I am not in the least a specialist as
regards Civil Law matters.

14734. Was it a case of a question of law, or a
question of fact, in regard to the administration of
the estate ?—It was a question of debts, and whether
we should admit certain claims.

14735. Surely that is more a question of common
sense than of law ?—No, there were some very com-
plicated matters to deal with. It is principally with a
view to relieving the Collector of what, by experience,
takes up a great deal of his time that 1 make this
proposal.

14736. And you would like to see an expert Director
at headquarters ?—Yes. It is a very special branch
of work.

14737. Have you been a Commissioner ?—Only for
four months.

14738. Is the idea of separate budgets for districts
and divisions quite impracticable ?—I do not think
it would be practicable. It would require petty
Secretariats, as it were, to keep control of the budget,
the expenditure and so on, and there would be a lack
of continuity generally. I would rather see the present
system continued.

14739. Are transfers too frequent and are there
difficulties with regard to the vernacular ?—Yes.

14740. Are many transfers caused by illness and
officers going on sick leave ?—A considerable number
certainly are due to such causes.

14741. Is that due in any way to the fact that
officers stay out here too long on their first appoint-
ment. They come out here and have to stay for eight
years, have they not without leave other than privilege
leave ?—Yes.

14742. Is that too long to stay in the country
straight on end ?—I cannot think of a case of break-
down attributable to that fact.

14743. But does it lead to a man getting attacks of
fever and so on ?—After four or five years a man
should certainly have six months’ leave.

14744. Are there many officers in this province who
get as much as two years’ leave straight on end ?—I
have had it myself, but 18 months is more usual.

14745. Is that too long a time to be away, from the
Government point of view ?—No, I do not think so.

14746. Has a man the same command of the
vernacular on his return, and the same knowledge of
what is going on, as he had before ?—Of course he has
lost touch with regard to what has gone on in the
interval, but as regards the work of his district I do
not think there is any difficulty. In fact, he seldom
returns to the same district after long leave.

14747. Should there be greater selection and the
exercise of more discretion in regard to promotions
and so on?—Considerable safeguards are necessary, in
order that there should not be a possibility of any idea
getting abroad that one bad report might seriously
affect a man’s whole career, and lead to his being
shelved.

14748. Do you think the Local Government are
perfectly capable of. and ought to exercise, a consider-
able power of selection ?—Yes, I certainly do.

14749. (Sir Steyning Edgerley.) With regard to the
desirability of the Government of India control for
the purpose of ensuring continuity, does that mean
that you have practically come to the conclusion that
you think a Lieutenant-Governorship does not make
for continuity of policy ?—I think it is very possible
that it may not.

14750. Do you mean that a man comes and has his
way for five years, then goes, and is replaced by
another who has his way for five years ?—I do not say
that it is so, as a matter of experience, but there is a
possible tendency to that result.

14751. That result would, of course, be less marked
if the Government consisted of a Council ?—Yes, it
would probably be less marked in that case.

14752. Is your position as to the relations between
the Surpreme Government and the Local Government
that the Government of India should pass orders as
to matters of principle, but not as to matters of
detail ?—I think where a scheme is before them, and
they require the details, they should examine them
fully.

14753. Do you mean that they should pass their
orders as to principle, and deal with the details by
suggestion ?—Yes, that is my idea.

14754. Should their expert advisers be bound by the
same sort of self-denying ordinance ?—If you mean
the Directors-General and so on, I think they should
be certainly consulted as to matters of detail.

14755. Should the Local Government concerned see
what they write ?—I should be inclined to recommend
consultation with the Director-General by the local
Head of the Department before the Government
expressed its opinion.

14756. How long would it take an expert adviser
of the Government of India to become able to advise


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

23

with authority upon, say, a Bengal matter ?—The only
Director-General I know anything about is the Di-
rector-General of Education, and I should have thought
that directly he came out he might recommend on
matters like the training of teachers, though, of course,
subject to criticism by people with local knowledge.

14757. Should the suggestions of the Director-
General of Education come first to the knowledge of
the Local Government, or should they go direct to
the Government of India ?—I think there can be no
objection to their coming before the Local Govern-
ment.

14758. With regard to appeals, you wish for some
understanding that they should not be considered in
detail as a matter of course, but how would th^t
understanding operate in practice?—That is a question
for the appellate authority really to decide for itself,
as to whether it will send a case back and call for a
report on matters of detail.

14759. Have you any suggestion to make by which
it could otherwise be secured?—I think there is too
great a tendency to treat the matter almost as a legal
appeal which has to be considered in all its details.

14760. Should there be an appeal in all cases as a
matter of course ?—In many cases, yes.

14761. Are you against limiting the right of appeal ?
—Yes. When I said that the order of a local officer
is regarded as a vehicle for an appeal to higher
authority, I was alluding more to the case of ordinary
executive orders which are not so much the subject of
a regular appeal as a reference to a higher authority,
in order to get an order set aside. Departmental
appeals against punishments and supersessions are on
a different footing.

14762. Are the appeals laid down by law in most
cases ?—By law or rule.

14763. With regard to the Court of Wards, you
suggest a special officer such as wTe know in Bombay
as the Manager of Encumbered Estates. What is the
total number of encumbered estates under manage-
ment in the province ?—It is very large, and it is
increasing.

14764. Could one man do that work ?—Perhaps not.

14765. Would it not practically require one man for
each division ?—That is quite possible.

14766. In other words a new department ?—Yes, I
am afraid it would mean that.

14767. Might not another remedy be to decentralise
and to delegate the work to the authorities below the
Board of Revenue ?—That is another remedy.

14768. With regard to the question of litigation,
what assistance has the Collector got in dealing with
these estates ?—None, except the Government Pleader,
as a rule.

14769. Does the estate pay the Government Pleader ?
—Yes, some estates pay their own pleaders, but the
standing rule is for the Government Pleader to be
employed.

14770. Does he advise the manager in litigation ?—
My experience is that he comes to the Collector and
goes through the whole thing probably in company
with the manager.

14771. Mr. Earle, and some of the other witnesses,
complained very much of the difficulty in getting the
stores they wanted ; have you had any experience
with regard to that, or found there is any difficulty in
that respect ?—Only one case has come to my personal
knowledge, and that was with regard to some machinery
which was required for an Engineering School ; it
was a lathe and some other machine which ought to
have been got from home but we found it necessary
to get them locally, which was more or less an evasion
of the rules.

14772. Supposing that in one of the schools they
wanted a Singer’s sewing machine, how would you
get that ?—I think it would have to come direct from
the Director-General of Stores, unless it was urgently
required.

14773. You can see them in every village in East
Bengal, and it would be quite possible to get a thing
of that kind without going to the India Office. Could
not a schoolmaster lae trusted quite as much as a
villager to get as good a one as he could ? —I think so.

14774. (J/r. Meyer.) You say that allotments to
local officers for special objects might be made more
freely than at present ; but that the idea of separate
budgets for divisions and districts seems to be quite
impracticable, as it would necessitate small local Secre-
tariats and a greatly increased number of Audit
Officers ; why do you think that ?—Because I do not
think a Commissioner would be able to control a
budget under some of the various heads under which
expenditure occurs in his division without, at any
rate, a financial assistant, or something of that sort,
and I think there would be a tendency for depart-
mental subordinates to gather round him.

14775. There has been a point, which was put before
us in Burma, as to whether the Commissioner should
not decide which Public Works should be executed
and provide for the cost out of funds available ; have
you considered that possibility ?—I have had very
small experience as a Commissioner, but I should think
that that is quite practicable.

14776. But would that require an accountant’s staff
and all the rest of it?—But the Superintending
Engineer does everything surely, and the Commis-
sioner would simply be consulted.

14777. But the suggestion is that instead of being
consulted, the Commissioner should have a say as to
the allocation of funds, the professional control re-
maining with the Superintending Engineer, as now.
Do you think that would not be a bad thing, and that
it would not involve any special staff for the Com-
missioner ?—Yes.

14778. If you gave him a small allotment from
which to make any payments, would that involve any
Secretarial functions ?—No, possibly not, but if you
gave him a dozen or fifteen heads under which he had
to make definite budget allotments, it would be very
difficult for him not to exceed the amount under
certain heads and there would be difficulties about
re-appropriation.

14779. But would not the Accountant-General see
to that ?—I take it, it would simply be an allotment
from Government, and I do not think there would be
any difficulty. The objection that I should have
then would be that there would be a tendency to
increase expenditure, because you would have to allow
each Commissioner a reasonably liberal allowance, and
he would make a point of spending it, instead of its
being distributed, as wanted, from headquarters.

14780. Is not one of the complaints now that there
are constant lapses ?—Yes.

14781. And so far, assuming that the Commissioner
spent the money wfisely, it would be rather an advan-
tage ?—Yes, if he dispensed it wisely.

14782. Then you are not against giving Commis-
sioners larger spending powers, subject to budget
allotment, provided it does not mean starting a small
Secretariat ?—Certainly.

14783. You referred to the Registration Depart-
ment as having assumed the authority of local officers
—will you tell us how ?—Previously a Rural Sub-
Registrar was a local zamindar, or pensioner, appointed
practically by the District Officei, and he did the
registration of documents in his spare time ; but
gradually, in addition to the checking of documents to
see that they were not forged, he was called upon to
classify them under various heads, which required
more or less the work of a specialist, and the result is
that now they are appointed from headquarters like
everybody else.

14784. How does it interfere with the authority of
the District Officer ?—Because formerly he had the
appointment in his own hands.

14785. Then the District Officer has lost a little
patronage ?—And his authority as regards that depart-
ment.

14786. Is it not a department which was bound to
increase as time went on?—It is as things are now,
but I do not know that it was so at the beginning ; it
was intended formerly merely as a check upon fraud,
I imagine, and not as a statistical department in any
way.

14787. You say that every safeguard is necessary to
ensure that the power of selection is used reasonably ;
do you see objections to selection by one man, how-
ever highly placed ?—No ; but I see objections to any

The Hon.
Mr. H. C.
Streabfeild.

27 Dec., 1907


24

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

The Hon.
Mr. H. C.
Streatfeild.

27 Dec., 1907«

one man having a final power of supersession. I think
every man superseded should have a second period of
three years, or something of that sort, and be tested
again ; and that there should not be any feeling that
merely the dislike of a certain superior officer might
result in the ruin of a man’s career.

14788* Taking the case of a man not fit to be a
Collector, would you leave that to the entire discretion
of the Lieutenant-Governor, subject to an appeal to
the Government of India, or is it your idea that there
should be a Committee selected to sit and decide the
point ?—I do not think you could lay it down as a
rule that representatives of the Service were to be
consulted, and thereby limit the powers of the Govern-
ment in the matter.

14789. But it would not be limiting the powers of
the Government if a man had to be found unfit by a
carefully selected Board, and the sentence had to be
confirmed by the Lieutenant-Governor. That would
afford a safeguard against any individual prejudice?
—Yes.

14790. Would you allow, in that case, an appeal to
the Government of India ?—I should think so,
certainly.

14791. Taking the case of a man who has been
passed over for a Commissionership, would you allow
him to appeal to the Government of India, or should
the decision of the Local Government be final?—I
think he should have an appeal.

14792. You spoke about evading some rule with
regard to stores ; is that frequently done ?—No, I do
not think it is.

14793. But there is a tendency, if a rule happens to
be unpleasant, to try and evade it ?—I suppose there
is a tendency, but I think, on the whole, the rules are
loyally obeyed, though there are occasions when
attempts have been made to evade them.

14794. And if there was a dispensing power vested
in the Local Government, or any other authority,
with regard to Articles of the Civil Service Regula-
tions, might there not be a tendency to use that
dispensing power so as to break down a rule altogether
if it was found to be an unpleasant one ?—No, I think
not, if the responsibility was placed on the Govern-
ment.

14795. (J/r. Hichens.) Would you add that the
Local Government would interpret the rule in
accordance with the interests of the province as a
whole ?—I think so.

14796. And if the rule was found to be undesirable
in the view of the Local Government, the probability
is that it would be a bad one as far as the province
was concerned ?—I think so.

14797. You say that the control of the Government
of India has the effect of creating a general continuity
of policy ; is that because the leading officers of the
Government of India are more permanent ?—I do not
know whether it is that, or whether it is that they
simply work more on precedents and so on. I have
no experience of .the Government of India myself.

14798. Is it not conceivable that the Government
of India might be just as liable to be influenced by
new ideas as a provincial Government ?—That is so,
but I think the originating authority is more likely to
vary its lines of policy than a controlling authority,
as a general rule.

14799. At any rate you did not mean that the
Directors-General, for example, were more permanent ?
—No, that was not my intention at all.

14800. It was, simply on the general ground that
the critic, that is to say, the Government of India,
would be more likely to be conservative ?—Yes.

14801. But, on the other hand, the Government of
India might initiate, in which case they would not be
the critic, and in that case your general principle
would not apply ?—No.

14802. How is primary education financed?—The
money is disbursed by the local authorities, but it
originally comes from a Government grant ; the local
cess pays only for communications and certain local
requirements, and a contribution is made to meet the
cost of education.

14803. Is nothing paid out of the District Cess
Fund in aid of education ?—Theoretically they pay

nothing. The municipalities pay something, but- the
Road Cess is supposed to be devoted to communi-
cations and one or two other matters of that kind.

14804. Does the money for education come from
provincial sources ?—It conies from provincial
revenues.

14805. Does it come from any definite cess?—No.

14806. Have District Boards a free -hand with
regard to the disposal of that money?—Technically
they have, but practically the requirements for grants
and so on are drawn up by the sub-inspectors who are
under the Education Department, and the Board, as a
whole, very rarely criticise them ; the District Officer,
as Chairman of the Board, may do so.

44807. After the budget is drawn up, is it submitted
to the Education Department ?—Yes.

14808. And approved by them and then sent on to
the Board, and if they differ, is it sent back to the
Education Department ?—I am not quite sure.

14809. At any rate, speaking as the Secretary in
respect to education, would you say that the control
exercised by the Government was complete ?—Now it
is. Sub-inspectors have recently been placed under
Government. They were formerly under the District
Boards.

14810. Might some independence be given to the
District Boards ?—I doubt it ; as they are at present
constituted, we do not get on the District Boards men
with a real knowledge of the interior who would be
able to say that a certain village school required more
help.

14811. If you were satisfied that the District Boards
were more representative of pu blic opinion, would you
give them a freer hand in matters of primary educa-
tion ?—Yes.

14812. What would you say with regard to
secondary education ?—I do not think I would be
prepared to extend the power with regard to secondary
education at present, and by secondary education I
mean the high schools. I think that those schools
should not be under the Boards, for the present at
any rate.

14813. It was stated in Madras that the tendency
of the District Boards would be to encourage
secondary education, because the class of men who
got on the Board was rather composed of those who
would require education of that class—what do you
say with regard to that ?—That is a tendency which
has to be fought against.

14814. (J7/\ Dutt.') It has been suggested that the
power of transferring Judicial Officers may be
delegated ; at present is leave to all Gazetted Officers
granted by Government ?—Yes.

14815. Is there any strong reason for changing that
rule ?—Questions of leave and transfers do not come
to me in the Judicial Department ; they are all done >

in the Appointment Department, but I should think
there is no particularly strong reason.

14816. Of course leave would very often necessitate
transfers ?—One man’s leave necessitates the transfer
of another man, and possibly of a string of men.

14817. With regard to the appointment of Honorary
Magistrates, they are now appointed by Government ?

—They are appointed by Government.

14818. A question has been raised with regard to
giving Commissioners of divisions power to appoint
Honorary Magistrates with third class powers ; is
there any strong reason for making any change ?—I
know of no strong reason beyond the general desire
to delegate powers, as far as possible, to the local
officers. .

14819. Would not the Honorary Magistrates them-
selves rather like to be appointed by Government ?—

I take it they would sooner be appointed by Govern-
ment.

14820. And similarly in vesting ordinary Magistrates
with powers, is there any reason for taking that out
of the hands of the Government and giving it to
Commissioners ?—It is purely a formal matter ; if a
Commissioner recommends that second class powers
should be given to a certain man, Government would
practically never refuse it, and I do not suppose the man
would know whether the Commissioner empowered
him, or whether the Government did so




ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

25

14821. But it would appear in the Gazette ?—Yes.

14822. Then there is no very strong reason for
changing the present procedure ?—No, there is no
very strong reason.

14823. A proposal has been made that the promo-
tions and postings of Provincial and Subordinate
Educational Officers might be delegated to the Director
of Public Instruction; are not the Provincial
Educational Officers sometimes officers of standing ?—
Officers of the Provincial Service are often of
considerable standing : the Subordinate Service goes
up to about Rs. 200.

14824. Would you not rather keep that in the hands
of the Government ?—I am inclined to think that
promotions and transfers in the Provincial Service
should remain in the hands of the Government, of
course on the recommendation of the Director.

14825. It has been said that the village community
is practically defunct in Bengal and past all hope of
resuscitation ; has any endeavour been made during
the last fifty years or so to create any of these
communities and invest them with large powers
beyond giving them powers under the Chaukidari
Act ?—Not that I am aware of. I do not consider that
the chaukidari panchayats are village communities at all.

14826. Would it not be worth while to make an
endeavour to give them some limited powers, and to
allow them to look after village matters under proper
supervision ?—Do you mean, by village matters,
sanitation and things of that kind ?

14827. Yes, and also the disposal of petty cases,
both criminal and civil. With regard to the disposal
of cases, either criminal or civil, I do not think
now-a-days it would be tolerated that cases should be
disposed of summarily without proper record, and the
preparation of a proper record gives a great deal of
trouble. Even now, in certain cases where Honorary
Magistrates are doing excellent work, there is constant
trouble with regard to procedure when their cases go
before appellate authorities, and I think the same
trouble would arise in the case of Village Magistrates.

14828. If third class powers were given and fines
limited to Rs. 10, and good men were selected, would
that meet the difficulty ?—If a practical scheme could
be evolved, it would be highly desirable that these
petty cases should be dealt with on the spot.

14829. It would prevent a large number of people
having to come to the Courts ?—Yes, and being
unnecessarily worried, and it would also prevent
matters being appealed in a great number of cases.

14830. Might such a thing be tried ?—If a practical
scheme within a certain area could be worked out, I
should certainly support it, but my point is that unless
you have a hereditary village headman, it is very
difficult to create an artificial community where the
old village community does not exist.

14831. ( Frederic Lely.) With regard to the work
under the Court of Wards, which you say is specialists’
work, does it not mean the management of land, or
landed estates ?—Yes.

14832. I suppose if he had time, no one would be ^ie Hon,
more fitted for that special work than the average
Collector ?—As regards the actual management of the Streatfeild.
land and the getting in of the rents, that is so ; but 2_
where an estate is heavily encumbered, and there are c”)

complications as to successions and so on, then I do
not think he would be more competent to deal with
the matter than any one else.

14833. Would your objection be on the ground of
the time occupied ?—Yes.

14834. Would he not be a valuable link as between
the land-owner and the people ?—In a case of a
genuine Ward’s Estate, and where one is actually
saving the property for a family, I think so ; but my
experience has been with regard to estates where the
families are usually opposing the Collector.

14835. But it is recognised pretty well amongst the
people, that the connection of a Collector with an
estate like that is ultimately of great advantage ?—

I think it is.

14836. And in this province you could ill afford to
lose a link like that ?—Probably not.

14837. Do you endow Second Class Magistrates with
powers to commit to the Sessions ?—No ; in practice
I do not think it is usual to empower Second Class
Magistrates to commit to the Sessions.

14838. (^Chairman.) Does the Director of Public
Instruction communicate directly with you, or do his
letters go to the department ?—I see all his letters
that are of importance, and generally I discuss them
with him personally.

14839. There is no intermediary in practice between
you two ?—Practically none ; there may be a little
delay in the office, but correspondence always comes
to me very quickly.

14840. Are the bulk of his communications answered
by you, or by your Under-Secretary ?—By the Under-
secretary. Anything which is of any importance
would be answered by me ; purely routine things, like
promotion of officers or anything of that kind, would
be answered by the Under-Secretary.

14841. Of what standing is the Under-Secretary?—

He has about eight years’ service.

14842. Speaking generally, are these matters of
routine which your Cnder-Secretary disposes of all
purely questions which the Director of Public
Instruction is perfectly competent to dispose of him-
self ?—In the majority of cases he would be perfectly
competent, but there may be circumstances in which
it is necessary that Government orders should be
passed on the grounds of principle and the precedents
underlying them. A Director knows perfectly well
what orders would be passed, and I cannot think of a
case in which there would be any objection to his
passing them himself.

14843. What proportion of your correspondence
is answered by your Under-Secretary?—As regards
education, I should think it would be about half and
half, but I am speaking entirely from recollection.

(The ivitness withdrew.)

The Hon. Mr. C. E. A. W. Oldham was called and examined.

14844. (C/zamncwz.) You are Financial Secretary to
the Government of Bengal ?—I am officiating as such,
since one month.

The authority of the Local Government in budget-
ing for requirements under the several provincialised
heads should be more final than at present, subject to
the reservation that the working balance in normal
years shall not fall below the minimum prescribed by
the Government of India (twenty lakhs in the case of
Bengal). Reductions in the estimates of the Local
Government should be made only if its forecasts of
the revenue appear to the Government of India to be
over-sanguine and not justified by facts and past
actuals. On the other hand, the Local Government
may properly be authorised to sanction expenditure in
excess of the total provincial budget grant, provided
that the provincial balance, as estimated in the
Financial Statement, is not reduced.

33263

Much has already been done in the direction of The Hon.
separation between imperial and provincial finance Hr. C.F.A
during recent years, and the existing settlement is a Oldham.

great improvement on preceding settlements ; but -------------

even now the revenues assigned to the Local Govern- 2? Dec., 190'
ment are barely sufficient, even taking into account

normal expansion, to meet the increasing demand for

development in the different departments of the

administration. It would be an improvement if,

omitting railways, opium, and salt, which might be

retained in the imperial account, the whole of the

remainder of ihe revenues collected in the province

were transferred to the provincial account, a certain

fixed percentage (calculated with reference to the

respective requirements of the Imperial and provincial

Administrations) being reserved for imperial pur-

poses and the balance, after making due provision

for insurance against famine, made over to the

D


26

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

The Hon.
Mr. C. H. A.

Oldham,.

27 Dec., 1907.

provincial Government. I am not prepared to say
that Local Governments should be given borrowing
powers.

.At all events in respect of the provisions of the
Civil Service Regulations in regard to travelling
allowances and pensions, all the powers now vested
in the Government of India nrght, without objection,
be delegated to the Local Government. In regard to
other restrictions imposed by the codes and regulations,
what is wanted is not the abrogation of such restric-
tions, which are salutary on the whole, but that a
Local Government should be allowed a wider discretion
in giving effect to the rules and in sanctioning a
departure from them in special cases for adequate
reasons.

In regard to the application to local conditions of
general lines of policy laid down by the Government
of India, it should be recognised that the Imperial
Government should not interfere with the discretion
of a Local Government in matters of detail, except
by way of suggestion.

The most satisfactory way of dealing with any
relaxations which may be comtemplated of restrictions
imposed by law or by rules having the force of law,
would be by a general Act authorising the Local
Government to delegate powers reserved to the Local
Government or other authority to subordinate author-
ities where, in the opinion of Government, such
delegation might be made without detriment to the
public interest. It would be a good thing if the
Local Government had authority to vest with powers,
at present reserved for higher authorities, specific
officers subordinate to such authorities in whom
Government could place full confidence that they
would exercise those powers with propriety and
discretion. This would act as an incentive to officers
to merit by their work and conduct the confidence of
their Government.

Occasionally cases do occur which point to a tendency
to f onsider matters too much from a purely depart-
mental standpoint, but such cases are rare. The best
remedy is to select for Secretariat appointments
officers with adequate mufassal experience and of tried
administrative capacity.

The proper sphere of work of Directors and
Inspectors-General is to inspect and to make sugges-
tions. In cases in which proposals made by a Local
Government are submitted to such an officer, who is
regarded as a specialist, and where his recommendations
are against the proposals of the Local Government,
the Local Government should be allowed an oppor-
tunity of seeing the views expressed before its
proposals are overruled by the Imperial Government.

It will be highly undesirable to lay down that no
appeal should be admitted unless accompanied by q
certificate from the authority passing the order
appealed against that reasonable grounds of appeal
exist. I would not curtail the right of appeal at
present existing.

In this province allotments are now made to
Commissioners of Divisions to enable them to make
grants on the spot for purposes of a public nature, or
to remedy small defects brought to their notice at the
time of inspection, with a view to avoiding corres-
pondence and consequent delay. Small grants might
be made on the same principle to District Officers.

Sufficient weight is not always given to the views of
the Commissioner in matters other than those
appertaining to the Land Revenue Department. It
should be definitely understood that the Commissioner
of a Division has full authority to take cognizance of
any irregularities or other matters calling for remedy
in any department of the administration that may
come to his notice, and either to deal with them
himself, or advise the departmental authorities, or the
Government, how they should be dealt with.

Opportunities of personal contact with the people
undoubtedly exist, though Executive Officers are
sometimes prevented by excessive clerical duties from
availing themselves of them ; but the chief obstacles
are insufficient acquaintance with the vernacular and
the customs and prejudices of the people, and, in the
case of some officers, exclusiveness. I consider that
far more attention should be paid to the acquisition
by young Executive Officers of a thorough knowledge

of the language and acquaintance with the religious
and social customs and feelings of the people.

Transfers are at present undesirably frequent. The
staff is insufficient. There should be a senior Joint-
Magistrate and Covenanted Deputy Collector at the
headquarters of almost every district in the province.
This is a matter of the utmost importance.

Municipalities have ample powers under the existing
law. In the case of District Boards, if their consti-
tution be amended so as to give due representation to
the various classes of the community, further powers
might perhaps be given them. My experience of
Local Boards is that they are ordinarily of little or
no use. Something might be done in the direction of
giving greater powers to the village community. In
this province the panchayats might be further utilised,
especially with a view to arbitration in petty criminal
and civil cases.

14845. Before you became Financial Secretary, you
were Director of Agriculture ?—I was.

14846. Is there any connection between your duties
as Financial Secretary and your duties as Director of
Agriculture?—No, except from a finance point of view.

14847. Probably the training you received as Direc-
tor of Agriculture is entirely thrown away in your
present department ?—I cannot say that, because one
acquires general experience of the province as Director
of Agriculture.

14848. Do your duties as Director of Agriculture
help you in dealing with financial questions ?—In
purely financial questions, they do not.

14849. Previously to that you had been Under-
secretary in the Financial and Municipal Depart-
ments ?—Yes.

14850. Were your duties as Under-Secretary in
those departments of any use to you as Director of
Agriculture ?—Not specially.

14851. Looking at it from a Government point of
view, might it have been very much better to have
kept you either on the financial side or on the agri-
cultural side when you were in the Secretariat ?—I do
not see how I could have been kept on the financial
side in the Secretariat, because the term of an Under-
secretary is limited to three years.

14852. When you were brought back, would it have
been more useful to have brought you back to the
Financial Department ?—I have been brought back
to the Financial Department ; the Agricultural
Department is not part of the Secretariat ; it is a
department under the Board of Revenue,

14853. It is rather a distinction without a difference ?
—It is not a department of the Secretariat.

14854. I understand that you are Secretary, not
only with regard to finance, but for municipal and
Local Self-Government ?—Yes.

14855. And also for medical, plague, sanitary mat-
ters, and inter alia, the Botanical Gardens ?—Yes.

14856. Do you find it difficult to combine all these
duties ? Take, for instance, municipal questions ;
you have practically, I suppose, all the municipalities,
with the exception of Calcutta, under your observa-
tion ?—Yes, and matters come up from the Calcutta
Municipality as well.

14857. Are the municipal budgets submitted to
you ?—The Calcutta Corporation budget is not sub-
mitted to Government.

14858. Are the budgets of the other municipalities
submitted to you ?—We review the accounts in the
annual reports ; they do not come up to Government
for sanction. They are dealt with by the Divisional
Commissioners.

14859. What is the composition of the Sanitary
Board in Bengal ?—It consists of the Second Member
of the Board of Revenue, the Secretary of the Public
Works Department, the Secretary of the Irrigation
Department, the Sanitary Commissioner, and the
Sanitary Engineer.

14860. Are its proceedings sent to you ?—Yes, if
necessary ; if the Board has to refer anything to
Government.

14861. Have they any power of decision?—Prac-

tically none.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

27

14862. Lb all their proceedirigs come up to yori as
recommendatioris, and do you submit them for the
orders of Griverrimrint ?—Tbe Board deals chiefly
with drairiage arid waterworks scheriies which ordi-
riarily crime rip tri Goverritrierit.

14863. Have you, as Secretary, any power of deci-
sion ?—If I thought a thirig did not rieed a reference
tb His Honorir, I would deal with it myself ; if it
werri a routine case, I would deal with it ; but if it1
were a matter which required the attention of the
Lieutenrint-Goverririr, I would send it tri him.

14864; Supposing a scheme came to your depart-
ment involving, say, an expenditrire Of Rs. 2,000,
would ^you feel that you were competent to deal with
it ?—If it were a new scheme, it would go to His
Honour ; but if it were a matter of intermediate
detail, I might be ablb to dispose of it.

14865. As Financial Secretary, have you any pro-
fessional knowledge of sanitary questions ?—I have
no professional knowledge with regard to sanitary
questions ; but there are the Sanitary Commissioner
and tlie Sariitary Engineer both on the Board.

14866. In what capacity does it come to you ?—It
may come up to me on a financial question, and it
may come rip on an administrative qhestiori of general
policy.

14867. Would it be possible to prevent this reference
to you ; the scheme, as a scheme, having once been
sanctioned in principle, what is the necessity of its
passing through your office ?—Ordinarily there would
oe no necessity.

14868. Then you are in charge of the Medical
Department ?—Yes.

14869. Do you deal with the promotions of Medical
Officers, or is that a question which goes to the
Government of India ?—Promotions in the Indian
Medical Service are regulated by the Army Regula-
tions. Appointments such as those of Assistant
Surgeons and Civil Hospital Assistants are dealt with
by the Inspector-General of Civil Hospitals and by
the Local Government.

14870. Have you any reason to suppose that there
are in the Indian Medical Service officers under you
who, from the point of view of a Local Government,
it would be desirable to get rid of ?—As to particular
officers I cannot say—l am not aware of any such.

14871. It has been stated iri evidence before us that
it is extremely difficult, owing to the intimate con-
nection between the Medical Officers under the pro-
vincial 1 Government and the Indian Medical Service,
to get1 rid of Undesirable officers. Do you know
whether that is the case in Bengal, or not ?—I cannot
say that any such case has come before me.

14872. You state that reductions in the estimate of
the Local Government' should be made by the Govern-
ment of India only if the forecasts of revenue were
over-sanguine, and not justified by facts. Lo you
wish to eliminate from the powers of the Government
of India over provincial finance the power to object to
the expenditure of money by the Local Government ?
—I do not object to the power of the central Govern-
ment generally ; I’ think that the Local Goverment
might have more finality.

14873. We have been told th'at the objections of the
Government of India frequently take the form of
saying to the provincial Government ; “You are not
able, by comparison with the past, tri' spend what you
desire tri spend,1 therefore we limit your expenditure.”
Why do you think Ihat is an unfair and undesirable
power for the Government of India tri possess ?—I
think it is carried too far. I have seen a few cases in
which small amounts were cut down in a way which
seemed. 'to be quite unririririssary: Iri some cases they
have b'eferi, no doubt, correctly cut down, but in others
not, and the estimates of the Local Government have
been found to be more correct eventually.

14874. Is the provincial Government’s estimate of
its capacity to spend a given sum within a financial
year, as a rule, correct, or incorrect ?—I think it has
the best means of1 deciding what it is able to spend
itself.

14875. Do you desire to have full power over ex-
penditure sub ject to the provincial balances being
kript intact ?—- That is the suggestion.

33263

14876. And if there is an accidental surplus of The Hon.
revenue, do you think that the Local Government
should be able to spend that up to the hilt '?—I think Oldham..

thrit wohld be only reasonable.

14877. Do you d^'sffe that1 the Local Government ——

should riot be overruled until it has hlud ari oppor-
tunity of criticising the remarks of the Government
of Indrii ?—Not of the Government of India, but of
the specialist advisers of the Government of India.

14878. Wotild you like tri see those specialists’
criticisms in detail ?—I think it would be useful to
the Local Government to have them before it.

14879. Might it not hurt the individual who made
those criticisms, subsequently ?—It might, no doubt.

14880. As Financial Secretary, are you in agree-
ment, not only with the grants now made to the
Commissioners for various purpose*, but with the
extension of the sarite principle to District Officers ? —

I think so.

14881. To what extetit?—I would say a grant of
one or two thousand rupees to each Collector according
tb the size arid importaUce of his district.

14882. Worild yoti carry that principle lower down,
and apply it1 to a Deputy Collector ?—I would not.

14883. {Mr. AcKens.) Do you rather object to the
interfererice of the Gbverrimerit of India with your
own estiriiates ?—I do not object to the gerieral prin-
ciple of a power of control vesting in the Government
of India ; btit the pbwef of control is at times carried
too far.

14884. Do you mean that they alter your figures
sometimes ?—Yes, sometimes.

14885. Why do you mind that—how does that hurt
you ?—It creates a feeling of insecurity, arid the Local
Governmerit do not know whether their figures are
going to be accepted or noL

14886. Does it give you much bother, for example,
in the way of having tb cut down your estimates to
meet their requirements?—It might do so. I have
heard of a case in practice in which a budget was cut
down ; a lump deduction was made, and it caused a
good deal of trouble in re-arranging the various
iteriis of the bridgeti

14887. Would that be the iriain objection, or does
atty other objection occur to you ?—The chief object
wbs that the Local Government might fairly be
allowed tb spbrid any unforeseen increase in its
revenue.

1488"8. 1 was rather speaking of the actual altera-
tion of1 the figures in" yoriri budget1 on the ground
that the revenue was unduly sanguine, or the reverse ;
have you any objection to the power of control exer-
cised by the Government of India in that respect ?-—

I have not. Sometimes estimates may be over-san-
guine.

14889. You say that the authority of the Local
Government in budgeting for requirements under the
several provincialised heads should be more final—
what do you mean exactly by that ?—That it should
be made more final than at present.

14890. Do you mean that to apply to the disposal of
their moneys ?—-Yes, and to cases of unnecessary
reductions, and small deductions under specific major
headk

14891. You do not object to the Government of
India cutting down your estimates on the ground that
they are faulty ?—In some cases it might be necessary
for them to do so.

14892. But what you do object to is their curtailing
your expenditure in any way ?—I object to their
curtailing our expenditure unnecessarily.

14893. But do they do it in practice ?—I cannot cite
a case vet.

14894. Would you give the Government of Lidia
certain revenues, and transfer the remainder of the
revenues to the provincial account, leaving any
deficiency in the imperial revenue to be made up by
means of a species of tribute from the various
provinces ?—I have thrown out a suggestion which
might simplify matters, I think. It would be a certain
percentage—it would not be a fixed tribute, but a
percentage, and, therefore, liable to increase as the
revenues expanded.

D 2


26

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

The Hon.
Mr. C.JE. A.
Oldham.

27 1907.

provincial Government. I am not prepared to say
that Local Governments should be given borrowing
powers.

At all events in respect of the provisions of the
Civil Service Regulations in regard to travelling
allowances and pensions, all the powers now vested
in the Government of India nrght, without objection,
be delegated to the Local Government. In regard to
other restrictions imposed by the codes and regulations,
what is wanted is not the abrogation of such restric-
tions, which are salutary on the whole, but that a
Local Government should be allowed a wider discretion
in giving effect to the rules and in sanctioning a
departure from them in special cases for adequate
reasons.

In regard to the application to local conditions of
general lines of policy laid down by the Government
of India, it should be recognised that the Imperial
Government should not interfere with the discretion
of a Local Government in matters of detail, except
by way of suggestion.

The most satisfactory way of dealing with any
relaxations which may be comtemplated of restrictions
imposed by law or by rules having the force of law,
would be by a general Act authorising the Local
Government to delegate powers reserved to the Local
Government or other authority to subordinate author-
ities where, in the opinion of Government, such
delegation might be made without detriment to the
public interest. It would be a good thing if the
Local Government had authority to vest with powers,
at present reserved for higher authorities, specific
officers subordinate to such authorities in whom
Government could place full confidence that they
would exercise those powers with propriety and
discretion. This would act as an incentive to officers
to merit by their work and conduct the confidence of
their Government.

Occasionally cases do occur which point to a tendency
to c onsider matters too much from a purely depart-
mental standpoint, but such cases are rare. The best
remedy is to select for Secretariat appointments
officers with adequate mufassal experience and of tried
administrative capacity.

The proper sphere of work of Directors and
Inspectors-General is to inspect and to make sugges-
tions. In cases in which proposals made by a Local
Government are submitted to such an officer, who is
regarded as a specialist, and where his recommendations
are against the proposals of the Local Government,
the Local Government should be allowed an oppor-
tunity of seeing the views expressed before its
proposals are overruled by the Imperial Government.

It will be highly undesirable to lay down that no
appeal should be admitted unless accompanied by
certificate from the authority passing the order
appealed against that reasonable grounds of appeal
exist. I would not curtail the right of appeal at
present existing.

In this province allotments are now made to
Commissioners of Divisions to enable them to make
grants on the spot for purposes of a public nature, or
to remedy small defects brought to their notice at the
time of inspection, with a view to avoiding corres-
pondence and consequent delay. Small grants might
be made on the same principle to District Officers.

Sufficient weight is not always given to the views of
the Commissioner in matters other than those
appertaining to the Land Revenue Department. It
should be definitely understood that the Commissioner
of a Division has full authority to take cognizance of
any irregularities or other matters calling for remedy
in any department of the administration that may
come to his notice, and either to deal with them
himself, or advise the departmental authorities, or the
Government, how they should be dealt with.

Opportunities of personal contact with the people
undoubtedly exist, though Executive Officers are
sometimes prevented by excessive clerical duties from
availing themselves of them ; but the chief obstacles
are insufficient acquaintance with the vernacular and
the customs and prejudices of the people, and, in the
case of some officers, exclusiveness. I consider that
far more attention should be paid to the acquisition
by young Executive Officers of a thorough knowledge

of the language and acquaintance with the religious
and social customs and feelings of the people.

Transfers are at present undesirably frequent. The
staff is insufficient. There should be a senior Joint-
Magistrate and Covenanted Deputy Collector at the
headquarters of almost every district in the province.
This is a matter of the utmost importance.

Municipalities have ample powers under the existing
law. In the case of District Boards, if their consti-
tution be amended so as to give due representation to
the various classes of the community, further powers
might perhaps be given them. My experience of
Local Boards is that they are ordinarily of little or
no use. Something might be done in the direction of
giving greater powers to the village community. In
this province the panchayats might be further utilised,
especially with a view to arbitration in petty criminal
and civil cases.

14845. Before you became Financial Secretary, you
were Director of Agriculture ?—I was.

14846. Is there any connection between your duties
as Financial Secretary and your duties as Director of
Agriculture?—No, except from a finance point of view.

14847. Probably the training you received as Direc-
tor of Agriculture is entirely thrown away in your
present department ?—I cannot say that, because one
acquires general experience of the province as Director
of Agriculture.

14848. Do your duties as Director of Agriculture
help you in dealing with financial questions ?—In
purely financial questions, they do not.

14849. Previously to that you had been Under-
secretary in the Financial and Municipal Depart-
ments ?—Yes.

14850. Were your duties as Under-Secretary in
those departments of any use to you as Director of
Agriculture ?—Not specially.

14851. Looking at it from a Government point of
view, might it have been very much better to have
kept you either on the financial side or on the agri-
cultural side when you were in the Secretariat ?—I do
not see how I could have been kept on the financial
side in the Secretariat, because the term of an Under-
secretary is limited to three years.

14852. When you were brought back, would it have
been more useful to have brought you back to the
Financial Department ?—I have been brought back
to the Financial Department ; the .Agricultural
Department is not part of the Secretariat ; it is a
department under the Board of Revenue.

14853. It is rather a distinction without a difference ?
—It is not a department of the Secretariat.

14854. I understand that you are Secretary, not
only with regard to finance, but for municipal and
Local Self-Government ?—Yes.

14855. And also for medical, plague, sanitary mat-
ters, and inter alia, the Botanical Gardens ?—Yes.

14856. Do you find it difficult to combine all these
duties ? Take, for instance, municipal questions ;
you have practically, I suppose, all the municipalities,
with the exception of Calcutta, under your observa-
tion ?—Yes, and matters come up from the Calcutta
Municipality as well.

14857. Are the municipal budgets submitted to
you ?—The Calcutta Corporation budget is not sub-
mitted to Government.

14858. Are the budgets of the other municipalities
submitted to you ?—We review the accounts in the
annual reports ; they do not come up to Government
for sanction. They are dealt with by the Divisional
Commissioners.

14859. What is the composition of the Sanitary
Board in Bengal ?—It consists of the Second Member
of the Board of Revenue, the Secretary of the Public
Works Department, the Secretary of the Irrigation
Department, the Sanitary Commissioner, and the
Sanitary Engineer.

14860. Are its proceedings sent to you ?—Yes, if
necessary ; if the Board has to refer anything to
Government.

14861. Have they any power of decision?—Prac-

tically none.


- â–  -





ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 27

14862. Do all their proceedings come up to you as
recommendations, and do you submit them for the
orders of Government ?—The Board deals chiefly
with drainage and waterworks schemes which ordi-
narily come up to Government.

14863. Have you, as Secretary, any power of deci-
sion ?—If I thought a thing did not need a reference
to His Honour, I would deal with it myself ; if it
were a routine case, I would deal with it ; but if it
were a matter which required the attention of the
Lieutenant-Governor, I would send it to him.

14864. Supposing a scheme came to your depart-
ment involving, say, an expenditure of Rs. 2,000,
would you feel that you were competent to deal with
it ?—If it were a new scheme, it would go to His
Honour ; but if it were a matter of intermediate
detail, I might be able to dispose of it.

14865. As Financial Secretary, have you any pro-
fessional knowledge of sanitary questions?—I have
no professional knowledge with regard to sanitary
questions ; but there are the Sanitary Commissioner
and the Sanitary Engineer both on the Board.

14866. In what capacity does it come to you ?—It
may come up to me on a financial question, and it
may come up on an administrative question of general
policy.

14867. Would it be possible to prevent this reference
to you ; the scheme, as a scheme, having once been
sanctioned in principle, what is the necessity of its
passing through your office ?—Ordinarily there would
be no necessity.

14868. Then you are in charge of the Medical
Department ?—Yes.

14869. Do you deal with the promotions of Medical
Officers, or is that a question which goes to the
Government of India ?—Promotions in the Indian
Medical Service are regulated by the Army Regula-
tions. Appointments such as those of Assistant
Surgeons and Civil Hospital Assistants are dealt with
by the Inspector-General of Civil Hospitals and by
the Local Government.

14870. Have you any reason to suppose that there
are in the Indian Medical Service officers under you
who, from the point of view of a Local Government,
it would be desirable to get rid of ?—As to particular
officers I cannot say—I am not aware of any such.

14871. It has been stated in evidence before us that
it is extremely difficult, owing to the intimate con-
nection between the Medical Officers under the pro-
vincial Government and the Indian Medical Service,
to get rid of undesirable officers. Do you know
whether that is the case in Bengal, or not ?—I cannot
say that any such case has come before me.

14872. You state that reductions in the estimate of
the Local Government should be made by the Govern-
ment of India only if the forecasts of revenue were
over-sanguine, and not justified by facts. Do you
wish to eliminate from the powers of the Government
of India over provincial finance the power to object to
the expenditure of money by the Local Government ?
—I do not object to the power of the central Govern-
ment generally ; I think that the Local Goverment
might have more finality.

14873. We have been told that the objections of the
Government of India frequently take the form of
saying to the provincial Government : “You are not
able, by comparison with the past, to spend what you
desire to spend, therefore we limit your expenditure.”
Why do you think that is an unfair and undesirable
power for the Government of India to possess ?—I
think it is carried too far. I have seen a few cases in
which small amounts were cut down in a way which
seemed to be quite unnecessary. In some cases they
have been, no doubt, correctly cut down, but in others
not, and the estimates of the Local Government have
been found to be more correct eventually.

14874. Is the provincial Government’s estimate of
its capacity to spend a given sum within a financial
year, as a rule, correct, or incorrect ?—I think it has
the best means of deciding what it is able to spend
itself.

14875. Do you desire to have full power over ex-
penditure subject to the provincial balances being
kept intact ?—That is the suggestion.

33263

14876. And if there is an accidental surplus of ^ie &on-
revenue, do you think that the Local Government Mr.O,
should be able to spend that up to the hilt ?—I think Oldham,

that would be only reasonable. n. „ ' nAn

J 21 Dec,, 1907

14877. Do you desire that the Local Government -------------

should not be overruled until it has had an oppor-
tunity of criticising the remarks of the Government
of India ?—Not of the Government of India, but of
the specialist advisers of the Government of India.

14878. Would you like to see those specialists’
criticisms in detail ?—I think it would be useful to
the Local Government to have them before it.

14879. Might it not hurt the individual who made
those criticisms, subsequently ?—It might, no doubt.

14880. As Financial Secretary, are you in agree-
ment, not only with the grants now made to the
Commissioners for various purpose^, but with the
extension of the same principle to District Officers ?—

I think so.

14881. To what extent?—I would say a grant of
one or two thousand rupees to each Collector according
to the size and importance of his district.

14882. Would you carry that principle lower down,
and apply it to a Deputy Collector ?—I would not.

14883. (Jfn Hichens.) Do you rather object to the
interference of the Government of India with your
own estimates ?—I do not object to the general prin-
ciple of a power of control vesting in the Government
of India ; but the poweF of control is at times carried
too far.

14884. Do you mean that they alter your figures
sometimes ?—Yes, sometimes.

14885. Why do you mind that—how does that hurt
you ?—It creates a feeling of insecurity, and the Local
Government do not know whether their figures are
going to be accepted or not.

14886. Does it give you much bother, for example,
in the way of having to cut down your estimates to
meet their requirements?—It might do so. I have
heard of a case in practice in which a budget was cut
down ; a lump deduction was made, and it caused a
good deal of trouble in re-arranging the various
items of the budget.

14887. Would that be the main objection, or does
any other objection occur to you ?—The chief object
W'bs that the Local Government might fairly be
allowed to spend any unforeseen increase in its
revenue.

14888. 1 was rather speaking of the actual altera-
tion of the figures in your budget on the ground
that the revenue was unduly sanguine, or the reverse ;
have you any objection to the power of control exer-
cised by the Government of India in that respect ?—

I have not. Sometimes estimates may be over-san-
guine.

14889. You say that the authority of the Local
Government in budgeting for requirements under the
several provincialised heads should be more final—
what do you mean exactly by that ?—That it should
be made more final than at present.

14890. Do you mean that to apply to the disposal of
their moneys ?—Yes, and to cases of unnecessary
reductions, and small deductions under specific major
heads.

14891. You do not object to the Government of
India cutting down your estimates on the ground that
they are faulty ?—In some cases it might be necessary
for them to do so.

14892. But what you do object to is their curtailing
your expenditure in any way ?—I object to their
curtailing our expenditure unnecessarily.

14893. But do they do it in practice ?—I cannot cite
a case yet.

14894. Would you give the Government of India
certain revenues, and transfer the remainder of the
revenues to the provincial account, leaving any
deficiency in the imperial revenue to be made up by
means of a species of tribute from the various
provinces ?—I have thrown out a suggestion which
might simplify masters, I think. It would be a certain
percentage—it would not be a fixed tribute, but a
percentage, and, therefore, liable to increase as the
revenues expanded.

D 2


28

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

The Hon.
Mr. C. JE. A.

Oldham.

27 Dec., 1907.

14895. Would not the position be that the Govern-
ment of India would make up their budget, and would
leave any deficit there might be to be distributed
pro rata amongst the different provinces in proportion
to the revenue of each province ?—No ; the percentage
to be paid by each province should be fixed for each
province separately, in consultation between the
Imperial Government and the provincial Government.

14896. In what way would that be simpler?—It would
be fairer, because in some provinces there are certain
expandable heads of revenue which do not occur in
others ; in Bengal, for instance, our land revenue is
practically fixed—there is very little increase or
decrease in it owing to the permanent settlement, and,
therefore, a distribution on the same principle as in
Bengal might not be fair to the other provinces.

14897. With regard to the organizations of local
authorities, can you give me any information ; is not the
first thing a union committee ?—There are only union
committees in a few districts ; in every district there
is a District Board.

14898. Am I right in assuming that union com-
mittees have not been a success ?—Yes.

14899. Can you give me any reason why they are not
a success ?—I believe they do no useful work, but I
have never been in a district where there is a union,
and I cannot speak from personal experience.

14900. As Head of the Municipal Department, what
is your opinion?—That is generally the accepted
opinion of the officers who have had to deal with
union committees. I think it is because there is no
moving spirit upon the union committee to guide and
direct.

14901. What is the next body ?—The Local Board ;
for each subdivision there is ordinarily a Local Board.
Then comes the District Board.

14902. How is that recruited to-day?—Partly by
nomination, partly by election from the Local Boards
in the district.

14903. Can you give me any information with
regard to the financing of the Local Boards ?—The
Local Boards are financed from the District Boards’
funds.

14904. Does the Local Board get the amount of the
cess collected within its borders?—No.

14905. Do they get a certain portion of the cess ?—
That is not the case in this province. The distribution
is made at the discretion of the District Board.

14906. Is there not also a Government grant made
to District Boards ?—Certain specific grants are made
for' certain specific purposes.

14907. Does not the Government of Tndia give a
specific grant of a certain amount which has to be
distributed amongst the District Boards ?—They give
it to the provincial Government, to be distributed
amongst the District Boards.

14908. What is the principle upon which the
Government distributes it amongst the Boards?—
The Commissioners of divisions are asked to state
their requirements.

14909. Does the provincial Government distribute
the amount received pro rata on any fixed scale ?—
No, it is distributed according to supposed local
requirements.

14910. Although a District Board cannot count for
certain on getting anything, in practice would they
not get something, although they would have to make
out a very good case in order to get a big sum ?—Yes.

14911. Does the provincial Government add to the
contribution of the Imperial Government at all?—It
makes grants over and above that contribution
sometimes ; at present it makes large grants for
communications. They are not annual and recurring
grants, but they have been made now for several
consecutive years.

14912. Are they for some capital work, such as the
construction of a new road, or the construction of a
water-works?—Yes, they are made sometimes for the
construction of a new road ; or bridge, and in some
cases for metalling a road ; it is not a permanent
endowment.

14913. Therefore, the District Boards are really
dependant on what they can collect locally, plus what
they obtain from the Government of India ?—Yes.

14914. Is there a fund called the provincial Cess
Fund which is collected by the provincial Govern-
ment ?—Yes.

14915. Is that distributed among the District
Boards ?—It is assessed on each district separately
according to the rates laid down in the Act, district
by district ; the Cess is assessed on the land.

14916. By whom is this money collected?—It is
collected by the District Officer.

14917. Has he got the spending of it ?—The District
Board has the spending of the Road Cess, but not the
Public Works Cess.

14918. Is the Public Works Cess collected by the
District Officer ?—Yes, along with the Road Cess ;
they are both collected together.

14919. Does the District Officer have the spending
of the Public Works Cess?—No, not under the
present rules.

14920. The position with regard to that is that all
the money collected in respect of the Public Works
Cess is centralised ?—Yes.

14921. And then it is doled out ?—I do not control
the doling out of it.

14922. Would it be advisable, instead of giving the
Boards an indefinite amount—an amount that they
cannot count on annually—to give them a definite
pro rata contribution each year so that they would
know where they were ?—The amount available for
expenditure by a Board is not so indefinite as you
seem to think. In respect of the Government contri-
bution it might, perhaps, be more settled.

14923. With regard to loans, have district authorities
any powers whatever of raising loans ?—District
Boards can only raise loans at present with the
consent of the Government of India ; they can obtain
loans from the Local Government.

14924. Has the provincial Government a reserve
sum which it can put at the disposal of the District
Boards ?—Yes, I think all ordinary requirements can
be met, but such applications are not numerous.

14925. Should you say that reasonable facilities
exist for a progressive District Board to get any
money it is justified in asking for at a reasonable rate
of interest ?—I think so.

14926. Is the financial endowment of District
Boards, whether through the District Cess, or other-
wise, sufficient to enable them to carry out a reasonable
policy of improvement and progression ?—No, I do
not think their total funds are sufficient for their
requirements ; but now that the Government of India
are coming to their rescue, I think it may be so.

14927. And that being done, would your opinion be
that the financial resources are adequate ?—I think
that then their financial resources will be adequate.

14928. Is the maximum cess which they collect
half-an-anna per rupee on the annual value ?—Yes.

14929. There is no elasticity with regard to the
revenue ?—Not with regard to the Road Cess.

14930. Is it desirable that there should be any
elasticity?—No, because that would mean fresh
taxation. I am not fully prepared to give an answer.

14931. Do the municipalities get the main bulk of
their revenues from an assessment rate ?—Yes, a local
rate either levied on holdings, or on persons.

14932. Is the maximum that they can raise laid
down by law ?—It is.

14933. Can you tell me from your knowledge of
the work whether they raise the maximum, or not, in
practice?—Yes, the maximum is generally raised in
regard to the rate on persons and holdings, but in the
case of certain other rates they do not always impose
the maximum—for instance, in the case of the
water-rate.

14934. Would you say again, broadly speaking, that
there is no elasticity with regard to the revenue of
municipalities ?—No.

14935. Have they ample powers of increasing their
rates if necessary?—Yes, I think so.

14936. Do they receive any Government grant ?—
They get certain small grants but there are no large
grants given to municipalities.






ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 29

14937. Are they what one might call ad hoc grants ?
—Yes.

14938. Is there any differentiation between a muni-
cipality and a District Board ; is it fair to argue that
because a District Board receives a grant in-aid a
municipality should have it too ?—It has been gene-
rally found that District Boards have shorter funds
than municipalities have.

14939. Is there anything in the argument that
land throughout a district pays heavier taxation to the
country than land included in municiple areas does ?—
I do not see how that argument can apply.

14940. Is there any reason why a municipality
should not have a grant-in-aid from the Government ?
—Ordinarily, their resources are sufficient to meet the
requirements of their administration

14941. Are their powers of taxation sufficient
already to enable them to carry on ?—I think so, but
for special work, such as water-works, or large schemes
of drainage, they come up for assistance from the
Government, and Government is always very liberal
in granting that assistance.

14942. Might the Government make a grant to-
wards making certain local water-works, while the local
authority would not have enough money to run them
when they were made ?—I think they ought to be able
to arrange for the upkeep.

14943. {Mr. Dutt.) You are in favour of a General
Act authorizing the Local Government to delegate
powers to subordinate authorities ?—Yes.

14944. When certain powers have been reserved to
the Government by specific Acts, and the Govern-
ment delegates those powers to the Commissioner or
Collector under a general Act of devolution, do you
not think that, to some extent, public expectation is
defeated ?—I think the public ought to have the right
to object ; any such intention to delegate power ought
to be notified in the Gazette so as to give the public
an opportunity of raising an objection, if they have
any, by memorial or petition.

14945. But when an Act is passed and certain
powers are reserved to the Government, is that not
done with the idea that such powers shall not be
delegated except by another Act ?—Yes.

14946. Therefore would it not be a better procedure,
to delegate those powers by an amending Act ?—That
would be a troublesome process.

14947. Looking at it from the point of view of the
public, or of the Government Officer ?—There are
very few cases in which the public would have any
reason to object to delegation ; the Local Government
would only do it when it was satisfied that there
would be no detriment to the public interest.

14948. But there would be no opportunity of rais-
ing a debate in Council ; the public would only have
an opportunity of sending a memorial ?—But the
question might be raised in Council in the shape of an
interpellation.

14949. Do you make any recommendation for cur-
tailing the existing rights of appeal ?—Personally, I
do not.

14950. You think that the existing rights are good
in the way of fostering a sense of security in Govern-
ment officers ?—I think they are regarded in that
light.

14951. As a District Officer, you have been Chair-
man of the District Board ?—Yes.

14952. Have you had elected members who are
really anxious to help and advise you ?—I have.

14953. And who have proved useful and prudent
advisers ?—Yes.

14954. Then you are not prepared altogether to
support the criticism that a system of election will
not secure persons who would be both good and use-
ful ?— I have not said that all the elected members are
of use to the District Officer—there are some no doubt
who are. I think the system of election might be
improved on, and that we might get better represen-
tation than we have at present.

14955. But you do not agree that the present
system of election will not secure such persons ?—Not
always.

The Hon.
Mr. C. E. A.
Oldham.

14956. With regard to nominated members on
District Boards, I suppose you have found many who
are respected and whose action is independent ?—Yes.

14957. A nominated member is not necessarily an 27 Dec., 1907.
object of suspicion by the people ?—Certainly not. ----

14958. And he is not often the object of vitupera-
tion by his own countrymen ?—I do not think so.

14959. With regard to the appointment of Euro-
peans, the Government of Bengal has asked for
power to appoint in cases where professional or
technical qualifications are required ? Are such cases
very rare ?—They are.

14960. Therefore there is no urgent necessity for
the Government of India to withdraw their power in
that matter ?—It is a power which the Local Govern-
ment ought to have ; there would be many more
references from other Local Governments.

14961. But so far as the Local Government of
Bengal is concerned, the necessity is not urgent ?—It
is desirable that they should have it.

14962. Would it save very much trouble and work
if that power was granted?—Not very much, but it
might be that an urgent matter might arise ; for in-
stance, in the Marine Department an urgent case
might arise, and it is very undesirable that the matter
should have to be referred, say, to Simla.

14963. Is the rule made by the Secretary of State ?

—‘It is a rule of the Civil Service Regulations.

14964. Recommendations have been made that
Municipal Commissioners should be appointed by the
Divisional Commisioner instead of by the Govern-
ment ; Should the power be kept in the hands of the
Government ?—No, I think it could be properly
delegated to the Divisional Commissioner.

14965. When a Chairman is elected under the
present law, his election is sanctioned by the Govern-
ment ?—Yes, it is a mere formality.

14966. A recommendation has been made that such
election should be sanctioned by the Commissioner of
the Division ; do you agree with that ?—It would
save a great deal of unnecessary correspondence ; it
is a pure formality.

14967. But does it give the Government very
much work ?—Yes, it does ; I do not know how many
cases there have been, but there have been a large
number.

14968. But does it involve much work in each case ?

—Yes, two or three letters have to be written.

14969. Would Municipal Commissioners themselves
prefer appointment by the Divisional Commissioner or
by the Government ?—I do not think they would
trouble much about it.

14970. There is a recommendation that Assistant
Surgeons, who, I understand, are Gazetted Officers,
should be posted by the Head of the Department to
actual vacancies ?—Should not their appointments
rest in the hands of the Government ?—I do not think
it is at all necessary ; in fact, the Government is
practically bound to accept the Inspector-General’s
nomination.

14971. I find that there have been only 34 such
appointments made during the last three years, so that
there would not be much saving of work ?—If you
take individual cases, of course, there would not be,
but taking them altogether there would be an
enormous amount of work saved.

14972. In that matter also you do not know exactly
what the Assistant Surgeons themselves would like ?—

I cannot say.

14973. {Sir Frederic Lely.) In one;respect you have
had rather an exceptional experience, having been five
years a Collector of a district. Can you give us any
explanation as to why you remained so long ?—Simply
because I remained there, and did not take any
leave.

14974. Do appeals from the Board of Revenue come
through you ?—Yes, any matter coming to the
Government comes thiough me.

14975. Does a great portion of your work consist
of appeals ?—Appeals are generally dealt w ith by the
Board of Revenue.


30

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE :

The Hon.
Mr.C.D.A.

Oldham.

21 Dec., 1907.

14976. Do they virtually terminate with the Board
of Revenue ?—I think so.

14977. (&> JEJAyerfoy.) If a general dele-

gating Act were passed, would it be passed by the
same Legislative Council as passed the original Act, or
would it be passed by a superior Legislative Council ?
—Probably by a superior Legislative Council.

14978. If such an Act were passed, would the public
cease to expect the Government to proceed by specific
legislation ?—Yes, I imagine so.

14979. {Mr. As a matter of fact, are the

budget estimates as modified by the Government
accompanied by a letter from the Financial Secretary
explaining that such modifications as have been made
are made in the interests of financial accuracy, and
that there would be no objection to Local Govern-
ments spending more if they can find the money ?—
Latterly that has been done, but I do not know if it
was always done.

14980. Is not the position that the Local Govern-
ment can make reappropriations within its own bud-
get, so long as the total of the budget estimate is not
exceeded, but if the total is exceeded, they have to go
to the Government of India ?—That is so.

14981. Have you ever had to go up as regards that ?
—I have only been in charge for a month.

14982. It would be necessary, in any case, that you
should inform the Government of India of any extra
allotments you are making ?—Yes.

14983. You are in favour of an arrangement under
which the Government of India, after taking certain
imperial heads of revenue, would get a fixed per-
centage from the provincial heads ? Is not that the
system in force now, and does not the Government
of India divide the heads with you ?—Certainly.

14984. And you get the whole of the rest ?—Yes.

14985. Then what is the difference between your
proposed system and the present one?—We do not
get a share of the customs revenue.

14986. Do you think you should get a share of it ?
— Yes. It is a very expanding revenue. I have not
suggested railways, because I do not think the
Imperial Government would ever give that up.

14987. With regard to customs, a great quantity of
goods which are consumed outside Bengal pays the
original duty in Calcutta ?—I cannot say.

14988. Who pays for the goods eventually—the
persons who consume them ?—Yes.

14989. Therefore, you would be levying a tax on the
consumer in, say, the United Provinces ?—Possibly.

14990. Is the chief object in having a change to get
more revenue ?—More of the expanding revenue, yes.

14991. You propose that all the powers vested in
the Government of India with regard to the Civil
Service Regulations should be transferred to the
Local Government ?—Not all ; only those in respect
of travelling allowances and pensions.

14992. Are not pensions largely paid by the Govern-
ment of India ?—Yes. Local Governments would
naturally only deal with the pensions paid from pro-
vincial funds.

14993. You say there should be a senior Magistrate
in every district—do you mean a personal assistant to
the Collector ?—At present the Joint-Magistrate is not

a personal assistant to the Collector, or at least cannot
be described as such, but he generally disposes of all
the more important criminal work, and to relieve the
District Magistrate of that would enable him to
devote more time to his revenue functions.

14994. Are you in agreement with other witnesses
who have suggested that the best way to relieve the
Collector is to have a Sadar Sub-Divisional Officer ?
—I think he ought to have rhat as well. One of the
chief functions of a Joint-Magistrate would be to pre-
serve continuity. When an officer goes on leave, or is
removed from his district, or from any other cause,
the Joint-Magistrate would hold charge.

14995. Then you want the Collector to be relieved
of the work of the sub-division and to have this
officer as well ?—Yes.

14996. Is that done in Bombay ?—I do not know.
The Collector in Bengal has not immediate charge of
the Sadar sub-division ; he has immediate charge of
the whole district, but there is no separate administra-
tion for the Sadar sub-division. The criminal work
is done by the Deputy Magistrate at headquarters ;
the revenue work is done by the Deputy Collectors at
headquarters.

14997. Is there no separate officer with territorial
responsibility over the Sadar sub-division ?—No, there
is not ; in Bengal those territorial duties are practically
nil ; there are no separate revenue functions to per-
form in respect of the sub-divisions as distinct from
the general revenue work of the district which is done
at headquarters.

14998. Is the Sadar Sub-Divisional Officer to act as
a Magistrate ?—Yes, his functions would be almost
entirely magisterial and police.

14999. Mr. Gait explained the new system intro-
duced by the Lieutenant-Governor under which cases
were dealt with, which had to come from the Board of
Revenue to the Government ; is the method described
by him that which prevails in your department ?—Yes.

15000. Taking the case of a municipality starting
a waterworks scheme to which you give assistance in
regard to the capital account, is it able to levy a rate
in support of the scheme ?—Yes.

15001. And the persons benefiting by the water are
supposed to pay ?—Yes.

15302. In most provinces there is a land cess of one
anna in the rupee, the whole of which is taken by the
District Board ; in Bengal, as I understand, there is a
system under which only one half goes to the existing
District Board and the other half is taken by the
Local Government as Public Works Cess ; on the other
hand, out of that half does not the Local Government
give about a half again—that is to say about a quarter
of an anna in the rupee, to the various District
Boards in the shape of subsidies ?—It makes grants
equal to a quarter of the Public Works Cess.

15003. Not rateably to each Board as a whole, but
to the Boards collectively ?—Yes.

15004. Reference has been made to the fact of the
District Engineer being taken away from the control
of the Board ; would that be altogether satisfactory
to the Board ?—Personally I do not ; as Chairman of
a District Board I have had a good deal of difficulty
with the District Engineer, and I think he ought to be
entirely under the control of the District Board.

{The witness withdrew.')

was called and examined.

The Hon,
Mr. W. A,
Inglis.

27 Dec., 1907.

15005, {Chairman.) You are Chief Engineer in the
Public Works Department and your duties are moie
particularly concerned with irrigation ?— Yes. I am
also Secretary in the Bengal Public Works Department.

In Bengal there is no absolute separation between
the Irrigation Branch and the Buildings Branch of
the Public Works Department. Executive Engineers
in charge of Canal or Embankment Divisions have
also charge of the Government roads and buildings
within the territorial limits of their charges. At the

same time there are certain divisions and circles which
deal only with buildings and roads. There are two
Chief Engineers and Secretaries to Government. One
deals with buildings and roads. The other with irriga-
tion, embankments, navigation and drainage. It
follows that the Chief Engineer of the Roads and
Buildings Branch has dealings with the Superintein-
ding Engineers of all Circles, while the Chief Engineer
of the Irrigation Branch deals only as a rule with the
Superintending Engineers of Irrigation Circles.




ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

31

The following is the present strength of the
Gazetted staff of the Public Works Department in
Bengal, as a whole :—

Chief Engineers ... 2.
Superintending Engineers 8.(a).
Executive Engineers ... ... 27(Z>), (c).
Assistant Engineers .,. 24(d).
Temporary Engineers ... 6.

at



ut

The sanctioned cadre of the province provides for
30 Executive Engineers and 30 Assistant Engineers.
There are also 114 members of the Upper Sub-
ordinate grades on salaries ranging from Rs. 80 to Rs.
500 a month, whose appointments and promotions, etc.,
are notified in the Gazette, and who, to a large extent,
hold the sub-divisions of the executive charges and are
in the position of Resident Engineers. The officers
of the Department have to design, construct, and
maintain all provincial or imperial works. The Super-
intending Engineers are also Inspecting Officers of
local works, mainly roads.

I control, as Chief Engineer, the working of the
Irrigation Branch of the Department. I also, as Sec-
retary, advise the Lieutenant-Governor on all matters
connected with canals, rivers, embankments, and
drainage. As Secretary in the Marine Department,

I have to deal with questions relating to the Bengal
Pilot Service, of which the Port Officer is the executive
head ; the Calcutta Port Trust; the various acts re-
lating to shipping, including appointments of Courts
of Enquiry in cases of casualties and the survey of
vessels, both sea-going and inland ; the administration
of the Steam-boilers and Prime-movers Act and the
Smoke Nuisances Act ; and the Petroleum Act. In
the Railway Branch I have to deal with Bengal Tram-
ways Act and with light railways and the Darjeeling-
Himalayan Railway. The Bengal Government has no
control over, or responsibility for, the larger railway
systems, but questions have to be dealt with in respect
to the acquisition of land for railway purposes. Also
in cases of projected lines the opinion of the 1 ocal
Government is given with respect to general align-
ment and to the provision of waterways and road
crossings.

The sanction of the Government of India is
required to rules made by the Local Governments
under the provisions of most of the Acts which we
administer in the Marine Department. As these Acts
have mostly a general application throughout India, it
is right that the rules should be considered by the
Government of India, and no relaxation is required.

There is a tendency in the direction of making
regulations which are too rigid and which do not
allow sufficiently for varying local conditions. For
instance, it is, in many parts of this province, hardly
possible to comply with the regulations in the Public
Works Code, on the subject of the provision of
residences for Government officers, and deviations
have to be referred to the Government of India and
are not always received sympathetically. The Local
Government might be given a wider discretion, and it
might be left to the Financial Department of the
Local Government to exercise a check on any ten-
dency to extravagance. Again, in respect to the
scheme now being carried through for housing Officers
in Calcutta, or for giving a house allowance in lieu of
a Government residence. It is a mistake to try to
make one set of hard and fast rules which shall be
applied to all Departments. The conditions as to
salaries and pensions vary materially, and I see no
reason why there should be absolute uniformity in
the matter of house allowances. The Indian En-
gineers who, as a rule, always preferred service in
Calcutta on account of social amenities and educa-
tional advantages, are distinct gainers, while the*
European and Eurasian Engineers are distinctly worse
off than they were before the present scheme was
initiated. It would be better to let each department
or branch of the Service work out its own scheme to
suit its own conditions.

(A) Of these one is Sanitary Engineer, and four have
charge of Irrigation Circles which include buildings and
roads. Three have charge of buildings and roads only.

(&) Of these seven are Assistant Engineers with tem-
porary rank.

(
(d) Fourteen imperial, ten provincial.

A broader view might with advantage be taken in
discussing schemes suggested for irrigation and navi-
gation which, though desirable in themselves, do not
promise to yield a sufficient profit on the capital
outlay to bring them within the category of produc-
tive public works as defined in the Public Works
Code. More consideration should be given to the
value which such works have to the State, over and
above the direct cash return to Government. To
illustrate this, we have at present in this province a
scheme for an irrigation canal from the river Damu-
dar. The net revenue which can be safely reckoned
on is sufficient only to pay 4 per cent, on a capital of
30 lakhs. It does not appear probable that the capital
outlay would be less than 40 lakhs. The scheme has
therefore to be put on the shelf, as the conditions of
the country commanded, in regard to scarcity or
famine, are not such as would justify outlay on a
purely protective work. In the season just past, when
there was a great need of irrigation, sufficient water
was flowing uselessly down the Damudar to provide
for nearly 100,000 acres of rice, and if this could
have been supplied, it would without doubt have been
of great value to the country. In the case of schemes
such as this a grant-in-aid might be made from
ordinary revenues, whether provincial or imperial,
which would rank as deferred stock. The appropria-
tion from loan funds might then be permitted up to
that sum, on which the revenues of the project could
be depended on to give a return of at least 4 per
cent.

We have under consideration a scheme of consider-
able magnitude for a canal to allow inland steamers
and flats more direct access to Calcutta. It is
doubtful if the estimate can be kept within limits
which would admit of its being classed as a productive
public work, and the same question arises whether it
would not be proper to supply a certain amount of the
capital from ordinary revenues without seeking a
profit. In several European countries much money is
expended by the State in giving such facilities as a
measure of general administration, and without ex-
pectation of direct gain to the State revenues. It
seems to me that a departmental spirit and desire for
direct return on all outlay does here obstruct the
general consideration of what is a very important
matter of administration. Similarly, this Govern-
ment has asked for some time that a general enquiry
may be made into the possibilities of improving the
natural waterways. So far this has received no
apparent consideration by the Government of India.

The only Inspector-General with whom I am
brought in contact is the Inspector-General of Irri-
gation. His sphere should be to criticise and suggest
in regard to the technical or engineering aspect of a
scheme, and it is better that he should not intervene
in regard to the administrative aspect.

As far as the Public Works Department is con-
cerned, the existing regulations on the subject of
appeals are suitable.

The Government of India have recently suggested
that Superintending Engineers and Executive Engi-
neers should be given wider powers to enable them to
deal finally with details of designs and estimates of
works to which administrative sanction has been
previously given, and also in respect to making
contracts. I am in agreement with those proposals.

The tendency of the provincial Secretariat is not
unduly departmental or unduly dominated by con-
siderations of revenue. The provincial Government,
having a more intimate acquaintance with the
requirements of the case, takes a more general and
broader view than the Government of India.

In the administration of the canals our Executive
Officers are brought into constant contact with the
cultivators. The vernacular question is rather
difficult in Bengal, as a knowledge of three vernaculars
is required, viz., Hindi in Bihar, Bengali in Bengal
proper, and Uriya in Orissa. It is desirable that
officers employed on canals should be encouraged to
have a better knowledge of vernacular than they
possess at present, and also to study the history and
the religion, and the manners and customs of the
people.

In the matter of transfers, there is not much to
complain of in regard to the Public Works staff. It

The Hon.
Mr. W. A.

Inglis.

27 Dec., 1907


32

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

The Hon.
Hr. W. A.

Inglis.

27 Dec., 1907.

is impossible at times, e.g., cases of illness or emergent
work, to avoid transfers which are in themselves
undesirable, and I am unable to suggest any remedy.

The Bengal Government has recently appointed
District Committees to advise Government in respect
to projected schemes for embankments, minor irriga-
tion works or drainage. At present it wTould not be
advisable to give such District Committees any
executive authority.

The sale of water for irrigation by volume to
village communities has always been regarded as an
ideal to be aimed at, but there does not seem much
prospect of putting it in practice. In my early days
on the Sone canals, when I was in close touch with
the cultivators, I often discussed the question with
them. They always said that they preferred to have
the Government officers to make the detailed assess-
ment, as they would be unable to do it themselves
with fairness and without quarrelling. If, however,
self-government is ever to be more than a name, it
must begin with simple matters of this nature in
which there is a strong local interest affecting the
whole community.

15006. You say that there is no absolute separation
between the Irrigation Branch and the Buildings
Branch in the lower ranks ?—Up to the grade of
Superintending Engineer there is no distinction. The
distinction comes in above that.

15007. Is that an advantageous system ?—It is
obligatory under the condition of the province. The
irrigation works are on a small scale in Bengal, and
the Irrigation Engineers are quite able to look after
the roads and buildings under their charge.

15008. Have you a Provincial Service under you ?—
The Provincial Service and the Imperial Service run
together ; there is no distinction in regard to the
duties ; only in salary.

15009. How do you appoint to the Provincial
Service ?—The Government of India appoints on our
nomination under certain fixed rules.

15010. Might the system be altered advantageously
to the Service ?—Yes, I think so.

• 15011. Who appoints to the Subordinate Service ?—
The Local Government ; the Secretaries nominate,
and the Lieutenant-Governor appoints.

15012. Do you find as a rule that the opinions of
Local Government, with regard to matters with which
you are concerned, are treated with respect ?—I think
so now.

15013. Has your position, therefore, with regard to
the Government of India improved of late ?—I think
so ; much more attention is paid now to the wishes of
the Local Government.

15014. With regard to residences for officers, you
desire to see some relaxation made ?—The Local
Government might be given extended powers of dis-
cretion. At present if a residence costs more than a
certain sum, which is calculated on the salary of the
officer, the sanction of the Government of India is
necessary, although the money is entirely spent from
provincial revenue funds.

15015. Is the difficulty which exists in connection
with these buildings due to the Public Works Code ?
—The rules are those of the Code.

15016. Is that not an exceedingly complicated Code ?
—Yes. It is contained in two large volumes. It is
issued under the authority of the Government of
India.

15017. And some of it, no doubt, under the direc-
tion of the Secretary of State ?—I presume so.

15018. Has any attempt within your knowledge
ever been made to simplify this Code ?—I do not know
of any attempt.

15019. Could it be advantageously simplified?—Yes,
I think so. It would require an examination of it in
detail to say in what particular direction.

15020. Are both you, as a department, and the
Government of which you are Secretary, landed in
ludicrous positions on account of the provisions con-
tained in that Code ?—Yes, in certain cases, such as,
for instance, if a lead pencil is bought—things of that
kind are ludicrous.

15021. We have heard of a witness who had to live
in a house for two years without doors or windows in
consequence of some regulation. Was that due to
the Code?—I should have thought it was due to a
want of common sense on the part of the officer in
not disregarding the provisions of the Code.

15022. Is there due consideration on the part of the
Local Government first, and secondly on the part of
the Government of India, in respect to the projects
they sanction, having regard to revenue ?—Perhaps
more consideration should be given to the indirect
advantages of irrigation works.

15023. Is a work which is unproductive from the
point of view of revenue therefore more useful to
the public generally than a work that produces
revenue ?—Not more useful, certainly not.

15024. If the work which produces revenue is
equally useful to the public, what is the harm of
executing that work rather than a work which, though
of equal use, brings in less revenue ?—I quite admit
that the preference should be given to the more pro-
ductive work, but it means then that certain localities
would have to remain almost indefinitely without
works which would be very useful. \

15025. Are you speaking of works constructed from
capital or from revenue ?—If it is a non-productive
work, it must be constructed from revenue.

15026. Would it not be rather difficult to find, say,

40 lakhs of rupees from revenue ?—The suggestion I
make is that 10 lakhs should be found from revenue
and 30 lakhs should be found from loan funds.

15027. If 10 lakhs had to be found from revenue
that would mean that something else would have to go
without ?—Yes.

15028. But might there not be an outcry in regard
to other schemes ?—Undoubtedly.

15029. Therefore, there is considerable difficulty in
deciding as between the schemes of various kinds ?—

Yes, great difficulty.

15030. And it might be that the work which pro-
duced revenue would be equally valuable to the public
and equally wanted ?—The question would also arise
not only between revenue-producing works, but also
roads, which are unproductive. The revenues are
limited and there are many claims upon them, and I
only plead for a share of the surplus revenue of the
province for my particular branch.

15031. Is there undue favouritism with regard to,
say, works of irrigation which produce revenue as
against roads which do not produce revenue ?—No,

I should not say that.

15032. Have your officers a good knowledge of the
vernacular ?—Fairly good. I would not say more. I
think it desirable that they should have a better
knowledge.

15033. There is very little irrigation work in
Bengal?—We irrigate about 800,000 acres—a com-
paratively small area compared with other provinces.

15034. Under whose responsibility is the actual dis-
tribution of the water ?—Under the responsibility of
the Canal Engineers. In this province we have pro-
bably more complete control than in any other ; we
not only distribute the water, but we collect the
water-rate.

15035. Do the people of the districts in which there
is any irrigation come quite naturally to you ?—

Quite, and they are in immediate touch with our
Canal Officers.

15036. {Mr. Meyer.) Referring to the Calcutta
housing scheme, you say that tends to favour the
•Indian engineers, but are there many Indian engineers
concerned ?—We have about half and half. We have
about as many Indian engineers as Europeans.

15037. Do you count Eurasians on the European
side ?—About one-third are pure natives.

15038. You mentioned some matter with regard to_
the Public Works Department Code ; is not the
general feature of it excessive centralization ?—The
Superintending Engineer has very wide powers of
sanction. The whole of the funds for maintenance,
which are large sums, are entirely at the disposal of
the Superintending Engineer, who sanctions all esti-
mates for repairs and maintenance.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

33

15039. How much can he sanction in the way of
new work?—With regard to new work he has very
limited power—up to Rs. 2,500.

15040. Is that not undue centralization ?—Yes, I
think so, and the proposal which the Government of
India has made is to extend that power.

15041. Up to what ?—A distinction has to be made
between administrative sanction and sanction of a
detailed design. It is proposed by the Government of
India that the Superintending Engineer should deal
finally with sums up to Rs. 50,000 for imperial works
and one lakh for provincial works. Occasionally, some
Superintending Engineers are allowed at present to
sanction up to Rs. 10,000, but it is not very often
exercised.

15042. Until the Government of India proposed
the other day to decentralize, no one moved in the
provinces, or at any rate in this province. Were
you satisfied with these restrictions ?—It is not a
matter which makes very much practical difference.
The period of the administrative sanction is that at
which the work is considered first.

15043. The administrative sanction is one with
which other people are concerned besides the engi-
neers ?—Quite so ; we are not directly concerned with
the administrative sanction.

15044. Your own powers really come in when the
estimates are being discussed ?—Quite so.

© 15045. Will you explain your proposal with regard

to productive works and non-productive works ?—
Under the rules of the Public Works Code no work
can be classed as a productive work for which money
can be given from loan funds unless it will bring in
4 per cent., but if the probable revenue represents,
say, only that percentage on 20 lakhs, and you require
30 lakhs for the work, then if you advance the 20 lakhs
from loan funds, upon which you can earn your first
dividend, the other 10 lakhs might be advanced from
provincial revenues which will take its chance of
getting a return or not.

15046. But is that not juggling with figures?—It
seems to me it is not an improper use of loan funds,
and it is not adding to the unproductive debt of the
country.

15047. In speaking of the difficulty of financing
projects of this sort, is it not always open to the
Government to give money from current revenues ?—
Yes, but the current revenue could only finance up to
a moderate sum.

15048. You might possibly, with regard to one of
these projects, apply for an advance from the Govern-
ment of India ?—Yes, and we have done so in some
cases.

15049. As regards the Inspector-General of Irriga-
ion, you say his sphere should be to criticise and
suggest in regard to the technical or engineering aspect
of the scheme, and he should not intervene as to the
administrative aspect. What do you mean by the
administrative aspect ?—Perhaps I might illustrate it
by a case. We have at present a scheme for a canal to
connect the Bidhiadhari river with the Hooghly. This
Government wished to act in conjunction with the
Port Commissioners of Calcutta, and certain works
would have to be done at the expense of the Port
Commissioners, but the Inspector-General criticised
the scheme rather severely, and treated the Port Com-
missioners as if they were more or less in a position of
a different power and rather the enemies of the Local
Government ; that, it seems to me, was not an
engineering question but an administrative question.
Then there was another instance in connection with
another projected canal where the Inspector-General
criticised the scheme rather severely as regards the
action of this Government in the past in giving water
for a very small rate.

15050. The canal, if it had been carried out, would
have been a project for which you would have tried to
get money from outside ?—That would have been a
large scheme costing 60 lakhs, and we should have had
to come to the Government of India.

15051. Then was not the Inspector-General of Irri-
gation quite warranted in asking you to consider
whether the Port Commissioners might not do it ?—It
was not a question of the Port Commissioners making
33263

the canal ; it was a question of our trying to adapt
our works so that they would fit in with the works of
the Port Commissioners and assist each other.

15052. Is it not sometimes difficult to draw the line
between technical and administrative matters? You
will admit that in the case of a productive irrigation
work the Inspector-General is entitled to criticise the
estimates of the revenue to be obtained, I suppose ?—
Absolutely.

15053. A suggestion which was made in Burma was
that, subject to financial rules, the appointment of the
cadre of the Subordinate Engineering Service should
be left in the hands of the Local Government—would
that meet your views ?—Yes ; the Government of
India have usually accepted our proposals.

15054. It was also suggested in Burma that the
Local Government should have the same power of
appointing Superintending and Chief Engineers as the
Governors of Madras and Bombay ; that is to say, that
they should have their own superior engineering
cadres ; do you agree with that ?—No, I do not ; the
Service is too small.

15055. You have eight Superintending Engineers ?—
One is a Sanitary Engineer, four have charge of irriga-
tion works, and three have charge of buildings and
roads.

15056. Does the Government of India, as a matter
of fact, interfere with the appointments of Superin-
tending and Chief Engineers ?—Some years ago when
an alteration was made in this province, by which most
of the provincial Public Works Divisions were
abolished and the provincial buildings and roads were
placed under District Boards, the Government of India
said that every second vacancy to a Superintending
Engineership in this province should be filled from
the local administration, and they have supplied a good
many Superintending Engineers who have come to
Bengal from other provinces.

15057. Speaking generally, do you find that satis-
factory, or have you had any reason to complain about
it ?—No, we have had no reason to complain.

15058. Has your engineering cadre, then, been since
increased ?—It was reduced, but it has been increased
a little again for building purposes.

15059. Who are the District Board Engineers—what
class of men are they?—The majority of them are
recruited from the local engineering schools.

15060. Are they men who would be sub-engineers
in Government service ?—They would be Provincial
Engineers.

15061. Are they good men on the whole ?—My
personal opinion is that they ought to be better.

15062. What is the salary they can rise to ?—I think
there is one District Engineer who gets Rs. 1,000, and
others can go up to Rs. 800.

15063. Have you officers over them called Inspectors
of Works?—The Inspector of Works is a purely
inspecting officer ; he has no control over them. Each
Superintending Engineer is an Inspector of Works.

15064. Is the Superintending Engineer able to do
superintending work satisfactorily in addition to his
ordinary work ?—It is an administrative question—I-
think in many cases he is not.

15065. District Board Engineers to a certain extent
do Government work ?—There are now only four
districts in which they do Government work in the
Burdwan Division. They used to do it to a larger
extent.

15066. Why has the practice been given up ?—In
some cases the District Boards disliked it ; they dis-
liked having their Engineer under two masters ; and
in other cases the Government did not like the way in
which the works were carried out.

15067. Was the original idea economy?—Yes.

15068. And you found it not to be economical in
practice ?—I think it was shown that there was no
marked economy and not so much efficiency,

15969. Would you be in favour of placing District
Engineers in a provincial list ?—That I understand is
the practice in the United Provinces, but I have no
experience of it. The advantage claimed for it is that
you can transfer men from one district to another
E

The Hon.

Mr. IE. A.
Inglis.

27 Dec., 1907


34

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

The Hon.
Mr. 17. A.
Inglis.

27 Dec., 1907.

easily, but, personally, I have no direct work with
District Engineers, and I am not prepared to speak
upon it.

15070. Have you made any proposals as to larger
powers for the Port Trust ?—I have made no proposal.
I do not think larger powers are needed.

15071. What is their power with regard to sanction-
ing their own work ?—They can sanction works up to
Rs. 50,000.

15072. Have they a qualified engineering staff?—
Absolutely.

15073. Do you not think they might be allowed a
little more power than that ?—I think one might say
in nearly all cases it is a nominal power which is
exercised by the Local Government, but it is more a
question as to whether the Government should know
how much the Trust is spending, and whether it has
the money to pay.

15074. But that comes separately into the financial
sanction?—If they started a set of big works they
would carry them out by a loan, to which they would
have to get the sanction of the Local Government,
would they not ?—New works, yes.

15075. And again, they have to submit their budget
to you ?—Yes.

15076. So that you would see what large projects
were contemplated and whether there were ways and
means for them ?—It is only the estimate that will be
seen.

15077. This is rather a different matter—this is
what one may call the professional sanction ?—In the
Marine Department we do not give any professional
sanction as regards the technical part of the work
itself because it is not required by the Act: we give
the sanction which the Act requires.

15078. Suppose you could alter the law, would you
alter it ?—I think as far as the sanctioning of the
technical work is concerned it is unnecessary, especially
as far as any engineering questions are concerned.

15079. Do you know of the proposals put before us
here and in Burma as to the Commissioner having a
sub-budget of his own from which he might sanction,
financially and administratively, smaller Public Works,
the professional powers of your department remaining,
of course, as they are ?—Yes, I think the Commis-
sioners should be given an increase beyond their
present powers of sanctioning, which is up to
Rs. 2,500.

15080. The suggestion goes a good deal beyond
that. It means that they might have a couple of
lakhs of rupees a year, or so, from the present budget,
keeping only the main works and provision for them
at headquarters?—I think that would be a good
thing.

•15081. ( any difficulty, in the matter of language and so on,
with Superintending Engineers coming from a differ-
ent province ?—I do not know of any practical
difficulty having arisen.

15082. With regard to the District Board Engineers,
if they work for you, do you pay them ?—Yes.

15083. And if you do work for them, do they pay
you ?—We have never done any that I know of. We
do not charge for inspection.

15084. Would it be a good thing to revise the Public
Works Code on the basis of placing power as low
down as it can safely be placed ?—Yes. The question
of the audit of accounts is the chief thing : that is
what involves the largest amount of correspondence.

15085. Could that be simplified ?—That I can hardly
say. It is a very thorough, a very complete, and a very
efficient system, but it is also very laborious.

15086. Is the Bengal Pilot Service under the Port
Trust ?—No, that is under Government.

15087. Do you know why that is so ?—It dates back
to the days before there was a Port Trust, and the
practice has always been to keep the Service under
Government.

15088. Does it bring in any revenue to the Govern-
ment, or do you spend all the money ?—Practically all
the money is spent ; we have recently purchased two
new steam pilot-vessels which cost a large sum of
money.

15089. {Sir Frederic Lely.) Have the younger
members of your department to pass an examination
in the language?—They are all obliged to pass the
Lower Standard.

15090. {Mr. Dutt.) I understand that Canal Engi-
neers realise the irrigation rate in Bengal ?—Yes.

15091. Is it a very small rate ?—Not so very small ;
on the Sone Canals it is Rs. 3 an acre. That is the
rate there for rice crops. It varies according to the
crops.

15092. Is it entirely separate from the land revenue ?
—Entirely.

15093. And is it entirely voluntary ?—Entirely. It
is done under a system of leases for a term of years.

. 15094. What is the percentage of profit on the
capital sunk ?— On the Sone Canals we are earning
about 31 per cent., but the other canals earn nothing,
practically.

15095. {Mr. Hichens.) Has the Commissioner any
direct control over the Superintending Engineer, or
his subordinates ?—No, none at all.

15096. Has he not a certain amount of administra-
tive control ?—He has to be consulted on all points,
but he cannot give an order to the Superintending
Engineer.

15097. Do you approve of that position?—Yes,
quite.

15098. Should not the Commissioner be the local
Head as to Public Works?—I think it would cause a
great deal of friction if he was.

15099. And would it lead to extravagance in the
sense that the Commissioner might not know what to
do as well as the Engineer ?—I think it would certainly
be undesirable, but I am hardly prepared to say it
would create extravagance..

{The witness withdrew.)

Adjourned.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

35

TWENTY-FIRST DAY.

Calcutta, Saturday^ 28th December, 1907.

PRESENT:

C. E. H. Hobhouse, Esq., M.P., Under-Secretary of State for India, Chairman.

Sir Frederic Lely, K.C.I.E., C.S.I. ! W. S. Meyer, Esq., C.I.E., I.C.S.

Sir Steyning Edgerley, K.C.V.O., C.I.E., I.C.S. j W. L. Hichens, Esq.

R. C. Dutt, Esq., C.I.E. j

Raja Ban Bihari Kapur, C.S.I., was called and examined.

4

t



15100. (C7iam?zem.) Where is your residence ?—At
Burdwan. The last occupation I had was serving the
Government as manager on behalf of the Court of
Wards of the Burdwan Estate for a little over
17 years.

The present financial settlement made with the
provincial Government is a good one. I do not advo-
cate complete separation in any way between imperial
and provincial finances. I would delegate powers to
the provincial Government up to a certain salary
to sanction the creation of new appointments and the
enhancement of pay of the officers and others, and I
would relax the restrictions imposed by the Civil
Service Regulations and Civil Account Code to a
certain limit, so as to reduce formal correspondence.

The sphere of Inspectors and Directors-General
should be limited to the inspection of the main prin-
ciple and application of the funds allotted by the
India Government to any particular work only, and
the detailed working of the province should not be
interfered with. Keeping in view the general principle
of administration, I would advocate leaving the pro-
vincial Governments to develop their administration
on their own lines.

I would grade the salaried servants of the Govern-
ment, and limit their appeal to different grades of
officers and different heads of administration. It
would not be proper to lay down that the person pre-
ferring an appeal must get a certificate from the officer
against whose order the appeal is made. I would not
curtail the existing power of appeal on personal matters
in any way.

Executive Officers have not sufficient opportunities
for personal contact with the people. They are too
much overworked. A Joint-Magistrate should be
added to the district and the work of the District
Officer divided to a certain extent. Where this is not
possible, a senior and experienced Deputy Magistrate
should be appointed as personal assistant to the Dis-
trict Officer, to assist him generally and to dispose of
routine work in particular. I would not ordinarily
divide districts. Officers are not sufficiently acquainted
with the vernacular. The majority possess a limited
knowledge only which serves them in carrying out
their business.

I think greater care should be shown in the selection
of officers, and care should always be taken to delegate
powers to the officers of tried merit. Special care
should be taken of the whimsical as well as men with
hobbies.

No officer should be transferred at least for five
years from a district. This applies to all officers,
z.e., the District Officer j Judge, Deputies, Subordinate
Judges and Munsifs, District Superintendent of Police
and his Assistants or Deputy Superintendent of Police
and Subdivisional Officers.

From the Secretary of State downwards, delegation
of powers should be made with a view to curtail
and prevent unnecessary correspondence, reports and
returns, &c. The Viceroy acts as a post office in many
cases; he has no real power, and this should be
given. Similarly provincial Governors and Lieutenant-
Governors should have powers on matters dealing
with their own provinces.

33263

15101. Are you satisfied with the general manage-
ment and the general relations of the Court of
Wards with the Government?—Yes, generally, I am
satisfied.

15102. You do not approve of any curtailment of
the right of appeal?—No, I do not want any curtail-
ment. The present right of appeal gives satisfaction,
and perhaps injustice might be done if the power
were curtailed.

Raja

Ban Bihari
Kapur.

28 Dec., 1907

15103. You think there ought to be some increase
in the number of Joint-Magistrates ?—Yes, there
ought to be a Joint-Magistrate in every district, and
wherever a Joint-Magistrate is not available, a com-
petent Deputy Magistrate should be provided to give
the Magistrate and the Collector general assistance.
Also I would have some division of work between the
Collector and his Assistants, so that the Collector
might have some time to spare, because, as it is, he
has too much to do.

15104. Does that prevent Collectors seeing and
coming into contact with the people in their districts ?
—I think it does. When I was manager under the
Court of Wards, if a person came to see me and I was-
too busy to see him, the natural feeling on my part
was “ What a bother,” and I am sure the Collector
must think the same. If a visitor calls, the Collector,
although he may see him, cannot help feeling that it
is a bother, and that it is interfering with his work,
because he has too much to do. Similarly, when I
was a manager, I had a lot to do, and if during business
hours any one called, I had to see him, but I always
felt annoyed. Therefore, I think if Collectors had
a little more leisure to go about and more time to
spare, they would be very glad to see the people and
make their acquaintance.

15105. Is there a constant change of Collectors and
Joint-Magistrates ?—Yes.

15106. Does that also prevent them becoming ac-
quainted with the people of a district ?—I think it
does.

15107. Is the feeling on the part of the people :
“ This officer is only here for six months, and it is not
worth while going to see him ” ?—Yes, and there are
other things ; unless an officer remains longer in a
district, he cannot learn the district and its people.
If an officer remained longer in a district, he would
naturally come to know his district and the people
living there, and he would be able to judge for himself
what help they could give him, whom he can trust and
so on ; but if a man is only there for a short time, he
has no opportunity of doing it.

15108. How long ought a District Officer to remain
in a district ?—Not less than three years—I should say
three to five years.

15109. Would you say not more than five years?—
Not more than five years, because they have to rise
gradually to higher appointments, and it is better that
they should get an insight into other districts as welL

15110. Would you apply that to officers of all ranks.
—Collectors, Assistant Collectors, Judges, Munsifs and
so on ?—I would apply it to all ranks.

15111. Ought there to be something like an Advi-
sory Council to the Commissioner, and should it be

E 2


36

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE :

selected from the Deputy Magistrates and Honorary
Ban Bihari Magistrates ?—I would leave the Commissioner quite

Kapur, free |0 ci100se his men.

28 Dec., 1907. 15112. Do you think an Advisory Council, the

---- members of which would perhaps know how to deal

with sanitary questions and so on, and who would be
fully acquainted with the circumstances of the dis-
tricts, ought to be appointed ?—I think the Com-
missioner ought to be able to choose his advisers. He
might call the medical practitioner, for instance, into
Council when dealing with sanitary matters ; he might
call the zamindars or the middle men into Council
when he was dealing with questions of famine, and so on.

I would rather leave him free to choose his own men.

15113. Would you like it to be a rule of the Govern-
ment that the Commissioner should have an Advisory
Council, but that he should be free to call them
together when he thought best and also to select whom
he should summon ?—Yes, that is my opinion.

15114. What sort of number should such a Council
consist of ?—I have not considered that ; it ought not
to be very large—perhaps ten or twelve.

15115. (Sir Frederic Lely.) Have you been much
in contact with the people in the course of your life,
so that you know pretty well what the prevailing
impressions are amongst the people in average villages
upon most matters, and their relations to Government
especially ? —Y es.

15116. Is there a prevailing impression among the
people that if a man has a little grievance he cannot
get access readily to the responsible authority in order
to state that grievance?—That is a very difficult
question to answer, but J think they consider they
have not got enough privilege in the way of stating
their grievances.

15117. What, in their view, are the obstacles ?—In
the first place a villager’s life is different from town
life ; the uneducated poor masses do not know how to
come and lay their grievances, and if, for instance,
several tenants are suffering in a village, their only
course is to lay their grievance before the Magistrate,
who will either depute the Deputy Magistrate to
enquire into the matter, or enquire into it himself.
If at the time of the enquiry they are able to represent
their case properly, it will be heard, but, in many
instances, if it is a case against some of the subordinate
officers, it will not be heard, because things are manip-
ulated in such a way that the proper persons who could
throw light on a particular subject are not brought
forward.

15118. Why not ?—That is the difficulty—something
will happen which will prevent them coming forward
and saying what their answer is.

15119. But the aggrieved person in any case can
â– always get access to the responsible authority and
state his grievance ?—Theoretically he can, but
practically he cannot.

15120. Why does not the practice accord with the
theory ?—People are supposed to get relief from their
grievances, but in all cases they do not.

15121. If a man has a grievance and he gets it put
down on paper, surely he has a means, and he knows
he has a means, of bringing that grievance before the
person who can assist him ?—Yes—he would go to
someone who can write for him and put in his petition,
but in the majority of cases he will probably say to
himself : “I shall not get any remedy, I will not
trouble.”

15122. Then really the cause is more his own
diffidence than from any actual reception he may get ?
—No, I think it is difficult for him to get redress.

15123. Supposing a man wants a grievance removed
and he draws up a petition to the nearest European
officer, what is there to hinder him going to that
officer, presenting his petition, getting it read and
receiving an answer ?—There is no difficulty in getting
the petition written, or presenting it, but the difficulty
is to have it heard.

15124. You do not mean to say that the European
officer would not listen to the petition ?—No, he will
fix a day to hear the application, but if it is a
complaint against some minor official, or against some
other villager, probably there will be pleaders appear-
ing on both sides, and I do not think the real truth
would be got out.

15125. Is that in consequence of any action of the
minor official ?—Yes, that is exactly it.

15126. In your experience do District Officers make
arrangements for seeing everyone who conies to see
them every day or every other day, or at any fixed
hours ?—Probably some officers see persons coming in
at any time, but other officers fix two days, or one day,
in a week between certain hours to receive visitors.

15127. Do you find, as a rule, that every District
Officer does have a certain time during which anyone,
and everyone, can make sure of getting a hearing ?—

Anyone who goes with a wrrtten petition or complaint
must go to the office.

15128. Is such a person sure of seeing the Collector?

—I think he would have more chance of seeing him
there, but the Collector does not always go punctually
to his office, and the petition will be received by
whoever is acting for the day.

15129. As a rule would you say a raiyat can get
access to his superior ?—Yes.

15130. Do you hear much about the chaprasies and
whether there is any difficulty with them ?—It is a
common and well-known thing that anyone who wants \

access to the Commissioner must pay the ?

and the person making the largest payment gets his
hearing first.

15131. Would it be useful to issue an order by the
Local Government that waiting rooms should in-
variably be provided to which any respectable person
might have access as a matter of course, without
asking the leave of the chaprasies or anyone else, and
that his case should be taken in its turn ?—Yes, that
might be done. It would be useful, because if a
respectable person goes to see the Magistrate, and he
has to wait any time, it would be good to have a
waiting room.

15132. As a matter of fact, is it a generally felt
grievance amongst the people that arrangements are
not made for the reception of respectable people who
wish to state anything they have to state to the y

Collector ?—That is the general feeling, and that there f

is not enough courtesy shown to them.

15133. (Jfr. Dutt.) Objection is made to the present
arrangement that there is no link between the Sub-
Divisional Officer and the villagers except through the
police ; is that not the only link between the people
and the Government ?—That is so.

15134. Could that be remedied by the appointment
of Revenue Officers in local circles, so that the people
might be able to go to them upon general matters and
to the police station upon criminal matters. Would
that mend matters a little?—I doubt very much
whether it would, but it might. It depends very much
upon the officers ; if it is known that a particular
officer is a considerate gentleman, and anyone going to
him will get a hearing, then there would be no /

difficulty, but the majority of them have no time
because they are too much hampered with work, and
others do not want the bother, if possible, and they
are not easily accessible.

15135. At present the Sub-Deputy Collectors are
stationed at the headquarters of sub-divisions ?—Yes,
and also at the headquarters of the district.

15136. Supposing Sub-Deputy Collectors were
appointed to be in charge of small circles consisting of
one or two thanas, would not the people be able to
meet them more frequently than they could meet the
District Officer, or the Sub-Divisional Officer?—

Certainly, but it would depend very much on what his
functions were to be.

15137. At present all the work which has to be done
in villages beyond general administration, such as the
relief of epidemics or relief in cases of famine and
the distribution of cholera pills, has to be done by
the police ?—Not in all cases, it used to be so, but
sometimes now it is done through the panchayats and
the post office.

15138. Do you not think if a Sub-Deputy Collector
were appointed in charge of one or two thanas
specially to look after the panchayats and foster them
it would have a good effect, and would bring him in
touch with the people of the villages?—If you did
that I think it would bring the people more in touch
with the Sub-Divisional Officer.


37

ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.



15139. During the 17 years that you were a manager
under the Court of Wards, did it strike you that
sometimes there was a great deal of delay in obtaining
sanction from the Board of Revenue in regard to
ordinary matters ?:—Sometimes.

15140. In small matters would a devolution of
powers to the Commissioner or Collector facilitate
work ?—Yes, and remove unnecessary correspondence.
In my case the Government was pleased to grant some
extra power in small petty matters ; I had larger
powers than any other officer, so that I did not find
any difficulty with regard to small affairs, but still
there were cases in which there was delay, and I
consider that in a matter where formal sanction only
is necessary, and where no alteration has to be made,
powers may very well be delegated in succession from
different authorities.

15141. You would recommend the formation of
Advisory Boards under Commisioners ; would you
advise the formation of similar Boards under District
Officers for their own districts ?—No, I would not.

15142. Do you not think a District Officer could get
any real help by consulting the leading men in his
own district ?—I think if he desires any help he can
very well ask them to come and see him without
making a formal Committee of it.

15143. Would a rule compelling District Officers to
meet the leading men of the district once a year, or
once in six months, to discuss important matters, be a
good thing ?—I would not do that. If the Collector
is not inclined to consult them, the rule will not make
him consult them.

15144. You recommend that District Boards should
have the power of supervising the work of small
municipalities in their own districts, but is not the
work of a District Board quite different from the work
of a municipality ?—Yes, quite separate.

15145. Do you think, therefore, that that would
lead to any practical results ?—I do not think it
would lead to any practical results, but the supervision
at present lies with the District Officer, so that if it was
removed from his General Department to a District
Board Department, I think it would be useful.

15146. In that case the members of the District
Board would have power to approve or disapprove of
municipal matters ; would that be a desirable thing ?—
The small municipalities might not like it, it is true.

15147. As to the creation of village communities,
is it desirable and possible to give village communities
greater powers with regard to the disposal of local
affairs than they have at present ?—Yes.

15148. You refer to sanitary matters and things of
that kind ?—Yes, and trying small cases.

15149. Would you give them limited civil and
criminal powers ?—Yes. In the old days village pan-
chayats used to exercise them, and when I visited the
Madras Presidency, a few months ago, I found the
village munsif, who was getting Rs. 8 a month, had
power to try small cases, and it answered all right.

15150. Do you recommend the introduction of a
similar system into Bengal ?—Yes.

15151. In that case would there have to be an
increase in the numbers of the panchayat and a
selection of proper men who could be given power to
try petty civil and criminal cases ?—Yes.

15152. Would you place their work under some sort
of supervision ?—Yes.

15153. Would that do a great deal of good in the
country ?—I think it would, only you must select the
panchayat. There are some panchayats now who think
that their appointments are dependent upon keeping
the Collector in a good humour, but if you choose
good panchayats who will not consider such things,
then I think you might delegate certain powers to
them ; but as long as we are not able to improve the
â– status of the panchayat, I would not extend the
powers very much, because there are some panchayats
now who collect more than it is proper or legal for
them to collect.

15154. (J/r. Hichens.) What were you alluding to
just now when you used the word “panchayat”—
did you mean a body of persons ?—I simply meant a
person who has been nominated as a member of the
panchayat.

Raja

Ban Bihari
Kapur.

28 Bee., 1907.

15155. How w’ould you select them in a village?—
My present idea is that some of the villagers should
be asked to select a panchayat. At first the police
used to send in the name of the panchayat, but now I
believe the villagers do it. There are factions, in some
villages, and one faction sends in the name of one man,
another faction sends in the name of another man, and
a selection is made ; but if the panchayats status is
raised a little, I think we might get good men. There
are men who do not want to serve as panchayats
because they know that they would have to serve the
interests of a particular party.

15156. How would you raise their status ?—I would
attach some responsibility to the post, and I would
treat them better than they are treated at present.

15157. Are there any union committees in your
district ?—There are.

15158. Have they worked satisfactorily?—! have
not seen much of their work yet—fhey have only been
started a short time.

15159. You said you thought that additional small
powers might be delegated to the Commissioner in
regard to the Court of Ward’s works ; would it be
possible to delegate the whole of the work to Com-
missioners and give them full responsibility in regard
to the Court of Wards, thus avoiding all appeals to
the Board of Revenue ?—I do not think there is any
harm in delegating the whole of the powers, but it
would all depend upon the Commissioner ; all Com-
missioners might not be the sort of people to whom I
would wish to have the powers of the Board given.

15160. {Mr. Meyer.} What were the sort of things
as to whicli you had to make a reference to a superior
authority during your work as a manager under the
Court of Wards ?—For instance, in regard to works
costing about Rs. 500 we had to make application for
the sanction of the Board of Revenue, but anything
up to Rs. 500 the Commissioner had power to sanction.

15161. Did those go through the Collector or
straight to the Commissioner ?—Through the Collector
—he is the medium.

15162. Could the Collector sanction anything?—
Yes, he had power to sanction up to Rs. 100.

15163. Supposing you wanted another clerk or two,
what happened ?—Everything with regard to the
permanent establishment, even to the extent of one
rupee, must be sanctioned by the Board of Revenue.

15164. Supposing you wanted to give some remission
of rent to tenants in a bad year, who would deal with
that ?—The Commissioner had the power to deal with
that. He had full power.

15165. And I suppose every year you drew up a
budget of receipts and expenditure showing how you
proposed to allot your money?—Yes.

15166. Who sanctioned that ?—The Commissioner,
but in sanctioning the budget the Commissioner
generally used to say that on certain heads the
Collector could sanction up to Rs. 500, and in other
cases he would say “ This is sanctioned, but no
amount should be spent without the previous sanction
of the Commissioner.”

15167. Then you were really under three authorities
—the Collector for small things, the Commissioner
for some large things, and the Board for some larger
things still ?—Yes.

15168. And you think that the Commissioner might
replace the Court of Wards? Would you do that
with regard to every estate—a great estate like
Burdwan, for instance ?—It would all depend on the
officer.

15169. I am assuming that you have an able
Commissioner ?—Yes, but it is not only an able
Commissioner that is wanted, but you might have
persons with hobbies, and they might initiate certain
things which would not be profitable.

15170. And the Collector at the same time might
have some larger powers with regard to works and
establishment ?—Yes ; at present he has not much
authority.

15171. That is to say, speaking generally, what the
Board of Revenue does now a Commissioner might
do, and what the Commissioner does now the Collector
might do ?—Yes, and what the Collector does now, he
might delegate.


38

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Raja

Ban Bihari
Kapur.

28 Dec., 1907.

15172. At present the Collector has the largest sub-
division of the district in his hands, more or less ?—
Yes.

15173. In Madras the whole of the district is divided
into sub-divisions with every division under an officer
—would a similar system in Bengal assist the
Collector ?—Yes.

15174. As regards Advisory Councils to Com-
missioners, if a Commissioner differed from the
Advisory Council would you allow him to act on his
own judgment ?—Yes, I would not hamper him ; I
would allow him to have the benefit of any person’s
views, and he must act as he thinks best.

15175. In a matter which he could not decide, but
which he had to report to the Board of Revenue,
should he say that his Advisory Council held different
views from his ?—Yes, he should do so.

15176. Are you in favour of a selection system and
of making the Commissioner much more of a Sub-
Governor than he is at present ?—Yes.

15177. Have you sufficient knowledge of administra-
tion to say that the Commissioner is now a person
more in the nature of a post office ?—As regards that
I think the Viceroy also is a post-office ; a delegation
of powers from the Secretary of State downwards is
necessary.

15178. Would you like to see the Commissioner
vested with larger powers of control over Public
Works expenditure and education and other matters
outside revenue work ?—At present he has them, and
I would give him that control.

15179. A suggestion was made in Madras that the
Collector of a district should become, as it were, a
Collector in Council, like the Governor in Council ;
that he should have two experienced Indian colleagues
to advise him, who would deal with the minor w’ork ;
that all important matters should be submitted to the
Collector ; and that it might be a matter of considera-
tion whether he could overrule his colleagues at once,
or, as one witness suggested, refer the matter to the
Board of Revenue and Government. Would you be
in favour of any such system?—No, I would not,
because the work would not go on.

15180. {Sir Steyning Edgerley.) Is there in your
Court of Wards Act any section which allows the
Court of Wards to delegate powers or the Lieutenant-
Governor to delegate powers?—Yes. It was under
that provision that I was given the extra powers to
which I have referred.

15181. Do you remember when the Court of Wards
Act was passed—was it in your time ?—No, it was
before my time, but an amendment has been made
twice in my time.

15182. Can you say whether those amending A.cts
were the subject of much discussion in the legislature ?
—Yes.

15183. Having had so much experience with regard
to delegation under the general section of the Act,
and seeing that a great deal of the work of decentrali-
zation must be the getting rid of power from a higher
authority to a lower, of the two suggestions which
have been made to us, which would you be in favour
of—one is to proceed by a general section, and the
other to go to the Legislative Council on every
occasion and say, “ Please pass a specific Act making
this delegation ? ”—Having to go to the Council in
each case I think would be very cumbersome. I think
if there was a general law that the Lieutenant-
Governor, or the Board of Revenue, could delegate
their powers, it would be better, provided there was
some safeguard.

15184. Have you thought about it sufficiently to say
what sort of safeguard you would suggest ?—No, I
have not considered it sufficiently, but I think some
safeguard would be necessary.

15185. Have you considered at all the question of
the touring system?—At present there is a touring
system, but I have not considered it in any special
light ; it takes a Magistrate, 1 think, at least 90 days
now to tour.

15186. Do you think that that takes the Magistrate
sufficiently out into the villages in his district ?—He
must put in his 90 days ; whether he be in one sub-
division, or whether he is able to go through all the

sub-divisions, he must put in 90 days, but wherever he
goes he carries his work with him ; he has to spend
lots of time in disposing of his bundles, and his
bundles increase, so that he has not much time for
outdoor work, and whenever he is in camp he has not
much time to see people.

15187. Can he remain out at present for a month
or six weeks at a time ?—He cannot remain months—
I believe only a fortnight or three weeks.

15188. With regard to Advisory Councils to Com-
missioners, do you suggest that a Commissioner should
consult people on different subjects ?—Yes.

15189. Would you suggest that he should keep up
anything in the shape of a roster of gentlemen who
would be satisfactory advisers in districts on any
subject ?—I think as Commissioner of the Division he
should try and find out all the persons he could
consult.

16190. Of course there is a darbar list, but suppose
a new Commissioner came, and has a big subject to
deal with a month afterwards, the darbar list would
not disclose to him anything with regard to the know-
ledge of the people on the darbar list ?—No.

15191, Then would you have anything in the shape
of a list kept up, or would you leave each Commissioner
to find out what the respective qualifications of the
people might be ?—I should leave the Commissioner
to find out. If each Commissioner in succession left
a note in his office, probably that would help a new-
comer to find what good men he could consult.

15192. With regard to Sub-Deputy Collectors,
would you give them magisterial powers ?—Yes ; they
have got some kind of magisterial powers now to try
small cases.

15193. If you introduced that system might you
possibly do with fewer appeals ?—I have not given any
thought to that, but I do not think so.

15194. Have you a system of Honorary Magistrates ?
—Yes.

15195. Is that capable of expansion usefully?—I
think it might be.

15196. You said you thought it advisable to
improve the position of the panchayat, but will not
that necessarily follow if magisterial and civil powers
devolve on him ?—At present, as constituted, I do not
think thej' have any position excepting the collecting
member of the panchayat, who has some slight
position.

15197. You said that there might be a risk in en-
trusting certain powers to Commissioners, because
some Commissioners had hobbies and so on. Is it not
from the Commissioners that the members of the
Board of Revenue are selected ?—Yes, that is true.

15198. You have known a good many members of
the Board of Revenue ?—I have.

15199. I do not want any names, but do you think
any of them had hobbies ?—I think one had during
my term of service.

15200. You have known a good many Lieutenant-
Governors too ?—Yes.

15201. Do you think any of them had any hobbies ?
—Yes, certainly.

15202. Then I suppose you must take the risk
somewhere. If you are to have appeals as a protec-
tion against hobbies, where is it going to stop ?—That
is true, but it should be remembered that when a
person becomes a member of the Board of Revenue,
or a Lieutenant Governor, he is not likely to have a
hobby because he will have gradually acquired experi-
ence ; the Collector is the person who should be
watched more for hobbies than the Commissioner.

15203. Does a Commissioner get his Commissioner-
ship, after 23 or 24 years’ service ?—Yes, and after he
has acquired a good deal of experience.

15204. Do you not think, from your experience of
Europeans in this country, that about that period
constitutes the cream of their usefulness?—Yes, un-
doubtedly.

15205. And if ever they are to be worthy of con-
fidence, they should be worthy of it by the time they
have lived amongst the people for 20 years ?—Yes.




ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

39

15206. Then is there any very great risk in con-
ferring powers upon men with that experience of
India?—No, there is no great risk; but I referred
more particularly to the delegation of powers to
Collectors.

15207. Then you would not feel inclined to delegate
powers of the Court of Wards to Collectors ?—I would
delegate some of the powers to them and the rest to
the Commissioners.

15208. One of the Court of Wards’ Acts allows the
Court of Wards to delegate all or any of the powers
of the Court to any other person, and I suppose he
might not be an official at all, or he might be a

Deputy Collector or anybody ?—Yes, anyone who is Raja
in the service of the Court of Wards for the time RanRihari
being. Kapur,

15209. {Chairman.} Would you prefer that power 28 Dee., 1908*

with regard to the Court of Wards in the manage- ------------

ment of estates should be in the hands of an expert
adviser, or that it should rest, as it is, largely with the
Commissioners and Collectors ?—I should keep it as
it is. May I venture to say, when you asked me
about Commissioners and their 23 years’ service, the
present condition of our service is that many junior
men act as Commissioners.

{The witness withdrew.}

Raja Peary Mohan Mukherjee was called and examined.

/

15210. {Chairman.} You are a zamindar of the
Hooghly district ?—Yes.

15211. Have you been a member of the Bengal
Legislative Council ?—Yes. I was a member twice,
once in 1879 and the next time in 1906. I have also
twice been a member of the Viceroy’s Legislative
Council, once in 1884, and again in 1886.

The principles which regulate and the rules which
govern the financial relations between the Imperial
and provincial Governments are equitably based on
the results of large experience. In justice, however,
to the Local Government and the people of Bengal,
a portion of the customs revenue may well go to the
provincial revenues. It would be in consonance with
the practice which obtains in the United Kingdom,
where a sum of £203,104 18s. 4e7. was granted from
Customs revenue in aid of the local taxation of Eng-
land, Scotland, and Ireland in the year 1905.

I am opposed to the grant of borrowing powers to
Local Governments. The possession of such powers
leads to extravagance and to the permanent increase
of expenditure. It adds to the burden of interest,
and thereby cripples the resources of future Govern-
ments, and compels them to have recourse to addi-
tional taxation.

I would not curtail the right of appeal wherever it
is granted by law or practice. Owing to the immense
increase of work of the Secretaries of Local Govern-
ments, appeals from the orders of Divisional or Dis-
trict Officers do not receive the requisite amount of
attention and consideration. The abolition or cur-
tailment of appeals would make matters worse. Even
at present a Local Government may withhold sending
an appeal to the Government of India, if in their
opinion no reasonable grounds for it exist.

F would allow the rules regarding appeals by public
officers to remain as they are, subject to the existing
restrictions.

The right of appeal to the Local Government,
allowed by law or by executive practice, should be
allowed to remain intact. To restrict that right by a
provision for a certificate as to the reasonableness of
the grounds of appeal would be a virtual denial of the
right.

The Local Governments are not unnecessarily liberal
in disposing of petitions of appeal against orders of
dismissal and other orders affecting public servants.
In justice to these officers such petitions should re-
ceive more lenient and liberal consideration.

In the matter of establishing new ferries and
declaring an existing ferry to be a public ferry, Local
Governments are led too much by considerations of
revenue regardless of the rights of riparian land-
holders.

Want of leisure and of sufficient knowledge of the
vernaculars are the great drawbacks in the way of
Executive Officers coming into closer contact with the
people. The work they have to do is unnecessarily
heavy and multifarious. A number of the returns,
reports and statements they have to submit periodi-
cally should be done away with.

So far as my knowledge extends, the divisional and
district administrative staff is sufficiently large, and
there is no district of which the area need be reduced.

The practice of transferring an officer from a dis-
trict after three years’ service is founded on a sound
principle. It gives officers the necessary training for
higher appointments. A knowledge of the customs,

institutions, systems of land tenure, and of the agri-
cultural and industrial resources of different districts,
is a necessary equipment for public officers. Districts
should be given their turn of good and bad officers.
A long tenure of office in a district is likely to en-
gender friendships and prejudices which are inimical
to just administration.

The powers exercised by municipalities are large
enough. It is a standing complaint of ratepayers that
the municipalities interfere too much with their
domestic affairs, and that assessments are made of
their holdings on the basis of a valuation much above
their real value. It is desirable that the Municipal
Commissioners should be vested with absolute control
in the matter of assessment of holdings, and that
Section IIIA of the Bengal Municipal Act, which
empowers the Government to get the assessment done
by an assessor on the requisition of the Commis-
sioner of the Division, be repealed.

The powers of the District Boards, too, do not
admit of enlargement.

Advisory or Administrative Councils would be of
little use either to the District Officers or to the
people themselves. As members of municipalities
and District and Local Boards the people have a voice
through their representatives in all the important
affairs of the districts. Few persons would take
kindly to the obligation of having to attend the
Magistrate’s office periodically. At the meetings of
the Agricultural Association we have rarely a quorum.

The constitution and functions of the two bodies
are so totally different that it would serve no useful
purpose to make municipalities subordinate to Dis-
trict Boards. In many municipalities the Com-
missioners are, on an average, persons of a higher
social position than members of District Boards, and
it is an established fact that municipal elections evoke
much keener competition than elections for member-
ship of District Boards.

Village communities, as they existed in old times,
are rarely to be found at present in a large number of
districts. The panchayats do not represent the com-
munity, nor are they composed of desirable men. If
not treated, as at present, as servants of the State, the
constitution of panchayats will improve, and they will
gradually be composed of men who command the
respect and confidence of the village community. It
is then only that civil and criminal powers may be
given them.

15212. You think that in certain cases Local Govern-
ment has been rather influenced in its policy towards
the people by considerations of revenue rather than
of equity. Will you state briefly what it is that you
refer to ?—You will find from the regulations of
1816 and later that the right of establishing ferries
was granted to Government only in cases where a
ferry was necessary for connecting a line of road used
for the purpose of marching troops and other impor-
tant matters, and it was not intended to be a source
of revenue to the Government. The right of zamin-
dars to establish ferries has always been recognised,
and it was so decided by the Judicial Committee of
the Privy Council not long ago. I think it unjust to
us, the landowners, for the Government to establish
ferries according to their own sweet will and pleasure
regardless of the rights* of zamindars to establish
them. It may be contended that private ferries are
not subject to that control to which public ferries are

Raja

Peary Mohan
Mukherjee,
28 Dee., 1907.


Rafa subject, and that, therefore, there might be risk of
.'ian life and greater risk of accidents if the number of
uk- W®' private ferries were allowed to be increased, but there
28 Dec 1907 *s a ^aw private ferries are subject to very

__2_ " * strict control by District Officers, so that a public

ferry is not more free from risk of accident than a
private ferry, because both are equally subject to
the same control.

15213. To some extent, by this action of the Govern-
ment, the revenues of the zamindars have been inter-
fered with ?—Yes.

15214. Are there a very great number of returns
and periodical statements which you think could be
done away with ?—Yes, particularly the agricultural
returns. Most of them are worthless.

15215. Taking the returns of what are called vital
statistics, do you think that they are very inaccurate ?
—Yes, they are very inaccurate.

15216. How are they obtained in Bengal ?—Mostly
through the police. When a child dies in a man’s
family, naturally he is not in a condition of mind to
think of his duty in the way of reporting the death
to the police, and I know of several cases which have
come before me, when I was a Magistrate, of default
to give notice to the police. In these cases to inflict
a fine or any sort of punishment upon the men is
sheer cruelty.

15217. Do you mean that heads of families do not
report cases to the police, and that the police in making
returns of deaths are not really aware of the number
that have taken place ?—-Yes ; they do not get exact
information, and as to the nature of the disease that,
too, is doubtful. For instance, a man may die of
cholera, and it may be reported as a case of fever, or
vice versa.

15218. Do you therefore think that these returns
might very well be abolished ?—Yes.

15219. Did you hear the last witness say that he
would keep a District Officer in a district for a period
of five years ?—Yes, but I am opposed to that—I
think three years is long enough.

15220. Could an officer get round his district
sufficiently in three years ?—Yes ; an officer could
learn everything connected with his district, if it was
not too large, in a month or two months. He would
get to know the principal men and the principal insti-
tutions in the district, and the features of the district ;
that would not take him a long time to learn.

15221. Why do you think three years long enough ?
—In the first place for the training of officers it is
necessary they should have a knowledge of the
customs, and the institutions, and the agricultural and
natural resources of a number of districts before
they can be qualified for higher appointments, and to
deprive them of that training, as you would do if you
kept them five years in any one district, would be
wrong.

15222. In the old days had officers greater know-
ledge of their districts than they have now ?—Yes, a
good deal more.

15223. How long did they stay in their districts
then ?—In some cases they had a long tenure of
office in a district, but that was by private influence,
I should think.

15224. Are the powers exercised by municipalities
large enough ?—Yes, quite large enough ; I would
rather curtail them than make any addition to them.
I think with Mr. Herbert Spencer that a country
least governed is best governed. If a man wants to
add a room to his house now he has to go to the
municipality, and in many things they have to go to
the municipality for permission, but why should
it be so ?

15225. Would they not use any further powers
more usefully than they use those which they have
now ?—Yes.

15226. Does the same thing apply in your opinion
to the District and Local Boards ?—Yes.

15227. Could anything be done in the way of
extending the power of .village communities ?—
Village communities in the sense in which we read of
them in books do not exist in the neighbourhood of
Calcutta, or in the Bengal districts.

15228. Therefore you think that nothing really can
be done in that way ?—Yes, and the panchayats are
composed mostly of men who are quite undesirable—
the respectable and worthy men of a village will not
consent to serve on the panchayats ; a large number
of the members are undesirable inen.

15229. (Sir. Steyning Edgerley.) Do you suggest
that in the matter of ferries Government rather look
after their own interests ?—Yes, why should they
make it a source of revenue ?

15230. In Bombay, all the revenue from the ferries
goes to the District Board. Is that the case in
Bengal ?—Yes.

15231. Then Government, as such, gets nothing out
of them at all ?—Except indirectly by saving the
money which they would otherwise have to give
to the District Boards.

15232. When you said that a District Officer could
get to know his district in a month or two, you did
not mean that he could personally visit the whole of
it, but that he could only learn about it ?—If he were
an intelligent officer and knew the language, and had
some experience, he might easily learn about it.

15233. But you do not mean that he could person-
ally visit the whole district in that time ?—No, of
course not.

15234. How long would it take him to do that ?—
Collectors finish their tours in two months in the
cold season.

15235. But would it take him one touring season
or two ?—Collectors do not visit every place ; there
are certain places which no officer visits, because there
are not, perhaps, convenient roads or places where
they can get food.

15236. (Mr. Meyer.) Do you desire that a portion
of the customs revenue should go to the provincial
revenues ?—Yes.

15237. Do you mean any large proportion ?—A
small proportion—in the proportion which the local
taxation in England, Ireland and Scotland receives
assistance from the customs.

15238. You mentioned the sum of £200,000 as
having been granted from customs revenue to aid
local taxation in England, Scotland and Ireland, in
the year 1905, but are you aware that the customs
revenue in the United Kingdom amounts to many
millions of pounds ?—Yes.

15239. So that the sum you mention is quite an
infinitesimal percentage ?—Yes.

15240. What is to be gained by granting this
infinitesimal percentage in Bengal ?—I think Bengal
should have a hold on the sources of the revenue
which are principally fed by the consumption of the
people themselves.

15241. But a considerable part of your customs
revenue represents the consumption of all the people
in the United Provinces ?—Yes, but we do not get our
share of the customs revenue.

15242. You say that you are against any restriction
of the right of appeal ? On the other hand 3 ou say
that owing to the immense increase of work of the
Secretaries of Local Governments, appeals do not
receive the requisite amount of attention and consid-
eration. Is not the increase of work, of which all
officers complain more or less, very largely due to the
frequency of appeals, and are not appeals made much
more freely than used to be the case 30 or 40 years
ago ?—I think not.

15243. Has not the work greatly increased ?—The
work has greatly increased on account of the large
increase of subjects. Questions with regard to District
Boards, and other matters come up to Government
which did not come up before.

15244. But you admit that the Local Government
may withhold sending an appeal to the Government
of India in certain cases where there is no reasonable,
ground for sending it on ?—Yes, but I know of a
gentleman who was dismissed by a local officer and
wanted to appeal to the Government of India, but
the Government of Bengal said they thought there
were no grounds for appeal. The man came to me
for advice.






15245. Do you think, then, that in everything there
ought to be an appeal right up to the Secretary of
State ?—No, not to the Secretary of State, but to the
Governor-General in Council.

15246. You say that the municipalities do not do
much good. There are a number of quite small
municipalities in Bengal with a population of less
than 10,000 people ?—Yes.

15247. Would you abolish those and convert them
into Local Fund unions or would you keep them on ?
—It would not do to abolish any riparian municipality
because for the purpose of carrying out compre-
hensive schemes the joint action of a number of
municipalities along the banks of a river becomes
necessary, but in regard to an outlying municipality if
it consisted of small agricultural villages, I think it
would be much better that it should be converted
into a union.

15248. Two or three witnesses have suggested that
the Collector should cease to be the Chairman of the
District Board—is that your view ?—No.

15249. Should he remain the Chairman because it
gives him a valuable means of finding out the
requirements of the district ?—Yes, for that reason,
and also the Collector is a much better read man than
any of the members of the Board. I suspect that if
you left the entire control of the District Boards to
unofficial gentlemen there would be very great risk of
matters not being conducted in a proper way—I mean
few, if any, of the members of the District Board have
taken the trouble to read through carefully the Local
Government Act or the Civil Service Regulations, so
that in the matter of granting leave or sick leave, and
those kind of things, the District Collector certainly
knows more than anybody else. In fact few members
know anything about these matters. I would make
the Collector head of the Board.

15250. {Mr. Hichens.) If you gave these non-official
people some responsibility might they not rise to it ?
I am not an advocate of honorary work ; I think paid
work is much better done, and only in exceptional
cases do you find that a non-official gentleman will
take the trouble to qualify himself thoroughly to be
Chairman of a District Board.

15251. I understand you to say that the Chairman
of a District Board should be a paid official ?—Yes, if
he be a paid servant, whether he is an Indian or an

Englishman would not matter much, because a paid Raja
man would feel the responsibility of qualifying Peary Mohan
himself for the post. Mukkerjee.

15252. You do not think that the other members of 28 Dec. 1907.

the Board should be paid too?—No, I do not think __________L

they need be paid.

15253. {Mr. Dutt.) Do you say that if they were
not treated as servants of the State the panchayats
would improve ?—Yes.

15254. At present the panchayats are, to some
extent, under the control of the local police ?—Yes.

15255. And therefore respectable people do not like
to serve on the panchayat ?—They do not.

15256. If you are to improve the panchayat, should
they be made completely independent of the police ?

—Yes.

15257. Under those circumstances, and if proper
men are appointed, will the panchayat command the
respect and confidence of the villagers?—Yes, and
much good might be done by conferring on them civil
and criminal powers.

15258. Will you kindly explain in what matters ?—

In the matter of any breach of sanitary rules or regu-
lations and such like things, I think criminal powers
might be vested in the panchayat, and also in the case
of disputes as to irrigation and boundaries, and such
things. Those things might be very profitably handed
over to the panchayat to deal with.

15259. And that would save people the trouble of
going a long distance to have their cases judged?—

Yes, and there would not be so many false cases as at
present. The people try to throw dust in the eyes of
a Magistrate, but they would know very well that if
they tried to bring any false case before their neigh-
bours it would not stand for a moment.

15260. {Sir Frederic Lely.) What part of Bengal
are you specially acquainted with ?—I have estates
in six districts of Bengal.

15261. With regard to village communities, do you
say that they are rarely to be found at present as they
existed in the old times ?—Thac is so.

15262.—Does that apply to Chota Nagpur?—No,
there are still panchayats there. I am speaking of
Bihar and Bengal.

{The witness withdrew.)

Maharaja Manindra Chandra Nandy op Cossimbazar was called and examined.



15263. {Chairman.) Where is your residence ?—I
live at Cossimbazar, in the district of Murshidabad.
There is considerable scope for further decentraliza-
tion and delegation of power to Local Governments
and local authorities ; and in order that such extended
powers may be exercised to the best advantage of the
administration and the people, some machinery should
be devised whereby the Local Governments and
authorities may be placed in possession of authorita-
tive local opinion, to which definite recognition should
be extended.

I would give to Local Governments the power of
borrowing money in the open market up to a certain
limit and subject to the revisional authority of the
Government of India. The Corporation of Calcutta
and the Calcutta Port Trust which are subordinate
bodies possess this power. There is no reason why
the Local Governments should not be invested with
the same power. I would allow them to create new
appointments, carrying salaries, say, up to Rs. 250 a
month, and to enhance salaries of subordinate
appointments up to the same limits, the essential con-
dition being that the budget limit of expenditure
should not be exceeded.

The two most notable reforms which have been
inaugurated in recent years, viz., Local Self-Government
and the expansion of the Legislative Councils, proceeded
from the Government of India. Local Self-Government
was Lord Ripon’s work. The expansion and reform of
the Councils was recommended by Lord Dufferin. In
my opinion provincial Governments should not be per-
mitted to develop their administration on their own
lines, adopting or not at their discretion suggestions

33263

from other provinces. In a matter of this importance Maharaja
they should be under the controlling authority of the Manindra
Government of India, the effect of which would be to Chandra
secure greater uniformity in these reforms. Nandy.

I would not impose any limitations upon the right 28 Dec.. 1907,

of appeal as it now exists. The right of appeal is _____________L

highly prized ; and even where it is a hopeless case, it
is some consolation to the appellant to know that he
can go up to the highest authority and obtain a hear-
ing. The curtailment of this right would be highly
unpopular.

I would delegate larger powers to Magistrates and
Commissioners of Divisions, subject to the condition
that they are assisted by Advisory Councils. These
Advisory Councils would place the local authorities in
closer touch with the people than now, and would go
far to adapt local administration to local environments
and needs. Two-thirds of the members of the
Advisory Council should be elected, and one-third
nominated by the Magistrate, or the Commissioner
of the Division, as the case may be. The elected
members of municipalities and of District Boards
should form the constituency for the election of the
members of the Advisory Council. They should be
consulted in regard to all important matters except
judicial, and they should have the right of offering
advice even when not consulted upon any matter
which they deem to be of sufficient importance. The
Advisory Councils would prove highly useful, as
Executive Officers have not sufficient opportunities for
personal contact with the people. The chief obstacles
in the way of personal contact are the want of time,
unfamiliarity with the vernaculars, in the sense that

F


42

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Maharaja

Manindra

Chandra

Nandy.

â–  D ec., 1907.

they are not able to hold conversation in the language
of the people, and the presence at many district head-
quarters of a fairly large European population, with
whom, naturally, European officials prefer to spend
their leisure. The creation of Advisory Councils
would go far to remove the obstacles to which I have
referred.

District Officers must always be carefully selected.
Everybody is not fit to be a District Officer. It is an
office of high responsibility which needs the exercise
of great tact, judgment and care. The delegation of
larger powers will, of course, involve more careful
selection. But if there are Advisory Councils, the
risks of an unhappy selection are very much mini-
mised.

I do not think that any general increase in the
district staff is required. Their work would be
lightened by the creation of Advisory Councils. Some
districts may appear too large, as, for instance, Midna-
pore in Old Bengal and Mymensingh in the new
province. But there is a very strong feeling against
partition of any kind, and local feeling should be
respected. Sometimes District Officers are kept too
long in a particular district, and they imbibe prejudices
which a prolonged association with the environments
of a particular place is apt to produce. Sometimes
again transfers are too frequent ; and an officer is
sent away just as he has got in hand the threads of
the administration, or is in the middle of a local
undertaking of importance.

As regards municipalities, I would strongly recom-
mend an extension of their powers. In Bengal the
municipalities under Lord Ripon’s Local Self Govern-
ment Resolution were created in 1884. Nearly a
quarter of a century has now elapsed ; but their
powers remain the same as at the time of their original
creation, although Lord Elgin’s Government, in a
formal resolution, declared that the local bodies had,
on the whole, been successful throughout India. At
present the Magistrate exercises a minute control over
the smallest details of municipal administration. I
think this control should be relaxed and should be
confined only to the major heads of the budget. In
selected municipalities which might be named in a
schedule, even this measure of control might be with-
drawn and the municipalities permitted, as in the case
of the Calcutta Corporation, to frame their own
budgets in their own way. I would not invest District
Boards with the power of supervision over munici-
palities. A Central Board like the Local Government
Board in England might be formed, consisting of two
or three members, one of whom should be an experi-
enced non-official Chairman of a municipality, to
control the municipalities of the province.

As regards the District Boards the Magistrate and .
Collector, who in Bengal is always the Chairman,
should be released of this responsibility and a non-
official gentleman should be appointed. The work of
the Board is often practically done by the Vice-
Chairman, who is a non-official member. The District
Board is practically a department of the Government,
and the Executive officer and the Government exercise
minute control over its operations. Its powers in
respect of education, medical aid and sanitation are
largely controlled by the Government ; and the power
of making rules reserved to the Government regulates
and restrains the functions of District Boards in the
exercise of many of the functions.

It is both possible and desirable to group together
a number of villages and invest them with powers in
the disposal of local affairs relating to revenue, police,
sanitary, educational and other matters, such as the
disposal of petty civil and criminal cases.

15264. Are you in favour of giving the Local
Government power of borrowing money in the open
market up to a certain limited extent ?—Yes.

. 15265. Are you engaged yourself in any occupation,
or in finance, in such a way as would lead you to know
what the state of the local money market is ?—No, not
particularly.

15266. Can you tell us whether there is, at all events
in Bengal, a rupee market which is untouched by the
issues of the Government of India at present ?—The
whole of it is already touched.

15267. Would you like to see, in the case of Bengal,
the Head of the Government assisted by an Executive
Council ?—Yes. Such an Executive Council should
consist of two or three members.

15268. Then would you like to see very much larger
powers given to the Commissioners so as to make them
like the Commissioner in Sind.—Yes. I have been in
Sind once, but I am not acquainted with the Govern-
ment.

15269. You do not wish to see the control of the
Government of India removed from the Local Govern-
ment ? Will you tell me why ?—Because if there is to
be any check it must be done properly.

15270. Are you afraid if the control were removed
that the Local Government would get out of hand ?—
Yes.

15271. Would you leave the Commissioner the right
to nominate persons upon the Advisory Council ?—
I think that should be done by the higher officers, and,
of course, the Council for a Magistrate would be
nominated by him with elected members.

15272. You would like to see the Commissioner’s
Council partly elected and partly nominated?—Yes.
I think two-thirds should be elected, and one-third
nominated.

15273. Would you like the Collector to have a
similar Council?—Yes. There would be two Coun-
cils, one for the Commissioner and one for the Col-
lector.

15274. Do you think that on the whole, the District
Officers know the people who live in their districts
pretty well ?—No, from my own personal knowledge I
can say that the District Officer does not know them
pretty well.

15275. Which particular district do you live in
now ?—I live in Murshidabad ; I have been in many
districts in Bengal, and from my personal experience
I know that the Magistrate and the local officers are
not acquainted with many of the people.

15276. Are they intimate with you ?—Yes, of
course, they are with me.

15277. But not with persons who are in a lower
social position ?—Quite so.

15278. Do you think that they, perhaps, go to see
the gentlemen of high position and do not go amongst
the people?—Generally the Magistrate does not go
anywhere ; we go to him to pay our respects, and when
we go to him he asks questions about the district, and
whenever he goes out on tour he usually goes to a
European resident of the place. Of course if there is
anything important to enquire about, he enquires
about it, and then goes back.

15279. When the District Officer comes into that
part of the district where you live, does he make a
call upon you, or do you go to see him ?—I go to
see him.

15280. Does he return the call?—No. Some

Magistrates pay return visits but not all.

15281. Does the Commissioner pay you visits ?—Not
always ; sometimes.

15282. Do you think it would improve things if,
when the District Officer went round and native Indian
gentlemen called upon him, he always returned their
calls ?—Yes, that would be a good thing no doubt be-
cause he would find out the proper state of things.

15283. And then, perhaps, he would have a greater
knowledge as to whom to put upon the Advisory
Council ?—Yes, he would meet gentlemen who could
give him all sorts of information with regard to
different parts of the district.

15284. Do you find in any cases complaints that
District Officers are not very courteous to people who
come to see them ?—I have seen it, but not with
regard to all.

15285.—You have found them discourteous once or
twice ?—Yes.

15286. That is very regrettable and tends to keep
the people at a distance ?—Yes.

15287. Have you noticed that more lately, or has it
been less than it was ?—Some three years ago a
Magistrate was posted in our district of that nature.

15288. And, of course, the people kept away from
him ?—Yes.

152^9. The last witness stated that he did not think
it was very much good giving increased powers to


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

municipalities. Do you agree with him ?—I think
that increased power should be given to district
municipalities.

15290. Do you think that a Magistrate exercises
too much control over its budget ?—Yes, and not only
the budget, but as to minor details. I would like to
see his power confined to major heads.

15291. Supposing that that control was very largely
removed, do you not think there would be some un-
wise spending of money by the municipalities ?—Yes,
but the people would pay more attention to their
affairs, whereas if the Chairman and Commissioners
know that what they suggest will be checked by
the Magistrate, they will not take much interest in
them.

15292. You think that if the control of the Magis-
trate was removed, although there might be wasteful
extravagance, still there would be an improvement in
time ?—Yes.

15293. Would there be at first a certain amount of
corruption ?—No, because there are several persons on
the Board.

15294. When the municipality were able to spend
money more as they liked, would there be a certain
amount of corruption, as, for instance, some one might
want to put his brother, or his cousin, into some
place?—I do not think so, because the Municipal
Chairman and the Commissioners are all gentlemen
and men of education, and they would always take
care of that.

15295. But there might be extravagance. Would
you say the same thing with regard to District
Boards ?—The District Boards are different. At
present in almost all districts in Bengal the Magistrate
is the Chairman of the Board, and it is a Government
office. There are some elected members, but they
follow the advice and orders of the Magistrates, and
therefore at present it is a Government office, and the
power of making rules is in the hands of the Govern-
ment, so that the Government power is increased. If
more power is entrusted to the elected members, and if
an influential gentleman were appointed as Chairman
of the Board, I think it would be an improvement

15296. If it ceased to be a Government office would
the members of the Board take greater interest and
feel greater responsibility in their work ?—Yes.

15297. There again there might at first be some
extravagance ?—No, I think not, because the money
would be checked by a Government auditor, and there
is very little chance of extravagance.

15298. Do you not think a District Board, if freed
from the control of the Magistrate, might want to
raise the pay and salaries of its servants, for instance ?—
That would be at the discretion of the Board, but I
think if there is any necessity for increasing the pay,
it should be considered by the whole of the members
and the Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

15299. Do you agree with the other witnesses that
something might be done to increase the powers of the
village communities ?—Yes.

15300. Might there be found in a village respectable
men who could be joined to the panchayat and made
into a village Bench for the purpose of trying petty
criminal and civil cases ?—Yes.

15301. Would that tend greatly to the building up
of a sort of Local Government ?—Yes.

15302. {Mr. Meyer.) For what purpose would you
allow Local Governments to contract loans ?—Some-
times for public business they require more money,
and it cannot always be allotted.

15303. The Government of India already borrows
money for railways and irrigation works which more
than pay the charges, including interest ?—Yes.

15304. Do you wish to alter that system ?—But the
Government of Bengal requires money sometimes.

15305. You mean for something, perhaps, which
does not pay its way—such as a navigable canal, for
instance ?—Yes.

15306. Do you say that you would not reduce the
right of appeal even where the appellant is absolutely
wrong ?—I do not mean to say where the appellant is
absolutely wrong, but, if he thinks he has not been
fairly dealt with, I would allow him to appeal.

33263

Maharaja

Manindra

Chandra

Nandy.

28 Dec., 1907

43

15307. But does that not mean a large waste of
time to superior officers ?—What I say is that even
where there is some hopeless case the appellant would
get some consolation if he has the power of appeal and
getting a hearing in the upper Court.

15308. The petitioner gets consolation, but the
Magistrate or the Lieutenant-Governor, as it may be,
has his time wasted in reading over the papers merely
to reject them ?—I do not speak in that sense. I am
taking the case of a poor man whose case has been
dismissed, and if he has the power of appeal, he has a
chance of winning his case ; but if he has no power of
appeal, or any hope of appealing to the higher authority,
he may think that justice has not been done him. I
am not for an appeal in a case which is not a true case.

15309. You want to give larger powers to Commis-
sioners, I understand? But if everything they do is to
be appealed against to the Lieutenant-Governor, or the
Board of Revenue, will it be much good giving them
larger powers ?—Yes, they can do something, I think.

15310. Do you mean the Advisory Council you
suggest to be purely advisory ?—Whenever an import-
ant case came before him, and he wanted the help of
the Advisory Council to decide it, I would let them
advise him.

15311. But supposing the majority of the Advisory
Council said, “ You are to do this,’’ and the Commis-
sioner said, “No, I do not think that is advisable, I
want to do something else,” what would happen ?—In
that case there must be some Appellate Court, no
doubt.

15312. And therefore you would refer to the Govern-
ment or the Board of Revenue ?—Yes.

15313. And the same with a Collector ?—Yes.

15314. You say that the work of the District Officer
would be lightened, but how could that be if he has to
consult a number of people, and then refer to a higher
authority if he did not carry the opinion of his
advisers with him ?—I think if the true circumstances
of the case were brought before him there would be
very few appeals. Generally appeals take place in cases
which are not properly represented, and the officer
trying the case does not know the facts and there are
mistakes in his judgment ; but if he is enlightened with
the help of the other members, he can decide whether
the 'case is a true one or not, and I think then the
number of appeals would be lessened.

15315. But you say that they should not have the
right of intervening in judicial matters ?—Yes.

15316. Would you have this Advisory Council elected
by members of the District Board and others ?—Yes.

15317. Would you get a proper representation of the
people in that way ?—Yes.

15318. Would it not be likely that you would get a
great many pleaders and people of that kind on the
Board ?—Not only pleaders—you would also get people
of the merchant class and the educated class, and
zamindars—you would get all sorts of men.

15319. But do large zamindars like yourself usually
occupy a seat on the Board?—There are some who
take a seat on the Board.

15320. Would you get quite a good Advisory Council
simply from the District Boards and municipalities ?—
Yes.

15321. You speak of a Board of Control at head-
quarters over municipalities like the Local Government
Board in England. Are you aware that the Local
Government Board in England is a mere fiction, and
that the whole of the work is done by a single Cabinet
Minister with his staff ?—We only know that there is
such a body in England.

15322. Do you desire to dissociate the Collector
from the presidency of the District Board, and would
you also take the magisterial work from him ?—Yes.

15323. If you take him away from the presidency
of the District Board, do you not dissociate him
from the work in connection with roads, sanitation
and education ? You would make him a mere collector
of revenue and a trier of cases ?—Yes.

15324. Is that a satisfactory position for a Collector?
— The Collector has power to deal with all the officers
of the district ; being the District Magistrate and
Collector he has power to deal with education,
irrigation, roads and everything.

F 2


44

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Maharaja

Manindra

Chandra

Nandy.

28 Dec., 1907.

15325. But you said that the District Board should
have power to allot money and do everything that is
wanted ?—Yes, and that the District Magistrate should
see to it from time to time.

15326. But would not the Chairman of the District
Board become a much bigger person in a district than
a Collector. The real person to whom the people
would look to do things for them in the way of roads,
schools and drainage would be the elected Chairman
of the District Board, and the Collector would cease
to be the real representative of Government then ?—
Yes.

15327. You say that there are certain municipalities
which you would like to treat like Calcutta ; do you
mean the very large ones, or a great number of them ?
—I mean the very large ones—not a great number.

15328. (57?’ Steyning Edgerley.) You think that a
preferable constitution for a province would be a
Governor and Council and Commissioners. You did
not make it quite clear whether you required a Board
of Revenue under that system ?—Yes.

15329. If you magnify the Commissioner’s powers
and also add a Governor-in-Council, is not the Board
of Revenue rather squeezed out—what useful work
could it do ?—I think not; they would have something
to do. I would still leave the Board.

15330. With regard to appeals you suggested that
there should be no change, but do you refer simply to
appeals by officers, or to appeals by litigants ?—I refer
to appeals by litigants and officers also.

15331. As regards litigants, there are always two
parties concerned, and in obtaining your suggested
consolation for an appellant are you not rather ill-
using the man who has won his case in two or three
Courts ?—That may be so, but in some cases it would
not be so.

15332. Supposing a case where the two first Courts
were absolutely concurrent and certain about the
facts, would it not be rather worrying a man who had
won to allow an appellant to carry him on from Court
to Court?—In some cases it might be. It is very
difficult to say, but my point is that an appeal should
be granted notwithstanding the hardship.

15333. You have recommended certain Advisory
Councils and village panchayats, and various things of
that description, but would you not want legislation
if you once had election to these Councils ?—Yes.

15334. How would you proceed ; would you proceed
by an Act which should endeavour to make an exact
constitution for each Council, or would you have a very
general rule-making clause which would enable you
to make experiments ?—I would have a general rule.

15335. So that you might try one thing in one
district and another thing in another ?—Not in that
way ; an experiment in one district would do.

15336. But you would not try to be precise in the
first instance ?—Yes.

15337. Would you try a precise Act, or would you
try a very general Act giving power to make rules ?—
I would have a general power to make rules.

15338. {Sir Frederic Lely.} How do other people
regard a District Board in a district ; do they regard
it as really representing them, and do they consider
that they have an interest in its proceedings ?—The
people think that it is a Government office.

15339. Do they not evince any interest in its
proceedings?—No.

15340. Then it is not, in any true sense, a repre-
sentative body ?—No, it is not at all.

15341. In Bengal villages is there a good deal of
faction, and a great deal of jealousy of the panchayat,
for instance?—-Not in every village, but there are
villages, or village people, who have jealousies.

15342. As a matter of fact, if power is given to
anyone in a village, would not that usually mean in
Bengal power to the zamindar ?—No.

15343. Is not the zamindar all powerful on his
estate?—But you do not find a zamindar in every
village.

15344. Practically every village is in some zamindar’s
estate ?—No.

15345. Most of them ?—No ; in many cases the
zamindar never interferes with village matters. In

some cases, such as boundary questions between two
villages, and with regard to money matters and other
things, he does act.

15346. Do you think generally in village matters
the zamindar would leave the people to themselves
and not interfere with them?—Yes.

15347. Is your proposition that District Councils
are to be elected by municipalities and District
Boards ?—Yes.

15348. Then the lower castes would have no repre-
sentation ?—Yes, even in the lower castes you can get
good men now-a-days, but I do not say in every
village.

15349. Do you know of any District Board at
present which has a low caste representative member
on it ?—No.

15350. Or any municipality ?—Yes, I do, he was
elected.

15351. Do you know of more cases than one ?—No.

15352. Would a low caste man have much chance of
being elected to the District Council ?—I cannot tell
you whether he would be elected by the people, or
not.

15353. Would you yourself stand for election?—
Yes, I am Chairman of the municipality. I was
elected.

15354. {Mr. Dutt.) The members of the District
Board are now partly nominated and partly elected ?—
Yes.

15355. Are the zamindars and men of social standing
prevented by the prevailing feeling of the country
from seeking election ?—I cannot speak as to that.

15356. Would they willingly appear as candidates
for election do you think ?—Yes.

15357. They would not be disgraced in the eyes of
their countrymen if they stood as candidates ?—No.

15358. When pleaders are elected as members of
the District Board, do you, as zamindar, think that
your interests are neglected?—Yes, if only pleaders
are elected, of course in that case I should think my
interests were neglected.

15359. Do zamindars themselves sometimes elect
pleaders as their representatives?—Formerly it was
the custom, but now-a-days it is not.

15360. Have zamindars elected pleaders as their
representatives on Councils and District Boards?—
Yes, but not as pleaders, but as their qualified
representatives.

15361. A proposal has been made that every class
should return a member from their own class so that
cultivating raiyats should return such a member ; in
your opinion, in a small sub-division, would the
raiyats be able to find a properly qualified raiyat to
represent their interests on a Board ?—No, I do not
think they would be able to find such a man among
their class, but in some places you can find them.

15362. So that if you restricted the selection to
their own class, their interests would suffer?—No,
their interests would not suffer ; but it would be
better if there was a representative for all classes of
people ; if, however, a representative cannot be found
from each class, they should be allowed to select one
from some other class.

15363. Would you allow the people to select a
representative from any class they liked ?—Yes.

15364. With regard to nominated members, when
men of position and local standing are nominated
members of a Board, do they lose the respect of their
countrymen ?—Yes.

15365. They are no longer respected by their
countrymen ?—No.

15366. What is the cause of that feeling ?—Because
it is felt that they will follow the advice of the
Magistrate.

15367. But supposing they are independent men ?—
If such a man be an independent man he will be
regarded as a respectable man, no doubt.

15368. So that depends more upon his own
personality ?—Yes.

15369. {Mr. Hichens.} Does your work as Chairman
of a municipality take up a lot of your time?—Yes, at
least two hours a day.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

45

15370. Would there be any difficulty in getting
unofficial people to take that work up ?—There would
be no difficulty in Bengal; I cannot speak for other
provinces.

15371. Are the other members interested in the
work P^-Yes.

15372. Are there any committees or sub-committees
in your municipality ?—Yes.

15373. Do they take an interest in the work ?—Yes,
a great interest; they always help in the administra-
tion of the municipality.

15374. (Chairman.) What are the population and
size of the municipality of which you are Chairman ?
—The population is about 25,000.

15375. Are the returns and statistics and general
work of the municipality in English ?—Yes.

15376. Is that a good thing At the present day it
is a good thing, no doubt, because every one knows
English—previously it was not so.

15377. Does that not increase the number of papers
and returns and correspondence ?—Yes, no doubt it
does.

( The witness withdrew.)

Maharaja

Manindra

Chandra

Nandy.

28 Dec., 1907.

Rai Kisori Lal Goswami Bahadur was called and examined.

15378. (Chairman.) Where do you live?—At Ser-
ampur, in the district of Hooghly. I am a zamindar.
The people of this country do not want the con-
trolling power of the Government of India over the
provincial Governments to be in any way relaxed or
diminished, or the right of appeal to the Government
of India to be curtailed in any way. A strict central
control should be exercised in such a way as not to
unduly restrict the legitimate degree of local inde-
pendence of the provincial Governments.

The most important official in direct touch with the
people is the Collector, who, under existing arrange-
ments, has to perform the two-fold duties of Collector
and Magistrate. I beg to suggest that—

The Collector should be purely an Executive
Officer, directly responsible to the Government
or Board of Revenue, and he should actively
co-operate with the Heads of the special De-
partments under the provincial Government in
their respective work, and so far as his district
is concerned, he should have all the powers
now vested in the Divisional Commissioner.

The Divisional Commissioner, as an intermediate
authority between the provincial Government
or the Board of Revenue and the Collector,
is a superfluity. The Divisional Commissioner-
ships were created under Regulation I. of 1829.
The reasons given in that Regulation for the
creation of this intermediate supervising
authority do not now hold good.

The Collector should be an officer of at least 12
years’ standing, and should ordinarily hold
charge of a district for at least five years at a
stretch. At present many junior officers are
entrusted with the charge of districts and
transfers are much too frequent.

The Sub-Divisional Officer should be shorn of all
judicial powers and should be a purely
Executive Officer directly under the District
Officer. He should be an officer of at least six
years’ standing, and he should ordiifarily hold
charge of a sub-division for at least five years
at a stretch.

The number of the members of the Board of
Revenue will, perhaps, have to be increased if
the Commissioner ships are abolished, so as to
enable them to inspect the work of the District
Officers.

The Sub-Divisional Officers and District Magis-
trates should possess a sufficient knowledge of
the vernacular of the district in which they are
posted so as to be able to make themselves
quite intelligible to all classes of people who
can talk only in the vernacular of the locality
and to be able to understand what they say.
The examinations to test their proficiency in
the vernacular languages should be more
strictly conducted. They should at least be
able to understand petitions written in the
vernacular of the district when read to them.

The Executive Officers have sufficient opportunities
for personal contact with the people, but they are not
generally availed of in a manner which would conduce
to establish mutual confidence. The stiffness and
overbearing manners on the part of some officers
repel the people, and a want of knowledge of the
manners and social aptitudes on both sides lead to
misunderstanding. Personally I have met with
courtesy and attention in all my interviews with the
officers, notably with the higher officers.

Some of the districts are much too large for one
District Officer, such as Midnapore. The areas of all
the districts ought to be revised in the light of the
population, area, and the accessibility from the head-
quarters to all parts of the district.

The official control over the municipalities and the
District Boards should be relaxed. The provision in
the Local Self-Government Act for the election of a
Chairman of the District Board is practically a dead
letter. The experiment of having non-official Chair-
men, in advanced districts, yffiere capable persons can
be found, ought to be tried. Section 124 of the Local
Self-Government Act lays down the circumstances
under which the District Magistrate or the Divisional
Commissioner can suspend the execution of any
order or resolution of a local authority. Unless the
injury, or annoyance, or breach of peace be of a
serious character, this power should not be exercised ;
cf. section 63 of the Bengal Municipal Act. The
power given both under the Local Self-Government
Act and the Bengal Municipal Act to the Divisional
Commissioner to modify the budget prepared by the
local bodies is much too wide. His powers of inter-
ference should be limited only to cases of contraven-
tion of any provisions of the aforesaid Acts or any
rule or bye-law having the force of law, or of any
specific direction or order of the Local Government.

I am in favour of the creation of Administrative
Councils to assist District Officers. It will be very
helpful to the officers to understand the popular views
and wishes in all important matters. The Adminis-
trative Council may be partly constituted on an
elective basis. I venture to suggest the following :—

Constitution.

(a) There ought to be an electorate of land-
holders residing in the district having a
net annual income of Rs 3,000 or more a
year from landed properties ascertained
from Road Cess papers or otherwise. They
may return four members.

(5) The non official members of the District
Board—one member.

(c) The non-official members of all the Local

Boards of the district—one member.

(d) The non-official members of all the munici-

palities—two members.

(e) Three panchayats of the district to be

selected by the District Officer.

(/) The non-official members of the Provincial
Council residing in the district.

Any, or all, of the following officers may be asked
by the District Officer to attend the meetings of the
Council :—The Sub-Divisional Officers ; the Civil
Surgeon ; the Inspector of Schools or Deputy Inspec-
tor of Schools ; the District Engineer.

The District Officer may call meetings of the
Administrative Council as often as he may deem
necessary, to consider such subjects as he may think
proper. There should be at least two meetings of the
Council in each year. A requisition from half the
number of members of the Council to consider any
particular question at a meeting should be given effect
to by the District Officer. The District Officer should
not, without special sanction of the Local Govern-
ment, do a thing which is opposed to the views of two-
thirds of the members of the Council.

I think the Madras system of village administration
might be introduced in Bengal. Selected panchayats

Ra i Kisori
Lal Coswami
Bahadur.
28 Dec., 1907.


46 MINUTES OF evidence:

Rai Kisori might be given the powers which are vested in the
al Goswami village headman in Madras ; that is to say, they may
Bahadur. be vested with the powers of Magistrates to try petty
, n ' cases, and may maintain law and order in the village,
eG"> y ' applying for assistance to the higher authorities, if
necessary, and reporting to them the occurrence of
crimes and the movements of criminal gangs. They

may also act as village Munsifs to try petty cases.

15379. The Commission have had before them other
Indian gentlemen who have stated that the Local
Government ought to be a self-contained Government
which should be capable of managing its own affairs
without the interference of the Government of India ;
will you tell us what your reasons are for holding the
contrary view ?—As the administration is at present
constituted, it would be better that the control exer-
cised by the Indian Government should continue, for
in several cases the administrative measures with
regard to the provincial Government are controlled by
the Government of India in a way which produces
very healthy results.

15380. Do you think that a Government which has
to do with the affairs of many millions of people, and
deal with many thousands of square miles, is not
capable of exercising a discretion in large, as well as
small, matters?—In my opinion it would be much
better that things should continue as -they are at
present.

15381. But can you give me any particular reason ?
—We find the control as at present has a very healthy
effect in regard to all matters.

15382. Will you tell me with regard to one particu-
lar matter how it has ?—I think that the very
existence of such a control makes the Government
more careful.

15383. Should you think it right, for instance, that
if the Public Works Department wanted to spend, say,
more than 10 lakhs of rupees, it should have to go to
the Government of India for sanction to that work ?
—Yes.

15384. You think that it helps forward the affairs of
the locality which perhaps wants some small drainage
work, or some public building ?—I am not speaking
with regard to those small matters ; those things are
really sanctioned as a matter of course.

15385. But is a reference in those matters to the
Indian Government necessary ?—In small matters the
control might be relaxed.

15386. What are the larger matters in which you
think it ought to be retained ?—I am speaking of
schemes involving large expenditure, which ought to be
subject to the sanction of the Government of India.

15387. Have you ever been brought into contact
with some of the higher officers of the Public Works
Department, for instance ?—No.

15388. So that you cannot personally judge of their
capacity to execute the work or not ?—No.

15389. Have you been brought very much into con-
tact with the higher officers of the Government—with
Lieutenant-Governors and members of the Board of
Revenue ?—Yes.

15390. Do you think, as a rule, that they are not
capable of exercising discretionary powers in regard
to large questions ?—Certainly, I consider them capa-
ble, but control is salutary.

15391. You wish us to think that the acquaintance
of the Collector with the people is very superficial ?—
You live in the mufasscd, and I daresay you have
come across a great number of District Officers ?—
Yes.

15392. Do the people hesitate to go to them ?—Yes.
Some of them allow ready access to them and treat
the people very well, but there are others who are
the very opposite, and there is a prevailing feeling
that they do not desire the people to approach them,
because in many cases the people do not receive the
treatment they expect to receive.

15393. Is that owing perhaps to some mistake on
both sides ?—Yes, it is partly due to mistakes and
want of knowledge of the vernacular of the country
on the part of the Magistrate, and also to the want of
knowledge of the manners of the people.

15394. Would it be possible to collect information
with regard to the manners and customs, so that some

small book could be written upon each province which
would instruct young officers on the subject ?—I do
not know whether books would exactly enable one to
find out what were the manners and customs. It
might help a little, but one must be prepared to asso-
ciate with men and for some little time put up with
what appear to be rather strange manners and customs;

15395. You think, then, that there are misunder-
standings on both sides ?—Yes.

15396. But such a book as I suggest might help a
young man coming out first of all ?—Yes, I think it
would.

15397. It would give him some instruction, which
would be supplemented, of course, by contact with
the people of the district ?—Yes, a tactful superior
officer might put him in possession of the way in
which to do the thing much more quickly.

15398. Are the superior officers, the Commissioners
and Collectors, wanting in knowledge of the manners
and customs of the people ?—Yes, in several cases
they are, and in some cases they are very good men.

15399. Is five years long enough for any District
Officer to stay in a district ?—Yes. He perhaps may
initiate some measure or work, and if he is there for
any shorter time he never sees the end of the thing,
and his successor, who might be a young man, would
possibly drop it. I think the Magistrate should be in
a district five years in order to get to know all about
it, and take an interest in it.

15400. Ought he to be there longer than five years ?
—He should not be there longer, I think, than, five
years, but he should be there as close to five years as
possible.

15401. You are of opinion that the Commissioner
should be abolished and that the Board of Revenue
should take his place ? What makes you think that
that would be a good plan ?—As a matter of fact, so
far as I know, Commissioners have not really much
to do, and the Collectors, who are both Collectors and
Magistrates, are absolutely overworked. That is one
of the drawbacks, and why they cannot be quite nice
to the people who visit them.

15402. Would the better way be first to give the
Collectors and then Commissioners greater powers of
decision in settling matters instead of being, as some
have called them, mere post offices ?—I think it would
be much better that the District Officer should not
have any judicial work to do, but should be an Execu-
tive Officer pure and simple ; that is to say, that he
should do the Collector’s work, and if he is assisted by
an Advisory Council, I think the Commissioners would
not be required as a second check, in addition to that
exercised by the Board of Revenue and the Govern-
ment.

15403. The Commission were told that a Collector
would not have sufficient experience to deal with
matters in* relation to the Court of Wards, but that
the ripe experience and knowledge of a Commissioner
would be required—do you hold that view ?—I do
not think so ; if you have, as Collectors, men with
mature experience of the Service and selected men.

15404. Do the Commissioners move about much in
their divisions?—They go about, and they have a
fixed groove to go through ; they visit the district
officers and inspect hospitals and jails, and talk to a
few leading men who are introduced by the Collector ;
I do not think the Commissioner does much more than
that.

15405. Therefore, it would be better to have a
stationary officer to deal with these matters?—Yes,
and, if necessary, I would increase the number of
members of the Board of Revenue in order to do the
inspection work.

15406. Then would you have the Board of Revenue
moving about ?—Some of the members may inspect
the district offices.

15407. Are some of the districts too large for one
District Officer?—Yes. They might be split up.
Some districts as compared with others are very large
and too much scattered.

15408. Would you like to see some extra powers
given to municipalities and District Boards?—Yes,
they have already very large powers under the Act.

I have only recommended just a few, but I think they
have fairly large powers.




ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 47

'■';&*?;?«?> h a>g»»v?**v*»r«*Q »»i

15409. Do you say that a Collector ought to super-
vise the works of the municipalities and District
Boards ?—Yes.

15410. Would you have an elected Chairman of the
District Board or municipality, and their work super-
vised by the District Officer ?—Yes, but in the case of
District Boards one should be very careful to find out
a proper non-official gentleman, because a District
Board is very different from a municipality where the
Chairman has to deal with a small area, while the Dis-
trict Board covers a very large area. I do not think
in many districts qualified non-officials, able and will-
ing to devote their time to the work, could be found.

15411. Then you would have your paid Chairman,
and the supervision of the Collector ?—That perhaps
would be better in the case of District Boards.

15412. In the case of municipalities would you have
the present arrangement again with the supervision of
the Collector ?—Yes.

15413. Might something be done in the way of
instituting a system of village Councils in the various
villages ?—Would you give larger powers to the village
panchayat ?—Yes, as exist now in Madras.

15414. Would you add to the panchayat three or
four of the respectable men of the village ?—Yes, and
if you gave them larger powers it would be possible
to get a better class of people to become panchayats ;
as it is at present, it is hardly considered respectable
to be a panchayat, but the contrary.

15415. Is the panchayat rather open to a bribe at
the present time ?—I do not think they are very good
people who act as panchayats now ; they are too much
under the control of the police.

15416. (Jfr. Hichens). Do you know that, in Cal-
cutta, the Municipality makes up its own budget
without submitting it to the Government ?—Yes.

15417. Would you allow municipalities and District
Boards to have that power ?—No, they should be able
to prepare their budget, but should submit it to the
Commissioner—that is what I think they should do,
but the power of interference of the Commissioner
should be limited. He should interfere only in large
matters.

15418. Would you have all the members of the
municipality elected ?—I think the present system is
all right—two-thirds elected, and one-third nomin-
ated.

15419. Would there be any difficulty, as far as
municipalities are concerned, in getting good men to
come forward as Chairmen ?—No difficulty at all.

15420. Is it true to say that people standing for a
municipality do so in order to get a certain amount of
prestige and perhaps patronage, and do not care much
about the work ?—-They do not entirely shut their
eyes to that, but that is not the main object of their
serving.

15421. (d/r. Dutt.) Is not your proposal to abolish
Commissioners, while increasing the number of mem-
bers of the Board to permit of their doing inspection
work, tantamount to a proposal to give the Board’s
powers to Commissioners who will travel about, and
to ask them to sometimes act in consultation with each
other on important and large questions ?—The occa-
sions for that are not many.

15422. But supposing the proposal is made to keep
Commissioners, while asking them sometimes to meet
in consultation on large questions, and to abolish the
Board, what would you say?—I would rather keep
the Board.

15423. If the Lieutenant-Governor was provided
with a representative Council of two members would
it be possible to devolve larger powers to him ?—I
think it might be possible, that is to say, there would
be the same organization as in the Bombay and
Madras Presidencies.

15424. In that case would you recommend a devo-
lution of larger powers to the Bengal Government? —
Yes.

15425. In what respect are the village panchayats
under the control of the police ?—Practically the
police have the selection of the panchayats and the
collections are made under their supervision.

15426. If they were freed from the control of the Rai Fisori
police would you entrust them with small criminal and Lal Goswami
civil powers?—Yes. Bahadur.

15427. As a rule do you find that the elected

members of District Boards perform their duties satis- ____

factorily ?—So far as my experience goes they do not.

15428. In what way would you suggest an improve-
ment ?—I think the sort of members who generally
come on to the District Boards cannot, somehow or
other, be quite independent.

15429. Have you any remedy to suggest in that
respect ?—I think membership of a District Board at
present is not very attractive to the best people,
because they think that they cannot do much on the
Board, and that the will of the District Magistrate
will prevail.

15430. Does not the law provide for the creation of
sub-committees of the different branches of work
under the District Boards ?—It does.

15431. Are sub-committees in existence on many
District Boards in Bengal ?—They exist, but I believe
that the Finance Committee is the only committee
which really meets.

15432. Does the Finance Committee prepare the
budget ?—Yes.

15433. Is there any educational sub-committee to
look after schools ?—Yes.

15434. At any rate your general idea is that the mem-
bers of the Board should act more independently?—Yes,
and the reason why they cannot act independently is
because the Magistrate has these very large powers,
and the idea prevails that it is sometimes risky to
resist his will.

15435. Are nominated members men of position
and respectability ?—They are mostly officials, such as
the Civil Surgeon and Inspector of Schools—most of
them are ex-officio.

15436. Are there not any leading men on the
Boards ?—There are just a few.

15437. Are they on the whole fairly satisfactory
men ?—They are fairly satisfactory, but I think they
go with a heavy heart, because they think that things
will be done by the Magistrate—that is the whole
idea.

15438. When they are nominated by the Govern-
ment as members of the District Board, do they lose
the respect of their countrymen ?—I do not think so.

15439. (Sir Frederic Lely). Are you a member of
a District Board yourself ?—No, I am not, but I am
Chairman of a municipality.

15440. Then you only speak with regard to District
Boards from hearsay. Are you an elected Chairman
of a municipality, or nominated?—Elected. I am
elected both as a member, and as the Chairman.

15441. You spoke of the want of courtesy shown
by officers sometimes, and you said, personally, you
yourself had never met with anything but courtesy.

Can you mention any particular specific instance of
discourtesy to anyone else without mentioning names ?

—Yes, I know that it has been so in another district.

15442. Can you suggest what the discourtesy con-
sisted of in the cases you have known ?—A gentleman
who went to see a Magistrate made a mistake in
entering the room by one door instead of another,
and the Magistrate used insulting language to him.

15443. But was there not a chciprcisi there to prevent
a mistake of that sort ?—There were ckaprasies there,
but I know really of such an instance occurring in my
own district.

15444. Would you think it a useful rule to be made
by Government that at every place where a District
Officer sat to receive visitors, there should be attached
a waiting-room where any gentleman of position might
sit, as a matter of course, waiting his turn ?—Yes,
certainly it would.

15445. Would it tend to smoother intercourse
between the District Officers and the people ?—Yes,
but it mainly depends upon the man.

15446. With regard to Advisory Councils, it has
been suggested that instead of an Advisory Council,
the Collector should get into practical touch with the
chief people of his district inf ormally ?—Yes, that is
what is now done to some extent.


48

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE :

Rai Kisori
Lal Goswami
Bahadur.
28 Dec., 1907.

15447. You say that the District Officers should call
meetings of the Council as often as they might deem
necessary to consider such subjects as they might think
proper ?—Yes.

15448. Then would it not come to pretty much the
same thing as now ?—No, a regular constitution would
rather oblige Collectors, I think, to refer to these
Councils. I have suggested merely to start the thing ;
it might be developed later on if it is found that it
works well.

15449. Would you have compulsory and regularly
fixed times, with compulsory subjects ?—Yes.

15450. On the other hand would it not take away
very much from the cordiality and sincerity of the
intercourse between the District Officers and the
people ?—I do not think so.

15451. Supposing a Collector wanted to get the
opinion of the people on a certain subject and sent for
a representative of the people, would he not consider
it rather an honour to be personally selected for con-
sultation ?—Yes.

15452. There would not be that kind of feeling in
the case of an Advisory Council, would there ?—Yes,
I think the members of an Advisory Council would
consider it an honour to be members of it.

15453. It would not be considered an honour as
between them and the Collector ; there would not be
the personal feeling of friendship or pleasant acquain-
tanceship that is implied when a Collector sends for a
gentleman, and has some private talk with him for his
own information ?—But in the case of an Advisory
Council it is not necessary that all the members should
meet, except to discuss important questions ; in other
matters particular members of the Advisory Council
might be asked for their opinions.

15454. Would you leave such a course as that to the
discretion of the Collector ?—Yes, but if he has some
such official status as a member of the Advisory
Council, I think a gentleman would be better treated
by the Magistrate.

15455. You say that a District Officer should not,
without special sanction, do a thing which is opposed
to the views of two-thirds of the members of the
Council ; but supposing one view of the members
was that income-tax should not be collected, ought the
Collector to refrain from collecting it?—But that
would be against the law ; that cannot be done, or
anything else, against the special orders of the Govern-
ment.

15456. (Sir Steyning Edgerley). If you have a
Governor in Council, as your suggestion is, why do
you also want a Board of Revenue ?—The Board of
Revenue is also under Government, but with larger
powers delegated to it.

15457. Then practically the Governor in Council,
suggested by you, would administer territorially; next
you would have an authority which would administer
by subjects, as the Board of Revenue at present does ;
and then you would go back to the territorial principle
for the administration of the divisions and districts ?—
Yes.

15458. Do you think that the inspection of a
province by a Board of Revenue would be at all
adequate ?—I think so.

15459. Then you suggest various Advisory Councils
and Village Councils, but your Advisory Council is
not at all the same, as was suggested by the last
witness ?—No, it is not.

15460. Would it be well to try more than one kind
of Council, or would you only try your own propo-
sition ?—I would rather like to try my suggestion,
because I think people would feel more interested.

15461. Your particular Council would make a pretty
fair District Board ?—It would be something like it.

15462. Why should you have both an Advisory
Council like that and a District Board?—The District
Board is engaged in doing a particular kind of work
only.

15463. But you could enlarge its functions ? If
you are going to create anything by legislation, you
could make the District Board into a larger and wider
body?—If that is done, it would practically come to
the same thing.

15464. Would you then be content with one Board?
—Yes.

15465. Would you have legislation specific, or would
you have it sufficiently elastic to allow of modification
by rule ?—I would have it by rule in matters of detail
in conformity with the main principles embodied in
the body of the specific legislation.

15466. Would there be any objection in the case of
experiments in regard to these Councils to having a
very wide rule-making power?—No.

15467. You say that the Head of the district should
be a purely Executive Officer relieved of all magisterial
duties, and you say the same of the Sub-Divisional
Magistrates simply as to Court work ?—Yes.

15468. Any Magistrate has very important powers
which he exercises outside the Court, such, for instance,
as the control of the investigation of crime, and the
prevention of crime ?—Yes, but not judicially.

15469. You would not relieve him of that work ?—•
No.

15470. (J/r. Meyer). With regard to the control by
the Government of India over the provincial Govern-
ment, do you desire that purely in the interests of
uniformity as between one province and another?—
No. I do not attach importance to that.

15471. Do you think these provinces are quite
separate entities, or do you recognise that there is
some common national Indian feeling amongst them ?
—I think it is coming to that.

15472. Are not the provincial boundaries rather
artificial ?—They are.

15473. From that point of view, might not the con-
trol of a central Government be necessary ?—But even
in the case of a Governor and an Executive Council,
the control of the central Government would not be
entirely taken away.

15474. Do you consider that the control of the
central Government is essential in any case for India ?
—Yes.

15475. And there is a certain amount of control
exercised by the Secretary of State over the Govern-
ment of India ?—Yes.

15476. Just as the Government of India has control
over the Local Government, should the Secretary of
State control the Government of India ?—Yes.

15477. You say that you wish to relieve the Collector
of magisterial case work, and that you also wish to
relieve him of the District Board work in some cases ?
Would he not then sink into a mere Collector of
revenue?—No, he would have the power of super-
vision, because if there is no Commissioner he would
possess those functions.

15478. But will he not be taken further away from
the people if he stands outside and supervises the
District Board, than if he was intimately concerned
in dealing with projects relating to roads and sanitation
and other matters ?—But he would be bound to tour
in the district, and he would carefully watch all the
proceedings just the same as is done by the Commis-
sioners now.

15479. In that case would it not be just as easy to
let him preside over the District Board?—It is not
easy to find an unpaid non-official gentleman to do the
work of Chairman, but if the judicial power is taken
away from the Collector perhaps people will venture to
be more independent. As it is, I think the members
of the District Boards are much less independent than
they should be.

15480. Do you seriously tell us that the members of
District Boards are afraid of being brought to book by
the Collector ?—No, but there is a feeling that they
are not independent.

15481. And you think that that feeling will not
exist if the Collector ceases to be District Magistrate,
and that he might then safely be Chairman of the
District Board?—He has so much work to do that
any relief in that way will be very desirable.

15482. Is your municipality a large one ?—It is a
fairly large one, with a population of 45,000.

15483. Most of the matters as to which you have to
go to Government for control are disposed of by the
Commissioner, such as with regard to ;your budget and
so on ?—Yes. We very rarely have to go to the Local
Government.




ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

49

V

15484. Might such powers of control as are still
required very well be exercised by the Collector?—
Yes.

15485. You referred to the section of the Local
Government Act under which the District Magistrate
or the Divisional Commissioner can suspend an order
of the local authority. Is that section much applied in
practice?—No, not at present ; there is hardly any
necessity for it, because the District Magistrate is the
Chairman.

15486. But the section also applies to municipalities.
Is it in practice applied to municipalities ?—Very
seldom : there is a difference in the wording. In the
case of municipalities the District Magistrate can only
suspend the operation of any order of the municipality
if there is a chance of any riot or breach of the peace,
and the word “ serious ” does not appear in the Local
Self-Government Act.

15487. You have referred to powers which might be
given to the village headman in Bengal, following the
system in Madras, but is there not a material difference
between a Madras village and a Bengal village : in
Madras there is a real village community which has
always existed, but in Bengal you have no real village
community?—It has practically ceased to exist, but
we want to revive it.

15488. Is it safe to predicate from what has been Tui ^ison
done in Madras that it may be done equally well with Bahadur

regard to the chaukidari unions in Bengal ?—I have _____________

not much experience with regard to the working of the 28 Dec. 1907.
unions. ----

15489. You spoke of the panchayats being under
the control of the police, but is it not the fact that
lately the Bengal Government remedied that state of
things and have endeavoured to make them inde-
pendent ?—Yes, they have just recently commenced
to do that.

15490. Have you had any opportunity of watching
the working of that system ?—hi o.

15491. (CAazrmaw.) Would you remove the right of
the Commissioner to interfere in any way with muni-
cipal budgets ?—Yes, I want to restrict his power of
interference.

15492. The last witness said that he would give him
power to interfere as to major heads of the budget,
but not with the details. Would you prefer the sug-
gestion which you make, or would you accept the
limited power of interference which the last witness
suggested ?—I stick to what I said.

(The witness withdreiv.)

Mr. Madhusudan Das, c.i.e., m.a., b.l., was called and examined.

15493. (Cftairaa.) Where do you live? — In
Cuttack. I am a pleader and a merchant and landed
proprietor.

15494. You have been Chairman of the Local Board
and Vice-Chairman of the District Board, and also a
member of the Legislative Council of Bengal ?—Yes.

An Act of delegation on the principle of Act V. of
1868, somewhat modified, is necessary in the case of
Orissa. The jurisdiction of the High Court should
not be interfered with.

Extended powers, in matters relating to revenue,
should be given to the Board of Revenue and to the
Commissioners. The existing powers of the Collectors
are not properly exercised, because the Collector has
not sufficient time. The Collector should be relieved
of his magisterial duties. The Magistrate should be
a different officer. Extended powers regarding matters
relating to the Court of Wards should be given to the
Board of Revenue by extending their power to manage
estates of proprietors who seek their help, though not
disqualified. The Board’s and the Collector’s powers
to do anything which affects the interests of the ward
should be cut down.

It is desirable to allow Commissioners to control
expenditure in their divisions.

To ensure public confidence in British justice one
appeal (above board) should be allowed, and that not
to Government, but to the Board of Revenue. Appeals
to Local Governments in the generality of cases serve
only to shake public confidence in British justice, as
they serve no practical purpose.

I do consider the influence of the provincial Govern-
ment is in the direction of excessive rigidity. Reform
should be in the direction of greater latitude of dis-
cretion to the Board of Revenue and Commissioners.

Executive Officers have not time, inclination and
language qualification for personal contact with the
people. To make up for contact with the people they
derive information from some whom they wrongly
believe to represent the people. They do not possess
sufficient knowledge of the vernaculars. In some cases
the existing territorial adjustment of districts and
divisions entails the knowledge of more than one
vernacular, which is not desirable. An increase in the
administrative staff is necessary in some cases.

The grant of larger powers to Commissioners will
involve greater care in their selection, and the rule of
seniority should not be allowed to override the per-
sonal qualifications.

Transfers are unnecessarily frequent. Sometimes the
transfers increase the evil they were meant to remedy.
A minimum period of district and divisional service
should be fixed, and this should be extended in con-
sideration of the satisfactory discharge of duties.

The Heads of Departments, such as Registration,
Police, should have greater power in the matter of
appointments and punishment of their subordinates.

33263

District Boards should have non-official Chairmen,
and official interference should be withdrawn.

I am in favour of Advisory and Administrative
Councils—by election of two-thirds of the members,
and one-third by nomination, and they should deal
with all matters which concern the interests of any
appreciable portion of the public.

Petty criminal and civil cases might be entrusted to
village communities. In matters sanitary and educa-
tional they might at first be entrusted with the work
of helping the Government officials with a view to
prepare them for a future responsible share in the
work.

Decentralization in Orissa should aim at bringing
together the whole of the Uriya-speaking tract under
one local administration. In the present administra-
tive adjustment of the Uriya-speaking tract, the
Uriya-speaking population is distributed among three
Local Governments. This is injurious from the
Government’s, as well as the people’s, point of interest.

15495. Would you like to see Commissioners in
Bengal vested with powers similar to those of the
Commissioner in Sind ?—Yes, that is my opinion,
from my experience with regard to Orissa ; I cannot
speak as to other parts, because my experience has
been confined to Orissa.

15496. Do you know whether there are, or are not,
a number of sales in connection with the land revenue ?
—Yes, there is a large number in Orissa. Sometimes
in the Cuttack district alone, the cases in which the
people have failed to pay on the sunset day are as
many as 150.

15497. In connection with these sales, is the mode
of collection of the revenue unduly harsh ?—Some of
these estates do not really pay the person with whom
the settlement has been made, and, as a matter of fact,
there are some estates which are always being sold ;
somebody buys an estate, and he very soon afterwards
finds out that it does not pay ; so he lets it go to
auction again, and the result is that there are some
estates which no one will buy.

15498. That, I suppose, is one of the difficulties of
the permanent settlement ?—We have a temporary
settlement in Orissa. The reason is that the last settle-
ment was made in rather an unsatisfactory manner.

15499. Then is it more due to accident than any-
thing else ?—I do not think it is due to accident ; I
think it is due to a wrong principle in the selection
of officers for the settlement.

15500. Is there anything inherently bad in the laws
or rules ?—Yes. Under Regulation 7 of 1822 settle-
ment was to be supervised and conducted by the
Collector and Commissioner who would understand
all about the district and about the revenue, but, in-
stead of that, the la^t settlement was conducted, as
the present revision is being conducted, by men who
are not actually responsible for the actual administra-
tion of the place ; they are people who are sent from

G

Mr.

Madhusudan

Das.

28 Dec., 1907.


50

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE:

7? ‘ other places to make the settlement; they go out
Maaiwisuaan anq j0 the work and the Collector and Commissioner

Vas' are not consulted at all.

28 Dec., 1907, 15501. Would you like to see the settlement of a

---- district conducted, not by a special Settlement Officer,

but by the Commissioner or Collector ?—It might be
conducted by a Settlement Officer, but he should be

subordinate to the Commissioner and Collector.

15502. Are Settlement Officers independent now ?—
Yes, they are ; they are directly under the Govern-
ment, and the Land Records Department is a Secre-
tariat of the Government.

15503. You say that the powers of the Collector
are not properly exercised ? In what particular
direction?—For instance, the Collector has several
departments under him (about 20), and each depart-
ment is entrusted to one of his Deputy Collectors.
These departments in the majority of cases are really
administered by the Deputy in charge, but whenever
there is any complaint or an appeal from an order
passed by the Deputy Collector to the Collector,
instead of taking it up himself, the Collector generally
sends for a note from the man who made the mistake
or error, and the head clerk brings the record and
places it before him. That is really not exercising
the power of a Collector, because it is the head clerk
who has made the mistake, or who did the wrong
thing, and he is allowed to deal with the papers.

15504. Do you mean that the Collector should do
that work himself and not by a Deputy ?—Yes ; the
Collector does not see complaints and other things
himself. In the case of a petition being sent in, a
note is made in English ; that note goes to the
Collector, and he passes an order without ever seeing
the people.

15505. How long ought a Collector to remain in his
district ?—I do not think there ought to be any limit
of time, unless his removal be necessary on the ground
that he is not doing his duty.

15506. It has been suggested by other witnesses
that a Collector should be kept at least three years in
a district ; would you think that term too short ?—
Less than three years, I suppose, would not enable
him to know a district, and would not give him an
opportunity of doing his duty.

15507. Do you think a man ought to be removed
from a district at the end of five years’ service ?—Not
if he were doing his work well.

15508. Might further powers reasonably be given
to municipalities ?—There are certain minor munici-
palities in sub-divisions where larger powers, altogether
independent of supervision, might not be desirable,
but in the towns, of course, municipalities can be run
on self-governing lines.

15509. Ought the District Boards to have larger
powers, or are their powers sufficient ? —Perhaps
District Boards should0 have larger powers. When I
was Vice-Chairman of a District Board the Chairman
delegated all his powers to me, and never attended a
meeting until he was ordered to explain why he did
not, so that I think the powers might be delegated by
the Chairman. The Collector might retain his power
of supervision.

15510. Might larger powers be given to village
communities in matters connected with criminal or
civil jurisdiction ?—For some time there have been
orders that no case where the value of the property
does not exceed one rupee should be actually enquired
into or sent up. Now there is an order that thefts
below the sum of five rupees should not be taken
cognizance of, so "that there are now little things
which can be disposed of by the village people very
well ; for instance, it might not be desirable to punish
an offender really according to the criminal law, and
offences might perhaps be checked more effectively if
dealt with out of Court. There are many little cases
of theft, especially on the part of children, which are
made too much of, and small criminal powers might
be entrusted to the village communities.

15511. {Mr. Dutt.) In Orissa some of the estates
are permanetly settled, but most of the estates are
temporarily settled, and I understand they are under-
going a sort of revisional settlement just now ?—Yes.

15512. Was the last settlement made ten years ago ?
—Yes.

15513. Are the mistakes made at the last settlement
to some extent being rectified now ?—No, not at all ;
no doubt that is the object, but it is not being done.
I say it is not being done because it is not being done
legally. The other day there was a judicial pronounce-
ment, that the whole proceedings were illegal, and on
examination the Settlement Officer had to admit that
they had not followed the law.

15514. With regard to the suggestion that the
District Board should have a non-official Chairman,
while official interference should be withdrawn, do
you not think that the District Officer ought to
have some means of checking their proceedings ?—
Certainly.

15515. Not necessarily by interfering, but that there
should be some power of control and supervision ?—
Certainly ; and not only that, but if the District
Boards do not exercise their powers properly, they
should pay forfeit.

15516. Then you think that Collectors should have
power under the law to make them do their duty?
—Yes.

15517. Are you in favour of Advisory and Ad-
ministrative Councils in every district ?—I would
advise an Advisory Council.

15518. Do you mean that a number of leading
men should be made members of the Council, and
that the Collector should take their advice on all
important questions ?—Yes, and not only take their
advice in that way, but that he should take their
written opinions.

15519. Suppose the Collector differed from them,
would you give him power to act on his own re-
sponsibility ?—Certainly I would give the Collector
power to act on his own responsibility, but I would
also give the Advisory Council, supposing two-thirds
of them differed from the Collector, power to forward
their opinions to Government.

15520. Would you recommend an Advisory Council
for the Commissioner on the same principle ?—Yes.

15521. Generally do you recommend that the
powers now exercised by the Lieutenant-Governor
should devolve on the Commissioner of Orissa ?—Not
all the powers, but some of the powers—where the
exercise of powers by the Lieutenant - Governor
actually does injury to Orissa is on account of the
seeking for uniformity with other divisions of Bengal,
without taking into consideration the peculiar features
of Orissa. Generally, circumstances are different in
Orissa, and consequently it is necessary that there
should be a man on the spo j to decide what Acts of
Bengal should be extended to Orissa, and the power
of extending or withdrawing such Acts ought to be
vested in the Commissioner of Orissa.

15522. Should the application of any new Act to
Orissa be left with the Commissioner and not with the
Lieutenant-Governor ?—Quite so.

15523. With regard to granting powers to village
communities to deal wifh petty criminal and civil
cases, are not the present village communities in
Orissa only the chaukidari unions constituted for the
purpose of the chaukidari tax ? — Yes, but there are
still in Orissa villages with what I may call communal
life, out of which could be developed a panchayat
system, and by panchayat I do not mean one person
who is called a panchayat, but I mean what the word
literally means—five people forming a body with
certain powers.

15524. Would you like the panchayats to be formed
on a better basis and composed of better men, and
that enlarged powers should then be granted to them ?
—Yes.

15525. In that way could they do a great deal of
useful work which would be appreciated by the
people ?—Yes.

15526. {Sir Frederic Lely.) Does Orissa differ from
Bengal in language and customs ?—Yes.

15527. Is it a popular place to live in—do English-
men like to live there ?—Many retired Englishmen
have stayed there, and it is considered a healthy part.

15528. Has it happened, within your experience,
that officers have been transferred from Bengal for a
year or two to Orissa and then transferred back again ?
—Yes.

V

/


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

51

15529. Has it also happened that officers who have
had all their training in Bengal, say for 10 or 12 years,
have been transferred to Orissa ?—Yes, very often.

15530. In that case those officers could scarcely
have much influence in the country ?—They have no
influence, and what is worse, they have no insight into
the peculiar conditions of life there.

15531. That is to say, Orissa in all respects is a
totally different province from Bengal ?—In many
respects it is totally different, and special administra-
tive provisions should be enforced.

15532. Does the work in Orissa require altogether a
different training from the work in Bengal ?—Yes, it
does.

15533. Is the land system in Orissa different ?—
Yes, and the law of inheritance is different; we live
under the Mitakshara law and Bengal is under the
Eayahhaga law.

15534. On the whole, would you say that Orissa
owing to its connection with Bengal, has been forced
more or less into a foreign groove?—Yes. For
instance, in the Legislative Council we are coupled
with a Bengal division, and are only represented by

L one member, and since the introduction of the repre-

sentative principle in the Legislative Council there
has only twice been a native of Orissa on the Council,
and he had to represent Orissa and Chota Nagpur.

15535. Would you also suggest any change in area
so as to make a homogeneous territory ?—Yes, I would
suggest that the Uriya-speaking tract should be under
one Local Administration. In the present adminis-
trative adjustment the Uriya-speaking population is
distributed amongst three Local Governments, which
is injurious from every point of view.

15536. Do you think that a Commissioner endowed
with powers such as those of the Commissioner of
Sind would be sufficient to meet the case ?—Yes.

15537. You would not advocate tbe Constitution of
a Chief Commissionership, on terms totally indepen-
dent of Bengal ?—I would advocate a Chief Com-
missionership, if it would not interfere with the
jurisdiction of the High Court.

15533 Otherwise would you wish for a Chief Com-
missionership ? The area would be scarcely big enough
for a Chief Commissionership, would it ?—I have no
idea what the requisite area is for a Chief Com-
missionership.

15539. Is your village existence rather different
from that in Bengal ?—Yes.

15540. Is the village system more established in
your case?—Yes, there is still a headman of the
village who is recognised.

15541. And the village constitution exists to a
certain extent ?—Yes, for purposes of private life.

15542. {Sir Steyning Edgerley). If you had a Com-
f missionership with the status you suggest in Orissa,

you would, I assume, oust the jurisdiction of the

Board of Revenue ?—Yes.

15543. Would you suggest that the Act of 1868
should be somewhat modified ?—Yes, with regard to
powers that ought to be delegated.

15544. Do you mean that it should be confined to a
certain sphere of delegation ?—A certain sphere of
delegation may be necessary to be taken into con-
sideration.

15545. Would there be likely to be any complaints
about an Act of that sort in Orissa ?—If it were
exactly on the lines of general delegation without
specification, there might be some objection. But as
regards a Chief Commissionership, though there was
a difference of opinion, the majority were in favour
of it when it was discussed.

15546. Would the majority acquiesce in such an
Act?—Yes.

15547. Supposing the Act contained the safeguard
that, before the provisions were exercised, a pro-
visional notification should be issued inviting objection,
would that be an efficient safeguard?—That would
be an efficient safeguard.

15548. If you have a Commissionership of that sort,
all such questions as the Board of Revenue inter-
fering with Court of Wards’ estates, and so on, would
vanish ?—Quite so.

33263

15549. From your experience as Vice-Chairman of ,

the District Board, do you think that if the collector Madhusuaan
gives a vice-chairman an absolutely free hand, keeping

the ultimate control in his own hands, but simply 2g pec

watching what his vice-chairman is doing, that is a _______2_ *

bad system for the purposes of political education ?—

I think that would not be at all a bad system.

15550. And under your existing Act it is possible
for any Collector to do that ?—Yes.

15551. {Mr. Meyer.) Are Chairmen of Local Boards
usually elected in Bengal ?—Yes.

15552. And the Vice-Chairman of the Board too ?—

He is also elected.

15553. Your Local Board has very small powers?

—It has no powers, or very little, and that is why
they do no work, or are never considered as doing
any work ; but the truth is that they are given no
opportunity to do it.

15554. In Madras the Sub-Divisional Boards have
a considerable amount of work in connection with ♦
roads, vaccination, and so forth—would it be a good
thing to devolve like powers on your Boards in
Bengal?—It would be a very good thing if the
District Board were more of a supervising body.

15555. Did the Collector who left you a free hand
as Vice-Chairman of the Board and who never attended
a meeting for two years, take an interest in the matters
dealt with ?—Very great.

15556. That is to say, although he did not attend
meetings in person, he was there in spirit, as it were ?

—Yes.

15557. Would a Collector usually take as much
interest in such matters if he merely came in from
outside as a checking officer, as if he presided over the
meetings and attended the discussions of the Board ?

—The difficulty is, of course, with the Collector, and
whether he wants to encourage Local Self-Government.

If he happens to be a person who does not like the idea
of it, he would not delegate the power, and that is the
difficulty.

15558. Is not the Collector likely to get to know
more of the actual needs of a district in respect to
education, sanitation, and roads if he attends the
meetings of the District Board as Chairman than if,,
as in the way you propose, he sits outside and only
intervenes when he thinks the Board is going wrong ?

—Yes, he is likely to know more, but there are very
often a number of people who are quasi - officially
connected with him who give their opinions whichever
way they imagine will please the Magistrate.

15559. Is not that tendency disappearing ; is it not
the case now that gentlemen like yourself speak their
minds freely ?—It is disappearing, no doubt.

15560. I suppose you have heard something a3 to
the proposals to have District Boards elected by classes
of persons ?—Yes.

15561. Do you think that is a good idea ?—Yes, it
would be better than the present arrangement.

15562. In the villages in Orissa is the chaukidari
panchayat union necessary ? If you have a natural
village do.you want an artificial grouping of villages
into a chaukidari panchayat ?—A grouping of villages
into a chaukidari panchayat is necessary for the
chaukidari management.

15563. Are your villages grouped together for chau-
kidari purposes ?—Yes. Several distinct villages are
so grouped.

15564. Would you prefer the Madras system by
which each village maintains its own watchman?—

But sometimes you may have a village too small and
there may be no respectable man in one village,
whereas, if you were to take two or three together,
you could get a respectable man.

15565. Respectable men are not chaukidars ?—The
Madras system is to put the cbaukidar under the
village headman; have you a village headman in
Orissa?—We have a village headman, but there are
some villages where no high class men live, and con-
sequently you could not have a panchayat out of that
village.

15566. You might have a low class headman ?—Of
course if the village were left to itself and left to

Gr 2


52

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE I

Mr.

Madliusudan

Das.

elect its own village headman to look after it ; but if
you group it with other villages, then you might get
several castes who would not care to sit together.

28 Dec., 1907. 15567. Is it better to leave a village by itself, or to

--- group it with other villages for chaukidari purposes,

for instance ?—I suppose it would be necessary to
group them together, otherwise the chaukidari tax

would be very heavy.

15568. Supposing a village had a little money to
manage a school, would you leave that to a single
village or to a group of villages ?—I would leave it to
the villages which fed the school : each village cannot
possibly have a school ; it must be fed by a number
of villages, and those villages should have the manage-
ment.

15569. And if you have a group system do not the
low class people go to the wall ?—They should not be
allowed to do so.

15570. What would you do to protect their in-
* terests ?—I do not think they should be allowed to sit

together, but they should be allowed to elect.

15571. But would they not have to stand at a
distance and make their wants known ?—As it is now,
they have to do so.

15572. With regard to enlarging the boundaries of
Orissa, was there not an agitation in that direction
some years ago in which you yourself took part ?—
Yes.

15573. Are you aware that the proposal was dis-
cussed, and the Madras Government gave what
seemed to the Government of India very strong
reasons against it ?—Yes, and when we went to the
Government of India Lord Ampthill happened to be
presiding over the Government of India.

15574. You dwelt on the desirability of great care
being taken lest the circumstances and needs of Orissa
should be sacrificed to Bengal ideas ; is there not a
possible advantage in a reference to the Government
of India in regard to matters which the Local Govern-
ment might otherwise desire a free hand over ? Do
you think the Government of India would exercise
any check on the Bengalisation of Orissa, to coin a
word ?—I do not think I should be justified in giving
an opinion on that subject. I am not prepared to say
one way or the other.

15575. You were Chairman of the Local Board ?—
Yes.

15576. (J/r. Hichens.} Where did you get your
funds from ?—The District Board made an allotment
in their budget.

15577. Can you claim a definite amount, or do you
have to take what you can get ?—We have to take
what we can get.

15578. Did you look after roads and education ?—
We looked after the village roads and a little after the
education. The Local Boards are left at the mercy
of the District Board in these matters. The same
people serve on both Boards ; consequently the Local
Boards are not given a fair chance.

15579. Would you like to do away with Local
Boards altogether ?—No.

15580. Would you give them increased powers ? —
Yes ; the District Boards ought to supervise, and see
that the Local Boards do their work.

15581. Would you give Local Boards independent
powers of taxation ?—No.

15582. Would you say that they were entitled to
half the cess, for instance, collected within their area ?
—I do not think I should be justified in giving an
opinion unless I knew what other charges there were
justly due on the cess, but I think they ought to have
an allotment of a fair proportion of it.

15583. Have the European officials in Orissa a good
knowledge of the vernacular ?—Not at all, neither
Europeans nor natives.

15584. The members of the Provincial Service are
not necessarily recruited from the district in which
they serve ?—No.

15585. Is it very desirable that these subordinate
officers should have a proper knowledge of the ver-
nacular ?—Yes, I think so.

15586. Does that mean that the members of the
Subordinate and the Provincial Services, as regards
Orissa, should be recruited from that division ?—No.

15587. From the province?—No, not necessarily
always ; I mean to say if the demands require it, get.
them from anywhere ; but as many of them as can be
recruited from Orissa certainly ought to be.

15588. If they were recruited from other parts of
Bengal they would not know the language ?—They
would not know the language, nor the land tenure
system, because the unit of measurement of land is
different.

{The witness withdrew.}

Mr. H. R. Irwin was called and examined.

d/r. H. R. 15589. {Chairman.} You represent the Darjeeling
Trwiw. Planters’ Association ?—Yes. Executive Officers have
certainly not sufficient opportunities for personal

28 Dec., 1907, con^ac^ with people. The obstacle is that their
time in any one appointment is too limited to admit
of their becoming acquainted with the residents of
the districts. In this district (Darjeeling), the full
period for which a Deputy Commissioner is appointed
is now only two years (it used to be five), and many
do not remain the full period. Two years is too
short a time in which to become acquainted with the
residents and wants of a district like this. It is of
the greatest importance that officials, in outlying
semi-barbarous districts such as this, should have, as
far as possible, an accurate knowledge of the ver-
nacular, but, except in very rare instances, such is
not the case, and the want of it is a great impediment
to the effective administration of the same. It is no
fault of the officers concerned, as the language cannot
be acquired in the short time at their command, in
addition to their other duties. The only remedy
that suggests itself to me is, that provinces should be
split up into sub-divisions, and that the junior officials
should, as far as possible, be confined to their own
particular sub-divisions. Either the areas of districts
should be reduced, or the period for which an officii 1
is appointed should be extended, either of which
would enable him to get more into touch with the
residents and wants of the district he controls.

Transfers of officers are unnecessarily frequent and
are a great impediment to the successful and effective
administration of the country. Take the case of this
most important district of Darjeeling, the main gate,

as it may well be called, of Tibet, the artery through
which the increasing trade with that country is con-
ducted. During the last 21 months no less than five
(I am not sure that it is not six) different officers
have acted as Deputy Commissioners. In former
years one official (since retired), at all events, was
connected with this district in one capacity or another
for almost the whole of his service, knew and could
speak the vernacular fluently, and is now looked upon
as an authority on all matters connected with this
frontier.

The powers of the Government of India might
advantageously be extended, so that its decision, in
cases which affect the purely internal administration
of the country, should be final and not subject to
the veto of the Secretary of State in England. A
case in point is that the proposed bridge over the
Ganges at Sara ; this scheme has been under con-
sideration for the last sixteen or seventeen years or
more, is supported by virtually the whole of the
mercantile community of Calcutta, and I believe I am
right in saying that not only the Government of
Bengal, which province is principally affected, but
the Supreme Government of India and the late
Viceroy, some years ago, recommended its immediate
construction, but it is barred by the Secretary of
State, an official who has never been in the country
and knows nothing of its internal needs or necessities.
It has been openly said that this is due to pressure
brought to bear upon the Home Government by wealthy
capitalists and financiers in London for their own pur-
poses. Whether this is true or not, of course I cannot
say, but it is certainly within the bounds of possibility


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

00

I

r

/



such pressure for party purposes might be effectual,
and it is a disgrace that the pressing needs of a great
country should be subject to it.

There is no doubt that debt lies at the root of
quite half the crime and distress which exist through-
out India, and this is very largely due to the facilities
which exist of borrowing money and the exorbitant
rates of interest charged upon loans. This is intensified
amongst the semi-barbarous, ignorant inhabitants of a
district like Darjeeling. They willingly pledge them-
selves to pay any exorbitant rate of interest demanded
of them by money-lenders, and when eventually, bled
to the last farthing they possess, they are sued in court
for the amount, they have not the means to employ
pleaders to defend their cause, and being absolutely
ignorant themselves how to proceed, they do not
appear and the suit is decreed against them, and they
become virtually enslaved to their creditors for the
rest of their existence. This constitutes a very grave
evil and has been brought to the notice of Govern-
ment by the Association which I represent, on several
occasions, but no solution of the difficulty has yet
been attempted. The remedy seems to lie in some
rough and ready system, by which a pauper can obtain
justice, instead of the present slow and expensive
method, which virtually debars him from defending a
suit brought against him and places him at the mercy
of his wealthy creditors. I believe a law exists in
parts of India, which forbids the intervention of
pleaders in certain cases, and if this could be extended
so that paupers might have some chance of obtaining
justice in the Law Courts, it would be an untold boon
to thousands.

15590. Have you been some time in the country ?—
I have been over 30 years in the country. I live in
the Darjeeling district.

15591. What is the size of that district ?—Roughly
speaking, I should think it was 400 square mile3.

15592. The Deputy Commissioner has been re-
moved, you say, no less than five times during the last
21 months ?—Yes, that is to say that other officers
have acted for him—I do not mean to say that a new
Deputy Commissioner has been appointed five times.

15593. Do you say that in the Darjeeling district
the District Officer as a rule is unacquainted with the
vernacular ?—Yes, I think so, certainly.

15594. Very much less so than many other Euro-
peans in the district are?—Very much less so than
the planters, because our work is entirely connected
with the natives, and we know a good deal more than
the man coming for two years, who naturally cannot
pick up the language in the same way as a man who
resides amongst the people and whose work is with
them.

15595. Is there more than one vernacular spoken
in your district ?—It is principally one vernacular.

15596. You wish to draw attention to the case of
the Sara bridge, and you represent that the non-
erection of the bridge, which is of importance to
your locality, is due to the undue centralization of
power in the Secretary of State ?—It is.

15597. Are you aware that the real difficulties in
the case are not due to centralization, but to the
quarrels of the Railway Companies as to the exact
location of the bridge ?—No, I understood that it
was recommended both by the Viceroy and the
Government of Bengal, but that it was barred by the
Secretary of State.

15598. Will you take it from me that it is entirely
due to the disputes of the Railway Companies as to
the exact location of the bridge ?—Certainly I will, if
you tell me so.

15599. And that it depends entirely upon which is
to capture the traffic ?—But why should the two
railways have that power ?

15600. With regard to appeals, do you suggest that
there are too many appeals ?—The inhabitants are so
absolutely ignorant of the procedure of the Law
Courts, and have not the means to employ pleaders
and lawyers to argue for them, that the consequence
is that when they get into debt to a money-lender he
can frighten them almost into doing anything ; they
are afraid to go into Court, and so they go to the
wall.

15601. Would the remedy for that be the establish-
ment of some judicial authority in the villages ?—I do

Mr. IL R.
Irwin.

28 Dec., 1907

not think it could be established in the villages ;
practically the villages are the tea plantations ; there
are no villages besides.

15602. What is your suggestion for the remedying
of this particular evil ?—I believe in certain parts of
India there is a law by which the intervention of
pleaders is forbidden in these cases, so that a man
might have some chance of arguing his case direct
before the Magistrate without having a lot of legal
talent arrayed against him.

15603. Does a Magistrate always hear a case in the
village in which the suitors reside ?—No, never.

15604. Is it possible to institute a judicial Court
which could hear a suit on the spot ?—It would
certainly be difficult, but it would be a great advan-
tage if it were possible, and a Magistrate would
certainly learn much more if he tried a case on the
spot.

15605. Do you know whether the defendants and
plaintiffs in these petty cases have often to travel with
their witnesses long distances to get their cases tried ?
—Yes.

15606. (Sir Frederic Lely.) With reference to the
Sara railway bridge, is your contention that the
Government of India ought to have the power to
step in and settle the dispute between the two Com-
panies ?—Yes, I think so.

15607. Has the Civil Precedure Code been intro-
duced into the Darjeeling district?—Yes.

15608. (Mr. Dutt.) Do you consider that to be pre-
mature ?—I think so.

15609. Is not Darjeeling a non-regulation district to
some extent ?—I think it is.

15610. There are very few villages in Darjeeling,
and the population is very sparse and scattered ?—
The whole of the inhabitants are practically confined
to the tea plantations ; there are very few villages.

15611. Could you suggest any way by which the
people could be saved taking these long journeys to
get their civil or criminal cases heard or any legal
organisation which would deal out justice to them in
small matters ?—If it was possible—whether it is or
not I cannot say—for a Magistrate to hear cases when
touring through the district on the spot, I think it
certainly would be a great advantage.

15612. Hichens.) How long does it take a

young officer to learn the language of a district—two
years ?—Yes, a man can learn it quite well in two
years provided he is forced to.

15613. When officers are posted to the Darjeeling
district have they every opportunity of acquiring it ?
—Yes, except, of course, that there is a very great
deal of work to do, and they have very little leisure in
consequence.

15614. You doubtless know a good many young
officers who have been out about two years. Do they
acquire a fair knowledge of the language after that
time ?—Very few of them stay two years in a district,
I think.

15615. It has been represented to the Commission
that a Collector should remain from three to five
years in a district, but not longer on the ground that
he might get into bad ways, or get lazy ; would you
endorse that opinion ?—I think two years is too short
a time ; in the Darjeeling district it used to be five
years, but for some time now it has been reduced to
two. Of course Darjeeling being a Hill station it is
a natural sanatorium, and men are sent there very
often for the benefit of their health. I think the
longer a Collector is in a district, the better, generally
speaking.

15616. Would you say that what is of essential
importance is that a man of the rank of Collector
should be well known and trusted and respected in a
district ?—Yes, certainly.

15617. Would you say that the question of transfers
to which you allude is one of the most important of
all ?—Yes.

15618. And that possibly considerable sacrifices,
even in efficiency, ought to be made in order to secure
that a man remained a long time in his district ?—
Yes.

15619. (Mr. Meyer.) Is not the rule with regard to
limiting the tenure of office of a Deputy Commissioner


54

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE:

JZA H. R.
Irwin.

28 Dec., 1907.

at Darjeeling intended to prevent an officer staying
too long in what is considered the most pleasant
district in the province ?—I am afraid I cannot say.

15620. Might it not be of advantage to a man after
he has been in a certain district for a time to be sent
to another district in order to see if things are done
there in a similar way, or in a different way ?—Yes,
I daresay I was wrong in saying that a man should be
kept quite so long in one place, but I think he should
be kept long enough in a district to learn the language
and to know the inhabitants of that district, and five
years would be sufficient for that.

15621. If he stays too long he might get into a
groove ?—Yes.

15622. And if he is sent to another kind of post,
would he not be hampered by the fact that he had
only been before at one place ?—Yes, that is so.

15623. With regard to petty cases, as to which you
would like to have some rough and ready method of
justice, are not you planters sometimes Honorary
Magistrates ?—Yes.

15624. Could you not settle those cases ?—No, I
think that would be beyond our jurisdiction ; cases of
heavy debt never come before us.

15625. Of course it would be understood that these
powers would not apply to cases in which you your-

selves were interested, but as between one coolie and
another, might it not be a way out of the difficulty if
the planters, as Honorary Magistrates, were given some
higher powers than they have now ?—Yes, I think it
would be a good way out of the difficulty.

15626. (Sb* Steyning Edgerley.) Have you on your
estates two or three thoroughly trustworthy natives ?
—Yes.

15627. And the planter himself is very well
acquainted with the ins and outs of family life of the
coolies and natives he employs?—Yes, I think most
planters know their natives thoroughly.

15628. Would it be possible in cases of dispute, to
have a small arbitration committee, each disputant
nominating one, and one of your experienced natives
sitting as head of such a small arbitration committee ?
—I am afraid that that would not work.

15629. Would you rather that matters were dealt
with through the planters themselves ?—Yes. I have
been instructed to ask that a permanent representa-
tive of the tea industry should he appointed on the
Viceroy’s Council. For some years the industry was
represented on the Council, and we consider that we
should have some representation there.

(The witness ivithdrew.)

Nawab A. F. M. Abdur Rahman was called and examined.

IVawab Abdur
Rahman.

28 Dec., 1907.

15630. (Chairman.') You are a Barrister-at-Law and
Judge of the Presidency Court of Small Causes?—I
am, since the last 12 years, and before that I was at
the Bar for 15 years. My family originally came from
Eastern Bengal, but it has been in Calcutta for the
last two generations.

I am opposed to Administrative Councils, but I am
in favour of the creation of Advisory Councils to
assist Divisional or District Officers. For some time
past a measure of the kind contemplated by the
est iblishment of Advisory Councils has been con-
sidered as a growing want in India. In the interests
of the Muhammadan community of these Provinces,
I fully approve the scheme of the Government of
India for the establishment and recognition of a
determinate body of advisers to be called the Imperial
and Provincial Advisory Councils. At the same time
I would continue the policy of the Government in
eliciting the opinions of Indian gentlemen in all ranks
of society on various administrative measures, and
Indian gentlemen who have had the privilege of
advising District or Divisional Officers, Lieutenant-
Governors, Governors or Viceroys, should be encouraged
to do so by continued confidence shown to them.

It is well known that the Muhammadan community
had not hitherto received an adequate representation
commensurate with their numerical, political and
historical importance in Bengal ; they, therefore,
welcome with feelings of gratitude the concession
which Government are about to make in recognising
the principle of class representation and the special
interests of the Muhammadan minority. The griev-
ance of the Muhammadans of these provinces is, that
notwithstanding their advance in education, their
intelligence and administrative capacity, their number
in the Provincial Civil Service, both in the Judicial
and Executive branches, as also in the Education,
Police, Registration, and other Departments of the
Public Service, is exceedingly inadequate. They,
therefore, anxiously hope that the Government will
be pleased to extend the principle of class represen-
tation to the various departments of the Public
Service, and thus safeguard the interest of Mu-
hammadans and ensure their better and increased
employment.

I would constitute local Advisory Councils to assist
Divisional or District Officers on similar lines as the
Provincial Advisory Councils. In each division and
district Muhammadan noblemen and gentlemen of
proved loyalty, good birth, education and influence
should be nominated as members. Questions of legis-
lation ; questions involving free, primary, or secon-
dary education ; introduction of new measures, such
as plague rules, vaccination or inoculation ; improved
methods of agriculture ; questions regarding distress

or famine ; sanitation and drainage or, in other words,
all important matters affecting the well-being of the
various classes inhabiting the districts, may be placed
before them for opinion and advice.

In the event of the Government reserving a certain
number of appointments in the Public Service for the
benefit of qualified Muhammadans, the local Advisory
Councils would be of great assistance in selecting
young Muhammadans of good birth and education
who wTould command the respect of the community.

It would not be expedient to invest District Boards
with powers of supervision and control over the
smaller municipalities within their respective districts.
The smaller municipalities should be encouraged to
develop themselves independently.

From my experience of village communities in
Bengal and Eastern Bengal, I am of opinion that it
is not desirable, even if it may be possible in some
places, to give the village communities greater powers
in the disposal of local affairs relating to revenue,
police, sanitary, educational and other matters, such
as the disposal of petty criminal and civil cases. Any
such powers given to them are likely to be seriously
abused.

15631. Would it be easy to get persons to serve
upon divisional and district Advisory Councils ?—I
should think so. There might te places where there
might be difficulty, but there are other places where
there would be none.

15632. Is it advisable to give District Boards or the
smaller municipalities any greater powers than they
at present possess ? — I would make the small munici-
palities independent of the District Boards and enable
them to develop themselves, but I wroold not extend
their powers.

15633. With regard to village communities, are they
capable of receiving some larger grant of power ?—
In my opinion they are not.

15634. Is that because the community, as a com-
munity, is non-existent, or because the principal
people in the village communities are not fit to be
trusted with greater powers ?—In some places the
community is non-existent ; in other places where,
they are in existence, they are not what they used to
be at one time. In each village there is a faction, and
I know from my experience in Bengal and Eastern
Bengal, in each village there are two parties amongst
Muhammadans and Hindus ; these people are mostly
under the influence of the zamindar, and the result is
they are always fighting over something or other.
That being so, it would be highly injudicious to
entrust them with any powers of the character pro-
posed.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

55

15635. Would that apply even for the purpose of
settling some small money dispute between two
villages?—They have that power now, and that is
done. The only thing that could be done in addition
is that the local officers might encourage them to
settle such disputes.

15636. Is there any legal power to settle such a
dispute, or is it done by agreement ?—It is done by
arrangement. When once matters are referred to
arbitration, or the disputes are so settled, they are
taken on to the nearest Court, and the settlement is
given legal effect to.

15637. Under the present system do disputants and
witnesses often have to go long distances in order
that some trivial legal point might be settled ?—There
may be places where that is the case, but the incon-
venience is not very much felt, and even in places
where it is felt, the chances are that the people
would prefer it very much to having any power
given to their own men, because they would very
likely not get .anything like justice in the latter case,
and the whole thing would end in disaster. I think it
would multiply litigation and add ten times to the
expense.

15638. Are the members of the present village
panchayat satisfactory ?—Yes, I think so. They are
the best available ; one of the reasons for not secur-
ing a better class of men is that most of the young
people leave the villages and go to the nearest towns.
A man in a village who has made a little money sends
his children for education to the nearest town, where
they grow up and naturally do not like to take to
village life again. Therefore, slowly and gradually
the villages are losing their best men, and the remain-
ing people are reduced to a somewhat lower class.

15639. Speaking generally, are village communities
decaying ?—I do not say that, but they are certainly
fewer than they were.

15640. (Sz'r Stpyiiing Edgerley). What do you mean
by establishing local Advisory Councils on similar lines
to provincial Advisory Councils ; do you mean that
they should be entirely nominated ?—No, there may
be some election and some nomination.

15641. Assuming for the moment that they have to
be nominated, are you in favour of having them
wholly nominated ?—Absolutely.

15642. By whom ?—By the Collector of the district
or the Commissioner of the division.

15643. (Jfr. Meyer.) Would these Councils be
purely advisory? Supposing the Collector differed
from the Council, would he act on his own responsi-
bility ?—Absolutely. What I suggest is that the
Council should be called upon for their advice only,
and that questions of dispute may be placed before
them for their opinion.

15644. If he had to report to a higher authority,
would you have him say in his report that his Advi-
sory Council entertained a different view from his ?—
Quite so.

15645. It has been suggested that the Collector
should be relieved of the post of Chairman of the
District Board, and that some different official should
hold it ; would you approve of that?—No. In some
places it might be advisable and in others not.

15646. So as to bring him in direct communication
with the needs of the district in regard to roads,
communications, and so forth ?—Yes, but in places
where there are non-official Chairmen available E
would certainly have them if you can get good men.

15647. Would it be a good thing to have the Col-
lector dissociated from the control of roads and so
on ?—Certainly not.

15648. Would you have him exercising control from
outside ?—Yes, where necessary.

15649. Would that be as good as his taking a part
in the discussions of the Board ?—It might be.

15650. You say that the small municipalities should
not be under the control of District Boards, but
should be left to develop independently. In Bengal
are there not a number of municipalities which are
not towns at all, but are only a collection of villages ?
—There is room for improvement in them.

15651. Might they not come under the District
Board control ?—I should think not.

15652. Have you any real village community in
Bengal ?—I use the expression “ village community ”
from my experience in the district I come from, and
where I have lived in the village.

15653. But there is no corporate civil life, as there
is in southern India?—No. The village community,
in that sense, is not in existence either in Eastern
Bengal or Bengal.

15654. And the only substitute is this artificial
form called a chaukidari union ?—Quite so.

Ndwab Abdur
Rahman.

28 Dec., 1907.

15655. Hichens.) Do you want an Advisory

Council both for the Collector and the Commissioner ?
—I should leave that absolutely to the discretion of
the Local Government. There are places where one
local Advisory Council in a division would be ample,
but there might be other places where there are
sufficient prominent and educated men, and where
local officers might require their aid and help. What
is wanted is that Commissioners and Collectors
should invariably consult all che leading men on
matters of importance.

15656. Is that all you want ?—Yes, that is all I
want, but having regard to the aspirations of the
people and the feeling that they should have a better
voice and more privilege in advising Government or
taking part in local matters, I do not think there is
any harm if local Advisory Councils are constituted in
a cautious manner.

15657. In practice does the good Collector to-day
get all the advice and does he do all the consulting
that is necessary ?—Certainly.

15658. Would the formal appointment of Councils
be merely sentiment ?—Not exactly. I think it might
educate the people in some places, and it would be
useful in the way of inducing them to take more
interest in public matters.

15659. Then might you have a chaukidari union, a
Local Board, a District Board, and in addition an
Advisory Council all in one district, and that on the
top of that you would have an Advisory Council for a
province, and an Advisory Council for the Government
of India ?—Yes.

15660. Would that not be rather a plethora of
Advisory Councils ?—As it is, in my opinion, there are
too many such things already, but when you have too
many, there is no harm in having one more, and there
may be places where there is no barm in trying the
experiment, which might perhaps result in good.

15661. You would not make the District Board an
Advisory Council, would you ?—No, because there are
men on the District Board or on municipalities who
are a different class of men from those to whom I, for
one, or the Collector of the district, would look for
advice.

15662. It has been represented that if a Collector
had an Advisory Council, and consulted that Council,
he would feel more or less free in regard to consulting
anybody else ; do you think that would be so, and
would it be a good thing if it were so ?—No. I would
continue the present system on which administration
is carried on, and the better class of people, who are
sensible, responsible men, should be entitled to advise
on a particular subject, and their advice ought to be
invariably sought. I think that class of people should
be encouraged. They are people who do not want to
come to the District Boards or municipalities, but at
the same time there would not be any harm in consti-
tuting a Council and getting them to take a greater
interest in it.

15663. Would the formation of Advisory Councils
tend to the exclusion of other people competent to
give advice ?—I think not.

15664. Are there districts which you think are not
fit for the creation of Advisory Councils, and there
are other districts which are ?—Yes.

15665. {Mr. Dutt). Do you advocate that there
should be two Advisory Councils in one district ?—I
did not mean that ; what I meant was that in some
districts an Advisory Council might be necessary, or
that in some divisions there might be Advisory Councils.
It might be that we might have a Divisional Advisory
Council and Advisory Councils in districts.

15666. When these Councils are created you say
that they should be consulted on questions of legisla-
tion. Do you mean that when a new Bill is drafted


56

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Nawab Abdur and sent to the Collector for his opinion, he shonld
Rahman. take the opinion of members of his Advisory Council
-------- before submitting his own views ?—Not exactly.

28 Dec., 1907. They should be consulted on such matters as a Bill
for the drainage of the town, or on matters that may
affect a particular village, or a particular place in a
district. My idea is that it will help the Collector, to
call in these local gentlemen and tell them what the
view of the Government is, and consult them. Of
course I do not mean with regard to all the Bills to be
placed before the Legislature.

15667. Do you recommend the principle of class
representation in appointing officers to the Provincial
Service ?—Yes.

15668. Do you desire that the number of Muham-
madans and Hindus in the Provincial Service should
be proportionate to the Hindu and the Muhammadan
population in a province or district ?—No, I do not
mean that ; I would leave that matter absolutely in
the hands of the Government.

15669. Would you recommend that the same
principle should be applied to the different castes of
the same community, and that the different castes
should be considered in filling up the Provincial
Service?—I deal with the matter purely from a
Muhammadan point of view, and point out that there
are 418 Deputy Magistrates in Bengal and only 59 of
them are practically Muhammadans. I would have a
fair representation of the Muhammadan community
iu the Service, having regard to the importance of
that community, but I would leave the number to the
Government.

15670. Would you include sanitation, drainage, and
other important matters affecting the well-being of
various classes, as subjects to be placed before Advisory
Boards for their opinion ?—Yes.

15671. Are there many villages fit to look after
matters of sanitation within their.own limits?—They
should be, and if they suffer from bad sanitation they
ought to be capable of looking into it.

15672. Would you trust the villagers to look after
their whole wants in regard to matters of sanitation ?

—I would not use the expression “ trust.” What I
say is “ advise.” If there is a scheme by the Local
Government, or if the Collector has a scheme, or the
Public Works Department has a scheme, dealing with
the sanitation of a particular village, I would get the
opinions of the people of that village, and see how far
Government might go with them, but I would not
give them any power.

15673. In small matters, such as keeping a village
clean, would you allow them to act ?—Certainly ;
under the Bengal Municipal Act they have to do it.

In dealing with cholera every householder has to keep
his house clean, for instance.

15674. They have to do it in the towns, but would
you trust the villagers to do it ?—To such an extent
as they are capable, but not further.

15675. (Sir Frederic Lely.) Do you say it is not
desirable, even if it is possible, to give village com-
munities greater powers in regard to the disposal of
local affairs ?—I would not give the village com-
munities any more power than they have now.

15676. It has been said many times that village
communities do not exist in Bengal, but is rhat not
rather too absolute a statement ; surely a number of
people living together side by side must act col- >

lectively sometimes in the common interest ?—But
they do not, unfortunately.

15677. Supposing a local zamindar was intolerably
oppressive, do you mean to say that the people would
not unite and take some action in the matter ?—No.

There is some cohesion, but it is hardly worthy
the name. What happens is that in each village
there are Muhammadans on the one hand and Hindus
on the other, and Muhammadans are also divided
among themselves and Hindus among themselves.

When some question of general interest, such as
education, arises there is a little cohesion, but you
practically cannot unite them.

15678. As a matter of fact, then, they never
coalesce ?—In my opinion they will not do so for
many years yet.

(The witness withdrew.)

Khan Bahadur Serajul Islam,was called and examined.

Khan 15679. (CAairwwz.) Will you tell me where you

Bahadur live ?—I live now in Calcutta, but my home is in the
Serajul district of Tippera in Eastern Bengal. I am a vakil

Islam. of the High Court. I have been here about thirty-

five years, but I go usually to my native district

28 Dec., 1907. juring the vacation, twice a year ; I live here for the
purpose of business.

I would not cur tail the right of appeal to the
Government of India or the Local Governments in
any matter, as I think that the existence of such a
power in the Head of Government operates as a
wholesome check upon the subordinate officers, and
also inspires confidence in the minds of those affected
by the orders appealed against. If proper care be
taken to select officers fit to exercise responsibility
in dealing with their subordinates, then an unlimited
right of appeal may not be necessary. It is not
desirable to insist upon a certificate from the authority
passing the orders appealed against that reasonable
grounds of appeal exist.

The cold weather tours, no doubt, afford the
District Officers some opportunities of coming in con-
tact with the people, but these officers are not able to
avail themselves of such opportunities. As a means
of improving the relation betv/een the rulers and the
ruled, the District Officers ought to be allowed
more time and opportunities to be able to come in
contact with the people. This may be done by
relieving the District Officers of much of their routine
work. The main obstacles are that the District
Officers are generally overworked ; they are not in
touch with the people, and the people generally are
afraid of approaching them. The remedy lies with
the District Officers themselves. If these officers
make themselves accessible to the people and treat
them sympathetically, and by their conduct inspire
confidence in the minds of the people, the obstacles
may be removed. No doubt some of the District
Officers are acquainted with the vernaculars fairly

well, but they do not generally possess sufficient
knowledge of the language of the district and of the
colloquial vernaculars.

A general increase in the administrative staff is
necessary. I would suggest the posting of an
Executive Officer, a Deputy Magistrate or a Sub-
Deputy at each thana, and convert each thana into a
small sub-division. These Sub-Divisional Officers will
then have ample opportunities of bringing themselves
into closer contact with the people, and of investi-
gating important cases themselves within their
respective jurisdiction. This will do away with the
necessity of retaining highly paid Police Officers such
as inspectors, in whom the people generally have not
much confidence.

Transfers of officers are unnecessarily frequent. As
soon as they begin to know the people and their
manners and customs, they are generally transferred
elsewhere. Every District Officer ought to be allowed
to stay at least for five years at each station, unless
he proves himself unpopular or unfit for any other
reasonable cause. In every district there ought to
be a Joint-Magistrate under the District Officer, who
should work with him for five years ; and when at
the end of the 5th year, or later, the District Magis-
trate is transferred or promoted, the Joint-Magistrate
may take his place as District Officer, and continue, as
such, for five years or more with another Joint-
Magistrate under him.

With regard to the powers of local bodies, I would
confine my answer to the Calcutta Corporation only.
I think in some respects larger powers ought to be
granted to the Corporation —(a) The Municipality
ought to have control over primary and technical
education, (b) the Municipality ought to have power
of housing the poor, who are dislodged by the trustee
improvements, (c) The power of the Municipality
to enter into contracts involving an expenditure
exceeding one lakh of rupees requires the approval



ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

57

of the Local Government : the Municipality ought to
have larger power in this respect. (d) In small
matters of public convenience the Corporation might
be entrusted to deal finally without reference to
Government, e.g.—(a) the closure of burial grounds ;
(n) bye-laws relating to water-supply, sanitary, drain-
age works, cattle sheds, etc.

I do not feel quite certain as to the usefulness of
the proposed Advisory Councils, as Commissioners
and Magistrates have ample means of consulting the
leading men of their respective divisions and districts
on any matter requiring their advice. But still I am
in favour of the creation of such Councils (Advisory)
on political grounds. The creation of such Councils
will have the effect of satisfying the aspiration of the
people to a certain extent, and make the members
share the responsibilities in certain matters affecting
the welfare of the people. I would constitute such
Councils to assist the Divisional Officers in the
following manner :—The Council might consist of six
members, two to be elected by the municipalities and
two by the District Boards within the division, and
two to be appointed by the Commissioner in consulta-
tion with the District Magistrates under him. The

. . last two should be selected from the higher classes,

taking care that the old landholders of the division are
fully and effectively represented. The subjects in
respect of which responsibilities could be given are
education, sanitation, epidemic diseases, religious dis-
putes, aud other matters requiring the intervention of
the Magistrates in which the susceptibilities of the
Indians are specially concerned.

So far as I am aware, village communities never
existed in Bengal. It would be difficult to create
them now. It is not desirable to give the village
communities, if any, greater powers in affairs relating
to revenue and police. I would not invest them with
powers of disposing of even petty criminal and civil
cases, unless the parties concerned submit their dis-
putes to the arbitration of the village communities.
It is a well-known fact that in every village there are
factions, and every villager has some sort of interest or
other by which he might be influenced. So it would
be unsafe to invest the members of these communities
with any such power.

15680. As regards District Officers, you are of
opinion that the villagers are rather afraid of approach-
ing them. What is the reason of that ?—Because
Europeans, especially a gentleman in power like a
District Magistrate, inspire in the minds of the
villagers a sort of fear. Villagers seldom ever see a
European and, therefore, they are afraid of them, or
any other foreigner, and the name of a District
Magistrate inspires a sort of fear in them. Village
people when they see a European passing are generally
afraid of approaching him.

15681. Are they afraid of an Indian (whether a
Muhammadan or Hindoo) Magistrate in the same
way ?—I do not think they are.

15682. What is the reason ; do you think it is that
Englishmen have an appearance of sternness ?—If a
villager knows that a person is a Magistrate, the very
name of Magistrate frightens him.

15683. Do District Officers go about sufficiently
amongst the people ?—I do not think they do. During
their tours they do ; but I do not think they go to all
the places they ought to ; they generally go to such
places as are easily accessible, and to places where
there are dak bungalows, but they do not stay long.

15684. How long ought an officer to remain in a
district ?—I think five years should be the minimum.
It mighty perhaps, be a little longer, but at any rate
five years.

15685. You wish to see a Joint-Magistrate associ-
, ated with the Collector in every district ?—Yes, and
my idea is that a District Officer ought to remain in
his post five years, and then, if he has had a Joint-
Magistrate who has worked with him for five years,
by that time the Joint-Magistrate would have acquired
some knowledge of the country and the people and
their manners and customs, and when the District
Officer is transferred or promoted, the Joint-Magistrate
would be able to take his place. Then, if he re-
mained five years more, with his past experience as a

Joint-Magistrate, it would be much better.

15686. With regard to Advisory Councils, you are
in doubt as to whether they should or should not be

33263

created ?—Yes. I do not feel quite certain with Khan
regard to their usefulness. If Advisory Councils are Bahadur

simply to be consultative Councils, then the District Seragul

Magistrate or the Commissioner has at present oppor- Islam.
tunities of consulting all the leading men—Hindus or ~ 1 qn7

Muhammadans—so that it will not be practically of • .•*? 1

much advantage; but at the same time I am in

favour of creating Advisory Councils on the ground

that the men of whom advice is asked are clothed

with a sort of responsibility.

15687. Outside the members of the District Board,
are there, in every district, gentlemen of sufficient
position from whom a Collector could form such an
Advisory Council ?—Yes, there are some, but not in
all districts, and that is why I confine my answer to
Divisional Commissioners. But gradually, as the
people improve in knowledge and education, and the
Commissioner found that the system might be ex-
tended, that might be done ; at present I would con-
fine it to Divisional Officers, the members being
selected from the division.

15688. You think it would be unwise to give village
communities any greater power ? Will you tell me
your reason shortly?—With regard to village com-
munities, they do not exist, in the proper sense of the
term, in Eastern Bengal. Tnere are some villages in
which the people have some sort of public opinion,
but there is nothing like a village community.

15689. Supposing two men had a dispute, is there
no sort of village tribunal to which the dispute
could be referred and a fair judgment be given ?—

The difficulty is to select the proper person to ad-
judicate. Some forty or fifty years ago in each
village there were two or three elderly men in whom the
people bad confidence and to whom they used to refer
matters. I do not think that class of men now exists.

15690. Has the tendency towards the young men
migrating into towns swept that away ? — Yes ;
amongst the younger generation there is more educa-
tion, though they have not quite so much wisdom as
their fathers. They read the papers, they get a little
knowledge, and they think that their elders have not
so much wisdom, and they do not treat them with the
respect they used to do.

15691. (Mr. Meyer.) Are you opposed to any re-
striction of appeal?—Yes.

15692. Are you familiar with the provision of the
Civil Procedure Code which provides that there shall
be no second appeal upon questions of fact ?—Yes.

15693. Do you see any objection to applying that
procedure to administrative appeals?—I am against
restricting appeals, and on questions of fact I would
go to the last court of appeal. I am against putting
any restriction on the right of appeal in any way.

15694. With regard to your scheme for a Collector
to be five years in a district, and then to be succeeded
by a Joint-Magistrate who had served five years,
would that work, having regard to the leave rules
under which officers go home for leave periodically ?

—I have not thought of it in that respect, and I am
not in a position to say how far it would affect the
leave rules. I think in exceptional cases some excep-
tional rule might be made. As a general scheme, in
my opinion, it is a good scheme.

15695. Are you an elected member of the Calcutta
Corporation ?—No. I am nominated by Government.

15696. Have you been there a long time ?—I have
been there since 1876 ; I was first elected about 30
years ago.

15697. Do you say that the Calcutta Corporation
has nothing to do with education ?—The power of the
Corporation is simply to fix and to make a grant for
the promotion of primary and technical education, but
that does not give them any control.

15698. Having once made the grant, have you any-
thing more to say as to the management of the schools ?

—Nothing.

15699. Do you desire a system by which you should
have the power of spending your own grant ?—Yes : I
think the Corporation is in the best position to super-
vise its schools.

15700. Can you say roughly how much you have to
pay for education now ?—I think last year it was Rs.

15,000, and over and above that we exempt educational
institutions from paying any taxes or rates.

H


58

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Klian

Bahadur

Serajul

Islam.

28 Dec., 1907.

15701. Would you not have to pay a good deal
more than Rs. 15,000 if you took the matter into
your own hands ?—Yes.

15702. With regard to the Advisory Council to the
Commissioner and your proposed representation by
municipalities and District Boards, would it not be
simpler to have one representative from each District
Board to be selected by the Commissioner or by
Government ? A Commissioner sometimes has five or
six districts to deal with, has he not ?—Sometimes he
has three, sometimes four, and sometimes five, dis-
tricts. I think I would allow District Boards as well
as municipalities within a division to select two.

15703. I want to know whether, as an alternative,
one member might not be selected from each district
of the division, but if you prefer your own suggestion,
say so ?—I prefer my suggestion.

15704. Is the Eastern Bengal village really a village
at all in many cases, or does it only consist of
scattered huts?—There are some cases of that kind,
but there are villages which contain 200 or 500 home-
steads.

15705. {Mr. Hichens.) What is a bustee improve-
ment and who carries it out ?—Such schemes are for
the improvement of the hut areas in the town. There
is a department in the municipality, which is under
the Deputy Chairman, which attends to these projects.

15706. Are you aware that, practically in every
expropriation scheme in England dealing with houses,
there is a clause which makes it compulsory on the
municipality concerned to re-house the people whom
they displace ?—I am not familiar with that, but we
have not that provision in the Municipal Act here.

15707. Not only have you not got that provision,
but you have no power to re-house if you want to ?—

That is so. Here I think the municipality has de-
molished about 2000 houses which used to contain
from 8 to 10 people each, so that 20,000 of these poor
people were dislodged and could not find any place to
live in. My suggestion is that the municipality ought
to have power to acquire land from the Government
to provide some accommodation for the people who
have been dislodged.

15708. Do you not think that the municipality not
only ought to have power, but ought to be compelled, to
re-house people whom they displace ?—Certainly I do.

15709. (J/r. Dutt.) You were a member of the
Bengal Legislative Council ?—I was, twice.

15710. So that you have some experience vith
regard to legislation. In all the Bills brought before
the Bengal Council, that is to say, important Bills,
does not the Bengal Government take care to ascertain
the wishes and opinions of important Societies and
Associations?—Yes, and also of persons who are in
the opinion of the Government able to advise them.

15711. What is your opinion with regard to the
proposal that the District Officer should hold a con-
ference with the leading men of his district once, or
more frequently, a year ?—There is no harm in that ;
but I think, as a matter of fact, they do ; they
generally meet them, and that is, I think, considered
to be one of their duties ; they fix a day to meet the
leading men.

15712. But I was speaking of a general conference
of the whole district or sub-division where all the
leading men would be invited to talk over all the
important matters which they might have to discuss.
Do you recommend such a conference as that ?—Yes,
I would.

{The witness withdrew.)

Adjourned.

TWENTY-SECOND DAY.

Calcutta, Monday, December 30th, 1907.

Present :

C. E. H. Hobhotjse, Esq , M.P., Under-Secretary of State for India, Chairman.

Sir Frederic Lely, K.C.I.E., C.S.I. W. S. Meyer, Esq., C.I.E., I.C.S.

Sir Steyning Edgerley, K.C.V.O., C.I.E., I.C.S. W. L. Hichens, Esq.

R. C. Dutt, Esq., C.I.E.

Maharaja Sir Ravaneswar Prasad Singh Bahadur of Gidhaur, K.C.I.E., was called and examined.

Maharaja
Bahadur Sir
Bavaneswar
Prasad Singh

Bahadur.
30 Dec., 1907.

15713. {Chairman.) In what part of Bengal is your
zamindari situated ?—In the district of Monghyr.

15714. You have some knowledge of the Local
Government?—Yes. I was appointed a member of
the Bengal Legislative Council for eight years between
1893 and 1907. I also have been a member of the
Monghyr District Board for two or three years.

I should be prepared to give Local Governments bor-
rowing powers for carrying out large Public Works
with the sanction of the Government of India. Large
works of irrigation and drainage are absolutely neces-
sary in these provinces, and the Local Governments
should be given greater powers in regard to financial
matters for carrying out of such projects.

I do not think the giving of extended powers
generally to Commissioners and Magistrates will be
conducive to the public good.

Larger powers should be granted to Presidency
municipalities, District municipalities and District
Boards. The Presidency municipalities are now nomi-
nally elected bodies. There is no reason why two-
thirds of the numbers should not be elected in those
municipalities as in the District municipalities.

The municipalities and District Boards of the
country should be freed from official control and

given larger powers and greater financial responsibility
The larger Legislative Councils and Advisory Boards
are good in their way. But I consider the granting of
real self-government to municipal and District Boards
of greater importance.

15715. Suppose the Local Government went into
the market to borrow money, would they be able to
tap some sources of capital which the Government of
India are unable to reach at present ?—I do not think
an independent Local Government should borrow
money except with the sanction of the Government of
India.

15716. What sources of revenue do you suggest the
Local Government should pledge as a guarantee against
their debt?—The sanction of the India Government
would be the only thing on which loans could be easily
contracted.

15717. How is the work done on District Boards ;
is it done by committees, or does the Chairman do it
all ?—The Chairman of the Board takes the opinions
of all the members, and any work that is done is
passed by the committees first.

15718. Is there any Finance Committee? When a
District Board budget is made up, is it sent to the




ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 59

members of the Board before it is considered ?—Not
when I was a member. Of course that would be a
good thing to do.

15719. At present do the members see the budget
for the first time when they attend the Board meeting,
and is it passed in one single sitting ?—When I was a
member the budget was not sent to the members ; we
simply saw it when we took our places.

15720. Was there any committee which dealt with
sanitary works, roads, and things of that sort ?—
During my time, no. That also would be a good thing
to introduce.

15721. So that each member of the Board would
feel he had some responsibility for the work of the
Board ?—Yes.

15722. Do you get a good class of member on a
Board generally speaking ?—All the members are not
good class.

15723. If there were greater power and responsi-
bility, would you get a better class of men anxious
to serve on District Boards ?—It may be ; I am not
certain.

> 15724. If there were a non-official Chairman to-a

District Board, would he have the same knowledge of
the whole area contained in a district that the present
Collector has ?—If he was a local man, then of course
he would have more knowledge. He would not have
a knowledge of the whole district, but he would have
a better knowledge of part of the district.

15725. Is the knowledge a good Collector has of a
district advantageous to the Board ?—Yes, I think so.

15726. And it might be difficult, perhaps, to find a
non-official Chairman who would have so wide a know-
ledge ?—Yes, I doubt whether a non-official Chairman
would have such a wide knowledge as a Collector.

15727. And unless he was a paid official, he would
hardly have time to gain that knowledge ?—I think it
\ would be difficult for him.

15728. What larger powers ought to be given to
District Boards ?—I have not gone into details, but
there ought to be some extended powers given, and
steps taken to free District Boards and municipalities
from so much control.

15729. Bearing in mind what you have said with
regard to a Collector knowing a district better, would
you keep him as Chairman of the District Board,
giving at the same time the members of the Board
greater responsibility for the work done in the way of
making each committee very largely responsible for
its work ?—That might be a good thing, but it has not
yet been introduced into this country. I think it
would work well.

15730. Would that be a better system than if the
whole Council elected a non-official Chairman who
? might not know the district ?—As far as I understand

it, I think it would be better.

15731. (Sir Frederic Lely.) Is a District Board at
present partly elected ?—Yes, and some are nominated.
A larger number might be elected.

15732. Would you say two-thirds?—Yes.

15733. Were you an elected member yourself ?—No,
I was nominated.

15734. If the method was election only, would you
offer yourself for election ?—Nowadays people do not
like to stand for election.

15735. Why ? Is' it considered rather derogatory to
their dignity ?'—Yes, some people think it so.

15736. Is that a general impression ?—Yes, as far as
I know.

15737. Would you have the Chairman elected by
the Board ?—Yes.

15738. Do not the duties of a Chairman of a large
District Board require a good deal of training and
business knowledge and habits ?—Yes.

15739. Would you be likely to get a non-official
man in many districts with those essentials ?—You
might, but very seldom.

15740. Would the chief difficulty in appointing a
non-official Chairman to a District Board be the
difficulty of getting a man with sufficient business
habits and business knowledge ?—Yes. I think so.
33263

15741. You say that a District Board would be Maharaja
better managed if it had larger powers of control; Bahadur Sir
would you yourself, if you were a member of a District Baraneswar
Board, suggest any great changes in the present VjSahadur^

system of management? Would you expend the __________________

money differently, or do you think generally that it is 39 j)ec 1997*
expended on the most appropriate objects ?—Yes, but __1_
in some ways it is not.

15742. Is it not spent as popular opinion would
have it spent ?—Yes.

15743. Did you find when you were nominated as a
member of a District Board that you lost the respect
and confidence of your countrymen ?—No.

15744. (J/r. Dutt.) In the few cases where you
could find eligible gentlemen, would you advocate the
appointment of such men as Chairmen of District
Boards?—I do not remember any at present, but
there may be some.

15745. If you found them, would you recommend
their appointment ? —Yes.

15746. In that case would you expect them to
travel about the district a good deal ?—Of course, in
order to make themselves acquainted with the state of
things with regard to roads, bridges and institutions.

15747. Should the expense of travelling be met by
the Government, or should they pay their own
expenses ?—They would not pay their own expenses.

15748. On those conditions do you think the work
would proceed satisfactorily ?—Yes.

15749. Is it the general feeling amongst all
zamindars that it is derogatory to stand for election ?

—I have heard it from some, but I cannot say
whether it is the general feeling.

15750. With regard to primary schools, which are
aided by District Boards, are they managed now by
the District Boards or by the Education Department ?

—By the District Boards. They are supervised by
District Board sub-inspectors.

15751. Would you recommend the formation of
Advisory Boards in districts or would you have an
Advisory Board only in a division ?—I would recom-
mend Advisory Boards in every district.

15752. Would you have the members elected or
nominated, or partly elected and partly nominated ?—

Partly elected and partly nominated.

15753. If the Collectors consulted them in ad
matters concerning the welfare of the people, in that
way would the administration be brought more into
touch with the people ?—Yes.

15754. (Mr. Hichens.) How often did the Board
of which you were a member, meet ?—There was a
meeting once a month.

15755. At those meetings was discussion quite full
and open ?—Yes.

15756. Did the members ever differ from the Col-
lector ?—Very few differed from him.

15757. Was that because they did not like to ?—

I do not know what impressions they had in their
minds.

15758. Speaking broadly, do people hesitate to differ
from a Collector owing to the powerful position he
holds ?—Yes.

15759. Could further powers be given to Local
Boards under District Boards?—No, I do not think so.

15760. They deal with smaller areas ?—Yes.

15761. And the people on those Boards would be
naturally more interested in their own particular
areas, and would know more what concerned them ?—

Yes.

15762. (Mr. Meyer.) Are there any members on
Boards who might express really valuable views, but
who are afraid of doing so to the Collector ?—Yes.

15763. If they saw the Collector privately, would
there be the same fear ?—That I cannot say

15764. Would the same thing apply in the case of
an Advisory Council to a Commissioner ; would a
member of an Advisory Council be afraid of stating
his views to a Commissioner ?—No, I do not think an
Advisory Council would be afraid to state their views.

15765. Apart from the point as to knowledge of a
district, would it not be advantageous for a Collector
H 2


60

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE:

Maharaja
Bahadur Sir
Bavaneswar
Prasad Singh

Bahadur.
30 Bee., 1907.

to be brought into direct contact with the needs of his
district in respect of education, sanitation and roads ?
—If he ceased to be Chairman of the District Board,
I think he would not take so much interest in them.
15766. Would that be a good thing?—No.

15767. Are your District Boards concerned with
vaccination work ?—Yes.

15768. Have they a fairly free hand in the matter
of primary schools ?—Yes.

*15769. Is it your experience that they are interfered
with by the officers of the Education Department ?—
No.

15770. There are two cesses levied in Bengal, the
Road Cess and the Public Works Cess ?—Yes.

15771. The Public Works Cess goes to the Govern-
ment, the Government in return making some grants
to the District Boards ?—Yes.

15772. Would it be a good thing if the District
Board took both cesses ?—I cannot say that.

15773. Do chaukidari unions work satisfactorily?—
Yes, chaukidari unions work well.

.15774. {Sir Steyninq Edgerley.) You have not been
on a District Board since 1893 ?—I resigned when I
was appointed a member of the Legislative Council,
and had to come to Calcutta. I live at Gidhour, but I
had to come to Calcutta frequently, and I could not
attend all the meetings.

15775. How often did you have to come to Calcutta
as a Legislative Councillor ?—Five or six times a year,
and sometimes in the season I had to remain here a
month.

15776. Are you a very busy man at Gidhour?—
Yes ; it was for want of time that I resigned.

15777. What advantage do you expect to get by the
system of borrowing which you propose over the

present system ?—I think Local Government should
carry on their own business.

15778. But they can borrow from the Government
of India at present ?—Yes, but that takes some time.

15779. Do you think by the mode you suggest they
could get money quicker ?—I think a Local Govern-
ment may know its own requirements better.

15780. But if they know their own requirements
and go to the Government of India and say, “ We
“ want money for this, that and the other,” do they
net get it ?—I do not know.

15781. How long has your present Collector been in
the Monghyr district ?—Only a few months.

15782. How long was his predecessor there ?—Only
for a year or so.

15783. Do you consider that either of those officers
knew the district better than you do ?—Yes, they
know it better than I do.

15784. Although you have lived there, how many
years ?—Ever since I was born.

15785. (C/wwmaw.) Does the provincial Govern-
ment contribute to the expenditure of the District
Boards ?—Yes.

15786. If the Collector ceased to be Chairman,
would the Government of Bengal have any representa-
tive on the District Board ?—No, if the Collector
ceased to be Chairman there would be no other.

15787. How then would the provincial Government
know that the money which they gave to the Board
was being properly expended or not ?—It would be
the duty of the Chairman to report. If the members
spent the money according to rules laid down by the
Government, that would be an efficient check.

{The witness withdrew?)

Ra.i Tarini Prosad Bahadur was called and examined.

Bai Tarini
Prosad
Bahadur,
30 Bee., 1907.

15788. {Chairman?) What is your position ?—lam
a pleader and landowner in the Bhagalpur district.

In my opinion larger financial powers should be
given to provincial Governments generally in the
following respects :—

(a) The minute details of the annual budget
estimates of the provincial Governments
need not be subjected to the scrutiny of
the Government of India.

(5) Members of the provincial Councils are pre-
cluded from criticising imperial finance.
This restriction should be removed and the
members of the provincial Councils should
be allowed to discuss imperial finance, so
that the Government of India may know
the views of the official and the non-official
members of the provincial Councils, and
may consider the same in framing the
budget.

A more complete separation than at present exists
should be effected between imperial and provincial
finances.

Local Governments should be given borrowing
powers. They should be allowed to raise local or pro-
vincial loans with an imperial guarantee, if necessary,
to be gradually paid off by a sinking fund.

Members of the Judicial Service and of the Sub-
ordinate Judicial and Executive Service, as well as
ministerial officers, are' overworked, but get tardy pro-
motion. No doubt steps have been recently taken to
relieve and encourage these services,, hot what has
been hitherto done is not in my opinion sufficient.
Local needs can be best understood by Local Govern-
ments, and so in the matter of the creation of new
appointments, the enhancement, of salaries, larger
powers should be given to those Governments.

To avoid the unnecessary delay occasioned by frequent
references to the Secretary of State in Council, and to
avoid misconceptions of the needs of the country, it is
desirable to add to the financial powers of the Govern-
ment of India.

It is not desirable to curtail the right of appeal to
the Government of India or Local Government, now
granted in respect to administrative action—{a) by
law or by rules having the force of law, or (5) by

executive practice or on personal matters. Nor is it
desirable to lay down that no such appeal should be
admitted unless accompanied by a certificate from the
authority passing the order appealed against that
reasonable grounds of appeal exist.

The Board of Revenue should have power to take
under the Court of Wards not only estates paying
revenue to Government, but also other important and
large estates not paying revenue to Government, and
the definition of an “ estate ” in the present Court of
Wards Act should be modified accordingly.

Native Executive Officers have sufficient oppor-
tunities for personal contact with the people, but
European Executive Officers have not. The existing
obstacles with the latter class of Executive Officers are
their disinclination, in most cases, to mix with the
people ; the expense of inviting people to parties or
social gatherings ; their insufficient knowledge of
the vernaculars. The remedies seem to be greater
sympathy on the part of the European Executive
Officers in general ; willingness to join parties or social
gatherings of the people ; improved knowledge of the
vernaculars.

In the Executive line transfers are sometimes un-
necessarily frequent. Too frequent transfers do not
enable officers to get sufficient knowledge of their
stations and should be avoided as far as possible.

The Municipal Commissioners should be authorised
to modify allotments by transfer of any amount from
one head to another.

The District Boards should have similar power, i.e.
power to transfer grants from one head to another
without any sanction of the Commissioner. I think it
would be expedient to invest District Boards with
powers of supervision and control over the smaller
municipalities within their respective districts, as such
municipalities may not, with their limited funds, be
able to undertake works of utility* which may be easily
done with the help of the officers of the District
Board.

I am in favour of Advisory or Administrative
Councils to assist Divisional or District Officers. Such
Councils should be constituted of men representing
the various important interests in the country. The
Councils should advise in all matters on which their


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

61

advice is sought by Government, or which they, of
their own motion, choose to bring to the notice of
Government. Such Councils may be consulted with
advantage specially in matters of income-tax, excise,
famine, sanitation and loans for land improvements
and agricultural purposes.

15789. You think the Local Government should be
given borrowing powers ?—Yes. Because there are
cases of urgent reforms in which it is necessary some-
times to raise money quickly, and it should be done
without any reference to a higher authority.

15790. Is there any financial market in Bengal
which the Local Government could reach, but which
the Government of India at the present moment does
not reach ?—I do not say that there is any market in
India which the Government of India would not
reach, but it would save much time and bother if the
provincial Governments were given power to raise
loans without the sanction of the Government of
India in cases of urgency.

15791. If the Local Government went into the
market to borrow, would any loans which they might
raise interfere with the power of the Government of
India to raise money for larger purposes ?—I think
both Governments could borrow.

15792. But would the operations of the Local
Government in the money market interfere with
those of the higher authority ?—It might be so.

15793. You think the rupee market is not large
enough to hold the operations of both Governments.
—Yes.

15794. But you would wish the Local Government
given more freedom in the matter ?—Yes, subject to
some limit of course. I should suggest a lakh or two
lakhs, or some such limit, in respect of which the
sanction of the Government of India might be dis-
pensed with.

15795. Do you wish to see a considerably greater
amount of separation between the provincial Govern-
ment of Bengal and the Government of India ?—Yes,
I am in favour of separation. The present scrutiny
of the Government of Tndia into the minute details of
the annual budget estimates of the provincial Council
is unnecessary, and I would suggest that the sanction
of the Government of India should be given in respect
of the total under each main head the details being
left to the provincial Governments. The provincial
Councils ought to have power to discuss imperial
finance and pass resolutions which would assist the
Government of India very much in framing their own
budget for the coming year, as they would get much
more information unofficially than they get at present.

15796. With regard to the right of appeal, do you
wish to see it curtailed in any respect ?—I do not, and
that is the feeling of the public, so far as I can
ascertain.

15797. Do you know anything about the Court of
Wards. Yes, I have had some practical experience of
it. The provisions of the law should be extended.
The object of the law was that estates should be
properly managed, and the rule, which has been in
existence since 1793, that only those estates which
paid revenue to the Government should be brought
under the Court of Wards, ought to be extended.

15798. With regard' to estates, whether under
Government or not, should the Commissioner have
power of dealing with them instead of all the details
going up to the Board of Revenue ?—With regard to
matters not involving large questions, the Commissioner
should have power to settle them without reference to
the Board.

15799. Is it probable that the persons who are
concerned in these estates would be glad if the ex-
penditure which is thought proper upon them could
be sanctioned by the Commissioner at once ?—
Certainly.

15800. Would they be satisfied with the exercise of
his wisdom and discretion ?—Yes, I think they would.

15801. Should larger powers be given to the
Collector ?—I cannot think of any specific power at
present, but on principle I think some larger powers
should be given to Collectors.

15802. Would you rather see the Court of Wards
estates managed by the Commissioners of the various
districts in which the estates are situated than have

an expert adviser at the headquarters of the Govern- Rai Tarini
ment ?—I do not think there is any great necessity for Prosad
an expert. Bahadur.

15803. Is there any hesitation on the part of Sub- n 1Qn7
Divisional Officers to speak to and deal with all eG'' ‘
classes of the community ?—They do not freely talk
with all classes of the people.

15804. Have the people access to the Collectors ?—

They have, but not to the extent necessary and
desirable.

15805. Is that because the Collectors are disinclined
to speak to them?—Not as a general rule, but there
are some officers among the Collectors, of whom I
would say that they are stand-offish, and a great deal of
reform is necessary in that direction, because if
Divisional Officers, District Officers and Sub-Divisional
Officers were to speak to the people more freely,
much in the way of improvement would be brought
about. District Officers’ visits are not so frequent as
those of the Sub-Divisional Officers, who come more
into contact with the people than District Officers,
although most of them go on with the hearing of
cases when in camp, which very much interferes with
the real object of going about. They could very
well improve sanitation, for instance, and suggest
many kinds of reforms to the zamindars and tenants
towards which Government have already sanctioned
contributions, but these things are not done.

15806. Is there any disinclination on the part of
either Hindu or Muhammadan gentlemen to mix with
District Officers?—I do not know of any such dis-
inclination ; in fact, so far as the people themselves
are concerned, they are not averse to it.

15807. Would the cost of either the Collector enter-
taining some of these gentlemen, or the cost to a native
gentleman of entertaining the Collector be consider-
able, or would it be necessary to incur any cost?—

Any social gatherings at the instance of the people
would necessarily be rather expensive, because they
would not think of inviting a Collector unless every-
thing was done in decent style.

15808. Would a Collector feel it necessary to spend
a good deal if he asked some of the leading gentlemen
to come and see him ?—I do not think the Collector
would have to spend much ; if he were to simply
ask the people to call and see him, they would very
gladly do so.

15809. Have you, yourself, living in a country
district, ever experienced any incivility or discourtesy
on the part of Collectors or Sub-Divisional Officers ?

—So far as I am personally concerned, I have never
met anything of the kind.

15810. How long do you think it is to the advan-
tage of a district that a Collector should stay in it ?—

I think three years should be the minimum.

15811. Would five years be too Jong? — Yes;
because it would stand in the way of the promotion
of an officer.

15812. From the point of view of advantage to the
district, would it be too long, or might the Collector
take sides or prejudices ?—If a Collector knows his
district, very well, no doubt it is an advantage, but
there is the disadvantage that some people think a
long stay undesirable.

15813. In former days did Collectors and Com-
missioners know their districts better than they do at
present ?—Certainly.

15814. And did the people like them to remain in
a district a long time?—In those days I do not
remember any instance in which people did not like a
long stay.

15815. Therefore from the point of view of the
interests of the districts it is best ?—Yes, from that
point of view it is advantageous.

15816. Could any powers be given to village com-
munities ?—It depends upon circumstances. There
are districts in Bengal, and also some in Bihar, where it
might do good, but there are others in which the
people not being sufficiently advanced, the system
would not work well. If it was introduced, it would
have to be introduced very slowly and carefully.

15817. {Sir Steyning Edgerley.} Have the non-
official members of the Bengal Legislative Council
a right to elect a member to the Imperial Council ?—

They have.


62

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE:

Rai Tarim
Prosad
Bahadur,
30 Dee., 1907.

15818. Therefore, through that representative, they
have an opportunity of discussing imperial finance ?—
They have.

15819. And they can ask that member to put
forward any views which might approve themselves
to them ?—Yes, there is nothing to prevent it, but still
I think it would be desirable to allow the provincial
Council to discuss matters of finance and decide for
themselves.

15820. Would you apply that principle also to the
provincial Legislative Councils, and let all District
Boards discuss provincial finance ?—Yes, I think it
would be desirable.

15821. As regards the supervision of the Govern-
ment of India over major heads instead of minute
details of expenditure, are you aware that that is
exactly the present position ? They do not interfere
with anything below the major heads of the pro-
vincial budget, do they ?—I think the minute details
are also scrutinized by the Government of India.

15822. Is there not a section in the Act dealing
with the Court of Wards, which says that the powers
may be delegated to a Commissioner, Collector, or
any other person in certain cases ? I think there is.

15823. Then all the delegation necessary with
regard to the Court of Wards can be done, as a
matter of course, and at the discretion of the Local
Government, without any further authority being
given ?—I think so.

15824. With regard to Advisory Councils, do you
wish to see different kinds of them in different
districts, worked according to the circumstances of
particular districts ?—Yes.

15825. You would want legislation to effect that
purpose, of a very general character, allowing experi-
ments in different districts ?—Yes, necessarily.

15826. Practically a section giving the Local
Government power to make rules ?—Yes.

15827. Would that satisfy you?—Rules for the
purposes of constitution and defining their duties—
yes, but I think the election of the members of the
Council must be by the people representing different
kinds of interests.

15828. That you could provide for by rule, where it
was suitable ?—Yes.

15829. And where it was not suitable, you could
provide for nomination ?—Yes, it should be both by
election and nomination.

15830. Do you not think it likely, as regards either
a delegation of power under the section in the Court of
Wards Act, or as regards a general rule giving power
as to Advisory Councils, that there would be cause for
public complaint ?—So far as I can see, I do not think
there ought to be any ground for public complaint in
that connection. The question is how the rules them-
selves would stand.

15831. The rules, of course, would be published, and
be subject to criticism before being passed ?—Yes.

15832. (1/r. Meyer.') Have you any special ex-
perience of Municipal and District Board work ?—
Yes, I was a member of the Bhagalpur Municipality
for about six years, but I have ceased to be a member
for over eight years.

15833. As a member, did you take an active part in
municipal work ?—I did.

15834. The municipal budget has to be passed by
the Commissioner ? Supposing he finds the muni-
cipality is not spending enough money, for instance,
on sanitation, can he increase the allotment for sani-
tation, and decrease the allotment for, say, education
correspondingly ? —He can.

15835. Do you want a municipality to have full
power of making appropriation from one head to
another ?—Yes.

15836. Might not that defeat the Commissioner’s
order ? The Commissioner may have cut down the
education allotment by Rs. 5,000 and added it to the
sanitation allotment, but by your suggestion the muni-
cipality could simply retransfer it again, could they
not ?-—A fter the Commissioner has sanctioned the
budget, if it becomes necessary, in the opinion of the
municipality, that a certain amount should be trans-

ferred from one head to another, I think they should
be allowed to do so without further reference to the
Commissioner.

15837. Do you mean that they should exercise that
power in order to defeat the decision of the Commis-
sioner ?—No, I simply say, after the sanction of the
Commissioner, if it becomes necessary in the opinion
of the municipality to transfer, having regard to
circumstances springing up later on, from one allot-
ment to another, then that it should not be necessary
to refer the matter further.

15838. Is there not, then, the possibility that the
municipality, supposing it differed in opinion from
the Commissioner, could use that power to defeat the
Commissioner’s ideas?—I think the municipal Com-
missioners must be taken to be discreet people, and I
do not think many of them would act against the
views of the Commissioner simply to gratify their
own views.

15839. If municipalities had this power of reappro-
priation which you want to give them, and the Com-
missioner found that power being abused, might he
still interfere ?—Certainly.

15840. Have municipalities much power with regard
to the creation of appointments ?—Very little. I do
not think I should be justified in proposing any
alteration in the present rules. Of course there are
municipalities in Bengal and other places where that
state of things may be remedied, but so far as
Bhagalpur, Monghyr and other municipalities are con-
cerned, I do not think very much larger powers are
necessary at present.

15841. What is the size of the Bhagalpur muni-
cipality ?—It is a big town.

15842. Are there not a number of municipalities in
Bengal ranging in size from a big place like Patna to
small villages ?—Yes.

15843. Would it be advisable to discriminate and
give larger powers to the bigger municipalities ?—
Larger powers might be given to a municipality like
Patna, but I do not think it would hold good in all
municipalities. I think the powers which the smaller
municipalities have already got are quite sufficient.

15844. Has a municipal employe, if dismissed by the
municipality, any appeal ?—Yes.

15845- Who would dismiss a clerk in the employ of
a municipality on Rs. 16?—The Chairman.

15846. To whom does the appeal lie then ?—Straight
to the Commissioner.

15847. Would it not be well to have an appeal from
the Chairman, as the Executive Officer, to the muni-
cipal Council as a whole, instead of to an outside
authority like a Divisional Commissioner ?—Yes, I
think so, and it would be desirable that a power of
appeal should be given to the municipalities.

15848. Does the District Board deal with questions
of vaccination and education ?—Yes.

15849. Was there much interference in your time
by the Education Department, or was the Board
allowed to have its own way ?—I do not think there
was much interference on the part of the Education
Department.

15850. Were you satisfied with your powers ?—Yes.

15851. Had you committees to deal with these
things ?—Yes.

15852. In your opinion, is the Collector the proper
person to be Chairman of the District Boards ?—In
the present state of things the Collector is the proper
person, but if there were a qualified non-official
member of the Board, I should prefer him.

15853. But has not a Collector a larger knowledge
of a district as a whole than anyone else ?—Yes, the
Collector has a large knowledge ; but should there be,
among the members of a District Board, a man who
has lived in the district itself for a large number of
years with greater knowledge, and he is qualified, I
should prefer giving the Chairmanship to him rather
than to an official.

15854. But must not the Collector have something
to do with education and sanitation and such matters ?
Do you propose to take those matters away from his
control altogether in the case you mention ?—I think


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

63

it is essentially necessary that he should have to do
with those things, and, on the whole, he would be a
more suitable person to be Chairman.

15855. With regard to the SanthalParganas, is there
a special system of judicial administration there ?—
Yes. The Commissioner of the Division exercises the
powers of the High Court.

15856. Is that satisfactory ?—It has been satisfac-
tory, but I think there are some places which should
not, in the present state of things, be kept under the
Regulations.

15857. Does the Deputy Commissioner also exercise
civil powers ?—He has the powers of a District Judge.

15858. As to your desire that provincial Councils
should be allowed to discuss the imperial budget, what
kind of things do you look forward to their discussing
—army estimates or what ?—All items.

15859. Do you think that a provincial Legislative
Council should discuss imperial legislation, imperial
Acts, and imperial Bills ?—No, I should limit it to the
budget.

15860. As to Local Governments being allowed to
issue loans of one or two lakhs of rupees, does any
Local Government ever really want to borrow so
little as a lakh ?— I simply put that as a figure ; it was
more the principle I was dealing with.

15861. You deprecate any curtailment of the right
of appeal. At the same time you say that District
Officers are not sufficiently in touch with the people ;
might that not be due largely to overwork on their
part ?—I do not think appeals add much to the work,
but at the same time the feeling of the people is so
strong in this connection that I certainly would wish
the present state of things to remain unaltered.

15862. Is there not a limitation with regard to
appeals in civil matters ? No second appeal is allowed
on questions of fact. Do you see any harm in apply-
ing that rule to administrative and executive matters ?
—I think in matters in which appeals lie to the Local
Government, the privilege ought to remain where it is.

15863. You desire that the Court of Wards should
be able to take over estates which do not pay revenue
direct to Government ? What value would these
estates run to ?—May I give you an instance ? I
know of an estate which is at present in the possession
of an Indian lady ; the property is mismanaged and
the income is wasted ; in a civil suit the High Court
has appointed a Receiver, and steps are being taken to
bring that estate under the management of the Court
of Wards on the ground that a portion of the property
pays revenue to the Government, and therefore it
comes within the definition of the section in the Act,
but the bulk of the estate does not pay revenue direct
to Government.

15864. Do you mean that the estate pays rent to
an over-landlord ?—Yes.

15865. Then would you put the Court of Wards in
the position of tenants to a zamindar, which is what it
would come to ?—As trustees, no doubt, but at the
same time I do not see that there is any harm in that.
It would also protect the interests of the tenants.

15866. Would it not lead to friction between the
Court of Wards and the local landlord ?—No, and
it is a matter of absolute necessity as I find by
experience.

15867. Would it not be an advantage for the Col-
lector to change his district occasionally, in order to
see how things are being managed elsewhere ?—I
think that a Collector ought to stay in a district for
three years.

15868. But you would not have a Collector stay
his whole time in one district ? It might be to the
advantage of the Collector to be shifted, might it not;
and therefore indirectly to the advantage of the
people that he should have experience of two or three
districts and be able to compare the administration ?—
Yes.

15869. Is it your opinion that an Advisory Council
should be purely advisory ?—Yes.

15870. The question would be somewhat like that
of a Judge trying a case with assessors?—Yes; he
need not necessarily act upon their advice. What I
mean is that the opinion of an Advisory Council
might be brought to the notice of the local authorities
and the Local Government.

15871. Should their opinions be brought to the Rai Tarini
notice of Government as a matter of right ?—Yes. It Prosad
might be at the instance of the members of the Bahadur.
Advisory Council, or it might be at the instance of
the Local Government that important matters should ' 0 ec,i 0
be brought forward.

15872. In dealing with a matter which a Commis-
sioner could dispose of himself, would it be necessary
to refer the case to Government, if the Advisory
Council and he differed ?—Yes, I think so.

15873. Why do you consider that legislation would
be required to bring this Council into existence?

Might it not be done by executive instruction ?—It
might be, but no Executive Officer would then be
bound to consult it.

15874. But if Government said, “You must send
“ cases up to us if you and the Council differ,” would
not Collectors have to obey the order ?—Yes ; in that
case it would be so, and legislation would not be
necessary.

15875. {Mr. Hichens.) How long would it take a
Collector to know his district ?—He would be able to
know his district generally in the course of a year, I
should think.

15876. But how long would it take him to acquire a
thorough knowledge of it ?—Two years or so, I should
say.

15877. So, practically speaking, if he is in a district
for only three years, he would go away as soon as he
has learnt it ?—It might be so.

15878. Is that a sound thing ?—It is sound from the
point of view that there are instances sometimes in
which the people do not want the same officer to
remain for a very long period. It depends very mnch
on the temperament, disposition, and work of the
officer.

15879. If an officer does his work well and is
popular, may not the people like him to remain, say,
for 10 years ?—Yes.

15880. Do you mean that they would like to get
rid of an unpopular Collector after three years ?—Of
course, there ought to be some general rule or
principle ; I should think, three years is quite long
enough.

15881. Would you base the rule on the assumption
that the Collector is going to be unpopular ?—No, I
have no reason for making an assumption of that
kind.

15882. Would it not be a sounder assumption that
the Collector would be a good man, in which case he
ought to stop for 10 years ?—Certainly.

15883. Are you a member of the Legislative
Council ?—I was for two years—1902-3.

15884. Was the question of the financial settlement
between the Government of Bengal and the Imperial
Government being discussed during your time ?—I
think it was settled about that time.

15885. Was an explanation ever given in the Legis-
lative Council with regard to the general trend of it?

—Not so far as I remember.

15886. Was any statement published about it ?—

Did you ever have any chance of clearly understand-
ing what the basis of that settlement was ?—I do not
particularly remember.

15887. Was the matter discussed in public or
private?—Not that I know ; but it was discussed
later.

15888. You say that you want a further separation
as regards financial matters between the Local Govern-
ment and the Government of India. Would you go
so far as to have a separate budget with regard to
provincial funds ?—I would like minute details in
every provincial budget to be settled by the Local
Government.

15889. Only the details ? Are you quite content
that the general budget should go to the Government
of India as it does to-day ?—Yes ; I simply want
â–  minute details to be left to be settled by the Local
Government.

15890. Is it a good thing that some outside body,
that is to say, the Government of India, should con-
trol the expenditure of the provinces ?—Yes.


64

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Rai Tarini
Pro sad
Bahadur.

30 Dec., 1907.

15891. Should a provincial Government be allowed
to make its own budget as it likes without any
criticism ?—I think not.

15892. Supposing the budget were fully discussed in
the provincial Legislature, would you modify your
opinion with regard to the criticisms of the Govern-
ment of India, and would you say under those circum-
stances it might rso longer be necessary to refer it ?—
If the provincial Governments were given power to
discuss imperial budgets, then, of course, I would
certainly have no objection. But so far as minute
details are concerned, I adhere to my opinion that
they should be left to provincial Governments without
having to go up for the sanction of the Government of
India.

15893. (Jfr. Dutt.) I suppose all those matters
regarding the financial settlement are settled by
correspondence between the provincial Government
and the Imperial Government, and are not discussed
in the Legislative assembly ? —I think so.

15894. So that the Legislative Council has no
opportunity of knowing what is being done in these
matters until they have been decided ?—That is so.

15895. Is the Bengal budget discussed after it has
received the sanction of the Government of India ?—
Yes, always.

15896. Therefore if, in the course of the discussion,
any changes appear to be necessary, there is no
machinery for introducing those changes? — None
whatever.

15897. So that practically the discussion is only
academic and is of no practical value ?—That is so.

15898. Would you like a scheme by which discus-
sion might take place in the Bengal Council before
the budget went up to the Government of India for
sanction, so that if the Lieutenant Governor thought
it desirable to make any changes in the budget after
discussion, he might be able to make them before sub-
mission to the Government of India ?—Yes.

15899. In speaking of the Bengal Government one
means only the Lieutenant-Governor ?—Yes.

15900. And the items in the budget are practically
settled by the Lieutenant-Governor ?—Yes.

15901. You referred to certain matters in regard to
which the Local Government ought to have larger
powers, but sometimes are not changes in adminis-
trative systems brought about too frequently?—
Sometimes they are, but there are sometimes urgent
reforms which must be dealt with.

15902. Has not every Lieutenant-Governor views
and ideas of his own differing from those of his
predecessor ?—Every Lieutenant-Governor no doubt
has some pronounced views different from those of
his predecessor.

15903. And to some extent there is a change in the
policy of a Government with every new Lieutenant-
Governor ?—Yes.

15904. Would there be more continuity of policy if
Lieutenant-Governors were assisted by an Executive
Council of two or more members ?—Yes.

15905. On the whole, would there be less chance of
sudden and needless changes if there was an Executive
Council to help the Head of the Government ?—Yes,

I think it would be better.

15906. With regard to borrowing powers, did you
mention a lakh of rupees as an approximate limit to
which Local Governments might go ?—-No, I simply
gave that as illustrating the principle I put forward ;

I do not say that that should necessarily be the sum ;
it might be a smaller sum.

15907. Have you any idea, what approximate gum
should be fixed ?—No ; I would leave that to the
administrative authorities to fix.

15908, Would not the granting to provincial Govern-
ments of these powers lead to a multiplicity of loans
in the country, and probably add to the indebtedness
of the country ?—I do not think so. It would not
add to the permanent indebtedness of the country
because a sinking fund might be formed, and gradually
the loan liquidated.

15909. Is not the present check beneficial from the
point of view that the provincial Governments are
stopped from borrowing immediately they think a
loan is necessary, and that they have to consider the

matter well before going to the Government of India
for sanction to a loan ?—I think, having regard to the
urgency of some, matters, the Local Government ought
to have power to raise loans.

15910. In urgent cases, for instance such as famine
relief, is there unnecessary delay in getting the sanction
cf the Government of India ?—There is delay, and I
want to prevent that.

15911. Would you like to give the Local Govern-
ment* larger powers in the creation of new appoint-
ments ?—Yes.

15912. Do you know that the powers of the Govern-
ment of India are limited in that respect ?—Yes.

15913. And yon would not give the Local Govern-
ments larger powers than the Government of India
have in matters of appointment ?—No.

15914. Would you give them similar powers ?—Yes,
I would leave improvements in Services and certain
other matters to the provincial Government instea 1 of
allowing them to go up to the Secretary of State.

15915. Are officers of the Provincial Service —
Deputy Magistrates—also too frequently transferred ?
—Yes.

15916. There is a proposal to empower Com-
missioners of Divisions to transfer Deputy Magistrates
from one place to another within their own divisions ;
would that be likely to lead to more frequent transfers
of Deputy Magistrates ?—Not necessarily.

15917. Would it be beneficial for the administration
of divisions that Commissioners should have the power
of moving Deputy Magistrates from place to place
within their own divisions ?—It would be an improve-
ment on the present system, because the Commissioner
knows the needs of a division better than anyone
else.

15918. You propose to give District Boards some
powers of control over the smaller municipalities
within a district, on the ground that the smaller
municipalities have very limited funds and that the
District Boards might help them. Do you propose
that a part of the district funds should be diverted
from their legfcimate purpose to the help of the muni-
cipalities ?—No, I do not mean that ; what I mean is
that the smaller municipalities have limited means ;
they have no engineers, for instance, of their own, but
District Boards have engineers, and in cases of settling
questions of drainage, or anything of that kind, the
District Boards might help.

15919. Without charging any fees ?—Yes.

15920. With regard to delegation, supposing some
powers have been vested by a Legislative Act in the
Local Government, and under a General Act of Dele-
gation the Local Government delegated those powers
to Commissioners and Collectors, without any special
amending Act, would that not be defeating the object
of the original Act vesting the power in a particular
authority ?—Practically it would.

15921. Supposing the Local Government has power
of sanctioning taxation in municipalities, and under a
general Act of Delegation empowered all Commis-
sioners and Collectors to sanction the imposition of
fresh taxation within municipalities, would not that be
defeating the object of the original Act ?—It would
be so.

15922. Would that be liked by the people ?—I am
not very certain as to what the popular feeling would
be, but I would be disinclined to do it.

15923. (Sir Frederic Lely.) Has the action of the
Court of Wards proved to be very beneficial in that it
creates a link between the Collector and some, at any
rate, of the landowners in his district ?—So far as it
goes, yes.

15924. If an estate in certain circumstances is not
under the Court of Wards, it goes to ruin?—Yes.

15925. The Board of Revenue is practically the
Chief Revenue Court of Appeal at present ?—Yes.

15926. And parties have a right to appear before it
in person or by pleader ?—Yes.

J 5927. Is that a privilege which is greatly valued ?
—Yes.

15928. If that privilege ceased to exist, would it
be popular among the people ?—It would not be
acceptable.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

65

t

15929. In creating an Advisory Council, would you
create it for a whole district ?—Yes.

15930. Would the members be elected? — Partly
elected, and partly nominated.

15931. Would they be living here and there all over
a district, and at a distance from each other ?—It
might be so, but not necessarily so.

15932. You have enumerated certain subjects on
which they should be consulted, the first being income-
tax ; how do you propose they should be consulted
in that matter ?—As regards the scale and rate, and
also they might bring to notice how the Income Tax
Officers have acted, and are acting : whether they have
overassessed or underassessed people ; in fact, in all
matters.

15933. Would you invite their opinion as to the
general rates of income-tax ?—Yes.

15934. But so far as their opinion regarding a point
of that kind went, they would be an Advisory Council,
not to the Collector, but to Government ?•—Of course.

15935. In dealing with a case of overassessment, do
you think a general Council, drawn from every part of
the district, would have any opinion as to the means
of any particular individual which would be worth

listening to?—No, but when the opinions of the
various districts throughout the country are brought
to the notice of the Government, the Government
would consider the advisability of making any change.

15936. Taking the case of a man who the Council
assert is overassessed, do you think the opinion of a
General Council, drawn from the whole district, as to
the means of that particular individual, would be
worth anything at all ?—I think the matter might be
taken into consideration by the assessing officer the
next year.

Rai Ta
Prvst

Bahac

30 Dec.,

15937. With regard to excise, in what way do you
propose an Advisory Council should give advice ?—At
present the system is not working very satisfactorily,
as women and children in the villages have oppor-
tunities for getting drunk.

15938. Would the Council be more likely to know
more about such a thing as that than the District
Officer?—I think the Council certainly would know
the people better than the District Officer, and might
bring such a thing to the notice of the Government.

15939. As to the right of appeal, do you agree that
the popular opinion is that every man has a right to
go to the Head of the State ?—Yes.

(The witness withdrew.)

The Honourable Babu Kalipada Ghosh was called and examined.

f

1

15940. (Chairman.) What is your occupation?—I
am a pleader and a landholder. I reside at Ranchi.
The existing financial relations between the Govern-
ment of India and the Government of Bengal do not
require any material change. The financial settle-
ment which was entered into between these two
Governments in the year 1904, and on the basis
whereof the Bengal Government budgets have been
prepared and worked out since the year 1905, was a
distinct improvement on the system which preceded
it, and we have had no serious complaints to make
regarding the existing system. The financial settle-
ment entered into in 1904 was not limited to any fixed
term, but it has been made for an indefinite period,
and it is not now open to the Government of India
to absorb any possible balance in the hand of the
Local Government at the end of every five years. Of
course, the Imperial Government have reserved the
power of interference or revision, if occasion arises
for it, and this power should be retained, as it is
calculated to keep the Government of Bengal always
alive to the sense of heavy responsibility in dealing
with the extensive revenue at its command. But the
power of the Imperial Government of making a
demand on the provisional revenues should, if possible,
be defined, so that they may not exercise this power
except under circumstances so abnormal as to exhaust
the imperial resources and necessitate a suspension of
public reforms in the country. With this reservation
in the power of the Government of India, I should say
that the controlling power of revision which has been
retained by the Government is salutary in its effect.

I do not consider the influence of the Departments
of the Government of India is in the direction of
excessive rigidity. If this influence, is relaxed, the
existing state of things may be rendered worse.

It is desirable to allow provincial Governments to
develop their administration on their own lines, adopt-
ing or not, at their discretion, suggestions of reform
brought to their notice from other provinces ; the
conditions obtaining in the several provinces in the
country being different, the provincial Governments
mighb be given some amount of discretion in develop-
ing their administration on a line that will suit local
conditions and satisfy public opinion of the province.

I am not in favour of curtailing the right of appeal
to the Government of India.

I do not think any extended powers need be given
to the Commissioners of Divisions, Collectors or
Deputy Commissioners, and Sub-Divisional Officers.
The powers which they already exercise are very
extensive, and a further extension of their powers is
apt to demoralise such officers as have autocratic
inclinations.

Commissioners and Collectors should be given the
power of supervising the Public Works Department

33263

expenditure in their division or districts. At present The Hon.
the supervision is entirely confined to the officers of Bahu
the department. A contractor entrusted with the Kalipada

execution of any work has to pay ordinarily 5 per cent. Ghosh,
of the amount of the bill to overseers and other super-
vising staff to get his bills passed, and in certain kinds 30
of work a higher percentage is exacted, with the result
that not only public money is thus wasted, but the
work itself is often badly executed. This scandalous
state of things may be remedied to some extent, if the
Collector of the district in which the work is done is
given powers to supervise the work generally.

I do not think it safe to curtail the right of appeal
to the Local Government. Such curtailment may
shake the confidence of the people, and make the officers
concerned in some degree irresponsible. To lay down
that no such appeal should be admitted unless accom-
panied by a certificate from the authority passing the
order appealed against that reasonable grounds of
appeal exist would not be desirable, as such a course
may practically amount to a denial of the right of
appeal. I am of the same opinion with regard to
appeal to Heads of Departments and Commissioners.

Generally speaking, I do not consider that the in-
fluence of the provincial Government is in the direction
of excessive rigidity. Sometimes such influence may
be regarded in that light, but it is an error on the
right side.

I do not think that the provincial Governments are,
as a rule, too impersonal and too much dominated by
considerations of revenue, but a great deal depends
upon the tendencies of the Head of the Administra-
tion.

The influence of the Commissioners in matters
appertaining to departments other than the Land
Revenue Department is sufficiently strong, and ade-
quate weight is given to his views.

The Executive Officers have certainly sufficient
opportunities for personal contact with the people,
provided they choose to avail themselves of them.

The obstacles in this direction are sometimes of their
own creation, as they either lack due sympathy for
the people entrusted to their care, or sometimes show
too much favour to only certain individuals or classes,
which has the effect of creating bitterness of feelings
between different sections of the people. The Execu-
tive Officers, I mean the European Officers of compara-
tively short standing, do not possess sufficient know-
ledge of the vernaculars, and their success in their
departmental examination, in the way in which it is
now conducted, is no criterion for judging their
knowledge of the vernaculars. It is by no means
desirable to place junior officers in charge of a district,
as they cannot be expected to have such knowledge of
the vernaculars as a District Officer should possess.

I


66

MINUTES or evidence:

The Hon,
Babu
Balipada
Ghosh,

30 Bee., 1907.

In my opinion any general increase in the adminis-
trative staff is not required. The work which a
District Officer is now required to do is certainly
multifarious in its nature, but it can advantageously
be reduced. The District Officer’s work in connection
with (a) municipalities, (5) District Boards, (c) dis-
pensaries, (d) primary education, can very well be
entrusted to the local bodies in the district, and in
addition he should be entirely relieved of all judicial
work. The existing system requires that a District
Officer should look to all departments in the district,
and in addition to his heavy executive work, he is
required to perform judicial (criminal) work.

Transfers of officers are unnecessarily frequent. As
soon as an officer acquires some knowledge of the
district or division, he is transferred to another place,
and this is one of the reasons why an officer fails to
enjoy the true sympathy of the people and their
hearty co-operation. A sympathetic officer should be
allowed to continue in a district or division for at
least five years. Such transfers can be reduced by
putting certain restrictions regarding leave and fur-
lough, which are at present too frequently granted.

The District Municipalities and the District Boards
can be granted larger powers in the direction of the
management of dispensaries and educational institu
tions within their jurisdiction, and they should be
entirely freed from all official connection. At present
the District Officers and the Government nominees
predominate over these bodies, at least in many dis-
tricts, and the Divisional Commissioner has too large
powers of interference, and the people enjoy the sham
of Local Self-Government. This reform can be easily
effected, as there is no lack of enlightened and educated
men in the country to do the work-.

I am in favour of the creation of Advisory or
Administrative Councils to assist Divisional or District
Officers. The members of such Councils should be
elected, say, one by the District Board, one by the
municipalities ; and if more than two members be con-
sidered necessary, certain electorates, as of landowners
or of professional people, may be formed, and each
electorate may elect one member.

In my opinion it would not be expedient to invest
District Boards with powers of supervision and control
over the smaller municipalities within their respective
districts.

15941. Have you any experience of Government
'either from the local or from the provincial point of
view ?—Yes, I have been a member of the Bengal
Legislative Council for two years.

15942. As such, do you have much opportunity of
seeing the working of the Executive Government ?—
No, not much.

15943. Therefore, perhaps, you are not fully ac-
quainted with either the restrictions or the conditions
with regard to the relations between the two Govern-
ments ?—So far as the Executive side is concerned, I
do not know much, but so far as finances go, we have
some experience.

15944. Have you yourself at any time experienced
any discourtesy from Commissioners or Collectors ?—
Yes, on some occasions, at the hands of Collectors.

15945. In what way was it exhibited?—I have
known even when representative people of a district
have wanted an interview with a Collector on certain
important matters, they have been told he had no
leisure to see them, and I have known of a case of a
Collector on tour, when the local zamindar came to
salaam him, telling the chaprasies not to allow him to
come into his camp.

15946. Has that occurred in recent years ?—No, not
in recent years, some years ago.

15947. Was that the only occasion on which you
remember such a thing happening?—I have known it
happe n twice or thrice in my experience.

15948. If it has only happened twice or thrice,
would you call it a common trait?—No, it is not
common ; on the other hand, 1 cannot say that it is
altogether uncommon.

15949. Is that the principal reason why you think
no further power should be given to Collectors ?—Not
exactly the principal reason, but one of them.

15950. With regard to the Public Works Depart-
ment, might there be some extension of power ?—Yes,

I should say it is very necessary that the Collector
should be given control over the Public Works expen-
diture.

15951. Who controls that expenditure now ?—The
officers of the department ; the Collector and the
Commissioner have nothing to do with the control of
the expenditure.

15952. Do you suggest that contractors employed
by the Public Works Department are in the habit of
offering bribes?—Not that they are in the habit of
bribing, but that they are compelled to bribe, that is
my point.

15953. What class of officials do they generally
bribe ?—The officials in immediate supervision of the
work, such as overseers, sub-overseers and supervisors.

15954. If the supervision of the Public Works
Department was made over to the Collector, how
would it be possible to prevent the overseers being
bribed any more than at present ?—I do not mean
that the jurisdiction of the Public Works Department
should be entirely transferred to the Collector, because
it is absolutely necessary that it should remain with
the Engineers ; but the Collector should have some
power of supervising the work, such as an Executive
Engineer or a Superintending Engineer has.

15955. How would that stop the corruption?—If
overseers and others knew that they were open to
supervision by people who did not actually belong to
the department, they would be more careful; because
nowadays what we find is that if complaints are made
against the overseers, they are not taken much notice
of. Whereas if a contractor could make his complaint
to the Collector, I think the Collector would take due
notice of it, and, in the result, overseers and other
people would not be so bold in demanding illegal com-
missions as they are now. It is a very gross scandal
in our part of the country, where I know the whole of
the contractors have to bribe these people, and they
cannot make good a complaint to a Magistrate.

15956. If they cannot make good a complaint to a
Magistrate, how would they be able to substantiate a
case before a Collector ?—That is another thing ; to
make a complaint to a Magistrate as a Criminal J udge
is one thing, and making a complaint to a Collector is
another thing.

15957. But it is not making the complaint ; ifc is
substantiating the charge ? —Quite so, and if the
Collector is entrusted with the supervision of the
work, and the complaint is made to him, he would be
able to deal with it.

15958. Do you say that a District Officer as a rule
has not much knowledge of the vernacular ?—I refer,
of course, to junior District Officers. In most cases
the senior Collectors have a good knowledge of the
vernacular.

15959. After how many years’ service does an officer
begin to have a good knowledge of the vernacular ?—
I should say after ten years, and not until then.

15960. Do you think that Government hampers the
activity of municipalities ?—I do. In municipalities
where the members are nominated, I do not think they
do their work with any amount of independence ;
they simply attend the meetings as a formal matter
and do not take much interest in the affairs of the
district. But in cases where the members are elected,
the elected members take a good deal of interest, and
the Magistrate, who may happen to be the Chairman,
also takes a large amount of interest in what is being
done. I have no complaint to make against him, but
my point is if the Magistrate's connection is cut off,
and the management of affairs is entrusted to a non-
official man, the Board will take a greater interest in
the work.

15961. Are the places where the municipalities elect
their members more numerous than the places where
they do not elect them ?—I cannot give you the exact
numbers, but generally I should say yes, though not
much. In the case of District Boards nomination is
very large, but in the case of municipalities I think
election and nomination are about equally divided.

15962. In municipalities do you find a greater
number of intelligent persons ?—Yes.

15963. Might not that account for the greater in-
terest taken in the conduct of municipal affairs ?—It
might be so.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

67



15964. Do you wish to see the connection between
Government and District Boards somewhat reduced ?
—Certainly ; I should make them purely non-official.

15965. Would you cut off the grant-in-aid which is
now given by the Government to District Boards ?—
The Government only does that in special cases.

15966. If the connection between the provincial
Governments and District Boards is cut off, would
it not be just also to reduce the grant or cut it off
altogether?—I think if the District Boards took all
the taxes, it would be sufficient. Under special cir-
cumstances the Government may make a grant.

15967. What is the time an officer should stay in a
district ?—At least five years.

15968. If you cut off municipal and District Boards
from the District Officer, what would he have left to
do ?—He would have the police duties to look after,
income-tax, the Government estates, and, in several
parts of the country, he would have to look after the
Court of Wards and Encumbered Estates. He also
has to deal with excise, and I am in favour of giving
him Public Works ; then he would have places to visit,
which I think is a very necessary thing for him to do.

15969. If a District Officer has no connection with
the District Board, when he went into a village or
town, would he be received with as much attention as
he is now ?—So long as he is the Head of the police, I
certainly think so.

15970. Would he retain his hold upon the district
by virtue of his being the Head of the police ?—Yes.

15971. Do you mean that he would only have
influence with regard to criminally disposed classes of
people ? What interest would the respectable classes
of the community have in the District Officer ; they
would not be in terror of him as Head of the police ?
—Of course, respectable people would not be in terror
of the police, but if the District Officer is divested of
some of his powers, I think the respectable people
would still have regard for him.

15972. But would not divesting him of these powers
lower his position ?—No, I think not. I do not mean
to say that the District Officer should not have the
power to criticise the actions of the Board, only he
should not preside as Chairman.

15973. Then would you still give him some power
of supervision over their expenditure and action ?—
Yes, that is necessary.

15974. You are in favour of increasing the powers of
municipalities and District Boards ? Ought they to
have both primary and secondary schools under them ?
—No, I think only primary schools.

15975. Should they have the management of village
schools ?—Those schools to which grants-in-aid are
given by Government are under the management of
the Education Department and the inspectors under it.

15976. Would you leave them under the Education
Department ?—Certainly ; the Education Department
should look to the technical portion, that is to say, the
appointment of teachers and the specification of text-
books and so on ; but as far as finances are concerned,
I think the District Officer should look after them.

15977. In the event of any attempt being made to
create village communities, would you give them any
part in the management of schools ?—No.

15978. Would you keep schools out of their hands
entirely ?—Certainly.

15979. (J/r. Hichens.') Are officials of a municipality
appointed by the Chairman ?—Yes.

15980. Who has the power to dismiss them ?—The
Chairman ; but in certain cases within certain limits,
he is bound to do it at a meeting of the Commisioners ;
he cannot do it himself alone.

15981. Have they any right of appeal from the
Municipal Commissioners to the Commissioner of the
division ?—Yes. I would not do away with that.

15982. I thought you wanted to give municipalities
real independence ?—I am in favour of giving real
independence to the Municipal Commissioners, but I
am not in favour of doing away with the right of
appeal from them, because they might not understand
things properly in certain cases, and the people ought
not to be deprived of any right of appeal.

33263

The Hon.

Bobu

Kalipada

Gliosh.

15983. Are you prepared to entrust them to ad-
minister the local affairs of the municipality ?—Yes.

15984. In that capacity would they not have to
perform very important duties, such as imposing
taxation and seeing that taxes were fairly and justly 30 Bee., 1907

collected, and they would be responsible for the ------------

general efficiency of their municipality ?—Yes.

15985. Would you entrust them with all these
powers, and yet not allow them to be able to dismiss
their officers ?—I think the fixing of any rate should
rest with the Local Government ; I am not in favour
of delegating that power to the Commissioners or any
other body.

15986. Is it the case that the maximum rate of
taxation which can be levied is laid down by law ?—■

Yes.

15987. Would you give the local authority power to
collect that rate up to the maximum without further
sanction ?—Yes.

15988. You would give them very large powers of
taxation, and you would give them power to appoint,
but would not give them power to dismiss. What is
your reason for that ?—I would give them power to
dismiss, but I would not deprive the men who had
been dismissed of any right of appeal.

15989. If you would give them absolute power in
other matters, why not give it to them in that respect ?

—Simply for the reason that dismissal is one thing,
and appointment is another. I think if a man makes
an error which is not serious and is dismissed, he
should have a right of appeal.

15990. The appointment of a bad man to an office
under the municipality might affect the whole town ?

—Yes.

15991. Is that not an important matter ?—Yes, but
I do not think it is so serious as the case of a man
being dismissed and not having a right of appeal,

15992. Have you ever been on a District Board ?—

No, but I represent all the District Boards in my
division in the Legislative Council.

15993. Should further powers be delegated to Local
Boards from the District Board ?—I would not say so
generally. It might be advisable in particular cases
which would depend upon the constitution of the
Local Boards, and the best body to deal with them is
the District Board. I should not say that all the
Local Boards ought to possess such and such powers.

15994. Broadly speaking, you do not think decen-
tralization should get any further than the District
Board ?—That is my opinion, broadly speaking.

15995. Would you be in favour of giving further
powers to the village panchayat ?—I should theoreti-
cally, but the difficulty is we have not much experience
of village panchayats nowadays in our country.

15996. Would you like to make an experiment?—I
should.

15997. How often does a District Board meet ?—

Once a month.

15998. Has a District Board great local knowledge ?

—They have not as much local knowledge as they
ought to have.

15999. Taking it that a Local Board would have
more knowledge of its particular area, would you be
in favour of doing something more for Local Boards ?

—Yes.

16000. (JL*. Dutt.) Do you agree with the last
witness that the Bengal budget should be discussed in
Council before being submitted to the Government of
India for sanction ?—Certainly ; but the point is that
the Members of the Council cannot discuss the budget,
because it is cut and dried before it comes to them.

16001. Do you think that sometimes changes of
administration are brought about too frequently
according to the views of successive Lieutenant-
Governors ?—Yes.

16002. Wou'd the appointment of an Executive
Council to help the Lieutenant-Governor add to the
continuity of policy in administration ?—Most cer-
tainly.

16003. Would it be a desirable thing ?—Yes. I am
strongly of that opinion.

I 2


68 MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

The Hon. 16004. Are you of opinion that the whole Road
Pabu Cess money should be paid over to the District

Kdlipada Boards ?—Yes.

GllOSll. -r .

---- 16005. Is it not so paid now?—The Road Cess

30 Dec., 1907. money is not wholly spent on the purposes of the

---- District Boards, and that is a thing we are trying to

introduce into the amendments of the Local Self-
Government Act.

16006. Are you not trying to get a provision that
the whole Road Cess money should be spent on
communications and sanitation ?—Yes.

16007. Is it your idea that the whole proceeds of the
Public Works Cess should also be paid to the District
Board ?—No ; that would create confusion, I think.

16008. You have suggested that District Officers
should be relieved of the duties of presiding over
District Boards. In that case, would you give them
some power of control and supervision over the work
done by the Boards ?—I would.

16009. If a district Board went very fai wrong,
ought the District Officer to have power to make them
do tfceir work properly ?—Yes.

16010. Would you give him any power with regard
to municipalities within his own district ?—Yes.

16011. Are you aware of the proposal that each
class of men in a sub-division should choose members
out of their own class on the Local Board ?—Yes.

16012. Would the cultivating classes in a small sub-
division be able to find a proper representative from
among themselves ?—No.

16013. If they were prevented from selecting a
representative from any other class, would it not
probably be detrimental to their interests?—Yes.

16014. Would you therefore allow them to select a
representative from any class they choose ?—Yes.

16015. Where the members of an Advisory Board
differ from a Collector on any matter, should the
Collector be bound by the advice, or should he be
allowed to act on his own responsibility ?—I should
say that would depend on the number of the members.
If two-thirds of the Council agreed on a certain point
and the Collector differed from them, I think he
should act upon his own responsibility.

16016. Then in fact jou would allow him full dis-
cretion to act upon his own responsibility ?—Yes.

16017. Would you propose that the power of
sanctioning taxes in municipalities should be trans-
ferred to the Commissioner or Collector ?—I would
not.

16018. Generally speaking, if any powers are vested
in the Local Government by a specific Act, would
you allow the Local Govornment by a general Act of
delegation to transfer those powers to Commissioners
and Collectors ?—I think more powers might be given,
but generally I would not

16019. Would you like it to be done by a general
Act of delegation or by an amending Act ?—I would
rather have that done by an amending Act.

16020. (Sir Frederic Lely.) When you say that
there are classes who cannot find proper representa-
tives from among themselves, do you mean that it is
impossible for any one of those classes to find among
themselves a man who knows where the shoe pinches ?
—There are some men in our part of the country who
are unable to put their grievances properly.

16021. Do you mean that they are unable to put it
into legal language ?—No, I mean that they cannot
put them in an intelligible way.

16022. Did you ever go into a village where the
people could not make their complaints known in an
intelligible way ?—In their wav they could. Of course,
we can understand them ; but I doubt if persons
sitting on a municipal or District Board would be
able to understand them.

16023. Do you mean to say that in a popular
assembly they would not be able to make their w7ants
known ?—Not always.

16024. Then they must be very extraordinary
people?—Yes, they are ; and in some parts of the
country some of them cannot speak Hindi.

16025. With regard to the Public Works Depart-
ment, you say that bribery is rampant ; has anything

else come to your notice in connection with that
department which you would wish to remedy ?—No.

16026. (Sir Steyning Edgerley.) With regard to de-
legating powers, would not a general amending Act,
properly safeguarded, do away with many present dif-
ficulties ?—Yes.

16027. If such an Act were passed, would it not be
very much simpler than having to go to the Legislative
Council on each and every occasion ?—There may be
certain matters with regard to which it would not be
necessary to legislate, but all important matters should
be left to legislation.

16028. You think it should be limited as to spheres
of work?—Yes.

16029. You say that the financial settlement entered
into in 1904 was not limited to any fixed term, and it
is not now open to the Government of India to absorb
any possible balance in the hand of the Local Govern-
ment at the end of every five years, but the Imperial
Government has reserved the power of interference or
reversion, if occasion arises for it. Is that a good
thing ?—Yes.

16030. Does it tend to keep the Government of
Bengal alive to its responsibilities in dealing with the
extensive revenues at their command?—That is my
view.

16031. So that it is really a power of constant con-
trol over the Government proceedings ?—Yes.

16032. Is that the general impression amongst
gentlemen who have studied the subject ? — We
studied the subject when the new financial settle-
ment was discussed in the Council, and it was the
feeling of all the members that control should be
kept.

16033. If the Bengal Government used its revenues
in a manner which did not approve itself to the
Government of India, would the Government of India
step in and alter the contract ?—Yes.

16034. Then that is hardly a final contract?—No.

16035. Do you suggest that these powers of inter-
ference should, if possible, be defined ?—Yes.

16036. Can you yourself suggest any definition ?—
Not beyond what I have already suggested, namely,
when the circumstances should be so abnormal as to
exhaust the imperial resources, or something of that
kind. It is very difficult to specify definitely.

16037. Is that a sufficient reservation?—Yes.

16038. Short of that you would not allow the
Government of India to interfere with the contract ?
—No.

16039. (Mr. Meyer.) The financial settlement of
1904 to which you refer is no longer in operation ?
Was it not necessary to make a fresh settlement in 1906
consequent on the partition of the province?—But
the new settlement is on the same lines as the previous
one.

16040. In making that settlement, did not the
Government of India say very much what you say
now, namely, that they would not revise the settle-
ment, except under some grave Imperial necessity, or
if the settlement were found to be grossly unfair to
the province in some way or other ?—Yes.

16041. As regards the instances of discourtesy to
which you have referred, if you wanted to see a
Collector, and he wrote to you or said to you, “ I am
extremely busy just now ; I must ask you to wait
an hour or two, or come another day,” would you
think that was discourtesy ?—No.

16042. Do officers coming from the Bengal districts
speak Hindi well ?—Not all of them.

16043. Should officers be kept a longer time at
Ranchi than they are now ?—Yes.

16044. You say that a Collector, though he should
not sit on the District Board, should have outside
powers of control; but would he not take more
interest in matters of education, sanction and roads,
if he sat on the Board and discussed them first-hand,
than if he were an outside authority ?—Of course, he
might take more interest if he sat on the Board, but
I say it is not desirable for other purposes that he
should.

16045. But would it not bring him more in contact
with the leaders of the people of the district who may


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

69

be on the Board, and would he not be able to see them
and exchange views with them at the Board meetings ?

• —Of course, if it was simply from a social point of
view, it would be better ; but my meaning is that his
sitting as Chairman of the Board takes away the
independence of the Board itself.

16046. Does his presence frighten the people ?—
Not exactly frightens people, but people cannot
express their opinions so freely and with such
independence as they would otherwise.

16047. Do you think anybody whose opinion was
worth having would hesitate to speak out freely before
him?—Yes. They might know a good deal of the
country, because they are local people, but still with
the feeling that their position on the Board was by
nomination of the District Officer, and that he was
present, they would not express their opinions freely.

16048. If they were elected, would they be frightened
of him ?—Not to such an extent.

16049. With regard to the Board’s having larger
control over dispensaries, do they not control them
now? — Not absolutely; there are the Dispensary
Committees.

k 16050. Is not the Dispensary Committee a branch of

the District Board ?—No, it is quite a different thing.
The dispensary is under the Medical Department, and
the District Officer is the Chairman sometimes. The
District Board only makes a grant to the Dispensary
Committee.

16051. Are not the members of Dispensary Com-
mittees members of the District Board as well ? —Not
necessarily ; some of them may be.

16052. Does the District Board make the grant and
have nothing further to say ?—Yes.

16053. What is the character of your villages ? We
are told that in Bengal village communities do not

exist in the sense that they exist in Northern India ; The Son.
is that the case in Chota Nagpur ?—We have villages, Babu
but not village communities. Kalipada

16054. Have you no village headman?—Every vil- Ghosh.
lage has a headman in that part of the country, who 30 Bee. 1907
has some local designation. -

16055. Do the villagers meet together ; are there no
village officers ?—Yes ; and there is a village headman
called a munia in our part of the country ; in this way
we have village communities.

16056. Besides them, have you chaukidari unions?

—No.

16057. Who manages the chaukidars?—The police.

16058. Has not the practice ceased now? We are
told that in Bengal proper the chaukidari panchayats
have become independent of the police. Is that not so
in Chota Nagpur ?—Not yet.

16059. You suggest that Collectors should get larger
powers over Public Works? Might not that be
achieved by breaking up the provisional Public Works
budget to some extent and giving Commissioners allot-
ments to distribute for different Public Works ?—To
some extent that could be so, but still the Collector, I
think, ought to be given some power as to the actual
supervision of the work.

16060. Would you give the Collector a small budget
of his own ?—I think so.

16061. With regard to class representation on Local
Boards and municipalities, do you think, speaking
generally, if that practice were adopted, you would get
a better class of District Boards than you do now ?—

Yes,

16062. And that, therefore, they might receive larger
powers which you would not propose to give to Boards
and municipalities as at present constituted ?—Just so.

(27ie witness withdrew.)

Babu Srigopal Bhattacharjee, M.A., B.L., was called and examined.

16063. {Chairman.) You are Deputy Collector of

Income-tax in Calcutta ?—Yes.

Subject to the principle that the expenditure should

remain within the limits of the provincial contracts, I
would generally give the provincial Governments as
large powers as may be necessary, in regard to non-
recurring items of expenditure, in order to maintain
the local administration in a high state of efficiency.

As loans involve the financial credit of Government
and have to be raised with reference, among other
things, to the state of the money-market, I would, as
at present, leave borrowing powers in the hands of the
Government of India, which can command the best
expert advice.

I would give the provincial Governments as com-
plete liberty as is possible in order to enable them to
apply to local conditions the general lines of policy
laid down by the Government of India. This principle
is now recognized in a large measure, as regulating the
relations between the Imperial and the provincial
Governments. But a large mass of correspondence
takes place in settling matters which involve compara-
tively minor questions of principle, in their relation to
different local conditions.

Although the Imperial Secretariat considers matters
from a more commanding standpoint furnished by
precedents from other provinces, local conditions do
not always impress it as effectively as they impress
provincial officers. The result is that while, on the
one hand, the Government of India take a broader
view of matters from the varied materials at their
disposal, they become, at times, too impersonal, and
discussions become necessary before the local con-
ditions can effectively modify the considerations of
revenue. The proceedings of the Orissa settlement
seemed to show traces of this tendency. But, on the
other hand, the Government of India have, generally
speaking, a marked desire to respect the wishes of the
Local Governments in matters relating to revenue,
and this, generally, prevents any undue predominance
of revenue considerations.

- I would not curtail the right of appeal either to the
Local or the Supreme Government, or to Heads of
Departments and Commissioners, notwithstanding

logical considerations in favour of curtailment. It is
a privilege sanctioned by historic usage. It is a
valuable symbol of personal Government which links
the people to the royal throne. People have such a
living faith in this right of appeal to Government that
they instinctively invoke it when they feel aggrieved.
Like the right of petition, this right of appeal has a
high political value, which ought to be preserved.

For the purpose of revenue and administrative work
I would amalgamate the Board of Revenue as closely
as possible with the Government Secretariat. The
two Honourable Members and the Chief Secretary may
be formed into an Executive Council, having His
Honour as President, and subject to His Honour’s
orders, the different departments may be distributed
among these members. The creation of an Executive
Council under His Honour will not necessarily extin-
guish the statutory powers of the Board of Revenue
and, after the Council comes into being, the Board may
continue to exercise its powers. In the very small
number of cases where the law allows an appeal to
Government against the Board’s decision, the orders in
the appeal cases may be passed by His Honour.

District Officers already possess, in matters of revenue
and general administration, powers sufficient for one
officer. But the most important reform will be to
relieve the District Officers from the necessity of
attending to petty matters of routine, so that they
may have more time to keep themselves in closer touch
with the people and to consider the more important
questions.

W ithout superseding the authority of the Heads and
other officers of special departments, I would give the
Commissioners and Collectors a voice with regard to
any important expenditure of these departments in
their divisions and districts on matters in which the
local public are largely interested. I think that, in
matters relating to irrigation and drainage, the views
of the Commissioner should have as much weight as
the views of the experts when these matters affect any
considerable number of residents of the division.

By tradition and by training, the provincial Secre-
tariat establishment take a broader view of matters in
the light of the precedents at their command, and,

Babu

Srigopai

Bhattachar-

jee.

30 Dec., 1907.


70 MINUTES OF EVIDENCE!

Babu

Srigopal

Bhaitachar-

jee,

30 Deo., 1907.

owing to their detached attitude, their judgment is not
influenced by the prepossessions which local conditions
are apt to create. But, while viewing matters from
this departmental standpoint, they fail to observe them
in their true local perspective. This drawback tends,
at times, to make their decisions too impersonal, and
also occasionally to give too much importance to con-
siderations of revenue. But the district experience of
the Secretaries operates as a corrective of the draw-
back, and the efficacy of this corrective force depends
upon the measure in which these officials impress their
personality upon the work of the general establishment.

Though the tours afford opportunities for personal
contact with the people, the overworked District Officer
cannot utilise them to the best advantage. In order to
give this element of personal contact the place it
deserves, as a means of improving the relations between
the rulers and the ruled, the Collector should be allowed
to delegate a considerable part of his less important
duties to a gazetted subordinate who should have
similar status and position to the Commissioner’s
personal assistant. Some of the inspection work, which
now takes up so much of the Collector’s time, may
also be curtailed or delegated with advantage. Tours
should be less hurried than they are now, so that, with
more leisure at his disposal, the District Officer may
understand his people better and that the latter may
properly appreciate the personal qualities of the Head
of their district. Many officers know some of the
vernaculars fairly well. I think that a higher standard
of knowledge of the written and colloquial vernaculars
should be introduced.

Transfers used, in some former years, to be rather
frequent. I cannot suggest any method for their
reduction. In my own Service, they seem to have, of
late years, become less frequent.

I have not much faith in the utility of formal
Advisory or Administrative Councils. A tactful and
sympathetic Collector or Commissioner can easily
choose the right advisers and command their loyal
advice and assistance. The creation of formal Councils
will have certain drawbacks which may detract ma-
terially from their utility. In the District Boards the
Collector has a Council which he can utilise for advisory
purposes, and he may seek the advise of other residents
not belonging to these Boards.

I would not subordinate the smaller municipalities
to the District Boards.

I think that earnest and sustained efforts should be
made to increase the powers of the village communities.
Care should be taken to introduce the reform only in
the more advanced villages where there will be com-
paratively little risk of abuse.

16064. You do not share the views of the last
witness that the powers of the Divisional Com-
missioners and the Collectors of Districts are already
too large ?—I think that they might be increased.

16065. You say the tours of District Officers are apt
to be rather hurried ?—The District Officer has so
many duties at headquarters to attend to that he has
to return now and then during his tour. In former
years tours used to be more prolonged, and an attempt
ought to be made to go back to that practice.

16066. Then it is not that the officer wishes to get
through his touring more quickly, but that he is
compelled to cut it short ?—He is ; that is why I sug-
gest a delegation of some of his headquarters duties to
an assistant at headquarters.

16067. You are not very much in favour of formal
Advisory Councils, but think the present system of
informal consultations preferable ?—Yes, and if any
reform is wanted we might take steps to improve the
present system rather than introduce a new system of
formal Councils.

16068. Would an improvement of the present system
be obtained by an instruction to all District Officers
of whatever grade to constantly consult local opinion ?
—Yes, in such a way that it will inspire confidence in
the people and encourage them to be candid with the
District Officers.

16069. With regard to village communities, do you
think something might be done in the direction of
giving them slightly larger powers ?—Yes.

16070. In the way of forming a village Bench for
judicial purposes?—To a very limited extent for

judicial purposes—mainly for the purposes of sanita-
tion and keeping the roads in proper condition ; for
municipal rather than judicial purposes.

16071. {Mr. Meyer.) Each Commissioner in Bengal
has a Deputy Collector as his personal assistant ?—Yes.

16072. What are the duties of a personal assistant ?
—He relieves the Commissioner of a large mass of
routine work, and, subject to the orders and approval
of the Commissioner, he carries out much of the Com-
missioner’s duties in less important matters which
form a considerable portion of the office work.

16073. Does he pass orders on behalf of the Com-
missioner?—Not in important cases, but in routine
cases he passes orders, and there are certain classes of
cases which he submits to the Commissioner after
disposing of them.

16074. Do you mean cases such as sanction to expen-
diture ?—No ; he does not dispose of those matters ;
he submits the matter to the Commissioner in every
case where expenditure is concerned.

16075. What are the sort of cases to which you
refer ?—There is a long list of them.

16076. Supposing the Commissioner’s sanction was
necessary to the spending of one hundred rupees,
would he send that to him ?—That is the practice.

16077. It was suggested at Madras that the limits of
income-tax assessment might be raised ; what are they
in Bengal; who makes the original assessment ?—
Myself and my Collector. Of course, the lists are
submitted by assessors. They are non-gazetted officers
on pay ranging from Rs. 200 to Rs. 250 in Calcutta
and from Rs. 80 to Rs. 100 in mufassal districts.

16078. They are practically clerks?—They are not
exactly clerks, because they are treated as belonging to
a class midway between the gazetted and ministerial
classes.

16079. Are they permanent men or are they changed
from year to year?—They are permanent men, but
they are transferred from district to district at times.
Nowadays assessors are distributed according to
divisions, and a certain number are assigned to each
division, and the Commissioner arranges the length of
time they shall spend in a district.

16080. Who makes the assessment ?—The deputy-
Collector in cases where the income is less than
Rs. 10,000 and the Collector in other cases.

16081. Does any case have to go to the Commis-
sioner ?—No, not for assessment.

16082. Have you a Deputy Collector in each district
in charge of income-tax work ?—The Deputy Collector
who is in charge of excise is also in charge of income-
tax.

16083. But are you not doing away with the Excise
Deputy Collector class and substituting special excise
superintendents ?—The scheme, I understand, has not
been introduced into Bengal.

16084. Are you speaking now of the headquarters
sub-division ?—The Deputy Collector who is in charge
of excise and income-tax in the district is also in charge
of the sub-divisional area, but he is to some extent
assisted by the Sub-Divisional Officer in regard to the
assessment of markets and big places lying within a
sub-division.

16085. But as regards an outlying sub-division the
assessment is made by the Income-Tax Deputy Collec-
tor, and not primarily by the Sub-Divisional Officer ?
—Except in markets, where the Sub-Divisional Officer
makes it, and they are finally passed by the Deputy
Collector.

16086. Should not income-tax assessment be made
primarily by the local officer in charge of the sub-
division who ought to know the circumstances of the
people ?—Yes, when the Sub-Divisional Officer has
sufficient leisure for the purpose, that scheme might
well be tried, but of course the advantage of having
the work in charge of one officer for a district is that
experience of other parts of the district tends to intro-
duce a sort of uniformity.

16087. Taking your district administration, the
Collector is in charge of the headquarters sub-division ?
—Yes.

16088. How many Deputy Collectors are there gene-
rally ?—There are different numbers fixed for different
districts ; there are districts of four classes.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

71

I



16089. Taking an average district, how many would
there be ?—I think four may be taken as the average
number.

16090. You have at the headquarters sub-division
four Deputy Collectors and one Joint-Magistrate?—
Very seldom a Joint-Magistrate.

16091. Do your district establishment want
strengthening?—I think the staff is not so very
excessive, but making allowance for one officer to be
set aside for the special excise and income-tax work,
the remaining three are hardly sufficient for the whole
work of administration. The staff has been recently
increased to some Extent.

16092. Would it not be better to have regular Sub-
Divisional Officers to do the revenue and magisterial
work under the Collector’s supervision ?—Yes, in some
places a Sub-Divisional Officer could do the work, but
his functions are mainly judicial; he has very little
revenue work.

16093. Why should he not have both ; why should
he not be a regular Sub-Divisional Officer ?—The
revenue work in Bengal is centralized and has not
been sub-divided according to sub-divisions as the
criminal work has been.

16094. Similarly your Sub-Deputy Collectors are
concentrated at district and sub-divisional head-
quarters ?—Yes.

16095. Does much municipal work go up to the
Commissioner for sanction ?—Yes.

16096. Might some of the powers be delegated to
the Collector or to the municipality itself ?—Yes ; an
attempt might be made to delegate some of the
powers, but very few.

16097. Speaking generally, is it your impression
that a good? deal of work comes to the Commissioner
that need not come up, and that could be sanctioned
as a matter of course ?—Yes. With regard to
Collectors I am sure that there might be a substantial
amount of delegation, but with re.ard to muni-
cipalities I am not quite so sure.

16098. (Sir Steyning Edgerley.) Do you think an
officer works harder when he is on probation than he
does afterwards when he has been confirmed ?—After
his confirmation more important work is given him. I
think after confirmation he has to work harder.

16099. Do you think he lets things go a little, while
on probation, and after he is confirmed he works
harder?—No, I do not think that, but less important
duties are then given him, so that harder work is not
necessary.

16100. Do you think he tries more when on proba-
tion than he does after he is confirmed?—He tries
both while he is on probation, and afterwards,
according to the individual nature of the officer.

16101. What advantage do you expect to get by the
appointment of an Executive Council ?—The more
important work that now goes to His Honour will be
reviewed by three officers.

16102. You would get a broader decision ?—Yes.

16103. Do you suggest that the Commissioner should
have enlarged powers in order to make him in the eyes
of the people and officers under him the de facto repre-
sentative of the Government in his division ?—Yes.

16104. If you have a broader Government and a
more powerful Commissioner, what room is left for
the Board of Revenue ?—The Board of Revenue will
remain nominally in order to fulfil the requirements of
certain laws and regulations which require the existence
of that body.

16105. Does your work as Deputy Collector of
Income Tax in Calcutta bring you into very close

connection with the commercial and native communi- Babu
ties ?—Yes. Srigopal

16106. What, generally, is the reputation in com- Bhattachar*
mercial circles of the Port Commissioners ; are they 3ee'
looked upon as an efficient body ?—Yes, I have heard on n
the Port Commissioners well spoken of. 0 1907

16107. Do you make the original income-tax assess-
ments ?—I do a part of the original assessment, so
does the Collector. The assessors’ list of proposals are
submitted to me, and after my scrutiny they are sub-
mitted to the Collector ; sometimes the Collector and
myself jointly scrutinise them.

16108. If you prepare the list what is the necessity
of submitting it to the Collector ; has he any data on
which he can form a second judgment which you do
not possess ?—Some of the cases are very important
and the Collector’s views are necessary in those cases.

16109. Are those cases specially marked in any way ?

—No.

16110. Do you submit the list as a whole to him ?—

Yes.

16111. As a matter of fact, the Collector does not
examine the whole list or anything like it ?—He does.

16112. Does he make an independent examination?

—Yes.

16113. What are the arrangements for appeals ?—I
take objections with regard to assessments on incomes
below Rs. 10,000 ; appeals from my decisions do not
lie to the Collector, but to the Commissioner ; objec-
tions with regard to incomes above that amount are
dealt with by the Collector and an appeal lies to the
Commissioner.

16114. Are a good many of your assessments
affirmed after examination of the books of the persons
concerned ?—Books are seldom produced at the
initial stage of the assessment, but at the stage of
hearing objections they are very often produced,

16115. Do you examine those books ?—Yes.

16116. Then when the appeal goes up to the Com-
missioner, does he examine them again?—Yes, he
calls for the books now and then, but very often he
requires us to examine the books again, and submit
the result to him.

16117. Is there a still further appeal from the Com-
missioner ?—To the Board of Revenue.

16118. What course do the Board of Revenue
generally take ?—The Board of Revenue take the
Commissioner’s report, and pass orders.

16119. Do they generally call for another report
from you ?—Yes, through the Commissioner.

16120. Do they make any independent inquiry into
the books or into the evidence ?—Yes, sometimes.

16121. Does the matter end with the Board of
Revenue ?—Yes.

16122. Would not justice practically be done to most
people if the appeal ended with the Commissioner ?—

Yes.

16123. As I understand, there is no special advantage
in appealing to the Board of Revenue, for they do not,
as a rule, make an independent investigation ?—But
sometimes questions of mixed law and fact arise which
require the decision of the Board, and with regard to
those cases it is better to leave the jurisdiction of the
Board.

16124. Then you think two appeals are necessary ?

—One appeal will be sufficient for the great majority
of cases where merely questions of fact are involved,
but where any intricate principle of assessment is in-
volved I think it is safer to leave an appeal to the
Board.

(The witness withdrew.)

Mr. C. H. Bompas was called and examined.

16125. (Chairman.) You are the Magistrate and
Collector of the 24-Parganas?—Yes, I have been so for
the last two months. Before that a good deal of my
time was spent in the Santhal Parganas.

Speaking broadly, the person who supplies the money
must control the expenditure of it. Unless a local
officer derives his money from local sources, he cannot
really control expenditure. If the Local Government
has surplus funds it may distribute them among

divisions or districts not in accordance with ascertained yy

wants, but on the basis of population or wealth or

some similar rough principle : it thereby parts with -----------

control of expenditure : but this is not possible where 30 /tec?., 1907.

great economy has to be practised and is only legitimate -------

when the money is to be expended on objects, such as
communications, on which practically unbounded ex-
penditure is justifiable. When funds are limited they
must be allotted where they are most needed : and


72

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:,

J/r. C. H.
Bompas.

30 Dec., 1907.

to estimate the relative needs of different districts
amounts to control of expenditure. The Govern-
ment of Bengal has recently made lump sum grants to
District Boards through Commissioners : it has also
given Commissioners lump sums to be distributed as
doles to local institutions. This has been a very useful
method of decentralization.

I think in all matters one appeal is sufficient. This
should prevent all gross injustice. Beyond this there
should only be power of revision, only to be exercised
where new facts come to light or a manifest injustice
has occurred.

The influence of the Government of Bengal has been
in the direction of excessive rigidity and uniformity.
This was due to the province being too large to allow
of the central authority paying due attention to the
needs of particular localities. The district of the
Santhal Parganas is the main exception to an un-
fortunate uniformity. The fact that special laws even
under present circumstances are from time to time
passed for the Chota Nagpur division, merely shows
the existence of a need, for such exceptional legislation
is undertaken with great reluctance. I look to the
creation of smaller provinces : they are essential if
Local Self-Government is to develop. Something would
be accomplished by localising the Services to particular
divisions and thereby strengthening local opinion and
concentrating attention on local wants.

A possible, and in my opinion an essential, reform is
to stop transfers. Executive Officers have not sufficient
personal contact with the people because the people
have no object in keeping personal contact with ever-
changing Executive Officers. Young officers have small
inducement to master a vernacular which they may
possibly not hear spoken for years. Frequency of
transfers is almost considered an object in itself.
That an officer has been three years in a sub-division
or a district is a reason not for considering that
he is just becoming useful, but for removing him
elsewhere. This system of transfers is carried down
to the lowest grades, even to a constable. One result
is that if a District Officer wishes to know anything
of what happened in his district five years before,
he can turn to no one but a clerk : another result
is that a habit is formed of dealing with everything by.
poring over papers. An officer spends his service
in dealing with matters of which he and everyone
with whom he deals is entirely ignorant. It is as
essential that a district staff should be permanent as
that the officers in a native regiment should be
permanent. The fact that an officer has served three
years in a Gurkha regiment is not considered a reason
for ipso facto transferring him to a Sikh regiment.
If officers know their district the district knows its
officers, and knowledge begets sympathy. If an
officer is to be a Collector for ten years of his service,
I would require him to spend them in one district and
not in five or six. Frequent leave is no drawback if
the officer returns to the same district. I would let
officers of the Subordinate Services freely act in leave
vacancies even up to six months where the same per-
manent officer is to return. Officers of the superior
services I would confine from the beginning to one
division : officers of a lower grade as far as possible
to one district. Administration would often not pro-
ceed so smoothly, but the present system mainly aims
at preventing men from doing much harm : at the
same time they are prevented from doing much
good. The Santhal Parganas is a district where in
the past some attempt has been made at continuity
of administration and where officials and people are
more in contact than elsewhere.

The question of a decrease in the area of districts is
largely a matter of money : I think that the time has
come when the question of a general re-distribution of
districts should be investigated. Work is increasing
every year in volume and complexity, and^nma/hcze
charges should be reduced. On the other hand, if
officers had not to waste so much time in learning
elementary facts about new charges they could do
more work than at present. Unity of administration
over a considerable area is also an advantage.

Greater care should be exercised in the selection of
all Government officers. The assured prospects of
Government Service bring enormous advantages in
attracting a high class of men and inducing a high
standard of conduct. Unless a Government officer
embezzles money or is grossly insubordinate he can go
through his service without ever doing an honest day’s

work and earn a pension at the end. I would engage
all Government officers for a first term of five years,
with a bonus if the contract were not renewed : then
for a second term of 10 years, again with a bonus :
then for a third term of 10 years after which they
would be entitled to pension. These terms would still
be so much better than those offered by private
employers that recruiting would not suffer, while men
much below the average of efficiency would be weeded
out, and the public interests would not suffer in order
that unfit men might earn a pension.

16126. You have a particular system of Government
in the Santhal Parganas, have you not ?—Yes.

16127. The Commissioner has very large powers in
all departments?—Yes, as superior to the Deputy
Commissioner. The Deputy Commissioner is practi-
cally the person who exercises the powers and he has
the local knowledge, but he is subject to the control of
the Commissioner in every way, and the Commissioner
is the High Court.

16128. What is the distinction between that col-
lectorate and others ?—The Santhals once rose in re-
bellion against an artificial system of government,
and the idea was to abolish everything between the
European official and the people. The ordinary laws
do not apply unless they are specially extended ; the
ordinary departments have no authority unless they
are specially empowered; there are no pleaders to
come between the people and the officials ; the High
Court has no authority, because it acts on too cen-
tralized lines ; the zamindars have had their powers of
interference with the land curtailed, and throughout a
greater part of the district the police were abolished,
so that there is nobody between the people and the
English officer.

16129. What has been the result of the peculiar
system of Government ?—I think those who can judge
recognise that it has been very successful. People like
the European managers of estates and land-holders in
the district. It is not popular with the educated
foreign class, that is to say, with the educated Ben-
galee, who comes into the country wanting to become
a pleader.

16130. Is there much crime there ?—No. I do not
think there is more crime there than there is in regular
police areas. The question was gone into the other
day and the police said there was crime, but I do not
think there is.

16131. On the whole, is it a satisfactory form of
Government ?—For a primitive people most satis-
factory, and I should like to see it extended to all
those districts where the people can be described as a
primitive class.

16132. Does the Deputy Commissioner there have
any particular grant made to him which he can spend
more or less at his discretion ? —There was a Road
Fund which was practically spent at his discretion, but
the budget requires the sanction of the Commissioner.

16133. Has the Deputy Commissioner no lump sum
grant made to him as the Commissioners have in the
rest of Bengal?—The Commissioner gets his lump
sum and he gives it in smaller lumps to the District
Officers.

16134. Did you get a lump sum such as the Com-
missioners get elsewhere?—I got my share of the
Commissioner’s lump sum.

16135. What is your view with regard to appeals ?
—I think in executive matters one appeal should be
sufficient.

16136. Have you found that work well in the par-
ticular district of which you have been speaking?—
There, there were two appeals practically there was
an appeal from the Sub-Division Officer to the Deputy
Commissioner, and anything could be taken up from
him to the Commissioner.

16137. And beyond him?—It could be taken to
Government, but in practice that seldom occurred.

16138. With regard to revenue appeals, is one appeal
sufficient ?—Yes, except on points of law ; on a point
of law I think an appeal to the Board of Revenue is
necessary to secure uniformity, just as an appeal to
the High Court is sometimes necessary.

16139. What do you mean exactly by your remarks
with regard to localising the Services ?—I think it is
desirable that Government officers should know more


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

73

about the people than they do, and it is impossible for
a man to get to do that in a whole province, because
the circumstances are so diverse and the languages so
different. Therefore I would make it my main aim to
keep officers in the same district or in the same
division where the circumstances are similar so that
he might feel he was getting acquainted with the
people under his charge.

16140. How long would you keep him there ?—His
whole service so long as he was doing that particular
work.

16141. You would bring an officer, say, to Bihar,
and you would keep him in Bihar until he ceased to be
a Commissioner ?—Yes, as a general rule.

16142. Would that not lead to difficulties as regards
healthy and unhealthy districts?—It would lead to
some people having less pleasant lives than others, and
it is possible that in some unhealthy districts you would
have to make special arrangements for officers ; you
might allow them to spend two or three months in the
year on duty up in the Hills ; I would rather have a
man for seven years, nine months in his district and
three months away doing work from Darjeeling, than
have seven different officers in a place in seven years.

16143. How long would you keep him in any one
district? —I would keep an officer in a district until it
became absolutely essential in the interests of some
other district to take him there.

16144. Then you do not think there should be such
a limited period of time as five or six years’ service in
one district ?—No ; I was six years in the Santhal
Parganas, and when I left I believe I was only just
beginning to be really useful.

16145. Are the present leave rules inconvenient, not
to the individual but to the Service ?—I have not
thought over the matter, but I doubt whether it is
necessary to let a man take furlough for two years at
a time.

16146. By going home for such a long time does he
lose touch with his work, and perhaps his knowledge
of the vernacular ?—I should think that would be
probable.

16147. Would it conduce to ill-health to keep a man
out here for eight years with only one period of
privilege leave ?—1 think frequent short leave is very
much the best thing from the point of view of health
and from the point of view of work. I think six
months’ leave sets a man up and the oftener he takes
leave the better, as long as he has not been too much
run down to begin with. Of course, I do not say that
officers would like it. I have a list here of the Col-
lectors who have served in the district of the 24-
Parganas since its formation, and you will see that at
first they used to stay for five years and over, but
gradually the period decreases, and I think it is im-
possible to conduct business satisfactorily on those
lines.

< 16148. I see that one officer stayed 13 years, but of

late years the average seems to be four or five months
at the outside ?—Yes. There are three or four who
stayed a couple of years, but until the second year of
their service I do not think their administration could
have been satisfactory.

16149. How long would it take an officer to become
acquainted with an ordinary Bengal district ?—I con-
sider you are no good under a year and you should
know your district in three years. I do not think
under that time one would be in a position to give an
independent opinion on anything relating to his district,
though one might be able to give an intelligent opinion
which anyone could give.

16150. And it is your view that you certainly cannot
get to win the confidence of the people under that
time ?—Yes.

16151. Ought a good deal more care to be taken in
the selection of all officers ?—1 think more ought to be
done in the way of weeding out the admittedly in-
efficient men in all departments.

16152. When does the Government begin to discover
that a man is really inefficient ?—I do not think I can
make any general statement about that ; it depends on
the individual. A case came to my notice lately of
two young Deputy Collectors who were in their second
year and had just been confirmed, but everybody knew
they were perfectly useless.

33263

16153. And in spite of that they have been con- Mr. C. H.
firmed.—Yes. They worry through their probationary Bompas.
periods somehow ; they have very little work to do
while on probation, and of course a man is not likely 30 Bee.,
to do anything while on probation so heinous as to
prevent his confirmation.

16154. Then practically the probationary period is a
mere farce ?—I do not know what the figures are, but
I should be surprised to find that anyone had not been
confirmed after probation ; certainly the number is
infinitesimal.

16155. When ought this weeding out to begin to
take place ?—I would have two pauses in a man’s
service when one might say “Is he fit to go on? ’—
one after five years’ service and another after fifteen
years’ service. If a man is hopelessly incompetent you
would find it out during the first five years, or after-
wards he might take to drink or something of the
kind.

16156. Or he might become a useful officer?—Yes.

16157. (Sir Frederick Lely ) As a matter of fact,
few men do take two years’ leave at a time?—Well—

18 months is not uncommon—two hot weathers

16158. Is it not also a fact that the majority of men
take leave of some kind or other before their eight
years are up ?—Civilians do, certainly.

16159. Would it be a good thing to try and equalise
matters by granting free quarters, for instance, to men
in bad districts ?—Do you mean as a sort of pecuniary
compensation ? I do not think that would make
much difference. I think there are not many stations
in Bengal in which, if you told a man he had to live
his life there, he would not try to improve the con-
ditions, but now he tries to get away as soon as
possible.

16160. But it might possibly facilitate things, if a
man were given a good house to live in ?—Yes. There
are one or two sub-divisions in Bengal where there is
an allowance given because they are so unhealthy.

16161. Does your experience in the Santhal Parganas
indicate any particular line of change which you would
suggest as distinct from any other part of the Presi-
dency ?—I should like to see Chota Nagpur, where the
conditions are very much the same, brought into line.

16162. Are there any particular points in connection
with the administration of the Santhal Parganas which
would bear on the system in the rest of the Presidency ?

—Not for Bengal proper. You cannot switch off one
rail on to another altogether ; you must continue on
the lines you start on. The whole system is different.

Of course, you might say that you would have a
simpler form for administering justice in small cases as
in the Santhal Parganas, and more arbitration, but
then you would have the legal profession to fight
against, and in the end you would find that you could
not really do anything.

16163. Is not the village system there rather dif-
ferent from that in the rest of the Presidency ; there
is more or less a village constitution ?—There is a
very strong village constitution.

16164 Does that practically lead to self-govern-
ment ?—Yes. Each village has a headman who has
police powers, and in a homogeneous village he has
also large social powers by custom. Then in the no-
police tracts the heads of a certain number of villages,

30, 40 or 50 in number, elect for a period of three
years a local man of position who is called a sirdar,
who exercises all the powers of an officer in charge of
a police thana, and who is the representative of the
Government in that area. At the end of the three
years the headmen are called together and asked
whether they like that man, or whether they would
prefer another. They have a most elaborate system
of local self-government.

16165. Are there any artificial creations of govern-
ment in the form of District Boards or municipalities?

There are municipalities and a Road Cess Committee.

16166. Is any attempt made to blend them on to
the indigenous village community ?—No, there is no
connection between them.

16167. Would it not be a good thing to do that,
and to bring the village communities into play for the
purposes of spending the local cess ?—As far as the
villagers are concerned, the Road Cess Committee
does not exist ; it is the Deputy Commissioner.

K


74

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE!

Mr. C. H.
Bompas.

30 Deo., 1907.

16168. Then is it not worth while to bring the
villagers in?—Of course the expenditure does not
concern the ordinary village ; you cannot have a road
to every village.

16169. Ts the money spent on roads entirely ?—The
road fund is for roads.

16170. And do the villagers provide themselves with
their ordinary wants—water-supply, and such like ?—
Yes, and they make their own roads, such as they are.

16171 That is to say those which you do not make ?
They make village roads. They are accustomed to
being useful, and if they get an order to make a
village road, they make it.

16172. Dutt.) Is there a special grant given
for Education in the Santhal Parganas?—Yes, we
have funds for education too.

16173. Is it a lump sum allotted for the whole dis-
trict?—Yes. The District Officer distributes it. There
is a District Committee of Public Instruction. It
does not trouble the Deputy Commissioner very much.

16174. You think some districts are too large in
area ?—Some are unmanageable.

16175. Is it not possible to carry on the work of
those districts by adding to the number of officers ?—
You can cut a district into two, or you can cut the
work into two and try the old system of having
separate Magistrates and Collectors.

16176. Are some of the sub-divisions very large in
area ?—The Sadar sub-divisions will have to be cut
into two directly they can afford to have Sadar Sub-
Divisional Officers.

16177. Do you favour the idea of having a Sub-
Divisional Officer for the Eadar sub-division ?—I think
it is essential all over Bengal. They are only waiting
for men in order to do it.

16178. At present there is no local Revenue Officer
between the Sub-Divisional Officer and the people, and
the only medium is the police?—Most sub-divisions
have a kanungo I think.

16179. Does he live at the headquarters of the sub-
division ?—Yes.

16180. Would the work in Bengal be improved by
having local officers and entrusting them with revenue
work, each in his own circle, and also with the work
of looking after the village panchayats and village
matters ?—What sort of revenue work do you refer to ?

16181. Any work in the circle?—What sized circle?

16182. I leave that to you. Would it be possible
to create such circles—dividing a sub-division into
two or three circles and placing a Sub-Deputy Collector,
or an officer in a similar position, in charge of each,
and then entrusting him with all the work within his
circle ?—I do not think there would be enough work
for him to do unless you gave him both civil and
criminal powers.

16183. If you gave him both civil and criminal
powers might that plan answer ?—It depends ; I think
if you made him a regular munsiff it would tend to
increase litigation enormously.

16184. If he were given criminal powers and relieved
the Sub-Divisional Officer to that extent what would you
say ?—Speaking broadly, he would be a sort of Sub-
Divisional Officer, and the more officers you have the
better the administration, but I suppose the expense
would be prohibitive. I would like to have a Sub-
Divisional Officer for every thana, but it is a question
of money.

16185. Except on the ground of expense it is an
arrangement which might improve the administration ?
—The more Government officers you have, the more
efficient the administration would be.

16186. With regard to localising Services to par-
ticular divisions, would you localise all the men in the
Provincial Service, Munsiffs, Deputy Collectors and so
on ?—Certainly.

16187. In a district or in a division?—As far as
possible I would say that a man should stay in his dis-
trict, and I would not, except under very exceptional
circumstances, take him away from a division in which
he knew the language and the manners and customs.
In the Santhal Parganas I happened, by some chance,

to have a Deputy Collector who had been at head-
quarters for 20 years, which was most useful, for there
is hardly ever an officer who can tell one what has
happened three years ago.

16188. (Jfr. Hichens.) Two objections have been
urged against keeping a person too long in one district,
one of them being that he is likely to get stale ; what have
you to say as to that ?—I thing the evil of a man being
in a district for a short time, knowing he is only going
to be there for a short time, and thereby prevented
from taking an interest in his work, is much greater than
any evil which might result from a man getting tired
of the work. Speaking generally, the more you know
about a district, the more interested you are in it.

16189. Perhaps also you would say that even if a
man got stale he would get over it ?—I think a man
would be prevented from getting stale by taking fre-
quent short leave, which I am much in favour of.

16190. The other objection is that a man’s experience
would be, comparatively speaking, limited if he were
kept in one district, what do you say as to that ?—He
certainly would have a little experience of the other
districts in his division. During the course of his
service it would be found impossible to keep him in
one district, but in the division he ought to have ample
experience, and I think it better that he should know
one class of work thoroughly than that he should get
the smattering which he gets by being shifted from
one end of the province to the other.

16191. Would you say that the mere fact of suddenly
transferring a man from one end of a province to the
other gives him a wide experience which is of value ?—
I do not think it is very valuable.

16192. The fact being that the matters which come
under his notice and control are very varied and wide,
and that in itself gives him a wide experience ?—I think
any district in Bengal provides quite enough for one
man to think about.

16193. With regard to your statement that you think
one appeal sufficient, what is your opinion as to what
has been told us, namely, that it is part of the tradition
of the country that a man should be able to appeal to
the supreme authority, and that it would be impossible
to eradicate it?—I think in the imagination of the
people that the supreme Head of the Government may
be taken to be, first, the District Officer, and, secondly,
the King on his throne in England ; they do not think
that a Lieutenant-Governor is any nearer approach to
the supreme authority than a Commissioner or the
Viceroy, and if they once have the power of appealing
to all of them they go up the whole scale.

16194. But is the tradition of the existence of a
right of appeal to the supreme Head one to which it
would be desirable to run contrary ?—No, I do not
think so. I think we have very largely taught the
people to appeal from department to department, and
the traditional feeling would only lead them to apply
to the Emperor in England. You do get people send-
ing home letters to the King.

16195. Are you in favour of creating substantially
smaller provinces ?—I should like to see it come.

16196. Would your idea be to have a considerable
number of, say, Chief Commissionerships ?—Or in-
dependent provinces ; it would not matter what you
called them.

16197. You base your idea rather on the fact that
there is a large and diverse population than on the size
of the areas involved ?—Yes ; if you get a homogeneous
population, it does not much matter what the area is.

16198. Why do you lay such stress on the homo-
geneity of population ?—Because there is no harm in
passing an order that will be appropriate to a large
population, and you may get such an order where the
population is homogeneous, but where you have a
heterogeneous population, it is seldom that you can
pass such an order.

16199. If you take Switzerland, South Africa, and
many other countries, you find the populations are not
homogeneous, but at the same time they have one
Government which to all appearance works satis-
factorily,—why cannot you do that here ?—I do not
think you will find many parts of the world where
there is a population of 60,000,000 governed by one
Government; if you take Australia with its few
millions, it has a dozen or more independent Chambers.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

75

16200. Is there any other reason than the mere fact
that the populations are not homogeneous, which
would urge you to divide them into smaller districts ?
—I think there are many arguments, one from the
political point of view ; if you are going to have some
extension of Local Self-Government, you must have
smaller areas. Any elected legislative body in Bengal
cannot represent any particular portion of it or the
interests of any particular portion of it.

16201. {Mr. Meyer.') How many sub-divisions do
you usually have in a district ?—I do not know what
the average would be ; some districts have none ; a big
district will have three or four.

16202. Do you include the headquarters sub-division
or do you mean only the outlying sub-divisions ?—
Including the headquarters sub division.

16203. On an average are there three—the head-
quarters sub-division, and two outlying sub-divisions ?
—Yes.

16204. Are the outlying sub-divisions in the charge
of either a Deputy Collector or a Civilian ?—Yes.
He is mainly concerned with magisterial work.

16205. Does he take original first-class cases and
appeals in second and third-class cases from Magis-
trates ?—He does not hear appeals.

16206. Does he take second and third-class cases
himself?—In many sub-divisions there is only one
officer who does the work with the help of some
Benches. He sometimes has a Sub-Deputy Collector.

16207. In that case does not the Sub-Deputy
Collector take third-class work ?—Yes.

16208. Does the Sub-Divisional Officer control the
Local Board if there is one ?—He may or may not;
in my present district they have nothing to do with it;
where there is a second officer the sub-treasury is in
his charge.

16209. Then a Sub-Divisional Officer mainly tries
first-class cases ; has he enough work to do ?—They
are overworked in these sub-divisions, purely by magis-
terial work. Of course they do a good deal of touring,
and they are supposed to inspect everything, but
principally they act as Magistrates.

16210. Is not the headquarters division the apex of
the district, and supposed to be directly under the
Collector ?—It is supposed to be.

16211. Then you have, or are supposed to have, a
Joint-Magistrate at headquarters ?—Yes.

16212. Then you have Deputy Collectors?—There
is a fixed standard staff for each district ; in a big
district there may be six Deputy Collectors at head-
quarters.

16213. What work do they do ?—One is in charge of
the treasury, then there are men mainly employed on
criminal work, and there are all the Collectorate Depart-
ments and the Certificate Department of which they
are in charge. Income-tax is generally under a special
officer.

16214. Have not steps been taken to start a separate
superintendent of excise ?—I do not think that will be
proceeded with.

16215. I understood that there had been reports
from Bengal suggesting that the work of Deputy
Collector of Excise was not satisfactory and that
regular establishments were wanted ?—It was discussed
at the last Commissioners’ conference, and did not meet
with favour.

16216. Then you think the old system will be re-
gained ?—That was the strong opinion at the Com-
missioners’ conference.

16217. In Madras, everything is territorial, with the
districts divided into sub-divisions and each Sub-
Divisional Officer responsible for the territorial work
in the sub-division, the Collector being the controlling
authority. Do you not think it would expedite the
work if the same kind of thing were done in Bengal ?
—It is so in some departments. Certificates are sent
for the Sub-Divisional Officers to dispose of.

16218. At present whenever any person in a district
is in trouble about income-tax, excise or land-revenue,
instead of being able to go to a local officer, he has to
go right up to headquarters. Is that a satisfactory
arrangement from the point of view of the people ?—
With regard to exercise he would probably put in a

33263

petition before a Sub-Divisional Officer ; as to income-
tax he would not, but there is no objection to his filing
his petition before a Sub-Divisional Officer as to
income-tax.

16219. Is it not more desirable, from the point of
view of the people, that you should scatter these offices
and have more local representatives of the Government
scattered over a district ?—It would be better in the
more backward districts.

16220. Why do you object to it in the other dis-
tricts ?—I do not know the other districts so well.
You do not get departmental efficiency by making sub-
jects like excise and income tax over to a number of
scattered officers.

16221. Do you get a certain revenue from your
estates under Government management?—That is not
done from the headquarters. It depends entirely on
the circumstances of the estate ; an estate may be
large enough to support a separate manager or it may
not. A Government estate lying in a sub-division
would be managed by the Sub-Divisional Officer.

16222. Who deals with stamps ?—In most cases the
Collector himself, generally through a Deputy Col-
lector.

16223. Have you no Regulation or Act in Bengal
allowing the Collector of a district to delegate his
powers as Collector to subordinate authorities ?—No,
there is certainly no general power. If any Act says a
thing has to be done by a Collector, it has to be done
by him unless the Act itself contains power to delegate,
as most of them do.

16224. You have a certain number of Sub-Deputy
Collectors at headquarters ; without bringing in the
question of increasing the staff, could you not utilise
the existing staff by putting them in outlying portions,
and grouping them into sub-divisions ?—Yes, it could
be done, but I would rather put a Deputy Collector
than a Sub-Deputy Collector in independent charge.

16225. Several witnesses have suggested that the
Collector requires, in addition to all this multitudinous
staff, a personal assistant ; do you share that idea ?—
No, the present Deputy Collectors are practically per-
sonal assistants in the different departments. I would
like to have a competent officer in my present district
to be my personal assistant.

16226. If you had such an officer at the headquarters
sub-division who could take your place when you went
on tour, would you want anything more ?—Yes, I
have that at present; I have a Joint-Magistrate.

16227. Have you got full power of appointing your
own clerks ?—Yes, but the appointment of sharistadar
goes to the Commissioner.

16228. Does he make it or simply approve it ? I do
not know what happens in practice ; in practice pro-
bably the Commissioner seldom interferes.

16229. What pay does the sharistadar get?—Some-
where between Rs. 100 and Rs. 150.

16230. What are your relations with the District
Superintendent of Police ? He is your assistant, I
understand, in all matters affecting the order of the
district ?—Yes.

16231. As regards the organization of the police
force is he under you ; have you anything to say as
regards the appointment and promotion of police con-
stables and head-constables?—I have nothing to do
with constables and head-constables, but recommenda-
tions for promotion to sub-inspectorships go through
me to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police.

16232. And you simply write what you suggest
should be done ?—Yes ; if I had been long enough in
the district to know that a man was incompetent, I
should say he was, and he would not be promoted
against that opinion.

16233. Do you have anything to do with appeals or
dismissals ?—Yes ; punishments of sub-inspectors have
to be confirmed by the District Magistrate.

16234. A punishment like a fine for instance?—A
punishment like a fine or awarding a black mark ;
I fancy all minor punishments have to be approved.

16235. Could you suspend a sub-inspector or would
that have to go to a higher authority ?—I could sus-
pend a sub-inspector.

16236. Putting it shortly, then, you have a great
deal to say with regard to the discipline of the police

K 2

Mr. C. H.
Bompas.

.30 Bee., 1907


76

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Mr. C. II.
Bompas.

30 Dec., 1907.

force ?—Not in practice ; I have a competent District
Superintendent and I give him a free hand. I could
interfere. I know what he is doing ; that is practically
what it comes to.

16237. The Commissioner being above you, does he
intervene again ?^-Yes, there are two lines of appeal,
and two authorities as to police, which I think is
rather unfortunate.

16238. What are they?—A man might be dealt
with by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police and
dismissed, in which case an appeal would go up to the
Inspector-General of Police without going through me
at all; or he might be dismissed on the report of the
Superintendent of Police, in which case the appeal
would lie to the Commissioner.

16239. But how could he be dismissed by the Deputy
Inspector-General without its going through you.
Ordinarily the action would be taken by the Deputy
Inspector-General, would it not ? — Yes, but the
Deputy Inspector-General knows what is going on,
and I think he can dismiss without reference to me.

16240. Could a District Superintendent go straight
to the Deputy Inspector-General and say to him,—
“ Such and such a constable ought to be dismissed” ?—
The report would have to come from the Deputy
Inspector-General.

16241. Is that double line satisfactory?—No.

16242. As regards the mere discipline of the police
force, would it not be simpler to leave it in the hands
of the Police Department, leaving of course the Dis-
trict Magistrate to intervene in any case in which he
thought the comfort of the inhabitants of a district
was being endangered by the continuance of any par-
ticular police officer in any particular place ?—Yes.

16243. As regards the Public Works Department,
have you any control over the Executive Engineer?
—No.

16244. Are you consulted as to what he intends to
do in the district, in the way of expenditure on
buildings, or roads, or irrigation, and so on ?—I am
consulted in the way of expenditure on all buildings
with which I have any connection.

16245. And roads ?—In most parts of Bengal, the
Public Works Department have nothing to do with
roads.

16246. Then, speaking generally, you have nothing
to complain of as to being kept uninformed as to
expenditure on Public Works ?—No.

16247. As regards forests, what is your position?—
The Forest Officer stands very much in the same posi-
tion as the District Superintendent of Police.

16248. Does that arrangement work smoothly?—All
these arrangements depend on the individual. If
you have an individual with an ordinary amount of
tact it works satisfactorily.

16249. If you do not agree with the District Forest
Officer what happens, do you overrule him ?—The
matter would be referred to the Commissioner and
the Conservator. With the present Conservator of
Bengal the relations with the forest authorities are
extremely amicable.

16250. He remains your assistant as long as he likes,
but if he differs from you, he may appeal to someone
else?—The District Officer would stop him and the
matter might be referred.

16251. But can you say definitely, on a matter
affecting the people’s grazing and so on, to the District
Forest Officer, “ I do not agree with you, you must be
good enough to do what I want ” ?—Yes. He would
have to comply with the wishes of the District Officer
until the matter was decided by a higher authority.

16252. But still he could require a reference in the
meantime ?—Yes, he could require a reference.

16253. It has been stated that a great deal of work
falls on Collectors in regard to the partition of estates
—is that so ?—In some districts in Bengal.

16254. Can a Collector make any partition on his
own authority, or has he to go up to the Commissioner
in every case ?—He goes up to the Commissioner in
every case, under the law, however small the estate
may be.

16255. Am I right in thinking that the Collector
has no power to suspend revenue, not of permanently-
settled estates, but of Government estates, in cases of

calamity and so on ?—No. I think the effect of the
rules is that he has to get sanction to a suspension.
He does not have to get sanction for an individual
amount, but sanction to adoph, the policy of suspension,
and the details would be left to him.

16256. He cannot suspend, for however short a
time, without getting the sanction of the Commis-
sioner?—As a matter of fact, what happens is that
you do not collect.

16257. Are you in favour of giving Collectors power
to suspend within the revenue year on their own
authority ?—I think that is a matter on which they
might well consult their superiors.

16258. Am I correct in supposing that all remissions
of land revenue have to go to the Board ?—I think
Commissioners can sanction certain remissions.

16259. You could not remit Rs. 5 for instance on
your own authority, could you ?—No, all remissions
go down in a statement, even when there is no discre-
tion about it. I think Collectors might have power
to make small remissions on their own authority.

16260. As regards the writing off of sums that have
been collected by mistake, have you any power ?
Sometimes, for instance, a man has paid more income-
tax than he need have done, have you any power to
refund any excess collection in those cases ?—I could
not say for certain ; I think I can refund income-tax.

16261. It was represented to us in Burma that
there was a very considerable refund there under the
Stamps and Court Fees Acts ; is that your experience
here ?—No, the conditions of refund are all laid down
in the Stamp Act, and the Collector deals with it.

16262. And that in Burma, the people, not under-
standing the law, allowed the time for applying for
refund to lapse, and consequently troublesome refer-
ences had to be made ; do you find that at all ?—No,
because I think it is only in the case of an application
between six months and a year that it goes to the
Board, and after a year nothing can be done.

16263.—An idea was put forward in Burma that
there should be periodical divisional conferences con-
sisting of District Officers and a few selected persons,
once a year, to discuss matters relating to the districts
generally,—would you be in favour of that ?—We have
them regularly as regards District Officers, but non-
officials have not been admitted to them.

16264. You think that everybody should serve, as far
as possible, in a particular division, and remain there to
the end of his service. Bihar is a division by itself, is
it not, differing materially in many ways—in the
language of the people and a variety of other matters,
from other parts ?—Yes.

16265. With a self-contained division like that,
would it be more desirable to keep it by itself ?—It
would be more expensive. That trenches on the larger
question of politics on which I do not wish to express
an opinion. I am talking about the efficiency of the
present Service.

16266. You desire to split up the Provincial and
Indian Civil Services between each division in any
case ?—Yes. But you might give promotion according
to the general list. One of the objections of small
cadres is that promotion is very unequal.

16267. Would you remedy that by a general list?—
Certainly, I would begin with that.

16268. How would you manage when you came to
the charge of districts ?—Then you would have some
inequality. It would be more obvious, but it would be
really no greater than the inequality between different
provinces now.

16269. In the same way the promotion of a Com-
missioner, being within a division, might be still more
unequal ?—Yes. I think the Services will certainly
have to forego some of their amenities.

16270. Would you go a step further and let a
Commissioner appoint his officers—appoint a man to
be an officiating Collector, and a permanent Collector ?
—I do not see why he should not.

16271. A fortiori, of course, he ought fco appoint his
Sub-Deputy and Deputy Collectors ?—Yes, a good
many of them are appointed on the nomination of
Commissioners now.

16272. You desire further that everybody should
put in as much of his time as possible in one district ;


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

77

e

,i

Jr

would not that tend to develop in practice very con-
siderable divergence in the administrative system as
between one district and another, and still more as
between one division and another ?—I hope it would.

16273. I see your point in the case of divisions, but
in regard to districts would it be equally useful ?—In
practice you would get a good deal of movement
between the different districts, but they are under the
supervision of a Commissioner who would ensure a
certain amount of uniformity.

16274. You have referred as an analogy to a native
regiment, but are you aware that a native regiment is
moved every three years, and that it is not supposed to
be good for the Officers and men to remain too long in
one place ?—Yes, but that is not quite the same thing ;
the officers are not moved from the regiment, but the
whole regiment is moved to a different part of the
country.

16275. What would the people in a district do if you
sent an officer to Darjeeling for three months every
year as you suggest ?—If you take some districts, the
District Officer would be just as available at Darjeeling
as if he remained in his own district, where he might
be 60 miles away from a line of rail.

16276. You have had experience of District Boards
and municipalities ?—I have had very little experience
of District Boards.

16277. A witness has said that the Dispensary
Committee was a committee consisting partly of
members of the District Board, and partly of outsiders
presided over by the Civil Surgeon, if not by the
District Board Chairman, and all that the District
Board had to do was to hand over their money to the
Dispensary Committee to spend ; is that so ?—That is
the system which is being gradually introduced.

16278. Previously, had the District Boards some-
thing to say with regard to the management of
dispensaries ?—Even where that system is in force, the
District Board passes the budget, and the expenditure
has to be made according to that budget. The object
is that people who subscribe to the institution should
know that their money is being spent properly instead
of being swallowed up in the general fund of the
District Board, as used to be the case.

16279. Then the Board passes a vote for Rs. 10,000,
say, for dispensaries have no further concern with it ?—
It gives a grant to each dispensary. It says you must
and “We will give you Rs 1,000 this year, and
sanction your spending Rs. 1,500, but you one : see if
you can raise the other Rs. 500 by subscription, or by
income from endowments.”

16280. Where does the committee come in?—They
supervise the work of the institution, and see that the
money is spent in accordance with the budget, and
that the doctor does his duty properly.

16281. I understand that there was one committee
for the whole district?—No, each dispensary has its
own committee.

16282. Does the District Board retain its full powers
of control ?—Yes. I think the District Board has
rather too much power, or had ; we want to decentralize
it, and let the people feel, if they can get subscriptions,
that the money will be spent on a particular dispensary.

16283. Can you do that and other things, by
increasing the powers of the Local Boards ?—As I
understand, Local Boards have very small powers
now ?—They have small funds.

16284. Would you give them a larger share of the
Red Cess or the district funds, however they are
derived, and give them powers with regard to local
education and roads, and so forth ?—They look after
the roads and that sort of thing now ; but the real
difficulty is where you have five or six Local Boards
and one District Board in a district. They are not
wealthy enough to pay for five experts, and if a Local
Board is to exercise large powers, it must have a
competent staff, such as an engineer and so on.

16285. In Madras the District Engineer serves the
District as a whole—both the District Board and the
taluSc Board—could that not be done here ?—If you
make the District Engineer, who is at headquarters
under the Chairman, the man to pass the estimates and
give out the contract and pass the works, it does not
seem to me to make much difference, if you merely
pass the money through the books of the Local Board.

16286. The Local Board, at least, would be able to
allocate money to local works, and for roads in which
it was interested?—It does so now with regard to
roads of local interest as compared with roads of
district importance.

16287. Have Local Boards sufficient power or are
you prepare 1 to give them more?—I do not think
there is any need for any change in principle ; we
should all be glad to give more money to Local Boards
and get more work done.

16288. Assuming the system of class representation
which the Bengal Government have been advocating
comes into force in District Boards and municipalities,
would you be prepared to give them larger powers
than they have now with less control from outside ?—
I think there is not much control from outside.

16289. In regard to the undertaking of works
costing more than a certain sum, have they not to
refer to the Collector or some other officer ?—Yes ;
and I think that is probably necessary. An ordinary
small municipality has no competent engineering
adviser to advise it.

16290. With regard to the village system you have
spoken of, would you utilise it for educational and
sanitary purposes by making small grants of money to
the villages to spend at their own discretion, subject
to proper inspection ?—You could do that. I think it
would work.

16291. And would it be appreciated by the people ?
—Yes. They often apply to have a school started in a
village.

16292. Supposing it was possible to say, “ We give
you so much, build your school,” would they be able
to manage it?—That is what is done now. We give
the teacher a small grant, and he gets some small sums
from the parents of the pupils.

16293. Is that a satisfactory system?—It is not
satisfactory, because we do not pay the teachers
enough, otherwise it would be.

16294. Do you do the same with regard to matters
of sanitation ; do you give them the money and say
“ Make your well or tank ” ?—No, they probably
could not be trusted to make a well. When I was in
Singhbhum, which was more primitive, I used to allow
them to make their tanks ; I used to give the village
headman Rs. 400 or Rs. 500, and tell him to make a
tank.

16295. I suppose that could not be applied fully to
Bengal proper by reason of the absence of village
communities. Could chaukidari panchayats be a
substitute ?—Chaukidari panchayats are things of
purely artificial creation of which I have not had much
experience, but at present I do not think there is much
use to be made of them in that way.

16296. {Sir Steyning Edgerley.) Supposing you
wanted to get rid of a man after after about 18 years’
service, how would you propose to do it ?—You can
dismiss a man now for cause shown, but it is very
difficult to do it in practice.

16297. Would you accept the difficulty of dismissing
a man with between 15 and 25 years’ service ?—Yes.

16298. Would you have no system of pension ?—■
You suggest that up to 15 years he should serve
subject to bonus, and then he should be subject to
pension?—Of course it is a great advantage to have
security of tenure, and I would like to retain as much
of that as possible.

16299. So that you would accept any inconvenience
caused by a person deteriorating from 15 to 25 years ?
—Yes. 1 do not say that that is a cut-and-dried
scheme.

16300. With regard to your evidence as to smaller
provinces, supposing you had Commissioners under
the Local Government, would you give them as large
powers as possible in their areas ?—Yes.

16301. In that case would you want the Board of
Revenue ?—Yes, I think you want the Board of
Revenue and the Commissioners, but a great deal of
the work is now done twice over.

16302. If you enlarged the powers of Commissioners,
as far as practically possible, where would be the
necessity of the Board of Revenue ?—I would cut out
the Commissioner in a great many revenue matters.

Mr. C. H.
Bom pas.

30 Deo., 1907.


78

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE:

Mr. C. H.
Bompas.

30 Dec., 1907.

16303. You said that if you placed Sub-Divisional
Officers in territorial charge you would lose depart-
mental efficiency, but would you not get very much
better inspection ?—Yes, but I was thinking of a case
in the Santhal Parganas where we had six strong
Divisional Officers who knew the district thoroughly,
and who had the powers practically of District Officers,
but in a question like an excise settlement we found it
better not to let them make settlements ; the sub-
division was too small an area, so we centralized that.

16304. A witness stated that one great danger of
the departmental system in the Public Works Depart-
ment was that there was considerable corruption
amongst the subordinates, and that the control or

influence of a Collector would be of great value:
would you get that by giving territorial charge ?—I do
not think any system will have any effect on that
custom of the country.

16305. But perhaps it might be much more likely to
be found out ?—It is not a question of finding it out ;
we all know it. I do not know that it would have
any effect.

16306. Not more than if you had all your officers
grouped at headquarters?—I do not think so. You
see the officers are largely touring officers.

(The vntness withdrew.)

Adjourned.

TWENTY-THIRD DAY.

Calcutta, Tuesday, December 31st, 1907.

V

Present :

C. E. H. Hobhouse, Esq., M.P., Under-Secretary of State for India, Chairman.

Sir Frederic Lely, K.C.I.E., C.S.I. W. S. Meyer, Esq., C.I.E., I.C.S.

Sir Steyning Edgerlev, K.C.V.O., C.I.E., I.C.S. W. L. Hichens, Esq.

R. C. Ddtt, Esq.. C.I.E.

Babd Jogendra Nath Mukherjee was called and examined.

Baku

Jogendra

Natli

Mukherjee.
31 Dec., 1907.

16307. ( Chairman) What is your occupation ?—lam
a lawyer. My home is in Calcutta, but I practise in
the mufassal, and I am a vakil of the High Court. I
was a member of the Bengal Legislative Council, upon
which my term of service is just over. I have been a
member of the municipality of Purnea for about
18 years. I am now the Chairman, and I was Vice-
Chairman before for about nine years. The position
of Chairman is purely honorary.

The provincial Governments should be invested in
certain directions with larger financial powers, although
I would proceed cautiously in the matter. Generally
speaking, the provincial Governments might be re-
lieved of the necessity of going up for sanction to the
Government of India in matters of purely provincial
interest or of routine.

A more complete separation than at present exists
might be effected between the imperial and provincial
finances, and it could be done by letting the provincial
revenues alone as a matter of permanent rule, making
it possible for the financial relation between the Im-
perial and the provincial Governments to be readjusted
only in cases of extreme necessity. A fixed plan like
the above appears to be possible in view of the regular
annual surpluses in the revenue, and the practical fixity
of currency in point of exchange.

Provincial Governments might be given borrowing
powers up to a limit of, say, fifty lakhs, provided the
settlements with the Imperial Government in respect
of the divided heads of revenue were of a more per-
manent character than at present. The Local Govern-
ments might be invested with borrowing powers on
the same conditions as those which exist in respect of
municipalities, District Boards, and other local bodies
under the Local Authorities Loans Acts, the provin-
cial revenue being rendered liable to make good the
debt in case of the failure of the Local Government to
repay it. Such loans should be raised with the ap-
proval of the Imperial Government.

Delegation of further financial powers to provincial
Governments and to heads of Imperial Departments
does not appear to me to be desirable in respect of the
creation of new appointments, the enhancement of
salaries, etc.

Larger administrative powers should be given to
provincial Governments generally in the application to
local conditions of general lines of policy laid down by
the Government of Fndia, and where there is no de-
clared policy I would leave the Local Governments
free to act

Restrictions as to details imposed upon Local
Governments in all matters of mere routine should be
done away with in all cases. For instance, I fail to
understand why it should be necessary for the Local
Government to go to the Imperial Government in
authorising local bodies to borrow money from out-
siders and not from Government. Such a course
would appear to he still more unnecessary in view of
a more permanently fixed financial settlement between
the two Governments. A general Act of delegation
in such matters, somewhat on the lines of Act V. of
1868, wherever possible, appears preferable. In other
cases specific amending legislation may be resorted to.

In view of a more complete separation of the pro-
vincial and imperial finances, it would be well if the
duties of Directors and Inspectors-General were con-
fined to the supervision of details only in respect of
departments primarily administered by Local Govern-
ments.

Provincial Governments should develop their ad-
ministration on their own lines, with discretion to
adopt or not, as they like, suggestions of reform
brought to their notice from other provinces. The
Government of India should, however, retain in their
hands the authority to interfere in extreme cases.

I would leave the right of appeal to the Government
of India as it is, and would not curtail the existing
rights of appeal by officers of the Government against
orders affecting them personally.

Under existing conditions it is neither possible, nor
desirable, to allow Commissioners and Collectors to
control to a greater extent than at present the expen-
diture in their divisions or districts. It is desirable to
invest them with larger powers of control if they were
advised in important executive matters by competent
Advisory or Administrative Councils.

T he influence of the provincial Governments is not
in the direction of excessive rigidity or uniformity.
There is, no doubt, some tendency in that direction,
but it is unavoidable and not excessive.

The tendency of the provincial Secretariats is to
regard matters too much from a purely departmental
standpoint. The provincial Governments do not
appear to be so impersonal as the Imperial Govern-
ment ; in many cases, however, they are top much
dominated by considerations of revenue.

Generally speaking, the European Executive Officers
do not have sufficient opportunities for personal con-
tact with the people at large. The existing obstacles in


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

79

case of all Executive Officers are to be found more in
the temperament of these officers than in the nature
and scope of the duties they are required to perform.
Some of the means by which obstacles might be re-
moved are (1) to form y\dvisory or Administrative
Councils constituted more or less on an elective basis ;
(2) more frequent inspection of town and village areas
outside the district headquarters. An appreciable
number of Executive Officers do not possess a sufficient
knowledge of the vernaculars in the province.

Neither any general increase in the administrative
staff, nor any general reduction in the area of district
or other charges, seems to be required.

Transfers are much too frequent. One of the
methods by which they could be reduced is to recast
the leave rules.

Larger powers should be given to the municipalities
and District Boards in respect of leave, pensions and
gratuities. As an example I may state that leave to
Chairman should not be made dependent on the sanc-
tion of the Government. Such a course, as a rule,
is useless. The present functions of municipalities,
District Boards, Local Boards and village unions might
be suitably extended in respect of education, and of
the three last-named bodies, in respect of sanitation as
well.

I am in favour of the creation of Administrative
Councils to advise and assist Divisional or District
Officers ; and means should be discovered to secure the
services of really representative men for them. These
Councils should be mainly constituted on an elective
basis. Responsibilities could be given to these Councils
on the following subjects : supervision of police work
and checking of police oppression in the interior of a
district, sanitation, and education,

It is desirable, and possible, to give village com-
munities greater powers in the disposal of local affairs
relating to revenue in non-permanently-settled areas,
police, sanitary and educational matters. They may
also be invested with powers to deal with questions as
to easements and encroachments upon village roads.
They may also be invested with powers in respect of
local option in connection with the excise administra-
tion. I would not invest them just at present in
Bengal with powers to dispose of petty civil and
criminal cases, but would wait until the opportunity
was ripe for noting how they discharged their functions
in respect of the other matters referred to above.

16308. What is the reason that Divisional and Dis-
trict Officers are not as closely in touch with the
people in their areas as they might be and ought to
be ?—I consider that they are more or less inaccessible,
and when visiting the interior, the conversations which
are carried on are generally of a more or less formal
character. Then there is a tendency on the part of the
people themselves to avoid these officers. The people
regard them as more or less exclusive in their dealings.

16309. Would the people welcome any greater
accessibility of intercourse ?—I think so ; and a great
deal of important information might be obtained by
direct communication with the people themselves. At
present important information is always obtained
through the police, and there is a tendency on the part
of District Officers to avoid conversation with the
people on any point which is considered to be of im-
portance, such as important points of administration
—points regarding new measures that are in contem-
plation by Government, and things of that sort. If
there is anything wrong done by the police, the
District Officer would rather not talk on the subject.
Of course, if a point arose which he regarded as too
important to be passed over, it might be different, but,
as a rule, that is my general experience.

16310. Have you yourself experienced any reluc-
tance on the part of District Officers in that respect ?
—At the beginning of my career I used to feel diffi-
dent, but for the last ten or twelve years I have had
nothing to complain of so far as they are concerned,
and they have always been accessible to me.

16311. And have discussed matters freely with you ?
—On certain points ; but on many points I have come
away with the impression that if the District Officer
would talk to me freely, I could exchange views with
him, and I have had to come away sometimes
disappointed.

16312. Do you yourself si art subjects and tnen find
him reticent upon them ?—Not as a rule. I would not

start anything unless it was a matter which concerned Babu
my municipality ; otherwise I would wait and see if Jogendra

the District Officer would himself give out a suggestion Nath.
of any sort. Mukherjee.

16313. Is there a lack of knowledge of the verna- 31 1907

cular on the part of District Officers ?—The knowledge
of European officers is insufficient to enable them to
carry on conversation in matters of administration.

As regards Deputy Magistrates, I think that they too
are of a somewhat exclusive temperament.

16314. Are not Deputy Magistrates nearly all
Indians ?—Yes.

16315. Would you put their exclusiveness down
rather to the fact that they are officials, and being
officials leads them to keep aloof from the general
population ?—I think that may be said to be so
generally.

16316. Is there a sort of feeling that their office is
so important that they must not come in contact with
the people ?—More or less, that is so.

16317. Are Deputy Magistrates wanting in know-
ledge of the vernacular ?—A Bengali Deputy
Magistrate, for instance, who has been deputed to
Bihar, does not understand the vernacular of the
country or the language that is known by the better
classes sufficiently well to carry on conversations as
regards the practical concerns of everyday life. There
are men, of couise, who have a comprehensive know-
ledge of the language.

16318. Is the knowledge of the language greater or
less now than it used to be both on the part of Deputy
Magistrates and Collectors ?—I have not noticed
whether it has improved or otherwise.

16319. You are in favour of giving larger powers
to municipalities and District Boards ?—Yes. I
quality that as regards leave, pensions and gratuities.

Government looks upon these bodies with a certain
amount of suspicion, and thinks the powers of leave
and pension and gratuities, which a District Board
might grant to their servants, would be abused.

Therefore anything with regard to these matters has
to be sent up for sanction to the higher authorities,
with the result generally that there is a dislocation of
business for a time.

16320. As Chairman of a municipality, do you apply
to Government for leave ?—Yes ; of course I did not
have to apply to come here, because I should not be
away for a very long time ; but sometimes when a
man applies for sanction for leave, he does not obtain
it for nearly a month. Such a provision is unnecessai y
and undesirable.

16321. Might the Local Government leave all these
matters to the Commissioners, and perhaps to Col-
lectors, to settle on the spot ?—Yes.

16322. Generally speaking, might greater powers be
given to municipalities ?—In my experience I have
had nothing to complain of ; but I do not know about
other municipalities. I have read about complaints as
to interference and so on. J f I wanted to apply funds
for sanitation or roads and other things, I have found
that my plans have never been interfered with in
any way.

16323. If they had power to depart from the
budget, would municipalities take money which was
meant for education and use it for roads, or that they
might take money which was meant for sanitation and
apply it to increasing emoluments or things of That
sort ?—Of course there might be some danger of that ;
but what they would do from a practical point of
view, it is difficult to say.

16324. Having been a very long time the Head of a
municipality, do you think such a thing might occur ?

I have never done it. If I want to transfer money
from one major head to another, I have to apply to
the Commissioner.

16325. But if you had that power, would some
Councillor probably make that suggestion to you?—

I would not do it myself. Of course it is possible.

16326. And if that were done, would it not be a very
improper use of the money ?—I think so.

16327. With regard to village communities, you
represent that in certain respects an attempt might be
made to create an interest in local self-government
among them. Would you allow them to interfere


80

MINUTES 01' evidence:

JBabu

Jogendra

Nath

Mukherjee.
31 Dec., 1907.

with regard to education ?—So far as the village
schools are concerned, I would try to institute a sense
of self-help in villages.

16328. Do you mean you would not give them
control over expenditure, but that you would allow
them to interest themselves in the management ?—In
Bengal, village communities are not worked on the
system which obtains elsewhere in India. But an
attempt might be made to organize them ; a village or
a cluster of villages might be formed into a unit. Of
course there is a system of village unions, but, as a
rule, they are very few, perhaps none at all in Bihar.
Outside village unions, there is no administrative pro-
vision under which village communities can be
approached, or under which local questions could be
dealt with by them.

16329. You would like to make some beginning, but
you would not give them any extensive power ?—Yes.
I would wait and see how they work with small
powers.

16330. Would you entrust them, to begin with, with
any powers to dispose of criminal or civil cases ?—
I would not. Of course I know that on the Bombay
side there are patels and so on, who exercise civil and
criminal functions to a limited extent. But there is
so much party feeling in almost every village in
Bengal that it would be better to wait and see how
they exercise any small powers entrusted to them
before investing them with civil and criminal powers.

16331. Does that party feeling exhibit itself between
Muhammadans and Hindus ?—No. It is quite apart
from that. In a village, for instance, where a man had
many people in the shape of followers of his own, the
villagers would follow him and carry out his behests in
opposition to the desires of the rest of the people.

16332. Is the existence of men of that sort a source
of danger ?—Not always, because there are some good
points in it ; such a man becomes a sort of headman
and adjusts disputes, and in many ways represents the
villagers.

16333. (Sir Frederic Lely.') Have you taken an
interest in public life for many years ?—Yes, for 20 or
21 years.

16334. Are not most of the Deputy Magistrates in
these days English-speaking graduates ?—Yes.

16335. When you began life were they so well
educated ?—Yes ; almost as well as they are now.
Under the competitive system many young people
have been appointed Deputy Magistrates.

16336. Have you noticed any tendency amongst
highly educated Indians to adopt an exclusive attitude
towards the people ? Do you think that is a usual
result or accompaniment of high education ?—I cannot
say it is the result of high education. Neither do I
think it is an accompaniment of the education they
receive, but it is to some extent the result of the
exclusive character of the office they hold.

16337. As a matter of fact, is an Indian officer of
to-day more exclusive than he was 20 years ago ?—
I think within the last 20 years the difference is not
very noticeable. There may be a tendency that way,
both amongst Europeans and Indians.

16338. Do the people take a real interest in municipal
affairs ?—The general body of the public in backward
districts do not. As regards Purnea, they sometimes
take an interest in the proceedings, but not as a rule.

16339. Do they watch how their representatives
vote ?—No, I do not think they do.

16340. Are there any contested elections?—Yes.

16341. Upon what points do contested elections turn
as a rule ; on the personality of the candidate ?—
I think so, and not upon any question as to what his
views are.

16342. Would his caste make a difference?—No;
they think what sort of man he is—is he likely to do
them any good ?

16343. Are the municipal proceedings conducted in
English ?—Yes.

16344. Are there many members who do not under-
stand English ?—Just a few ; but there is no one now
on the municipal Board which I represent who does
not know English.

16345. Does that not rather tend to give an undue
advantage to an English-speaking candidate ?—Yes, to
some extent ; but, to my mind, that does not make
any difference.

16346. Do you not think there would be a feeling
that there would not be much use in electing a
vernacular-speaking man ?—Yes ; there is some sort
of feeling that he would not be of much use on the
Board.

16347. You say your villages are torn by factions ;
if power were given to village panchayats or village
bodies in Bengal, would it not really mean that it
would be adding to the power of the zamindar ?—In
suburban areas, I do not think it would be so, but in
the interior I think it might give some importance to
the zamindars and to the money-lending classes
as well.

16348. (Mr. Dutt.) Are most Deputy Collectors
graduates of the Calcutta University?—Yes.

16349. Are they selected by competition ?—They
used to be ; but that is abolished now. They are now
appointed by nomination from amongst certain classes.

16350. When was that change introduced ?—Five or
six years ago.

16351. Are the nominated Deputy Collectors more
accessible than the old class of Deputy Collectors who
entered by competition ?—No.

16352. Are they an improvement on the old system ?
—No.

16353. Are they worse than the old class who
entered by competition ?—I think that there are certain
tendencies in these people to stick more to the
Government. They are less accessible to the people.

16354. Would you like to revert to the old system of
competition ?—Yes ; of course, there are good points
and bad points on both sides, but, on the whole, I
should like to do so.

16355. You are in favour of a general Act of delega-
tion with regard to matters of mere routine. In those
matters would not a general Act of delegation empower
the Local Government to delegate any of its powers to
any of its subordinates?—Under Act V of 1828 it
would mean something like that; but I have confined
my answer to acts of delegation in connection with
purely routine work.

16356. How would you define an Act of delegation
confined only to routine matters ?—Of course there
would be some difficulty.

16357. Do you object to any material powers being
delegated by a general Act of delegation ?—Yes.

16358. In such cases would a specific amending Act
be better ?—Yes.

16359. Have not provincial Governments been in-
clined to introduce too many changes according to the
ideas of every new Lieutenant-Governor ?—Yes, I have
noticed that to be so.

16360. So that, if you allowed Local Governments a
free hand to proceed on their own lines, would that not
lead them to bring in more frequent changes which
might be undesirable ?—Looking at the question from
that point of view, certainly it would ; but my answer
was not confined to that class of questions, but to
questions which require steady application for years.
For instance, so far as Bengal is concerned, sanitation
is a very important question. If there was a fixed
policy pursued with reference to sanitation by the
Government of Bengal, it would require some time to
develop and execute, and therefore some real power
should be given to the provincial Government to
develop their ideas on the subject.

16361. In matters on which the policy has been laid
down, you think the Local Government should have a
free hand in following it out ?—That is my view.

16362. But you would not allow the provincial
Government to bring in changes of policy without the
control of the Imperial Government ?—Quite so.

16363. If Advisory Councils were formed, would
they bring the officials oftener into touch with the
local men ?—Yes, I think so, provided they are not
place-hunters or seeking for the favour of the Col-
lector ; if they were truly representative men with
whom the Collector came into contact, I think the
result would be what I have indicated.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

81

16364. How would you provide against place-hunters
finding a seat on an advisory Board?—It would be
very difficult to lay down any rule of conduct.

16365. Is the Vice-Chairman of your municipality
also an Indian ?—Yes.

16366. So that practically the whole work of the
municipality is carried on by non-officials with paid
servants under you ?—Yes.

16367. Is the work proceeding smoothly ?—I think
so. There has been little or no hitch.

16368. Are the collections satisfactory ?—Yes. They
generally average 98 or 99 per cent.

16369. In sanitary matters is the municipality con-
ducted as well as when the Collector was the Chairman ?
—Quite as well, because when he was the Chairman we
had practically the carrying on of all the work.

16370. Have you much money to expend on sanitary
improvements ?—No. A great deal of the money we
receive is devoted to the charitable dispensary and to
roads, &c. For sanitary works, such as drainage, very
little money is left.

16371. What are the sanitary works which you can
execute within your means ?—Some drainage in bazars.
The municipality is a very scattered one, and of course
a comprehensive drainage scheme would mean a con-
siderable outlay, which we cannot afford under existing
circumstances. A second difficulty is, that even if we
had such a scheme carried out, we would not be in a
position to keep it up, because even now we have to
take the rain-water a distance of three or four miles
from the municipal limits in order to find an outlet
for it.

16372. Supposing Government came to your help,
and gave you either a bonus or a loan, to carry out a
comprehensive drainage scheme, would you have
sufficient money to keep it up ?—I think so. As far as
bazar places and thickly populated places are concerned,
we might be able to do it.

16373. Is the management of the dispensary in the
hands of the municipality ?—No. There is a Dis-
pensary Committee, consisting of members of the
District Board and the municipality, and outsiders, the
Civil Surgeon and the Collector included. The Col-
lector is Chairman.

16374. Do you only find the money ?—Not only the
municipality, but the District Board to some extent,
though we pay the major portion.

16375. Have you any schools in the municipality ?—
There is a school which is kept up by Government
entirely ; and there are primary and secondary schools
within the municipality towards which contribution is
made by the municipality.

16376. Are they supervised by the municipality?—
No ; there are sub-inspectors and deputy-inspectors of
schools who are paid by Government, or by the District
Board, and they inspect ; but reports with regard to
certain matters are submitted to the municipality, and
if there is any suggestion contained in these reports, it
is attended to and carried out.

16377. So that you pay the money, but you have
practically no hand in the management of the primary
schools ? Practically that is so.

16378. Do you not think you ought to have the
management of the schools, as you find the money for
them ?—That is my view.

16379. In the matter of leave, pensions and gratui-
ties, you think the municipality ought to have a free
hand. But might that not lead to jobbery ?—It
might.

16380. Then is it not safer on the whole that
Government should have some control over the grant
of gratuities ?—Of course, if it was found there was
a tendency to jobbery, I would rather keep the final
control in the hands of Government.

16381. Then you do not insist on complete indepen-
dence in that matter ?—It is a matter of minor impor-
tance, and there is some risk.

16382. You think District Boards ought to have a
free hand in regard to primary education ; but has not
a District Board a free hand now ?—But the super-
vision and direction are carried out through the
Government officials.

16383. Have you not sub-inspectors who are the
servants of the Board, who inspect all these primary
schools ?—Yes, but the schools are managed and kept
up under certain rules framed by Government, and
those rules have to be observed. The deputy-inspectors
and sub-inspectors of schools are more or less guided
by the rules, so that, practically, the District Board has
no voice in the management.

16384. Do you not recognize the necessity of some
rules being laid down by Government ?—Yes, I do.

16385. But you think they ought to be a little more
elastic, and that the District Board ought to have
power to modify them according to circumstances ?—
Yes, I would be satisfied with that.

16386. Would you recommend the formation of
sub-committees for the management of different
branches of the District Board’s work ?—Certainly.

16387. Each sub-committee having a Chairman of
its own and laying its report before the Board?—
Certainly, I think that would lead to better results
than are produced now. There is one point, and that
is with regard to the Sanitary Board, as to which I
feel keenly. Although the Local Self-Government
Act contains a section to the effect that the Govern-
ment may extend powers with regard to sanitation to
District Boards, I propose that it should be just the
other way about, and that every District Board should
have the power to deal with sanitary questions, and in
case the Government thought that the circumstances of
any particular District Board did not admit of their
dealing with sanitary questions, such a District Board
might be excluded. But as the law stands at present,
Government can only extend it to particular District
Boards, and very few of them enjoy this power.

16388. You say when an Advisory Board is formed
rhe supervision of police work should be entrusted to
them. How would you effect that ?—The members of
the Council, being in touch with the people, should be
in a position to bring anything like police scandals and
things of that kind to the notice of the District
Magistrate, but if the matter was left to the depart-
ment, probably such questions would never reach the
ears of the Magistrate.

16389. Should the Advisory Board be consulted on
proposed legislative measures ?—Yes, I am decidedly of
that opinion. I think those things should be submitted
to the Advisory Councils, and if there was a practical
unanimity of opinion, Government should think over
it, and either introduce, or not introduce, the measure.
I would leave the final power in the hands of Govern-
ment, but the opinions of the Boards ought to be
obtained.

16390. (Afr. Hichensj. How long has Purnea been
under municipal Government ?—I should say over 40
years.

16391. Do you think, looking back over the period
during which you have been connected with it, that
the people take more interest now in municipal affairs
than they used to do twenty years ago ?—Yes ;
decidedly they do.

16392. For example, in the matter of elections, did
they elect members twenty years ago ?—Yes.

16393. Are the elections as keenly contested to-day
as they used to be ?—They are more keenly contested
now. At the beginning there was practically no con-
test ; but for the last twelve years there have been
frequent contests.

16394. Do the leading men of the town come
forward to stand for election ?—Leading men who
have public spirit do come forward. There are leading
men who are simply engaged in making money or
minding their own business, who do not take any
interest in public affairs, and do not take the trouble
to seek election.

16395. To what do you attribute that ?—To want
of education and want of public spirit.

16396. Is it partly due to the fact that the muni-
cipality has not enough power ?—I think a municipality
has got sufficient power for ordinary purposes. I
have never been thwarted in my office, and I find that
the work can be carried on smoothly as far as I am
concerned. I cannot speak, of course, with regard to
other municipalities, or as to hew they might be
interfered with ; but I have read accounts of their
having been interfered with in my own division.

33263

L

JBabu

Jogendra

Nath

Mukherjee,
31 Dec., 1907


82 MINUTES OF EVIDENCE^ -

Bobu

Jbgendra

Nath

Mukherjee.
31 Bee., 1907.

•- 16397. But is it sufficiently pressed home that if
things go wrong in the town, and the people suffer
inconvenience, they are only to blame themselves for
not displaying public spirit ?—Or do they merely
think that they cannot get into very serious trouble,
because if anything happened the Government would
step in and put things right ?—I do not think they
have any opinions of any kind whatever : they are
simply indifferent, and amongst the money-making
classes, perhaps, they cannot afford the time.

16398. Has the municipality power to make the
majority of appointments in the Council?—Yes,
subordinate appointments. The appointment of
Chairman has to be sanctioned by the Government.
We have no Secretary ; the Vice-Chairman does the
work of Secretary. He is not a paid official. Under
him there are overseers and an accountant head clerk
with office staff, and an outdoor establishment which
carries on the outdoor work. We appoint these Our-
selves without the confirmation of Government. The
Board can also dismiss them.

16399. Without an appeal to ’ Government ?—I am
not sure about the appeal.

16400. Do you think there should be an appeal or
not?—I would not restrict the right of appeal,
because if the municipality went wrong, it should be
set right.

16401. Is your principal source of income from an
assessment rate ?—Yes, the principal source of revenue
is that derived from the assessment of landed
property, carriage licences, and things like that.

16402. Do you impose the maximum rate imposable
under the law ?—Yes.

16403. Therefore you cannot, practically speaking,
increase your expenditure, unless the town increases
in size and your revenue rises automatically ?—That
is so.

16404. Does the Government make you any contri-
bution?—Sometimes. Now - a - days, owing to the
surpluses, Commissioners are given certain amounts to
be distributed amongst District Boards and munici-
palities at the end of the year. But that is not very
satisfactory, because there is some difficulty with
regard to the application of the money. 11 comes in
generally at the fag end of the year and without any
forethought the money is distributed ; it has to be
spent, and is spent, without much discrimination.

16405. If you have anything at all, do vou feel you
would like to count upon it when making up your
budget ?—Yes.

16406. Js your budget submitted to Government?
—It is, nearly two months before the financial year to
which it applies.

16407. (Jfr. Meyer.) Were you in the Legislative
Council when the last provincial settlement was made
in 1904?—No ; I have read the debates on the budget
of the Indian Government of that time.

16408. There was a new settlement in 1906 ; were
you there then ?—Yes.

16409. Was that settlement explained by the
Financial Secretary in putting the Bengal budget
before the Legislative Council ?—It was to some extent,
and we had some intelligent grasp of the thing. I
could follow the general principles of it.

16410. You say that there should be a more complete
separation between imperial and provincial finance in
particular matters, the financial relations between the
Imperial and provincial Governments being adjusted
only in cases of extreme necessity. Is that not what
has been done ?—Yes, there is a fixed proportion under
the divided heads, but there is no assurance ; the
Government can step in at any moment, and unless
there is any certainty, the Local Governments cannot
have distinct funds of their own for the purposes of
work extending over a series of years.

16411. Are you aware that the Government of India
have stated that they will not alter the provincial
settlement, except in cases of grave imperial emergency ?
—Yes. I refer to the speech of Sir Edward Law in
introducing the budget of 1904-5.

16412. Assuming that there has been such an
assurance, does that not meet your view ?—It does.
But, to my mind, the assurance given is not sufficient
for the credit of a g^/w-independent provincial fund

to the extent .of enabling it to borrow. I think the
Government of India should specify the emergencies
which would be held to justify them in disturbing the
existing settlements.

16413. When speaking of investing the provincial
Governments with borrowing powers up to a limit of
50 lakhs, do you mean 59 lakhs in one year?—No,
altogether.

16414. Would that not interfere with the borrowing
powers of the Government of India as regards rupee
loans ?—That is a difficult question to answer ; but I
think not, because the borrowing powers of the
Government of India are practically unlimited.

16415. Is not the amount that is tendered for loan
in this country relatively small ?—It is.

' 16416. And if the provincial Governments absorb
some of it, will there not be less left for the Imperial
Government?—But my idea is that money can be
raised in England on much more favourable terms by
the Government of India. I would negotiate the
market, as I found it.

16417. Anyhow you would admit that the needs of
the Imperial Government must come first ?—Certainly.

16418. You say that you do not want to delegate
further financial powers to Heads of provincial Govern-
ments with reference to the creation of new appoint-
ments, and so forth : but at the same time you want
to give provincial Governments a freer hand in matters
of detail. Is that quite consistent ?—I refer to the
actual acts of administration. I do not include new
appointments. I think that every such case should go
to the Government of India.

16419. You think the influence of the Departments
of the Government of India is in the direction of
excessive rigidity or uniformity — have you any
experience of your own upon that point?—1 am not
prepared to cite instances, but with regard to land
revenue adequate consideration is not given to the
circumstances of a particular district or province.

16420. Do you mean with regard to such a matter as
the assessment of land revenue ?—Yes.

16421. But is that not a matter for local officials ?—
But there are certain fixed rules.

16422. Might the Public Works Department be more
under the influence of the Commissioners ?—Yes, I
think in the Public W orks Department there should be
less rigidity, and I have come across instances of great
dilatoriness and expense incurred in having to get
certain things from England from the Stores Depart-
ment of the Secretary of State.

16423. Would you be in favour of giving a
Commissioner the power of financial sanction with
regard to a number of Public Works projects which
are now sent to the Local Government—in fact, giving
him a little budget ?—I think that would be better
than the present practice.

16424. How would you have the Administrative
Councils elected?—1 am not prepared to go into
details, but I have indicated the principle. I think
municipalities and District and Local Boards might be
asked to return members, and some other electorates
might be improvised to return members ; and there
might be a certain element of nominated members.

16425. Supposing the Collector does not agree with
the Administrative Council on any matter, what
would happen?—He would be bound to refer the
matter to higher authorities.

16426. Would you propose to allow members of
Administrative Councils to dispose of minor matters on
their own authority?—I would not risk an opinion
without knowing the members of the Council.

16427. At any rate would you have such a system
introduced by way of experiment in two or three
divisions or districts ?—Yes.

16428. In general district administration is there a
tendency to concentrate a good many Deputy Collectors
and officers at headquarters ?—Yes.

16429. Would it be better to divide a district more
into territorial sub-divisions, and to give each man a
territorial charge, both criminal and revenue ?—I
would keep the magisterial powers separate.

16430. Would you have more Magistrates scattered
about the districts, so that the people could come more


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 83

readily to their courts, or would you have them
concentrated at headquarters as they are now ?—I
have not been able to give that matter much
consideration.

16431. Purnea is in Bihar. Have you real villages
in Bihar ?—’Yes.

16432. Gould you work on the natural village
system instead of on an artificial grouping like
chaukidari unions ?— Chaukidari unions already exist
in the district.

16433. But that is an artificial grouping more or
less ?—Yes.

16434. Supposing you wanted to develop village
government, would it not be better to go on the
natural village lines than on the lines of this artificial
community ?—I think it would.

16435. You speak about the power of municipalities
to grant leave, pensions and so forth. Are there not
general rules on the subject and within those rules
the Chairman can grant leave and pensions?—Yes.
But it requires the sanction of the Government in
several matters.

16436. Is it not necessary, supposing the Chairman
proposes to take long leave, that the Collector or
Commissioner should be informed of the fact ?—
Certainly ; all I object to is that it should go right up
to the Government.

16437. Might not the Commissioner also have
some other powers which the Government now
exercise vested in him with regard to the control of
municipalities ?—Yes.

16438. For instance, might he not appoint the
nominated members ?—Yes.

16439. Would you make the Commissioner the local
representative of Government ?—Yes.

16440. Have municipalities less power than District
Boards in the matter of administration ?—I think so.

16441. Does a municipality simply pay for its
schools while the Education Department manages
them, whereas a District Board has the management
of its primary schools ?—Yes, in a way. The manage-
ment, however, depends on certain fixed rules of
Government even in the case of District Boards.

16442. But, subject to those rules, a District Board
can open or close a school, and raise the pay of any
teachers which a municipality cannot do ?—Yes, the
sub-inspectors or deputy inspectors send in reports to
the municipalities, and the municipalities have to act
upon them more or less. I know of an instance where-
my municipality wanted to act somewhat contrary to
the report of the sub-inspector, but the Education
Department intervened and the municipality had to
give way.

16443. How does the Education Department inter-
vene—what is the procedure?—The inspector of
schools writes to the Magistrate : A copy of the letter
is forwarded to the Municipal Commissioners and
discussed ; they send their reply ; but the result is
that the opinion of the inspector of schools is upheld.

16444. Supposing a case occurred in which the
Municipal Commissioners did not agree with the
inspector of schools, but held to their previous reso-
lution, would the Divisional Commissioner have power
to make you conform to the view of the inspector of
schools?—I do not think the Commissioner has any
direct power, but hej has the right to sanction or
disallow the budget.

16445. He might put pressure on you through the
budget ?—Or by some other means which I cannot at
present think of.

16446. When the budget comes up before the Com-
missioner, do the Educational and Medical ' people
make remarks upon it ?—As a rule they do not do so
at the time of the preparation of the budget, until
they are consulted as to their requirements. Those
are considered by the Budget Committee of the
Municipal Council.

16447. But do they also write to the Commissioner
and say : “We think this allotment is satisfactory or
unsatisfactory”? I do not know whether they do so,
or if they do it through the Magistrate or directly.

16448. If the departmental people write to the
Commissioner about your allotments, do you not know
what happens ?—No.

33263

Babu

Jogendra

Nath

Mukherjee.
31 Dee., 1907

16449. In regard to the grant of larger powers to
District Boards and municipalities, might that be
facilitated by having a different system of election, and
by having representatives of various classes and grades
in the community, instead of representation by local
areas as at present ?—No, I do not think that would
work. I prefer the local area system because I think
the best men would thus be brought out.

16450. Does the present system afford a complete
safeguard to the minority ?—Yes, I think it doies.

16451. (Sir Steyning Edgerley.) In all questions
where the Government officer has to judge of the
mistakes of subordinates, has he not to be very careful
to maintain a reputation for impartiality ?—Generally,
of course, that is the case.

16452. You instance that sort of question as one on
which a Collector was rather loath to talk at large.
Do you not think that if he did talk at large, it would
be a very dangerous thing ?—From a certain point of
view, and having regard to the kind of question which
might be put, it might be so on occasions.

16453. And the officer whose conduct was under
enquiry might feel himself seriously prejudiced?—
Certainly.

16454. Are not these personal questions in a district
extremely interesting to everybody?—-They are bound
to be more or less.

16455. You said that you found officials would not
discuss certain important subjects, and amongst others
you mentioned the conduct of police officers—could
they discuss that properly?—Generally they might,
without any imputation against any particular officer.

16456. What is the size of the Purnea municipality?
—It is scattered, but it has a population of about
sixteen thousand. Its revenue is about Rs. 26,000.

16457. Has the growth in Local Self-Government
within your experience been as much as might have
been reasonably expected ?—I am not satisfied certainly
with the present state of things, but there has been a
marked improvement, and people have been taking
more interest in public matters recently.

16458. Do you think you could go quicker ?—I do
not think so, until the class which holds aloof comes
forward, and participates more in public affairs.

16459. Some witnesses have suggested to us that
there is a certain lack of continuity in the policy of
the Local Government—do you share that opinion at
all?—Yes. The only remedy I can think of is that
the policy should be laid down in black and white with
regard to any definite scheme to be developed, and that
successive Governments might then go on with such a
scheme.

16460. You do not think any alteration in the con-
stitution of the Local Government could be made
which would meet the difficulty ?—Do I understand
you to mean the Legislative Council.

16461. An Executive Council?—I have not thought
about it.

16462. Is the municipality represented on the
Dispensary Committee ?—Yes.

16463. And is the only contributor ?—It is the main
contributor.

16464. Does it furnish the largest number of
members?—Yes, but there is no fixed rule. We have
a full representation on the Committee.

16465. Is there any educational sub-committee of the
District Board?—I think there is, but I am not a
member of the District Board.

16466. You say that you have no voice in the
management of primary schools. Is that only in
the case of grant in aid schools, to which the Govern-
ment give a settled grant?—Yes, but also in the case
of schools within the municipality maintained solely
by it, with the help derived from school fees.

16467. If you liked to start schools quite indepen-
dently of the rules with your own money, could you
-do go?—I think the department would have to be
consulted.

16468. Surely anyone in Purnea could start a private
school ?—Yes.

16469. Is not the municipality in the same position?
Is it not only because you want a grant-in-aid that you
L 2


84

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Babu

Jogendra

Nath

Mukherjee.
31 Dec., 1907.

have to comply with the rules ?—Yes, it is generally
so, but under the existing rules the application of
money to any school cannot be made unless the school
is carried on in accordance with the Government rules.

16470. You suggest Advisory Boards for the Com-
missioner and Collector?—As regards the Commis-
sioner, I am not quite clear, but I am very keen about
the Collector.

16471. As regards the District Officer, he has his
District Board which he meets once a month—does he
want a separate body for advice ?—By Advisory
Council I meant a separate body. The District Board
deals with a limited class of questions only, and there
are other questions which might be conveniently dealt
with by an Advisory Council.

16472. Could you not achieve that by extending the
authority of the District Boards ?—If that could be
done, well and good.

16473. What is the object of creating a second body
in a district?—Because the powers of the District
Board being limited, they would have no statutory
authority to deal with questions outside the Local
Self-Government Act.

16474. If you were to widen the powers of
the Local Self-Government Act would not that be
remedied?—Of course it would have to be changed
in that case, but it comes to the same thing in the
result.

( The witness ivithdrew.)

Maharaj-

Kumar

Kristo

Das Law,
31 Dec., 1907.

Maharaj-Kumar Kristo Das

16475. {Chairman.') Are you a zamindar?—Yes. I
live in Calcutta. My native place is Gauhati, but
I came here when I was very young.

The provincial Government should have the power
of creating new appointments when, occasion arises up
to Rs. 500, or enhancing the salaries up to that amount
without taking the sanction of the Government of
India.

Executive Officers generally have not at present
sufficient opportunities for personal contact with the
people. The existing obstacles are w*ant of proper
knowledge of vernaculars, pressure of official duties,
and, above all, their want of sympathy and good feeling
leading in some cases to discourtesy and disinclination
to mix with the people. European Executive Officers
on arrival in this country should be made to learn the
vernaculars, and they should also study the current
vernacular literature by reading newspapers, periodicals,
novels and so forth. They should mix freely with
senior Indian officers of all grades, whether Judicial,
Executive or Educational, and on festive and other
suitable occasions, such as musical parties, mournful
occasions, &c., with the community at large according
to the Indian custom. Provision should be made in
the rules of promotion to give preference to those who,
besides their official qualifications, pure and simple,
possess the quality of sympathy and good feeling,
thereby narrowing the gulf between the rulers and
the ruled. The Divisional Commissioners in their
periodical inspections of the work of the subordinate
European Executive Officers should be directed to
report also about their behaviour towards the people
generally.

An increase in the administrative staff is required.
Owing to the increase of work in the different depart-
ments, the present officers are overworked. Curtail-
ment of the areas of large districts is not desirable, as
by the division the smaller part is generally joined to
an adjoining district, the headquarters of which become
more distant than that to which the people were
accustomed. Besides it would involve division and
transfer of an immense number of records which in
course of transit might be lost or get mixed up. All
these combined cause dissatisfaction among the inhabi-
tants thereof on account of the inconvenience in
transacting their business.

Should the powers of the Commissioners, Collectors,
and other local authorities be enlarged, preference
should be given to capacity and experience over
seniority, as seniority does not necessarily denote the
necessary qualifications for administrative and executive
work.

Transfers of officers are frequent, and in order to
obviate this disadvantage the staff should be increased,
so that in case of the illness or absence of an officer on
leave, &c., the next senior man there may officiate in
his place.

I am in favour of the creation of Advisory Councils
only to assist Divisional Commissioners, and they
should be empowered to create Advisory Councils in
the headquarters of each district under their charge.
Each Council should consist of five or seven members
representing the different important interests, such as
land, sanitation, education, trade and agriculture, &c.,
and the Commissioners should consult with them on
these and on all other important matters, either on

Law was called and examined.

their inspection tours, or by means of letters when
occasion arises. The reports of such Councils should
be sent to the provincial Governments.

It would not be expedient to invest District Boards
with powers of supervision and control over smaller
municipalities, as it may cause friction.

It is desirable that village communities should be
vested with powers with regard to primary education,
and in the disposal of petty criminal and civil cases.
Should they be found working satisfactorily in the
aforesaid matters, police and sanitation may also be
placed in their charge.

16476. You state that District Officers are not only
ignorant of the vernacular, but that some of them are
apt to show want of sympathy towards the people ?—
Not all of them, but some of them. I do not say they
are ignorant, but they are not very tactful.

16477. Have you yourself come across any personal
cases of discourtesy on their part ?—No.

16478. Then what you state is what you have heard
other people say ?—Yes.

16479. If there was more social intercourse between
District Officers and the people in a district, would
things work better ?—Yes.

16480. Would either Hindu or Muhammadan gentle-
men be disinclined to welcome a closer social inter-
course ?—I do not think so ; I think the natives of the
country would like it and appreciate it.

16481. The last witness said that not only were the
European officers rather exclusive but that the Deputy
Collectors who are Indians also were inclined to show
the same exclusiveness ; would you agree with that ?—
I have no personal knowledge, but so far as I can hear,
I do not think it is so.

16482. You think that they are not carried away by
their official position into exhibiting some haughtiness ?
—Some little haughtiness, of course, would result from
their position, but not to the extent suggested.

16483. Would you increase the powers of Com-
missioners and Collectors and other district autho-
rities ?—I have no objection to increased powers being
given.

16484. With regard to Advisory Councils, you think
that such Councils might be created to assist the Divi-
sional Commissioners. Should the members be selected
and appointed by the Commissioner ?—I have not given
the matter consideration in that way, because I do not
know how a provincial Advisory Council would be
formed.

16485. With regard to Advisory Councils to District
Officers, what have you to say ?—I do not think they
are necessary.

16486. Would you suggest that village councils or
village communities should be formed ?—There is some
kind of village community now in existence, and those
I think should be encouraged. I would give them
rather larger powers.

16487. Would you give them power to dispose of
criminal cases ?—Yes, small criminal cases, such a case,
for instance, as that of a man who has stolen fruit from
another man’s garden.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

85

16488. (Sir Steyning Edgerley.) Have you lived all
your life in Calcutta ?—Nearly all my life : when I was
about 10 or 12 years of age I came to Calcutta. I
practically live in Calcutta all the year round.

‘ 16489. (Mr. Meyer.) Is nof what you have said as
to village communities and district organisations, and
the rest of it, based upon hearsay ?—Yes.

16490. (Mr. Dutt.) When you spoke of village Maharaj-
communities as being in existence, were you referring Kumar
to the chaukidari panchayats ?—Yes. Kristo

< Das Law.

16491. Is anything left of the old village communities -

in Bengal?—No. 31 Dec., 1907

(The witness withdrew.)

Mr. Frederick George Dumayne was called and examined.

16492. (Chairman.) You are one of the members of the
Port Trust of Calcutta ?—I am Vice-Chairman, of the
Calcutta Port Trust. I was appointed by the Local
Government. I am the principal Executive Officer of
the Trust. There are various matters which I would
like to represent on behalf of the Trust.

Section 31, clause (3) of the Calcutta Port Act
(Bengal Council) 1890, requires that the Commis-
sioners’ rules regarding the granting of leave, leave
allowances, acting allowances, regulation of period of
service, pension, gratuities and compassionate allow-
ances to their officers and servants shall be confirmed
by the Governor-General in Council. But under
sections 32 to 34 the power of appointing, promoting,
suspending, dismissing, fining, reducing, or granting
leave shall be exercised by the Vice-Chairman in the
case of officers whose monthly salary does ’ not exceed
two hundred rupees, and in any other case by the
Commissioners in meeting, subject to the previous
sanction of the Local Government as regards every
order relating to officers whose monthly salary exceeds
Rs. 500. It would appear to follow that the Local
Government should also be the final authority in
respect to the rules referred to. Port Trust officers
and servants are not Government officers and servants,
and the conditions which obtain in Government ser-
vice are not necessarily suitable to the special condi-
tions of service in the Port Trust. There does not,
therefore, appear to be any reason for the rules to be
confirmed by the Governor-General in Council. These
rules, like the appointments, should be subject to the
approval of the Local Government only. They are
not of such general importance as to require the con-
firmation of the Government of India.

With reference to section 24, clause (3) of the
Calcutta Port Act 1890, the Trustees should be allowed
to invest the sinking funds in the public securities de-
fined in section 20 of the Trusts Act, II. of 1882, and
not be restricted to Government promissory notes and
Calcutta Port Trust debentures, as at present. The
Commissioners for example, in 1903 and 1904, could
have invested their sinking funds in the debentures of
the Rangoon Port Trust bearing interest at 4| per
cent, at favourable rates. The Calcutta Port deben-
tures should also be held to be available for investment
of ttust funds as is the case with the Bombay Port
Trust, the law on the subject being made uniform and
amended accordingly. Enquiries were quite recently
made by two Insurance Companies as to whether Port
Trust debentures were funds in which trustees could
invest.

As regards sections 32 to 34 the Commissioners
propose that they should only be required to obtain
the previous sanction of the Local Government so far
as orders relating to the Chief Accountant, Deputy
Conservator, Chief Engineer, Traffic Manager or
Secretary, in the matter of appointments, leave, leave
allowances, pensions, gratuities, compassionate allow-
ances, dismissals, &c., but that they themselves should
dispose of the cases of all other officers. The Com-
missioners will then deal with all officers excepting the
five principal officers above referred to. They are in a
better position than the Government to deal with these
cases as they are better acquainted with each officer’s
service, and will deal with the cases under rules
approved by the Local Government.

In section 40, clause (1), the clause as to meetings
should be altered as the Commissioners now meet once
a week, and it should be open to them to meet at such
intervals as they may from time to time determine.

As regards section 48, the Commissioners should not
be required to obtain the sanction of the Local Govern-
ment to enter into contracts, when such contracts are
for the carrying out of works sanctioned under the
Act. This sanction to enter into contracts by the

Local Government seems to be quite unnecessary if Mr. F. 6,
when the Local Government sanctions the carrying Dumayne.

out of works it has the expenditure for such work ----------

before it and sanctions that expenditure. As matters 61 Dec., 1907
stand at present the Commissioners may get sanction

to the building of a warehouse for, say, Rs 5 lakhs,

and then they have to apply to Government for

sanction to enter into contracts for the iron-work,

bricks, mortar, or other materials required in carrying

out the work, although the amounts of those contracts

in the aggregate are less than the sanctioned estimate

for the whole work.

Section 49 should be held to refer to capital works
only as the budget estimates provided for under
Part V. of the Act should be sufficient authority for
carrying out the ordinary revenue works of the Trust.

This was understood to be the intention of the
Legislature, and the Commissioners have all along so
construed the section. Section 50 should likewise be
held to apply to capital work only, as above.

Under section 51 (1) the limit of the cost of works
which may be carried out without the plan and
estimate being submitted for the approval of the
Local Government should be extended from Rs. 50,000
to Rs. 2,00,000.

Under section 51 (2) the limit of sanction to the
Local Government should be increased to Rs. 5,00,000.

In explanation of the proposed extension of the limits
provided in section 51 above referred to, it may be
stated that the revenue of the Trust has, since the Act
of 1890 was passed, risen from Rs. 17,82,531, to an
estimated income this year of Rs. 1,09,00,000, and the
operations of the Trust are on a much larger scale.

As regards section 55, the period for which the Com-
missioners may grant leases of any immovable property
with the previous sanction of the Local Government
should be extended to 50 years, as in Bombay. This is
absolutely necessary, as the period of 10 years, now
provided, is too short to induce lessees to spend any
large sums of money in buildings, etc. If 50 years be
a suitable term for Bombay it should certainly not be
less for Calcutta.

Section 73 should be held to apply to expenditure
for revenue purposes only.

Regarding section 74, such excess expenditure should
be reported by the Vice-Chairman to the Commis-
sioners in meeting and not to the Local Government,
as it would be included in the supplementary estimate
submitted to the Local Government under section 72.

At present supplementary estimates are submitted to
the Local Government for every deviation from, or
addition to, the sanctioned estimates, whether they
exceed Rs. 5,000 or not, which involves an immense
amount of trouble. In fact, in view of section 72, the
provisions of section 74 appear to be superfluous.

Section 75 is exceedingly troublesome in regard to
matters of a very trivial nature, such, for instance, as
the • employment of a few tally clerks, or of a tem-
porary typist for a few days when there is a rush of
office work. The Commissioners should be left free to
make any such appointments as may be necessary in
the course of a year, subject to the submission, before
the end of the year, of a supplementary estimate to
the Local Government under section 72. The neces-
sity of employing more staff arises quite suddenly in
consequence of the fluctuation of trade and other
causes, which cannot be foreseen and provided for at
the time of preparing the budget.

Under the provisions of section 83 of the Calcutta
Port Act, 1890, no condition can be made by the Local
Government in assenting to the erection of a private
jetty, and in many cases the erection of such jetties
without certain conditions would be ob jectionable from
the Commissioners’ point of view. It is proposed to
amend the Act so that assent may be given to the


• .s»:ca —,. .-

86

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE'!

Mr.F.G. erection of a jetty under whatever conditions the
Dumayne. Local Government may approve as necessary in the.

-—- interests of the port.

31 Dec., 1907g Under section 111, for the amount of all tolls, dues,
rates and charges leviable under the Calcutta Port Act.
in respect of any goods, the Commissioners have a lien
on such goods, and may seize or detain the same until
such dues are fully paid, but this lien is gone the very
moment the goods are delivered or removed. It may
afterwards be found on audit that all the proper
charges have not been recovered, and there is a diffi-
culty sometimes in recovering these charges. The only
way of recovering them is by a suit against the owner,
a very burdensome process. The Commissioners are
of opinion that they should be given the same powers
as are conferred upon railways under section 55 (1) of
Act IX of 1890, viz. :—

-— “ Jf a person fails to pay on demand, made by or on

behalf of a Railway administration, any rate, terminal
or other charge due from him in respect of any animals
or goods, the railway administration may detain the
whole or any of the animals or goods or, if they have
been removed from the railway, any other animals or
goods of such person then being in, or thereafter
coming into, its possession.”

Powers should also be given to the Commissioners
to grant remissions of tolls, dues, rates and charges to
meet cases of hardship, e,.9., when an importer through
the non-receipt of his bills of lading and other docu-
ments is unaware of the arrival of his goods, and con-
sequently incurs the special rent charges which are
leviable with the object of hastening the removal of
goods from the wharves to prevent the wharves becom-
ing congested.

Under section 35 the works to be constructed and
carried out by the Commissioners should further
include :—

(«) Light-houses, light-ships, beacons, boats and all
other appliances necessary for, and incidental to, the
safe navigation of the port and the approaches thereto.
The Commissioners now provide light-houses, dredgers,
and fire engines holding that they are included in “ all
such other works and appliances as may, in the opinion
of the Commissioners in meetings,” be considered to be
necessary for carrying out the purposes of this Act,
clause (8) ; but they consider it desirable that such
works should be specifically stated.

(6) The building of vessels for the purpose of carry-
ing goods in the port by inserting the words “ of goods
and ” in clause (7«) after the words “ carrying ” in the
first line. When in 1905, the Commissioners obtained
power by the Calcutta Port Amendment Act IV, 1905,
to build vessels to carry passengers and their personal
effects, the Commissioners sought to obtain power to
build vessels for the carrying of goods also, but this
was not proposed on account of the objections that
were made at the time. The Commissioners would
not undertake the duty of providing vessels for the
carriage of goods within the port so long as the
requirements of the trade were adequately provided
for by private agencies and at moderate cost, but the
power should nevertheless be given them, so that they
might undertake the duty whenever they considered it
to be desirable that they should do so in the general
interests of the trade of- the port. The Trustees of
the Port of Bombay are given this power under section
45 of the Bombay Port Trust Act, VI of 1879.

(c) The construction and application of dredgers
and other machines for use in the docks and channels
by adding to clause (6) after the words “river bed”
the words “ docks and channels,” and further adding
the words “ and the approaches thereto ” after the
words “ within the port,” as the navigable channels in
the river leading to the port may require attention as
well as the docks and channels within the port.

- (cZ) The equipment, maintenance and use of en-
gines and other appliances for the extinguishing of
fires ashore on the property of the Commissioners, and
afloat in the port and in the approaches thereto.

(e) The building and equipment of vessels, tugs or
other boats, and the use as well within the limits of
the port as on the river and the high seas beyond those
limits, for the purpose of rendering assistance to any
vessel, whether entering or leaving the port or bound
elsewhere, and for the purpose of saving or protecting
life or property. This may be done by a modification
of clause (7). At present the Commissioners are only
given power to build vessels for the purpose of towing
vessels in the port, but it is desirable that they should

also be empowered to render assistance to vessels in
distress, as when a vessel maybe ashore or in other
difficulties outside the port.

The Commissioners would urge that the administra-
tion of the Pilot Service- should be transferred to them.
To the Commissioners are entrusted the conservation
• of the Riverland its approaches and their improvement,
the improvement of the conditions and facilities'
required for the commerce of the port and its future
needs ; and the study of the economical advantages
of the locality and of the best methods for insuring
the despatch of vessels and the handling of their
cargoes. The Commissioners, therefore, are in close
touch with all the requirements- of the shipping, and
all the resources of the port are theirs. The Pilot
Service is but an integral part of the general opera-
tions of the port, and it is an anomaly that it should
be under separate management. The Port Trust of
Calcutta should administer all the affairs of the port,
and, as at Liverpool and other large ports in the
United Kingdom and in India, be the controlling
authority in regard to all matters connected with the
pilotage of vessels. It is a change that would also be
likely to result in considerable economy in admin-
istration.

The Port Commissioners are of opinion that they
should be vested with the same rights and privileges as
are mentioned in section 72 of the Bombay Port Trust
Act, VI of 1879.

(f) Clause (8) should be modified to give greater
latitude in the works that the Commissioners may
carry out, so as to cover any works which, in the-
opinion of the Commissioners in meeting, may be de-
sirable in the general interest of the trade of the port.

16493. You represent that a good many of the
references which now have to be made by the Trust
to Government could be easily dispensed with and the
work carried out by the Trust itself ?—Yes, we should
like to get rid of a good deal of the check over detail,
but the control of the Local Government and the
Imperial Government should remain in regard to the
larger works of the Trust.

16491. With regard to the dismissal or appointment
in the intermediate stages of officers whose monthly
salaries do not exceed Rs. 200, or in fact with regard
to all such officers whose salaries do not exceed Rs.
500, would you like matters to be dealt with by the
Port Trust ?—Yes. At present, up to Rs. 200, the
the Vice-Chairman deals with them, and he is the final
authority—there is no appeal past him. But from Rs.
200 to Rs. 500 the matter goes to the Commissioners,
and above Rs. 500 to the Local Government—in no
case to the Government of India.

16495. With regard to the sections you have quoted,
and the duties of reference which are imposed upon
you, could all these matters be dealt with by an
amendment of your Act in the local Legislature?—Yes.

16496. As regards some of the references, which are
now imposed upon you by the existing Act, do you/hs a
matter of fact, first carry them out, and then get sub-
sequent sanction?—Yes. Many of them are now
referred pro forma ; they were introduced 30 years ago,
and they are no longer of any consequence to the
Government or to us.

16497. With regard to the limit of cost of works,
you now have to go to the provincial Government for
sanction for works over Rs. 50,000, and you want to be .
able to finish works on your own responsibility up to
two lakhs of rupees ? Notwithstanding any other
restrictions, either upon the Local Government or upon
the Government of India, with reference to the orders
of the Secretary of State, do you think the experience
of the Port Trust is such that you are perfectly capa-
ble of dealing with works costing in sterling £13,000
or £14,000 ?—I am certain that it is.

16498. If a Bill was introduced into the Legislative
Council dealing with all these questions, would there
be any opposition on the part of the Local Govern-
ment?—None whatever ; we are really doing the work
now with their approval.

16499. Have you ever promoted a Bill in the Legis-
lative Council to do any of these things ?—No, but we
have no reason to anticipate any objection whatever.
The fact is that the Commissioners take this oppor-
tunity of representing points which, they might have
laid before the Local Government at some convenient
time.




ROYAL COMMISSION LEON DECENTRALIZATION. 87°

16500. {Mr. Mickens.) How are the members'of the
Port Trust appointed ?—Six of them are elected by
the Chamber of Commerce, one by the Trades Associa-
tion, which is also commercial, one by the Bengal
Association—an Indian Association—which is also
commercial, one by the Corporation of Calcutta, and
there are three large lines of railway running . into
Calcutta, two of which are usually represented on the
Trust, their representatives being nominated by the
Local Government. Then there are the Collector of
Customs, and the Deputy Director of Royal Indian
Mails. Our Chairman who is one of the Commissioners
and presides at our meetings, is generally the senior
member of th'e Board of Revenue, and the Collector of
Howrah is a member, because Howrah has an interest
in our operations. Finally there is the Vice-Chairman.

16501. Under whom is the administration of the
Pilot Service now ?—It is under a Government officer
called the Port Officer of Calcutta. He is subordinate
to the Marine Department of the Local Government.

16502. Have you any reason to suppose that the
Local Government would be unwilling to give up that
branch of the work ?—I do not think the Government
would be unwilling ; the pilots might object to be
transferred from what might be termed a Government
Service to the Service of a Port Trust.

16503. Can you issue a loan without the sanction of
the Government of India ? —No.

16504. Do you see any objection to that restriction ?
—No, no objection whatever ; in fact, we quite agree
that the Government of India must have control in
that matter, because the interests of the tax-payer
must be superior to the interests of the local rate-payer,
and we can only float our loans after consideration of
what the operations of the Government of India
may be.

16505. Do you mean that your loans might spoil the
market for the Government of India ?—That is one
reason ; a second is that we have the advantage of the
financial advice of the Government of India, and freely
avail ourselves of it.

16506. Do you ever raise your loans in England or
Europe ?—This year we obtained for the first time,
on the recommendation of the Government of India,
the sanction of the Secretary of State to raise a million
of money in London, and as it happened that I was on
leave at the time, I interested myself in London in
seeing what could be done in the way of raising money
on more profitable terms than in Calcutta. It may
have been that at the time the London market was
unfavourable, but at any rate I found that I could
probably raise a loan at 96, out of which I would have
to pay underwriting charges and brokerage, while we
were able at that time to place the same loan in
Calcutta at about 96 J nett.

16507. Are all large works put up to public tender?
—No ; in Calcutta we usually do most of our work
departmentally, and our objection to going up for the
sanction of the Government to contracts is that whereas
the Government, or the Government of India, agree to
the amount of the work, and may sanction a work up
to two or three lakhs of rupees, we then have to go up to
Government for sanction to a contract for bricks or a
contract for sand, which we think is unnecessary.

16508. You mean that, first of all, you get the
various administrative sanctions that are necessary,
and, having got those, you have to get sanction for the
individual contracts ?—Yes, that is what we object to.

16509. Ts it not desirable that there should be a rule
to the effect that the purchase of any article over a
certain sum in value should be put up to public tender ?
—No, on the contrary I think that would be objection-
able ; you might very frequently have to meet a ring
of speculators who had worked the market against you,
and it would be very difficult to break through it.
For instance, we may buy land to make our own bricks,
or we may buy a quarry to get our own stone, and I
think we ought to be absolutely free in all matters of
that kind.

16510. (Mr Dutt.) Does your total loan amount to
a large sum ?—It is about 8 crores in all to the public,
and to the Government.

16511. Is the money borrowed on the security of
the property vested in the Commissioners ?—Yes, none
of it is guaranteed.

16512. {Sir Frederic Lely.) What are the functions •; Mr. F. G.
of the Port Officer ?—He has control "of the Pilot Dumdyne. -
Service, and he is also the Shipping Master, that is to “ "
say, he deals with the engaging and discharging of 1907;

crews, and he also administers several of the Acts with

regard to the registration of vessels, &c.

16513. You propose to take away from him the
control^of the pilotage, is that all ?;—The Commissioners
are largelyYepresentative of the commerce and shipping
of the port—they represent the shipping as well as3
trade, and it is the Commissioners’ ships that are being
navigated, so to speak; therefore it is the Com-
missioners who are most interested in the Pilot Service,
and they think that they should have the right of
control over it.

16514. Do you come into collision with the Port
Officer at all ?—No, except in the matter of pilotage,
and even then I could not say we come into collision ;
but we think it is not a right distribution of work.

16515. {Sir Steyning Edgerley.) Is it satisfactory
that your Chairman should be only a part time officer ?

—The question has only been informally discussed.

In the Bombay Port Trust the Chairman is a man who
devotes his whole time to the work, but here it is the
Vice-Chairman who is the Executive Officer, and I
rather regard it as advantageous to this Trust that we
have the senior member of the Board of Revenue as
our Chairman, because it helps us in conducting our
business with the Government. I think that it is a
good arrangement, and there has been no difficulty in
regard to it.

16516. Is not the Chairman a fairly busy man
independently of the Port Trust business ?—Certainly.

16517. And unless there happened to be a very
carefully selected Vice-Chairman, there might be some
difficulty in carrying the work on ?—There might be
the same difficulty if you had a carefully selected
Chairman.

16518. In proposing that you should take over the
Pilot Service, do you suggest that it is not efficiently
managed at present ?—No ; we only suggest a change.

16519. {Mr. Meyer.) Is the senior member of the
Board of Revenue always Chairman of the Port Trust ?

—Not always; occasionally the junior member is
Chairman w

16520. Suppose the senior member takes leave and
the second member becomes acting senior member,
would he act as Chairman of the Port Trust ?—No,
not ex-officio — Government would have to appoint
him.

16521. Would it not be better if one member
of the Board of Revenue were to be appointed
Chairman of the Port Trust during his term of office
without reference to the fact that he was first member
or second member ?—No, I think that Government
should have the selection. They may appoint any
official they please, and it happens that they have
always appointed a member of the Board of Revenue.

16522. Does that lead to a good many changes in the
Chairmanship ?—Yes,

16523. Is that prejudicial to the working of the
Trust ?—No, the Chairman presides at our meetings.

16524. It necessarily, however, makes the Vice-
Chairman the real Executive, does it not?—Yes, and
it is so intended by the Act that he should be ; but, on
the other hand, while it makes him the real Executive,
he is not the Chairman, and he has not the full control,
perhaps, that he might otherwise have.

16525. Speaking generally, do you find that the
Chairman takes full interest in the administration?

—Yes.

16526. With regard to the present restriction in the
matter of works, do you find that that leads to useful
engineering advice being given you by the high Public
Works officials of the Local Government and the
Government of India?—No, they have left us very
much to ourselves ; they consider that we know what
suits us best, and they leave us to carry out the works
we suggest. I presume they always approve of them,
because we have never had any point raised.

16527. You say that you desire to be allowed to
invest your sinking fund in any public securities, and


88

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE:

Mr. F. G.
Dumayue.

31 Dec., 1907,

that you wish the same latitude as is accorded to other
Port Trusts ?—Yes, I think the Bombay Port Trust
has greater latitude than we have.

16528. Would you like to have the same general
latitude as the Bombay Port Trust has ?—Yes, quite
as much as they have.

16529. With regard to the Pilot Service, how far
does your jurisdiction as a Port Trust extend down
the river ?—Really to the Sandheads. The pilot comes
on board at the Sandheads.

16530. So that you would not require any extension
of jurisdiction to take in the Pilot Service ?—No.

16531. Has the matter of extension of jurisdiction
been discussed?—The matter came forward on one

occasion when I was a member of a Committee about
three years ago to consider the fees payable to the
Pilot Service, and, by the order of the Commissioners,
I represented to the Committee the advisability of the
Commissioners taking charge of the Service. The
Committee considered that the matter was outside
the province of its enquiry, and said that, if we wished,
we might submit it to the Government. We did not
do so, and have not done so up to the present time,
although, perhaps, we might do so later.

16532. May I put it that your Trust, as [a Trust,
have not really fully considered the matter ?—\o, they
have fully considered it and determined upon it.

(The witness withdrew.)

Mr. G. W Kuchler was called and examined.

Mr. G. W.

Kuchler.

31 Dec., 1907,

16533. (Chairman.) You are on special duty in the
office of the Director of Public Instruction of Bengal,
and have been in the Educational Service in India since
March 1885 ?—Yes.

The present status of the Director is not of a nature
calculated to secure for educational projects the atten-
tion which they deserve. The department has often
been blamed for defects in the educational system of
the country, for which it is nowise responsible. The
proposal that the Director should be given the status
of a Joint-Secretary to Government would go far to
remedy the present ineffectiveness of the Educational
Department, and if this reform could be introduced
without difficulty, it would probably be wise not to go
further than this for the present. The ultimate, and
the best, solution of the problem will be to create an
independent Secretariat, and to make the head of the
Department a Secretary to Government. The work
of educational administration is so complex and covers
so wide an area, that it cannot be satisfactorily dealt
with by a Secretary, of whose duties it forms only a
small portion. This position has been accepted in
practically all other civilised countries, and its reason-
ableness cannot long be gainsaid in India.

As long as the functions of the Director-General of
Education are purely advisory, his influence is, I think,
entirely for good, but his designation, under those
circumstances, seems to be somewhat of a misnomer.
Such co-ordination of educational policy as is neces-
sary in India can be effected on the basis of the infor-
mation which it would be his duty to supply, and the
advice which he may be able to give to the Imperial
Government. Should, however, greater latitude be
l^ft to the provincial Governments in their educational
policy, the Director-General’s functions will be neces-
sarily considerably diminished, and it becomes doubtful
whether the continuance of the post is necessary, at
least in its present form.

An Inspector of Schools should have a thorough
knowledge of the vernacular or vernaculars of his
division. Without such knowledge, he cannot pos-
sibly keep in direct touch with vernacular education
or control the work of his subordinate officers. An
adequate test of his knowledge of the language should,
therefore, be insisted on in the case of inspecting
officers.

Transfers of educational officers, though not so
frequent as in the case of civilians, still occur too often
for efficiency. Professors should, as far as possible,
be appointed permanently or at least for a long term
of years to the individual colleges. Transfers, especi-
ally in the middle of the session, are extremely
hampering to the work of the college, and have, as
already indicated, been till recently regulated too
much by mere departmental convenience.

The value of the work of Inspectors naturally in-
creases up to a certain point with their knowledge of
the division and their acquaintance with the language.
And though it is desirable in their case that their
experience should not be confined to one division,
their term of service in any one post should be of
reasonable length.

The management of primary and middle schools by
District Boards has not been a conspicuous success,
and under these circumstances, the delegation of
further powers to these bodies would not be justified.
The unsatisfactory state of the schools under their

control is largely, but not entirely, due to want of
funds. When the management of primary education
was entrusted to the District Boards, a certain allot-
ment was made from provincial funds, and, in addi-
tion, certain sources of revenue—i.e., pounds and
ferries—were handed over to the Boards to enable
them to carry out the work. The revenue from
pounds and ferries was partly assigned to the cost of
education, partly to that of medical aid. These
revenues are of an expanding nature, and have in fact
expanded considerably of late years, but practically
no part of the increase has been devoted to education.
Presumably the intention of Government in assigning
these sources of revenue was to provide an automatic
increase of income to meet the natural increase in the
demands of education, and the failure of the Boards
to apply the available funds to this purpose can only
be taken as an indication of their general apathy in
educational matters. One way, for example, in which
the money at their disposal might profitably have been
employed, would have been to the improvement of
middle schools managed directly by the Boards. These
schools are intended to serve as model schools, but,
far from fulfilling this object, they are as badly off
as most of the schools of this class as regards build-
ings, equipment, and staff, and are indeed considerably
inferior to many of the institutions which are under
private management, and merely receive grants-in-aid.

The above remarks apply equally to Local Boards.
More might be done in the way of interesting the
members of village unions in village education. They
might, for example, be of use in selecting sites for
schools, supervising the work of the gurus—i.e., see-
ing that they attend regularly, etc.—and in other mat-
ters of this nature. When inspecting officers have
approached them in the proper spirit, members of these
unions have generally shown themselves willing to
contribute to the erection of patshalas either in
material work or cash. It would not be wise to en-
trust them for the present with any financial powers.

16534. A scheme has been put forward by the
Director of Public Instruction by which he would
become a Joint-Secretary to Government for the pur-
poses of education. In that proposal do you concur ?
—Yes.

16535. At the present moment, in making their pro-
posals, why do not the Education Department go to
the Secretary to Government, before they have actually
formulated them?—I understand that the Secretary
in the General Department prefers, before he passes
judgment on any proposal, that it should be put before
him in a cut-and dried form.

16536. Do you see any objection to the Head of
your Department conferring unofficially with the
Secretary to Government, before these proposals are
formulated?—No ; it would be an excellent thing.

16537. It might save, what the Director calls,
laborious working up in the office of the various
schemes?—It might to a certain extent, but still it
would not alter the procedure, which the Secretariat
wouid think necessary, namely, that when any pro-
posal did come from the office of the Director of
Public Instruction, it should, first of all, be noted on
in the Secretary’s office.

16538. Who are the gentlemen who note on it in
the Secretary’s office ?—After a case has been very


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

89

laboriously worked up in the Director’s office, it is
then presented in the form of a letter addressed to the
Secretary. That is in the first place noted on by a
subordinate clerk ; his remarks are generally not, of
course, of very much value. Then it goes up to the
Under-Secretary, who writes a full note on the subject,
and then it finally reaches the Secretary.

16539. What service has the Under-Secretary ?—
Usually about five or six years’ service.

16540. Would he have any technical knowledge as
a rule ?—No.

16541. Therefore, from your point of view, it would
be more advantageous and more simple, if, after a
verbal discussion with the Director of Public Instruc-
tion, the scheme went up straight to the Secretary to
Governnment ?—Yes ; that is, it should go up direct
to the Secretary, and not be noted on by any sub-
ordinate officers, in the first place.

16542. Subordinate and, in your judgment, ignorant
officers ?—Yes ; from the technical point of view, of
course.

16543. And if such an informal conference between
the Head of the Education Department and the Secre-
tary to Government were not only encouraged but
insisted on, would that remove your desire to see the
Head of the Department a Joint-Secretary ?—Not
entirely ; not only that would have to be insisted on,
but also the point you yourself mention, namely, that
proposals should go direct to the Secretary.

16544, At all events, if there was such a conference
between the officials, a great deal of labour might be
saved ?—Yes ; that would be one great advantage.

16545. Where is the office of the Director of Public
Instruction ?—It is in the same building as the Bengal
Secretariat. The Director’s and the Secretary’s offices
are not far apart.

16546. The Director of Public Instruction states
that the system of work in his own office is utterly
dispiriting ; what is the system of work there ?—The
dispiriting factor arose from the difficulty which the
Director had in getting his projects through ; I did not
understand that he referred to the work in his own
office, because, if he has any objection to the procedure
in his own office, he has the ultimate voice in the
matter, and can reform it.

16547. Does the Education Department feel that
in regard to any attempt to carry out the policy of
the Government of India, there is too great a restric-
tion upon it in matters of detail ?—Yes.

16548. Are those details insisted upon by the Local
Government or by the Government of India ?—I take
it, by the Government of India. Of course, this is
' a complaint made by the Local Government itself,
and only indirectly by the Director of Public Instruc-
tion.

16549. Has there been any desire on the part of the
Government of India to interfere in educational
details?—I have only been here since the 19th
December, but one thing has come to my notice in
connection with the transfer of the Engineering Col-
lege from Sibpur to Ranchi. A letter had been ad-
dressed to the Local Government which filtered down
to the office of the Director of Public Instruction in
which certain suggestions were made, which, I con-
sider, dealt with matters of detail, and which ought to
have been left to the discretion of the Local Govern-
ment acting on the advice of its advisers.

16550. What have you to do with the Engineering
College ?—It is an educational institution, and all
educational institutions, with the exception perhaps
of Medical Institutions, come under the Education
Department.

16551. Can you recollect the details in which the
Government interfered?—There was a question of
having a common play-ground, upon which the Local
Government was perfectly capable of arriving at a
decision. The Local Government does not object in the
slightest degree to suggestions coming from the Govern-
ment of India, but delay arises from their being expected
to defend their position, and to send in a report to the
Government of India. There would be no harm if
the Government of India were to say : “We suggest
that such and such a thing should be done upon
matters of detail; will you take them into your con-
sideration ? ” but they should leave the Local Govern-
ment to exercise their discretion, which, I consider,

33263

they are perfectly capable of doing. Great delay is
caused from the fact that the Local Government has
to send in a report to the Government of India, and
in order to send in that report, it has first of all to
come to the Director, and he has to work up a case in
support of the position which he has taken in the
matter.

16552. Do you have to answer the criticisms of the
Government of India paragraph by paragraph ?—Yes,
and we have to make out a case.

16553. You would prefer broad principles to be
laid down by the Government of India, and, inside
those principles, great latitude to be left ?—Yes.

16554. Does the Director-General of Education inter-
fere in your department ?—He does not interfere
directly, but in connection with the point I have just
raised, there might be a good deal of undue inter-
ference. He of course advises the Home Secretary to
the Government of India, and then the Home Sec-
retary, acting on the advice he has got, sends these
letters to the Local Government, so that though the
Director has no direct power, he has a good deal of in-
direct power, and I should imagine since the office of
the Director-General of Education has been instituted,
that there has been a good deal more interference in
matters of detail in purely educational matters with
the Local Governments than there was before.

16555. You have never been in the Secretariat of
the Education Department ?—No.

16556. So that you have no special experience, either
one way or the other, of whether there was, or was
not, interference ?—Except in one or two cases, which
have been put before me, and Mr. Earle has shown me
one or two cases in which there has been undue inter-
ference. One case I might cite was in connection with
the organization of European education here. The
last letter that came from the Government of India
went into very great detail with regard to purely
educational matters. The Government of Bengal has
its educational advisers, who are quite competent to
advise them on all these points, and, of course, it is not
a question of the Government of India merely giving
the advice ; it is a question of their expecting an
elaborate report in reply to their suggestions.

16557. Is the organization of European education to
which you refer, confined only to the province of
Bengal ?—No ; it is a scheme which affects the whole
of India. There must be a certain amount of co-
ordination in respect of education, but within the
limits of that co-ordination, a certain amount of lati-
tude should be left to the Local Governments each to
work out its own scheme.

16558. Can you give any other instances of detail with
regard to education in which the Government of India
have unduly interfered ?—Yes ; they went very fully
into the curricula of study, and into the question of
the syllabus and the method of awarding scholarships ;
also into the method by which the schools should be
inspected. The Government of Bengal had put forward
certain proposals with regard to a system of inspection
of schools, and that system was taken exception to by
the Government of India ; they said that, unless the
case was put more clearly, they would not be able to
give their sanction.

16559. With regard to the curricula or the method
of inspection, is there any reason why the procedure in
Bengal should differ from the procedure in the United
Provinces ?—There might be some local conditions
which might give rise to a difference, but apart from
that, the Local Government ought to have a little
initiative. We ought not to have an absolutely stereo-
typed system throughout the whole of India.

16560. One can understand that in different pro-
vinces, with different races and different languages and
so forth, they might require different treatment; but
in the case of European education, would not the con-
ditions of European education be very much the same
in all the provinces ?—They would, at any rate in the
north of India.

16561. Would it not be desirable to standardize that
education in the case of Europeans ?—The powers the
Local Government proposed to exercise were very
small; it was merely a question whether manual and
scientific education should both be made compulsory.

16562. Might not a general principle be involved in
that ?—There is something to be said from that point

M

Mr. Gr. W,
KucHler,

31 Dec., 1907


90

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

J/r. G. W.

Kiichler.

Deo., 1907.

of view, but there would be no harm, if one province,
for instance, in a matter of detail like that, did have
its own rules, which might differ from those of another
province. Any advice coming from the Government
of India would of course be listened to, though it
might not be finally accepted, simply, perhaps, because
there might be local conditions which militated against
it. Then there was a case of an officer who was
appointed Superintendent of the Reformatory School.
The standing orders require that, in the case of the
appointment of a European, certain particulars should
be furnished to the Government of India. In replying
to the request for information these particulars were
not furnished, and the Government of India wanted
information why an officer from the ordinary Pro-
vincial Service had not been appointed. The corres-
pondence to which this gave rise delayed the matter
for many months, and in consequence of this delay the
unfortunate individual concerned did not get any pay
for seven months. The Government of India might
have sufficient confidence in the Local Government to
allow them to pass orders in such a case. It did not
seem to be necessary that they should withdraw their
sanction and consequently withhold the pay of this
gentleman, who was doing the work, for a long period
pending the receipt of the necessary sanction.

16563. Would you regard the appointment of a
single individual, a European, as standing on exactly
the same lines with regard to the interference of the
Government of India, as the adjudication upon the
curricula or the method of inspection ?—Not on quite
the same lines. There must be standing orders with
regard to a case of this kind, but the only point is with
reference to the procedure and the unnecessary delay
caused by not placing sufficient confidence in the Local
Governments.

16564. Apart from such advice, which may run
counter to the views of the Local Government, do you
regard the appointment of the Director-General as
satisfactory ?—In many respects the Director-General’s
appointment is an extremely useful appointment. We
must have co-ordination in education throughout India,
and the Director-General would be able to give the
necessary advice to the Government of India with
regard to that point.

16565. Does the Director of Public Instruction
correspond with the other Education Departments in
the provincial Governments ?—Yes, he corresponds
with them unofficially, and there are also conferences
of directors, which are held periodically.

16566. Is there any stated time at which these con-
ferences are held ?—Nothing has been laid down with
regard to having them at regular intervals.

16567. The first one which was held was held in
1901?-Yes.

16568. How many have been held since?—I think
there was one later than 1901.

16569. At what intervals would you suggest that
they should be held ?—Every three years at least, and
such conferences would largely take the place of the
Director-General, because from the work of these con-
ferences the Government of India would be able to
get the necessary information which they require.

16570. Would you say, if it was laid down that con-
ferences should be fixed at brief intervals, that the
Director-General might disappear ?—I would not like to
give an opinion upon that, because I am not acquainted
with the details of the Director-General’s work ; I am
only speaking on general principles, but it seems to me
that there might not be the same necessity for the
Director-General as there is at present.

16571. Perhaps someone in the position of a Sec-
retary to collate the work of the conference might be
a good substitute for the Director-General ?•—Yes, that
was my idea.

16572. With regard to the delegation of powers by
the Local Government to the Director-General, Mr.
Earle and you agree that the Director-General ought
to be allowed to make appointments to the Subordinate
Service and to the Provincial Service?—Yes, but I
understand Mr. Earle to mean that he ought to be
allowed greater powers, not only as to appointments up
to a maximum salary of Rs. 250, say, but also with
regard to the creation of fresh appointments subject to
a maximum limit of Rs. 5,000 a year.

16573. Would they be pensionable ?—-Yes.

16574. I understand that in no single case during
the last five years has any appointment recommended
by him been refused by the Local Government?—
Yes.

16575. You say the Director-General would like to
be able to incur any additional expenditure up to
Rs. 10,000 a year. Is that very much on the same
lines as the power which a Commissioner has in Bengal
at present ?—Yes, it is pretty much on the same lines ;
of course the Director wants to have his power of
expenditure raised.

16576. Does he want to have a special sum ear-
marked to be at his disposal for any purpose ?—No, he
would have an allotment of a considerable sum, and
for each single project he would not be able to exceed
Rs. 10,000 ; but the total amount would be con-
siderably larger.

16577. There ought to be a delegation of powers to
inspectors and principals of colleges, provided that the
Collector of the district agreed with the proposal ?—
Yes.

16578. Whence is the expenditure upon education
in primary schools derived?—Partly from a direct
grant from provincial revenues, and partly from
certain revenues which are at the disposal of the
District Boards.

16579. One witness to-day told us that the District
Boards managed the primary schools, but subject to
certain general rules and regulations laid down by the
Government ; is that so ?— Yes, under certain rules
which restrict, or define, their control.

16580. Has the District Board any real power of
control or management ?—The whole management of
primary education is very small indeed—really there is
none—and it merely consists in the distribution of
stipends to the gurus. The District Boards might
show more initiative with regard to primary education.
During the whole period in which they have been
charged with primary education they have shown no
initiative, and have made no serious proposals towards
the improvement of primary education.

16581. What sort of proposals could they make?—
For instance they have a certain number of schools
which are called model schools, but they never have
made the slightest attempt to improve them. It would
have a good effect on education generally if District
Boards would come forward and make their schools
really model schools.

16582. But could they improve the school premises ?
—They could provide better school-houses to begin
with.

16583. Out of the funds provided by Government
or by increased taxation ?—It is quite possible they
would have to come up to Government for increased
funds, but that is where the initiative would come in.
Why do they not come up and say, “We would like
to improve our schools, but we have not got the
money ? ”

16584. Suppose they came and said, “ We want better
school buildings, better school furniture, we want a
better class of instruction, and we want to raise the
pay of our teachers ” ; is that the sort of proposal
which Government would be prepared to consider ?—
Yes, those are the sort of proposals to which I refer.

16585. So far as you know would your department
be prepared to recommend that the increased expen-
diture involved in those proposals should be met from
provincial funds, or would you require the District
Board to provide its own funds ?—The department
would recommend whether the amount should be
drawn from provincial funds. The amount of money
at the disposal of District Boards is limited, but even
with the money which they have at their disposal, they
have not done what they might have done.

16586. How do the District Boards manage their
primary schools?—They have no>primary schools of
their own. There are what are called middle schools,
and they have some of those under their direct
management. To others they give grants-in-aid.

16587. Do they appoint managers to those schools?
—No, they have to approve of the manager’s appoint-
ment. The local committee appoint him. They
send up names to the District Board, and the District


- - -................................................................



EOYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

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1

Board approves. The District Board does not actually
add a member of its own to the Board of Manage-
ment.

16588. The Chairman of the Purnea municipality
told us that, while the cost of primary schools fell
entirely on the municipality, they had no control over
them—do you agree with that statement ?—I should
hardly be inclined to accept it. Municipalities have to
contribute a certain portion of their income to private
education, but it is simply a matter of giving stipends
to the gurus.

16589. Who appoints the gurus ?—They appoint
themselves. We have a number of schools which have
sprung up in one way or another ; the inspectors who
are paid by Government inspect those schools, and say
which gurus are deserving of stipends or not.

16590. Do the gurus draw a stipend from the
municipality on the certificate of the inspector ?—
Yes.

16591. Who provides the books used by the scholars ?
—Ordinarily they provide their own books.

16592. Who provides the furniture in the schools ?—
Unless there is a. special grant made, which is seldom
the case, the furniture is provided by the gurus them-
selves.

16593. Does the other expenditure, beyond the
stipend of the gurus, fall on the municipality ?—There
is none.

16594. Therefore the statement by the Chairman of
the Purnea municipality that the municipality pays
the cost of primary schools really only refers to the
stipends of the gurus ?—Yes. As far as primary
education is concerned, throughout the country the
only expense lies in the stipends of the gurus.

16595. Who pays the expenses of middle schools ?—
The Education Department. No expense falls on the
municipality with regard to middle schools.

16596. Therefore from a financial point of view
they can claim no control ?—Except that the munici-
palities may give grants to the middle schools. Some-
times a middle school gets a grant both from the
department and the municipality. The municipality
has no control over the management of a middle
school.

16597. In cases where municipalities give a grant
would it be advisable that they should have control ?—
There is little to control. If there was anything of
importance to control, I would be willing that the
municipalities should have a voice in the matter.

16598. Might you not give them some share in the
control and management ?—Yes, if the grant were
applied to a legitimate purpose.

16599. But is it applied now to any illegitimate
purpose ?—I do not consider that merely giving a
stipend to the guru is any reason for giving control.

16600. Is that what the grant always goes to ?—Yes,
in primary schools. If municipalities were to give a
grant to the middle schools for some legitimate pur-
pose, then they might be given some share in the
control.

16601. Do they have a representative on the com-
mittee of management ?—Yes. If they liked they
could certainly have a representative on the com-
mittee.

16602. Would that be a good thing to do ?—Yes.

16603. What would the control of the committee of
management over a school amount to in point of fact ?
’ —It does not amount to very much.

16604. Ought it to amount to a good deal in a case
where a grant-in-aid is given ?—Yes, of course ; the
committee of management ought to have considerable
control.

16605. Would you go so far as to say that in most
municipalities of moderate size there are persons
capable of exercising an interest in the management of
schools ?—That is the question. There is a committee
of management, but they do not take any interest in
the schools.

16606. If you give a person nothing to do, what can
he take any interest in ?—They have something to do
if they like to carry out the duties assigned to them—
on paper they have a good deal to do.

33263

16607. What is it they can do in practice?—They
have control in appointing teachers, and to a certain
extent, in regulating the course of study ; in giving
leave to the teachers and all matters of that kind—the
ordinary matters connected with the administration of
schools.

16608. Has the committee a free hand in the
appointment of teachers ?—Yes, subject of course to
the approval of the inspector of schools.

16609. What pay does the inspector of schools get?
—That varies. He may be an Indian, or he may be a
European.

16610. With some real knowledge, of course, of
education ?—He ought to have a real knowledge, and
it is assumed he has before he is appointed.

16611. Under whose care are the secondary schools ?
—They are entirely under the department; some of
them receive grants-in-aid, and some are directly
managed by the department.

16612. Where do the funds of the secondary schools
come from ?—From provincial revenues.

16613. And towards their up-keep neither the Dis-
trict Boards nor municipalities contribute ?—No. They
may contribute in rare cases, but it is a very excep-
tional thing.

16614. Who makes the appointment to the Pro-
vincial and Subordinate Services ?—In the Subordinate
Service, below a salary of Rs. 200 a month, the
appointments are made by the Director of Public
Instruction ; after that they are made by the Local
Government.

16615. When Educational Officers are appointed
from England to this country, are they required to
know anything either of the Indian language, or Indian
history, or Indian social conditions ? — The only
requirement as regards language is that, within two
years, they are expected to pass an examination up to
the Higher Standard in the vernacular of the division
in which they are serving.

16616. Are they often moved from division to
division ?—Yes, too often.

16617. And, in consequence, they may be posted to
a division with the language of which they are not
acquainted ?—Yes, that is frequently the case.

16618. And being themselves inspectors of schools
they receive no instruction at all in the literature or
history of the country for which they are going to
provide education ?—Not necessarily.

16619. Do they often have such knowledge when
they come out ?—If they take an interest in the sub-
ject, in a way they do.

16620. But how can they ? They do not know
where they are going to be appointed to. They are
nominated on a vacancy occurring and they come out
in the next mail ?—Yes.

16621. What is the nature of their appointments ?—
That may vary. They may be appointed as professors
of a college or inspectors of schools.

16622. (3/r. Meyer). Do you say that all the primary
schools in the management of which the District
Boards and municipalities are concerned are under the
charge of gurus ?—Yes. All the primary schools.

16623. Does no municipality maintain a school of
its own ?—No.

16624. Are there no mission or other primary
schools maintained by private resources ?—Yes, there
are a few.

16625. Would those be aided by the municipality or
the District Board ?—They would be aided if necessary.

16626. Therefore assistance to primary education is
confined to those two classes of schools ?—Yes.

16627. Are local bodies bound, in regard to the ver-
nacular schools at any rate, by the recommendations of
the officers of the Education * Department ? Gan they
aid a vernacular school unless the officer of the Educa-
tion Department says the is a satisfactory person ?
—They could act against the opinion of the inspector ;
but if they did, the matter could be referred to the
Commissioner of the Division.

16628. Might not a municipality have some. little
power in the matter of selecting schools to which it
gives aid ?—Of course, if you allowed them to do that
it would be on the advice of some Educational Officer.

Mr. G. W,
KuMer.

M 2


92

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Mr, G. W.

Kuchler,

31 Deo., 1907.

16629. Do you think the Education Department is
all in all ?—No, but there should be some advisory
officer with some experience of education.

16630. Should the action of the municipality be in
subordination to the Education Department ?—It is a
very difficult question to answer, because from what we
see up to the present time they do not seem to take
much interest in primary education.

16631. Will they ever take an interest if you bind
them hand and foot in every little detail?—They
might take some interest, and there is no harm in their
taking the advice of the inspector of schools. They
might listen to his advice, and not necessarily accept it.

16632. But at the present time can they reject his
advice ?—Yes.

16633. Are you prepared to allow them, in regard to
aided schools and so forth, to listen to his advice but,
if necessary, to go their own way ?—Of course there
are many things which you might give in the case of
one municipality which you might not be disposed to
give in the case of another. You might give them
certain powers, as a matter of experiment, in order to
see what the result would be, but you cannot come to
any conclusion without experience.

16634. Are you prepared to- try the experiment?—I
am perfectly prepared to try any experiment which
would tend to make a change for the better.

16635. As things are at present, would it not be
better to take the schools entirely under the depart-
ment ; is not the municipal share in them more or less
a farce ?—The point is that there is nothing in it at all
because it is only as to the payment of the gurus. It
would be no use giving them increased powers unless
they were prepared to spend more money on the
municipal schools and make them middle schools.
Every municipality ought to have one or two middle
schools within its area.

16636. But if they have schools, do you admit it to
be right that they should claim some voice in their
management ?—Yes.

16637. Have you any Government middle schools in
Bengal?—We have one or two directly paid for and
managed by the department, especially in Non-Regula-
tion districts.

16638. What does the Calcutta municipality do in
the way of education ?—It spends its money entirely
in grants to private schools, on the recommendation of
the inspector of schools.

16639. Then the municipalities, speaking generally,
keep up no middle schools, but the District Board
does ?—Yes.

16640. Are District Boards better able to manage
middle schools than municipalities ? Can you tell me
how the distinction arose ?—I do not know. I know
that the middle schools in municipalities are directly
aided by Government.

16641. Will the Board ever take more interest in
the matter if it is confined simply to the mechanical
payment of money ?—My experience is that a Board
does not object to inspection. What they would no
doubt like is that they should be able to act on the
advice of the inspector without any further reference,
but they are very glad indeed to get advice from the
inspector of schools.

16642. You said the Local Government was glad to
get advice from the Government of India in matters of
detail, but you thought it was a hardship that the
Local Government should be obliged to follow it :
would you apply your own principle to local bodies
and your own department?—Yes, as to the actual
getting of advice there can be no objection, nor have
the District Boards ever objected to it.

16643. What influence has the Collector over
educational expenditure in his district?—I think it
practically lies in the hands of the Collector, as Chair-
man of the District Board ; he practically regulates
the whole thing.

16644. Is secondary education practically entirely
carried on by Government with the exception of the
middle schools ?—Yes.

16645. Has the Collector any voice in the establish-
ment of secondary schools ?—No, practically none.

16646. Has the Commissioner any voice in the
establishment of secondary schools ?—He has general

supervision. Things have been changed of late years,
and a Commissioner has to be consulted with regard to
all educational projects. I do not know what the
exact rules were before, but if he had to be consulted,
the rules had fallen into disuse.

16647. Should not a Commissioner have a con-
siderable say as to how the provincial education
expenditure should be allotted within his division ?—
There would be no objection at all to the Commis-
sioner having a say in the matter, but I feel convinced
that with the amount of work a Commissioner has
already got to do, he would have to depend on the
advice of his expert officials.

16648. Is there any objection to the inspector of
schools standing to the Commissioner of a Division in
much the same relation that the Director of Public
Instruction does to the Lieutenant-Governor ?—That
of course raises the whole question of the powers of a
Commissioner of a Division. Theoretically there is
no objection. If the Commissioner is the practical
Head of the Division, all other officials within the
division should stand in the same relation to him as
other Heads of Departments stand to the Lieutenant-
Governor. Before answering the question I should
like to know exactly what it involves.

16649. It involves non-technical control, as you
might call it. The qualifications of teachers and so
forth must necessarily rest with the Director of Public
Instruction, but the application of funds to start a
school at A. as against B. and so on, would rest more
largely with the Commissioner ?—I do not think there
would be any objection to certain functions being put
into the hands of a Commissioner of a division, but
they would have to be carefully defined, and I am not
prepared at the present moment exactly to say what
power should be given to him, or taken from the
Director of Public Instruction.

16650. Generally, do you think the Commissioner
might have a larger say ?—I have no objection to your
putting it in that way.

16651. With regard to college education in Bengal,
is the Government much concerned with it ?—There
are five Government colleges, but of course a college
like the Presidency College is a very large unit ;
though it is only one college it represents a large
sphere of educational activity.

16652. Does the Government spend more money in
direct colleges of its own, or in aiding other people’s
colleges?—It spends its funds almost entirely at
present on its own colleges.

16653. Was there not a recommendation, made by
the Education Commission of 1882, that the Govern-
ment should gradually withdraw from higher education
as they found private enterprise supplied it ?—Yes.

16654. Is the Bengal policy in that direction?—I
understand they are acting on later advice.

16655. And was that general idea not repeated in
the resolution of 1904 ?—Yes, it might have been, but
still a large amount would have to be spent by
Government. Latterly a large number of grants-in-
aid have been given to private colleges, and the policy
of giving grants-in-aid to these colleges has been
extended. That is a recent development.

16656. Did Government aid them formerly?—No,
but the regulations now require so much higher
standard that the other colleges regard it as necessary
to ask for aid.

16657. Did not the Government of India enjoin
that policy for which they gave a special grant ?—Yes,
and that is, of course, in accordance with the policy.

16658. Therefore the merit, such as it is, is with the
Government of India ?—Quite so. I do not wish to
detract from their merit at all, but it certainly is a
policy which I should have been very strongly in
favour of from the beginning, only the difficulty lay
in getting the money.

16659. You propose that when a scheme has been
prepared in the Director’s office it should not be noted
on, in the first instance, by clerks in the office of the
Secretariat, but that it should go straight to the
Secretary?—Does the Director get elaborate schemes
from inspectors of schools and principals of colleges ?
—Yes.

16660. Would you think it wrong that they should
be noted on by clerks in the Director’s office?—-No.


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k

(

But to a certain extent there is an objection to that
procedure. Of course when a scheme comes to the
Assistant Director, he has the necessary knowledge,
and can correct any mistakes which have been made by
the clerks.

16661. Is not the Assistant Director a junior
officer ?—Yes, but he is an Educational Officer and I
would recommend that certain cases should go direct
to the Assistant.

16662. Has not the Secretary a great deal of work
to do ? He gets schemes which go into many details.
Is it not reasonable that he should get some one in his
office to note the precis and so on?—To a certain
extent ; but the point is, whether the information he
gets from the Director of Public Instruction is not
sufficient for him to come to a conclusion on the case
cited. If it is not, why is he not placed in closer
touch with the Director of Public Instruction ?

16663. Is the Director of Public Instruction aware
of all the precedents and rulings and so on?—He
ought to be ; in educational matters the Director of
Public Instruction should be absolutely conversant
with them.

16664. Under your plan would it not be better to
abolish the office of the Director of Public Instruction
and allow it to be amalgamated with the office of the
Secretary ?—If that can be done.

16665. You desire greater latitude to be given to the
Local Government in matters of detail, and you com-
plain of two or three cases in which you say that there
has been unnecessary interference in matters of detail.
If you can only produce three instances, is it not possible
that in many other instances there was nothing to
complain of ?—There were other instances ; but I only
wished to take three important ones ; I have many
other instances in the file of papers before me.

16666. Are you aware that the Viceroy has to be
consulted before the Local Government can be over-
ruled on any such matter ?—Yes.

16667. In many cases are not questions of detail
put to the Local Government merely for consideration ?
—It is possible, but the impression as to any suggestion
made is that even if it is in the form of a suggestion
by the Government of India, it is expected that the
Local Government should issue a full report on that
particular point and that nothing can be done until it
receives the final sanction of the Government of India.

16668. Have you never seen letters in which the
Government of India say, The decision on this point
is, however, left to the discretion of the Local Govern-
ment ” ?—No, I have not.

16669. Is it not rather difficult to discriminate matters
of detail from matters of principle ?—It is ; but at the
same time, if there was a general ruling to the effect that
questions of detail should be left to the discretion of
the Local Government, I think that would be quite
sufficient.

16670. Would you call the creation of an appoint-
ment a matter of detail ?—No, with regard to the
creation of appointments you must have standing
orders.

16671. When a Local Government proposes the
creation of an appointihent which, it may be, requires
the sanction of the Secretary of State, is not the
Government of India bound to consider whether a case
for making such an appointment is justified ?—
Certainly.

16672. And might it not send it back for further in-
formation, if necessary ?—Certainly, under the present
orders. It is with regard to that point that I should
very much like to see the powers of Local Govern-
ments increased.

16673. Would you consider the filling up of an
appointment a matter of detail, in which the Govern-
ment of India should not interfere?—Ordinarily I
should consider that that ought most certainly to be
left to the Local Government.

16674. Some little time ago there was a Civilian
Officer appointed to the Directorship of the Education
Department of this province ?—Yes.

16675. Did not several members of the Education
Department decide to memorialize the Government of
India ?—Yes ; I am sorry to say with no effect.

16676. In that case they did not accept the discretion
of the Local Government on a matter of detail ?—
They did so far. It was not so much questioning the
right of appointment of the Local Government as
making an appeal to a superior authority on general
principles, which, I think, is a different thing al-
together.

16677. You have referred to the case in which a
European Officer was appointed to a position of over
Bs. 200. Is it not necessary to safeguard Indians
against the undue appointments of Europeans ?—Yes.

16678. You spoke of conferences possibly taking the
place of the Director-General of Education ; but sup-
posing there was no Director-General of Education,
who would preside over the conferences ?—I should
say the senior Director of Public Instruction, or still
better, an officer of the Home Secretariat.

16679. Do you think such conferences would come
to any real good ? Might they not possibly dissolve in
talk ?—1 hope not; I am very strongly in favour of
conferences, because I think they afford the best
means of arriving at some useful result on definite
subjects.

16680. Supposing an officer went from Mad as to
such a conference, and some new method which he did
not like was put forward, and accepted, by the
majority of the conference, might he not go back and
say to his government, “ It is true the majority agreed
to this, but they know nothing about Madras, and
therefore we need not trouble about it ?”—That is
exactly in accordance with the general principle which
I maintain. Local Governments ought to be allowed
a certain amount of discretion.

16681. You have admitted however that it is useful
to have an Imperial Officer who goes round to control
what is being done ?—I am not prepared to say that
the Director-General of Education is not a useful
officer.

16682. As regards the European schools, did not the
Government of India lately give a special grant for
their assistance ?—Yes.

16683. Might they, therefore, claim some voice in
regard to the policy ?—Yes. They should have a very
considerable voice ; but it is not a question of policy,
it is a question of detail.

16684. Do you think a centralized code for all India
is unnecessary in the case of European schools?—I
think in many respects it is undesirable.

16685. Does the ordinary Education Code differ
from province to province ?—Yes.

16686. Is that again too centralized and ought some
of the restrictions to be somewhat relaxed ; are they
not too rigid in regard to the grant-in-aid rules ?—I
am inclined to be of opinion. I think that a certain
amount of discretion should be allowed with regard to
the grant-in-aid rules.

16687. Have any local proposals been put forward
to make the education code more elastic ?—No.

16688. (Sir Steyning Edgerley.) Do you regard edu-
cation as a purely provincial matter of administration ?
—Yes.

16689. Do you hold that the function of the
Government of India is to discuss policy and not to
impose details ?—Yes.

16690. Is it beyond the capacity of the Secretary to
the Government of India to discriminate in any parti-
cular case between what is essential as a principle and
what is a detail ?—No.

16691. Assuming that a scheme comes up and the
Director-General is not satisfied with it, and writes a
dissentient memorandum either as to principle or as to
detail, or in any other respect, would it be a good thing
if that memorandum were, as a matter of course, sent
to the Local Government for comment before the
Government of India dealt with the case at all ?—Yes,
I think that would greatly facilitate the dispatch of
work.

16692. It was stated in Madras that the Director-
General was a very useful officer as tending to reduce
the inefficiency, from an educational point of view, of
the Home Department of the Government of India ;
would you share that view ?—Yes* The only alterna-
tive I can suggest is a conference.

Mr. G. W.
Kuohler,

1 Dec,, 1907.


Mr. G. W.
Kuehler,

31 Dec., 1907.

94 MINUTES OF

16693. Does not the Director serve a very useful
function, in gathering information as to new methods
and studying systems in other countries, and dissemin-
ating information ?—Yes.

16694. Then it practically comes to this, that you
object to interference with administrative detail of any
sort ?—Yes.

16695. Do you consider that the curricula of Euro-
pean schools is a detail ?—I do, except that the broad
lines of the curricula might be laid down.

16696. Most of your European schools receive grants-
in-aid ?—Yes.

16697. Are they Missionary schools ?—Largely.

16698. That is to say, they are greatly supported by
persons who subscribe to the funds on a religious basis ?
—Yes.

16699. In order to secure the money given by other
countries, you have to consider the susceptibilities of
the donors a good deal ?—Yes.

16700. And if your curricula are filled up with
obligatory subjects, such as manual training and other
things, it would be necessary for the size of the schools
to be proportionately increased ?—Yes.

16701. And there is also danger of overloading the
curriculum with subjects ?—Yes.

16702. So is there not a great danger, that any too
rigid code imposed by the Government of India would
be entirely unacceptable to missionary bodies, and that
eventually the schools might have to be closed ?—Yes,
that is an argument against rigidity in the Code and in
favour of leaving a good deal to the discretion of the
Local Government.

16703. In the European Code have you accepted the
conscience clause ?—To a certain extent. I mean that
religious instruction is allowed to be given, but it is
not compulsory, and no one need attend, and it is to
be given at the beginning of an hour, so that no incon-
venience arises in the working of the school.

16704. How do missionary bodies explain that to
their constituencies ?—I am not in their councils, so far
as that is concerned.

16705. With regard to the Local Government your
main proposal is the complete amalgamation of the
office of the Director of Public Instruction with that
of the General Secretary of the Local Government ?—
That was Mr. Earle’s proposal; my proposal was that
ultimately it would be better to have a separate Secre-
tary. I would like an Educational Secretariat, with the
Director of Public Instruction as Educational Secre-
tary to the Government.

16706. How would you then arrange for touring ?—
The Director has really very little touring to do ; he is
only expected to be some forty days on tour. He is
not exactly the same as an Inspector-General of Edu-
cation ; and he really is required to be largely at head-
quarters on account of his administrative duties. But
if it is considered desirable that there should be some
inspection by a superior officer of Government, that
difficulty would be met by having a Deputy. It is at
present argued that the Director’s office is under-
manned in this respect.

16707. Would you suggest a Deputy Director work-
ing with the Secretary in the General Department,
and the Director himself occupying a position some-
thing like that of the Inspector-General of Irrigation
in the Public Works Department, that is to say, that
he could tour anywhere where it was necessary and still
deal with any big cases ?—That is not a solution I have
yet thought of ; it seems plausible, but I am not pre-
pared to give an opinion on it off-hand.

16708. With regard to the Medical College, is your
Medical College in Calcutta under the Director at all ?
—No, it used to be. About ten years ago, on the
representation of one of the Inspectors-General of
Hospitals, who objected to have it under the Education
Department, it was put under him ; but there was no
opposition offered at the time by the Education
Department to the severance.

16709. Has the Education Department any informa-
tion as to how that has worked?—We have heard of
no complaint. I do not think the control which the
Education Department formerly exercised was of a
rigid nature. It was more nominal than anything
else.

EVIDENCE :

16710. Then you think that the undivided and direct
responsibility of the Inspector-General is a better
arrangement ?—Yes.

16711. You have suggested that there should be a
certain governing body of colleges in the mufassal, and
your suggestion makes them entirely official ; is it wise
to entirely exclude the non-official element?—No. I
simply put that forward as a tentative proposition. If
there was a properly constituted body, I do not see any
objection to having one or two non-officials upon it.

16712. Might not a strong governing body for these
colleges, under the presidency of the Commissioner,
practically relieve the department of the whole of the
detail work?—Yes. I am strongly in favour of the
colleges being independent and corresponding directly
with the Government, but not under the present con-
ditions. I think that the Director should be relieved
from the administration of the colleges. They would
have a much more vigorous life if they were directly
under Government, but under present conditions I
would be loth to make any proposal of that kind, for
the reason that the General Secretary has so much to do
that he knows very little about educational matters.
Therefore it is better, under present conditions, that
anything in connection with colleges should come
through someone who has a grip of education.

16713. But under the new Universities Act surely
you have inspection?—Yes, but that has not been
properly organised. If there were an Executive Head
of the University, such as a paid Principal, which there
is not at present, then I should say they might be put
under an official of that kind.

16714. Are you not prepared to trust a University
Syndicate ?—It is too large a body, and the work would
be much too heavy for a purely honorary body.

16715. Is there no small sub-committee for college
work ?—No.

16716. You tell us that you would like professors to
have grants for their scientific expenditure and
apparatus and so on, but if they had those grants, what
would happen if they did not make both ends meet at
the close of the year ?—I do not know how that diffi-
culty would be met financially ; but of course any
deficiency would be taken off any further grant for the
next year, and thus far it would be met ; they would
have to retrench in the next year.

16717. You would not say to them, “You have had
your grant ; you have not made both ends meet, and
you must get on without anything ” ?—No, but that
contingency is not likely to arise.

16718. Do you complain generally, with regard to the
difficulty in getting the necessary apparatus to carry on
your work ?—Yes, we certainly have good grounds of
complaint in that respect.

16719. As regards District Boards, you say that the
pound and ferry revenue has increased, but you have
had no share of the increase. On what basis is the
share actually settled which you have ; is it a fixed sum,
or is it a proportion?—It is not a fixed sum, and
nothing is laid down. Pound and ferry revenue is
simply set apart for educational work and medical aid.
When it was first granted a certain sum was given to
one branch and the rest to another : the .amount under
medical aid has increased, correspondingly to the
increase in the revenue, but nothing additional has been
given to education.

16720. Is there anything in your Local Self-Govern-
ment Act providing that the Board shall devote
one-third of their revenue, or any other proportion, to
education?—No. There are checks, but not of this
nature.

16721. And nothing as to the income from pounds
and ferries?—No, it is left to their discretion.

16722. Have you any prescribed syllabus for primary
schools ?—Yes.

16723. Is that available in the vernacular?—Yes, it
is at present being changed, but, of course, there
always has been a syllabus. We have complete control
over it.

16724. (Sir Frederic Lely.) When you say that
stipends are paid, do you mean that they are sums paid
in the shape of grants-in-aid ?—It is not exactly the
same as grants-in-aid; the gurus in charge of the
schools got a certain fixed sum, based on inspection of
their work.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 95

16725. Does the Subdivisional Officer visit these
schools ?—Yes ; it is laid down that he should do so.

16726. Has he any regular means of communication
with the department with regard to the result of his
visits ?—If he writes anything in the inspection book,
it is always put before the inspector.

16727. What is the link between the Director and
the schools; not only primary schools but middle
schools and high schools?—The whole of the school
Work in the division is really under the inspector.
There are six divisions and six inspectors.

16728. Does the department invite any co-operation
as to the inspection and management of the schools ?—
To a certain extent; there.are what are called Boards
of Visitors, and where there are managing or visiting
committees, the members of those committees are
expected to visit the schools and make suggestions.

16729. Who is the Chairman of the visiting
committee as a rule?—They would elect their own
Chairman.

16730. Has the Collector any definite obligation, for
instance, as to a training school or a high school?—
No; training schools and high schools are practically
outside the jurisdiction of the Collector. But at the
same time he often visits these schools.

16731. Supposing there was any great laxity in a
training college in his district, would the Collector be
expected to know about it ?—No ; it would not be
brought to his notice officially, but if, when visiting a
high school, he saw it was not being properly conducted,
he would make a note of it, and his note would be sent
to the inspector of schools. - The Collector would not
be responsible in the slightest degree.

16732. As a matter of fact, do you ever ask the
District Officer’s advice on educational matters?—In
regard to anything connected with middle schools and
primary schools his advice is always asked. In respect
of secondary schools his opinion is asked with regard,
for instance, to projects for new buildings and hostels,
but not with regard to the administration of the
school.

16733. Are there any model schools in the province?
—There are schools which are under the direct
management of District Boards which are supposed to
be model schools, but they are not really model
schools.

16734. I understand that the municipalities pay for
middle schools, but have no hand in the management
of them?—Yes, but such payments are very excep-
tional within municipal limits ; they are aided by the
department direct.

16735. But on other than financial grounds would it
not be a very good thing if a municipality had a right
to interfere and to lay down the hours of attendance,
the holidays, or the fees that should be levied?—I
think it would be a very good thing if the munici-
palities were to take a more direct part in the
management.

16736. Are not the parents better able to judge of
those points than a G-overnment department ?—To a
certain extent. But if an inspector is worth his salt,
he ought to be thoroughly conversant with the wants
of a district.

16737. But he cannot be so conversant with the
wants of a district as the parents of the children
themselves ?—But the question is whether the parents
of the children are sometimes going on right lines.
This is not only an Indian question but a question
which we find in all countries in the world, and parents
might not always want what is good for their children.

16738. Would you not admit that it is a good thing
for the masters to be interested in pleasing the parents
as well as the department ?—Yes.

16739. Is not the effect of the present system to
make them look only to the department for approval,
and not to care in the least about the wishes of the
parents ?—That is a very large social question. I think
we should find that the masters do care very largely
for the opinions of the parents, and they could not set
the opinions of the parents at defiance. In fact there
is a little too much of that kind of thing in schools.

16740. (Jfr. Dutt.) If the Director of Public In-
struction was a Secretary to the Government of Bengal,

might that have the effect of raising the purely depart-
mental view of questions to undue prominence as
compared with the administrative view ?—I think not.
Because a man has special knowledge of a subject he is
not therefore debarred from taking administrative
charge of the branch which deals with the subject.
There are advantages and disadvantages, and certain
of the advantages more than counterbalance the
disadvantages.

16741. There are other Departmental Heads, for
instance, the Medical and Police Departments. Would
you recommend that those Heads should also be Secre-
taries to Government ?—Each case ought to be judged
entirely on its merits. The educational affairs of the
country are of extreme importance, and they ought not
to be made a small part of the duties of one Secretary.

16742. Does the Inspector of Schools act in consul-
tation with the Commissioner in any educational
matters?—Yes. Chiefly in connection with projects
for new buildings—matters of administration rather
than education.

16743. By whom are appointments and transfers in
the Provincial Service gazetted ?—By the Local
G-overnment.

16744. A suggestion has been made that the Director
of Public Instruction should be empowered to appoint
and transfer the officers in the Provincial Service ;
would you agree with that view ?—’Yes, for the reason
that the recommendations of the Director are always
accepted by the Secretariat, and correspondence merely
causes unnecessary delay. The Director is in a position
to know more about such things than the Secretariat.

16745. Does it not give a man a little more dignity
if he is appointed by the Local G-overnment ?—I would
consider that an argument for making the Director a
Secretary to G-overnment. It is quite possible that the
members of the Provincial Service would prefer to be
appointed by the Local G-overnment rather than by the
Director of Public Instruction.

16746. Does that portion of the District Board
budget which relates to education go to the Education
Department ?—Yes : it is sent first of all from the
Magistrate to the Director, and then the Director
sends it to the Commissioner with any remarks which
he cares to make. Of course the budget is in the first
place drawn up in consultation, nominally, with the
inspector, but, practically, with the deputy inspector,
who knows more about the district than the inspector.

16747. Does it often happen that the Director makes
any alterations in the budget ?—I think it hardly ever
happens, as long as the District Board spends its
allotment. There is a certain minimum sum which
they have to spend on education.

16748. The Director does not sometimes say, “ You
are spending too much on secondary, and too little on
primary, schools,” or anything of that kind ?—No, but
he has the power to do so.

16749. Do the same remarks apply to the municipal
budgets ?—Yes. There, of course, we have to see that
they spend the minimum sum.

16750. Do you ever make any suggestions as to an
increase in the number of the primary schools, or as to
raising some of the schools to secondary schools, or
anything of that kind?—The deputy inspector very
often makes suggestions as to an increase in the
number of the primary schools or opening new primary
schools in places where they are wanted.

16751. Are those remarks generally attended to ?—
Yes ; with regard to opening of new primary schools.
As regards more expensive proposals the deputy in-
spectors are not in a position to have their opinions
really listened to.

16752. So that, generally speaking, you have nothing
to complain of as regards the way in which District
Boards and municipalities deal with the question of
education ?—Nothing, except that I do not think they
have shown enough initiative in the matter. They are
slightly apathetic with regard to education, and look at
it °as the last thing they have to consider in the
budget.

16753. You have a class of officers called sub-in-
spectors of schools. Were they previously servants of
the District Boards ?—Yes. We have now taken them
under the Education Department in so far as they are

Mr. G. W.
Kiichler.

31 Dec., 1907


96

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Mr. G. W.
Kuohler,

31 Dec., 1907.

paid by the department. The District Boards have
still practical control over the sub-inspectors, and even
to a larger extent than before.

16754. In what way?—With regard to the power of
transfer. In other respects they are servants of the
department.

16755. Do they look after the primary schools under
the District Boards ?-—They are almost entirely con-
cerned with primary schools.

16756. Is it satisfactory that the work of the
District Boards should be done by men who are servants
of another department ?—In theory, of course, it is
unsatisfactory, but in practice it has worked pretty
well, and there has been practically no harm done.

16757. Have the District Boards the same interest
as they had before in founding new schools, and in
getting the villagers to find houses for schools, and
getting contributions from villagers, now that they
have to work through servants who are not their
servants ?—The sub-inspector understands his position ;
he is really under the Chairman of the District Board
and has to listen to his orders. I admit it is a peculiar
system.

16758. On the whole, would it be a better arrangement
to re-transfer these officers to the District Boards, and
let the sub-inspectors work under the District Boards
as their servants ?—Yes ; in some ways it would, so
long as their prospects would not be interfered with.
One of the most important reasons for transferring
them to the Education Department was that they had
very poor prospects under the District Boards.

16759. Suppose increments were allowed them by
the District Boards, and they subscribed to a provident
fund, would there be any great reason for complaint ?
—I do not think there would be any reason for com-
plaint so long as the District Boards did their duty ;
it all turns upon that. The inspectors will look after
the sub-inspectoi s ; I doubt if we can guarantee that
the District Boards will look as well after them.

16760. Would the District Boards take a little more
interest if they had to work through their own servants
in their own way ?—I can only judge from what has
happened before, when the sub-inspectors were the
servants of the District Boards, and then I cannot say
that any more interest was shown. Of course the
whole thing is largely due to the fact that, through
lack of funds, the District Boards have not been able
to do much.

16761. In other respects, with regard to fixing the
hours of attendance, the number of holidays in the
year, etc., do you not think a large amount of discretion
can be given to the District Boards, who are more in
touch with the villagers than the officers of the Educa-
tion Department ?—Yes, if they really had the primary
schools to look after.

16762. Has a District Board now the power of laying
down a rule that schools during, say, two months in
the year, should be held in the mornings, without
reference to your department ?—They would have to
refer to our department, but we would not interfere in
a matter of that kind.

16763. With regard to these matters would you have
any objection to making the rules elastic so as to give
more discretion ?—No ; it is really a question of the
District Boards acting up to their duties.

16764. Does your department inspect all the colleges ?
—No, only the aided colleges and Government schools ;
the private colleges have not hitherto been inspected ;
but they are now inspected by the University under
the new Regulations.

16765. What sort of supervision by the Education
Department do you propose over private colleges?—
We propose to encourage the system of grants-in-aid,
which will make them amenable to departmental
inspection,

16766. Would you try to encourage the establish-
ment of private colleges ?—Yes, but I think they must
be liberally aided by Government, because education
cannot be conducted as a commercial undertaking.

16767. But there may be colleges which are not
commercial undertakings ?—There may be, but not
many of them have appeared so far.

16768. (Mr. Hichens.') You expressed a view that
the Government of India should concern itself with

principles and that the details should be left to the
Local Government ; do you say that the way to tackle
the problem as to the division of authority between the
two is to decide first of all what the details are ?—I
should be quite content if a general ruling were laid
down that the Government of India should not inter-
fere in matters of detail, except in so far as they might
give advice. I do not think one could really say what
is a matter of detail and what is a matter of principle :
it would be very difficult to differentiate. You must
leave it to the commonsense of the parties concerned.

16769. If you want to avoid perpetual discussion as
to what is a detail and what is a principle, must you
not try and lay down some principle ?—Yes, you would
have to do that.

16770. Is not the way to deal with the problem to
lay down certain principles and to say that the inter-
pretation of those principles should rest with the Local
Government ?—If that could be done, I should welcome
it.

16771. Is it possible to lay down educational prin-
ciples of universal application, and to say that the
carrying out of those principles should rest with the
Local Government ?—It would be, to a certain extent ;
but there would always be cases in which it would be
difficult to say whether or not they came under the
general principle.

16772. Can you give me any examples of general
principles?—With regard to University education,
general principles would regulate the admission to
Universities, and would, for instance, decide the age at
which the students entered the Universities.

16773. You think that is a matter which ought to
be uniform throughout India?—Even with regard
to that, I would say that the matter of age might
perhaps be left within certain limits ; the Government
of India ought to lay down a minimum age for admis-
sion to Universities.

16774. Is it not more difficult to deal with the matter
of education as a general principle than it is to deal
with anything else ?—Yes, that is so ; I find it
exceedingly difficult to lay down a general principle
with regard to education.

16775. So that it is extremely difficult to lay down
or decree in any way the functions of the Government
of India in all respects ?—It is very difficult.

16776. Have you ever considered whether it would
be possible to pass a general Act in which the principles
in regard to education should be defined?—I think
that would be extremely difficult; I should simply
prefer it to be laid down as a general ruling.

16777. What happens to-day is that each Local
Government frames its own regulations, which are
submitted to the Government of India for sanction ?—
Yes, but from time to time the Government of India
itself publicly issues general resolutions on the question
of its educational policy.

16778. Is the purport of tho$e resolutions embodied
in your Regulations ?—Yes, we have always to abide
those general Regulations, but the Government of
India go far beyond that when they come to criticise
projects which come from the Local Government.

16779 If you want to get a clearly defined line,
ought you not to depart from the principle of each
Government submitting its own defined Regulations
to the Government of India, leaving the Government
of India to issue a general Act, and leaving the inter-
pretation of that Act—that is to say, the making of
Regulations—to the Local Government ?—I should
very much like to see that done if practicable.

16780. You are aware that there are Education Acts
in most countries ?—Yes.

16781. And there is no reason why, if there are
Education Acts in other countries, there should not be
a general Education Act in India ?—Yes, but are
there Education Acts in countries which present
such diversities as India, and which have so many
independent Local Governments ? That is where the
difficulty comes in ; of course if there was a general
Act it would have to be on very broad lines indeed,
and if you had an Act on very broad lines you would
have to leave very great discretion to the Local Govern-
ments when it came to questions of detail.

16782. Do you not think that Local Governments
ought to have great discretion, particularly in the


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

97



matter of education ?—Certainly, because I think the
Local Governments have the best advisers with regard
to education.

16783. Is the number of transfers among your
inspectors very frequent ?—Yes, very frequent.

16784. Is that a sound state of affairs ?—No, it is
very undesirable indeed. With regard to inspectors, I
certainly think they ought to stay in a division for five
years as a minimum.

16785. Would you say, as an ideal that they should
be there a good deal longer ?—I am not quite so certain
about that; I am certainly of opinion that it is desirable
for an inspector to get experience of all the divisions ;
it is possible that he might become a Director, and it
is not desirable that his experience should be confined
to one division merely ; and he would have a broader
view, I think, upon educational questions if he moved
about from one division to another.

16786. Can you give me roughly any idea of how
long inspectors stay in a division now ? —It varies very
greatly. I should put the average time as between one
and two years. Of course there have been exceptions,
but on the other hand there have been very frequent
transfers.

16787. How would you propose to remedy that state
of affairs ?—I think it could be very easily remedied ;
you have simply to lay down a general order that an
inspector should ordinarily stay five years in his
division.

16788. If that is desirable, why has it not been
done ?—Because the matter has been simply left to
the consideration of the moment. I suppose it is so
apparent that no one has ever thought of putting it
into standing orders, and then questions of depart-
mental convenience arise, and a man is transferred for
reasons quite apart from considerations of efficiency
in his work.

16789. Have you an adequate number of inspectors ?
—We have not an adequate number of inspectors at
present, but the number is being largely added to, and
I think we shall have an adequate number in the course
of the next few years.

16790. There will be no difficulty, then, in the way
of securing that people should remain a reasonable
time in their districts ?—I do not think there will be
any difficulty.

{The witness withdrew).

Adjourned.

Mr. G. W.
Kuchler.

31 Dec., 1907

TWENTY-FOURTH DAY.

Calcutta, Thursday, %nd January, 1908.

r

PRESENT :

C. E. H. Hobhouse, Esq., M.P., Under-Secretary of State for India, Chairman.

Sir Frederic Lely, K.C.I.E, C.S.I.

Sir Steyning Edgerley, K.C.V.O., C.I.E., I.C.S.
R. C. Dutt, Esq., C.I.E.

W. S. Meyer, Esq., C.I.E., I.C.S.
W. L. Hichens, Esq.

Raja Ranajit Sinha Bahadur of Nashipur was called and examined.

(

16791. {Chairman.) Where do you live?—I am a
zamindar of Nashipur in the Murshidabad district.
I am chairman of the Murshidabad municipality, a
member of the District Board, and was a member of
the Bengal Legislative Council about two years ago.

The present system of renewing the provincial con-
tract after the lapse of five years according to the
requirements of the provincial Governments is based
on sound principles and needs no change.

A more complete separation than at present exists
should not be effected between imperial and provincial
finances, as the provincial Government, in case of
complete separation, may cease to take such interest
as it now takes in respect of revenue with which it
will have no concern. Local Governments need not
be given borrowing powers.

Local Governments should have powers to create
new appointments carrying a salary of Rs. 500 or less,
and they should also have powers to increase the
salaries of the ministerial staff and ungraded officers
of Government.

The Directors and Inspectors-General under the
Government of India should, as often as possible,
meet the officers in charge of the corresponding de-
partments of the Local Government, and discuss with
them important matters relating to their departments,
but in no case should the views of such Directors
and Inspectors-Generals be finally accepted by the
Government of India without consulting the Local
Governments concerned.

I would not curtail the right of appeal to the
Government of India or to the Local Government
now granted in respect of administrative action either
by law or by rules having the force of law, or by

33263

executive practice. There should be no appeal against
the orders of the provincial Government to the
Government of India in respect of officers drawing a
salary of Rs. 250 or less.

Small sums should be placed at the disposal of
Commissioners and Collectors to meet the require-
ments of their divisions and districts.

The influence of the Commissioner in respect of
the Education and the Excise Departments is not
sufficiently strong, and adequate weight is not given
to his views. District Officers are generally over-
worked and have very little leisure at their disposal,
and, as such, have not sufficient opportunities for per-
sonal contact with the people ; but the opportunities
which they do have are not properly utilised by many
officials. The people generally are afraid to approach
the officials for various reasons ; if the 'Executive
Officers be sympathetic and kind in their treatment
and take the people into their confidence, the ad-
ministration will be much improved. I think these
officers have the requisite knowledge of the ver-
naculars.

There should be a general increase in the administra-
tive staff, and there should be a reduction in the area
of some districts and sub-divisions the areas of which
are unusually large. Every district should have a
J oint-Magistrate.

The transfers of officers are not very frequent now-
adays. The District and other Executive and Judi-
cial Officers should not generally be transferred within
three years from the date of their posting to a charge.

Municipalities should have larger powers in respect
of their finances, but I do not think that at present
the functions of municipalities and District Boards
could be suitably extended.

N

Raja
Sinha
Bahadur,

jit

2 Jan., 1908.


98

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Raja Ranajit
Sinha
Bahadur.

2 Jan., 1908.

I do not think it is expedient, or that it will serve
any useful purpose, to have Advisory or Administra-
tive Councils to assist District Officers ; but an Ad-
ministrative Council to assist the Divisional Officer
might be created. He might be authorized to choose
men from the landholders and the members of muni-
cipalities and District Boards. All important admini-
strative matters should be referred to them, and
Divisional Officers should generally act on such advice,
though I would not fetter them in any way by such
advice.

I would not invest District Boards with powers of
supervision and control over the smaller municipalities
within their respective districts.

Village communities, under proper safeguards, might
be generally invested with powers as regards the dis-
posal of local affairs relating to revenue, police, sanita-
tion and education. They may also be authorised to
dispose of petty civil cases.

16792. Have you experience, as Chairman of a
municipality, of questions of education ?—Yes, but it
is only primary education with which we have to deal.

16793. Does the Commissioner take any interest in
those schools ?—The Divisional Commissioner does not
take much interest in them.

16794. Ought he to have some increased power in
his division in that respect ?—I'do.

16795. Are the people in a district in any way
reluctant to come and see either the Commissioner or
the Collector ?—Yes, they do not dare to approach
them, because they fear they will not be properly
received or treated properly.

16796. Do you know of any instance in which they
have not been kindly received or received in a friendly
manner ?—I cannot give you any particular instance,
but generally we find, that the District Officers think
that their positions will be degraded, and that the
people will take advantage of them, if they mix freely
with the people.

16797. Have you any knowledge of your own
beyond the general opinion that people have been
received by officers in an unfriendly way ?—My ex-
perience is that they have not been properly received.

16798. Has such a thing ever happened to you ?—
No, but I have been told that it has happened in other
cases.

16799. Are the areas of some of the districts too
large ?—I think Midnapore is too large.

16800. Apart from Midnapore, is there any district
which you think too large ?—No.

16801. How long ought an officer to remain in a
district before he gets sufficiently acquainted with the
people ?—He should remain for three years, but he
ought to know the people within a year.

16802. Ought he to remain longer than three years?
—No, I think not.

16803. In a large district such as you have described,
would he have time to get round it in three years ? —
I think so.

16804. Do the District Officers now consult the
people at all ?—Very rarely.

16805. Have they ever consulted you ?—No. I do
not remember to have been consulted.

16806. Have not they asked you : “ Is it a good
thing to do this or that ” ?—No, but I think they
should. 3 hey generally consult the Vice-Chairman of
the District Board among non-official gentlemen of the
district, but no one else. The Divisional Commis-
sioner does sometimes consult other gentlemen of
influence, but the District Officer never.

16807. Would it te well if that were done?—Yes,
it would be well, and it would be better for the
administration.

16808. Would it be easy to find proper people to
consult?—I do not think it would be very difficult.
There are a good many representative people in a
district.

16809. Would you have those people consulted in a
formal way as a Council, or would you have them
consulted just as the District Officer thought fit ?—As
the District Officer thought fit, and there should be no
Advisory Council.

16810. With regard to municipalities,, ought they to
have larger powers than they have?—Yes ; as regards
finance. In other matters they have sufficient powers,
but as regards finance they are controlled by the
Divisional Commissioners, even in minute matters.

16811. In what sort of things would you give greater
freedom ?—There is so much voted for education, so
much for sanitation, and so on,, and we should not be
interfered with in matters of detail. Supposing we
have to spend Bs. 5,000 for some local purpose, such
as medical, and we have allotted Rs. 500 out of that
sum for sanitary measures in order to deal with an
outbreak of cholera or small-pox ; but if we want to
appoint a Medical Officer on Rs. 50 per mensem, we
are required to take sanction. In my opinion when
Rs. 500 were set aside for the purpose the Municipal
Commissioners should have power to spend that
amount as they like.

16812. Supposing you were to spend more than your
municipal income, where would you get any increased
income from ?—We have to keep within our income
and must not exceed it : if we exceed our expenditure
on one item, we have to curtail it on others.

16813. Then it is not a case of wanting to spend
more money as a municipality, but you want greater
freedom with regard to the way in which you spend
what you have got ?—Yes, that is the difficulty, and
the people are too poor to pay any larger amount of
taxes.

16814. Should village communities have increased
powers?—The powers of the panchayat should be
greatly increased.

16815. (Sir Frederic Lely.) Would you also give
the Collector a voice in matters of education ?—Yes,
they have to see that the schools are going on properly ;
they travel in the districts, and it would be better for
the schools if they visited and inspected them.

16816. Are you aware of any harmful result that
would follow on Commissioners or Collectors not
having a voice in the management of the schools ?—I
think so, because unless the Collector goes, no one
looks after the schools.

16817. Should all Municipal Commissioners be elected ?
—Two-thirds are elected now. That is enough at
present.

16818. Would you give any right of appeal against
the orders of Municipal Commissioners ?—Yes

16819. Would you give a dismissed employe, for
instance, a right of appeal against the decision of the
Municipal Commissioners ?—No, I would let people
appeal with regard to building regulations, burial-
grounds, and burning ghats, and matters of that kind,
but in no other case.

16820. Would you give municipalities full power of
taxation?—Yes, but I would not give them power to
impose any additional tax which is not within the
Act.

16821. (Mr. Dutt.) How long have you been Chair-
man of your municipality ?—Twelve years.

16822. What is the population of the towTn ?—
10,000. It is about 5 miles from the headquarters of
the district.

16823. Are there any sub-committees in the munici-
pality ?—No.

16824. Do you, as the Executive Officer of the
municipality, place your work before the members to
be passed ?—Yes.

16825. Is the assessment list made out by you ?—It
is made out by the office, and is sent to the Ward
Commissioners who generally assess the taxes. There
are two Commissioners in every ward, and in some
wards there are three. The assessment lists are then
laid before a meeting and passed.

16826. Do you make any contribution to the high
school ?—No. We support the primary schools only.

16827. Are there any members whose duty specially
it is to inspect the schools ?—No.

16828. Is sufficient attention paid to school work ?—
There is a School Committee. It is composed of
non-official members. There are two or three Com-
missioners of the municipality, and two or three are
elected from outside.


Full Text

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PAGE 5

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PAGE 7

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PAGE 8

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PAGE 10

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PAGE 15

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
PAGE 16

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PAGE 22

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