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 )
65501183 ( OCLC )

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Full Text
MINUTES OF EVIDENCE

TAKEN BEFORE THE

ROYAL COMMISSION

UPON

DECENTRALIZATION

IN

EASTERN BENGAL AND ASSAM.

VOLUME V.

Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Commans of His Majesty.

Presented by



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., Fetter Lane, E.C., and
32, Abingdon Street, Westminster, S.W.; or
OLIVER & BOYD, Tweeddale Court, Edinburgh; or
E. PONSONBY, 116, Grafton Street, Dublin.

[Cd. 4364.] Price 2s. 2d.

1908.


TABLE OF CONTENTS.

Page.

Monday, 6th January, 1908.

128. Evidence of the Hon’ble Mr. 0. P. Lyon 3

129. Do. of the Hon’ble Nawab Khwaja

Salimulla Bahadur....... 17

130. Do. of Babu Bhuban Mohan Maitra 19

131. Do. of Mr. H. Luson ............ 21

Tuesday, 1th January, 1908.

132. Do. of Mr. R. Hughes-Buller ... 30

133. Do. of Babu Jatra Mohan Sen ... 41

134. Do. of Mr. R. H. Henderson ... 44

135. Do. of the Hon’ble Rai Dulal

Chandra Deb Bahadur ... 46

136. Do. of Babu Jamini Mohan Das ... 49

Wednesday, 8th January, 1908.

137. Do. of Mr. R. Nathan .............. 52

138. Do. of Mr. H. Sharp ............... 64

139. Do. of Mr. J. C. Jack ............. 71

Thursday, 2th January, 1908.

140. Do. of Mr. E. C. Ryland ........... 75

141. Do. of Mr. W. Sweet ... ... 81

142. Do. of the Hon’ble Mr. P. G. Melitus 86

143. Do. of the Hon'ble Mr. H. Savage 97

Friday, 12th January, 1908.

J 44. Do. of the Hon’ble Mr. L. J.

Kershaw ................ 109

145. Do. of Mr. J. E. Webster.......... 122

146. Do. of the Hon’ble Mr. H. Le

Mesurier ............... 125

Wednesday, 15£7t January, 1908.

147. Evidence of Major D. Herbert.......

148. Do. of Mr. N. D. Beatson Bell

149. Do. of Sri jut Manik Chandra Barna

150. Do. of Mr. N. Bonham-Carter

151. Do. of Colonel D. Wilkie........

Thursday, 16th January, 1908.

152. Do. of Babu Kamini Kumar Chanda

153. Do. of Mr. W. Skinner

154. Do. of Major P. R. T. Gurdon

155. Do. of Mr. G. N. Gupta ........

Appendices :—

I. —Note on the organization of the

Government of Eastern Bengal and
Assam, filed by the Hon’ble Mr.
Lyon, Chief Secretary ...........

II. —Letter from the Chief Secretary
to the Government of Eastern Bengal
and Assam, to the Secretary to the
Royal Commission on Decentraliza-
tion, No. 411T., dated 13th December
1907, submitting a general statement
of the views of that Government on
the subject of Decentralization

III. —Letter from the Officiating Secre-

tary to the Government of Eastern
Bengal and Assam in the Public
Works Department, to the Secretary,
Royal Commission, Decentralization
Scheme, No. 1446G., dated the 16th
November 1907, on the subject of
Decentralization as affecting the
Public Works Department..........

IV. —Schedule of proposals of the

Government of Eastern Bengal and
Assam on the subject cf Decentrali-
zation ..........................

Index ...............................

Page.

202

204

206


MINUTES OF EVIDENCE

TAKEN BEFORE THE

ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

TWENTY-SEVENTH DAY.

Dacca, Monday, Qth January, 1908.

present :

0. 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., O.I.E., I.C.S. W. L. Hichens, Esq.

K, C. Dutt, Esq., C.I.E.

The Hon. Mr. P. C. Lyon was called and examined.

19243. You are Chief Secretary of the Govern-
ment of Eastern Bengal and Assam?—Yes.

Larger powers .should be given to the provincial
Government to deal with provincial funds. All
important schemes of expenditure should be re-
ferred to the Government of India for orders before
their inception, but once such schemes have been
sanctioned, and there is provision in the budget
estimates for their execution, it should be unneces-
sary to refer again for sanction to specific items
of expenditure under these schemes, or to the
creation of the appointments necessary to carry
them out. Again, when choice has to be made
between various schemes which have been sanc-
tioned, but which cannot all be undertaken at once
owing to wiant of funds, the Local Government
should be permitted to use its discretion .as to the
order in which such schemes should be taken up,
and the rate of progress to be laid down with
respect to them. Similarly, I am doubtful whether
the Govern meut of India does not exercise too
minute a control over the details of the budgets
of Local Governments. In the interests of uni-
formity and economy, it is necessary that the
experience of other provinces should be laid before
the Local Government for consideration, but when
that consideration has been given to them, more
discretion should be left to the local authorities
to decide finally on the expenditure of provincial
funds.

The 'Government of India is inclined to interfere
too much in matters of detail, and occasionally
forces views as to revenue policy, derived from
experience in provinces in which the conditions are
altogether different, upon officers who are well
acquainted with local circumstances. In matters
also of establishments .and office administration,
too detailed a control is sometimes exercised.

A large measure of decentralisation is required,
and that c&n best be secured by the grant of .some
general power to delegate, or to refuse to delegate,
or to withdraw powers. There is serious difficulty,
however, in dealing with powers which have been
conferred upon certain authorities by Acts of the
Legislature. The exact authority who will hold
such powers lias been decided by the Legislative
Councils, and the fact that certain orders can only
be passed by officers of a certain standing may
frequently have conciliated opposition based on a
fear of orders being passed by junior and inexperi-
enced officers. In many such cases it would not
be right now to modify the action thus taken with-
out very full consideration, but executive orders,
and a vast mass of detailed executive work can
safely be delegated to lower authorities without
breach of any express or implied undertaking.

1250 Wt T L 261 12/08 D&S 6 33289

Undoubtedly, the Government of India is occa-
sionally influenced too exclusively by officers whose
experience has not extended to provinces other than
their own. It is difficult to /arrange for the repre-
sentation of all provinces in the Government of
India, but it seems advisable, when matters of
great /moment are being discussed by the 'Supreme
Government, that the Local Government concerned
should be fully represented personally, as well
as by its written letters of protest. A very im-
portant case in point is certain correspondence on
large revenue matters which took place a few years
back between the Government of India and the
Government of Bengal. The Revenue Department
of the Government of India being at that time
almost exclusively manned by officers whose experi-
ence was limited to the Punjab, it was difficult
for the Government of Bengal to secure proper
appreciation for its own important revenue prob-
lems or an understanding of the circumstances
that have grown up in Bengal under the permanent
settlement, or in those tracts of Bengal to which
the permanent settlement does not apply. Large
matters connected with the Bengal Tenancy Act,
the survey and settlement, and the maintenance
of the records of those settlements, were dealt with
by the Government of India from the standpoint of
officers who had no experience of Eastern India,
and the protests and arguments set forth by the
Government of Bengal were occasionally overruled
with some lack of comprehension of the questions
at issue.

The appointment of the Directors and Inspectors-
General is of the greatest value to Local Govern-
ments. Their proper functions would appear to
be .to inspect, to suggest to Heads of Departments
and to Local Governments where the reforms car-
ried out in other provinces appear to them to be
applicable in the province they are visiting, to
bring the Secretariat of the Government of India
into touch with provincial matters, and to deal
directly also with the Local Governments, discuss-
ing with them the views of the Government of
India and the reforms which they think it desirable
to -suggest. They should not, however, have power
to pass orders, or distribute funds, nor should the
Government of India issue orders on their reports
without previous consultation with the Local
Government.

The initiative in large administrative reforms
has come in the past few years from the Govern-
ment of India, who are aided by their wider experi-
ence and broader outlook. I do not think that the
guidance of the Government of India should be
withdrawn. Much uniformity, is desirable, amid) it
is necessair/y for the Governiment. of India) to> curb

A2

The Hon. Mr

P. C. Lyon.
6 Jan., 1908


4

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

The Hon. Mr.
P. C. Lyon.

6 Jan.) 1908.

faddists when they attain to high local position.
This is especially desirable in the ’case of highly
specialised departments placed under the control of
Local Governments. Minor reforms are, of course,
frequently initiated by Local Governments.

The right of appeal, either in administrative or
personal matters, should not be curtailed, but con-
stant vigilance would appear to be necessary to
prevent too great an interference with the discretion
of Local Governments, and the consequent growth
of an impression that the Local Government is not
trusted.

The demands for returns and information has not
increased materially in the past few years, but
constant care is required to prevent this, and the
present reports and returns might still be largely
reduced, on the lines of the orders issued by the
Government of India a few years back. There are
reports sent up by all grades of officers which are
not required. The information contained in them
should be carefully registered and tabulated in the
office of -collection, so that they may be available
when required, but they should not be reproduced in
periodical reports for the information of higher
authorities.

Large delegation should be made to Commis-
sioners and to District Officers, of the powers both
of the Local Government and the Board of Revenue.
The status and position -of the Board of Revenue
should be materially changed. The members
should still sit to exercise appellate authority, but
for all executive work they should act merely as
the Lieutenant-Governor’s agents. While I would
not impair the supreme authority of the Lieutenant-
Governor, which gives strength and individuality
to the administration, I would give him two officers
to relieve him of much detailed correspondence
and to help him in the inspection of the work of
his Commissioners and the Heads -of Departments.
They should be senior officers with full knowledge
of the province, who have themselves been Com-
missioners, and they should be consulted by the
Lieutenant-Governor generally on -all matters of
importance. Their presence at headquarters would
prevent the exercise of undue influence by junior
officers in the 'Secretariat, and would bring more
varied experience to the assistance of the Lieu-
tenant-Governor, while they would -be available
constantly to visit divisions and communicate to
Commissioners, and through them to District Offi-
cers, the policy and the detailed wishes of the
Government. They would have no office separate
from that of the Secretariat, and would see all
cases concerning the department they were
appointed to control. This would completely modify
the present system, under which there is much
unnecessary friction and delay over matters dealt
with both by the Board of 'Revenue and the Local
Government, and the position of Commissioners
would, at the same time, be enhanced.

Commissioners should be given more power in
matters relating to -agriculture, police, education,
excise and sanitation. It is through the Commis-
sioner that the Government should get into touch
with the people, and he should influence the policy
of Government in matters in which he is able to
ascertain local opinion and sentiment.

Executive Officers have not, of late years, had
sufficient opportunities for personal contact with
the people. The chief obstacles are the pressure
of Court and office work, the want of communi-
cations, and the increased frequency with which
European officers take leave out of India.

Frequent transfers have also militated against
an intimate knowledge of the vernaculars.
Assamese can be mastered without much difficulty
by an officer who knows Bengali, and we have,
since the constitution of this province, modified the
departmental examination rules to secure an
adequate knowledge of Bengali as a condition of
service.

The pressure of Court and office work is due to
the inadequacy of the staff available to deal with
it, and the excessive area of some of our districts.
For the proper government of the province the
cadre of the Civil, Police and Educational Services
should be largely increased. These Services are
altogether undermanned, -and it is impossible for
the officers in them to perform the duties entrusted

to them with adequate care and consideration.
The consequence of this pressure has been that the
valuable tours made by officers in the interior of
their districts have to be curtailed, and those
officers have not the time to enquire into details
of village life and village organisation, and make
themselves personally known to the people in the
manner that is essential to the proper performance
of their duties.

Considerable care should be exercised in the
selection of Collectors of districts and of Commis-
sioners of divisions, and seniority should only be
held to give a claim when it seems probable that
the senior officer will use intelligently the greater
experience that he has acquired.

The transfers of officers have been, at times, un-
necessarily frequent, and the greatest vigilance is
required to reduce their number. They are due
to inadequacy of staff, the working of leave rules,
and the system under which promotion frequently
connotes a transfer. It would not be advisable in
the public interest to touch the leave rules, and I
am doubtful whether any system of pay can be
devised which would obviate the necessity for
transfers on promotion. But with a larger staff a
great many of them could be avoided, as the large
majority of transfers which are made are due to
the necessity of supplying the place of an officer
going on leave, or falling sick, by an officer of
equal calibre from a distant place. With a larger
staff, and strict attention to the principle that
officers must be allowed to remain for three years
in the districts to which they are appointed, many
of the disadvantages due to the present system
would disappear.

I a'm doubtful whether much larger powers can
be granted to municipalities or District Boards,
but something can be done in this direction. The
difficulty lies in securing proper control over the
executive of such bodies, and in maintaining that
executive at a proper standard of efficiency. If
these Boards would secure the services of the best
men to -fill the posts under them, and would leave
good men to carry out orders without excessive
interference, there would be less objection to the
granting of larger powers to them. It is not so
much that they fail to issue the right instructions
and the right orders, as that they fail to see that
those orders are properly carried out.

While anxious to devise some means by which
Indian gentlemen who are ready and willing to
help in the administration can be associated with
the Government in its work, I am doubtful whether
the constitution of Advisory or Administrative
Councils will greatly help matters, though com-
mittees of Indian gentlemen constituted to assist
in sanitary and educational matters can be utilised
with great advantage to the administration. We
have for our permanent assistance a large body
of Indian members of the Provincial Civil and
allied Services, and private gentlemen, who have
their own business to attend to, and who are not
directly associated with the Government, would find
it very difficult to take any such prominent part
in Government work as is implied by the forma-
tion of Advisory or Administrative Councils. A
great deal can be done by a policy of consultation
and deliberation with Indian gentlemen of all
classes in the district or division on all matters of
local interest, and I am only doubtful whether such
a policy should he carried out on the lines of the
proposals hitherto made for the creation of formal
councils.

An experiment might be made in investing Dis-
trict Boards with powers of supervision and con-
trol over small municipalities.

Efforts are being made to encourage the growth
of village communities, and to entrust village
officers with greater powers over the disposal of
local affairs, but great care has to be exercised to
secure that the powers thus given fall into the
right hands. I am convinced that, for some time
to come, the main work of the administration -must
remain in the hands of those who are trained up
to the work, whether they be Europeans or
Indians. For the present there must be a large
leaven of Europeans, in order to give strength and
backbone to the administration. We atljpresent recruit
almost all our Government officers from among the




ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 5

natives of the country, and at the time of the
transfer of the Bengal districts to the new pro-
vince there were only 93 Europeans in all branches
of the Government iService within the province.
Experience has showm^'however, that our staff was
in this respect much too weak, and it has been
necessary, and it still is necessary, to strengthen
it to enable us to perform our obligations towards
the masses of the population.

19244. Will you give the Commission a very
brief sketch of the organization of the province ?-—
The 'Head of the province is the Lieutenant-
Governor who is assisted by three 'Civil (Secretaries
and a Public Works (Secretary. There is a Board
of Revenue, comprising two members, and there
are five divisions in charge of Commissioners. The
.District (Officers are known as Deputy Commis-
sioners in Non-Regulation districts, and Collectors
in Regulation districts. , Then there is a Legisla-
tive Council consisting of 15 members.

19245. What place does the Board of Revenue
occupy?—It stands intermediary between the Com-
missioners and the Government in all matters con-
nected with land revenue and miscellaneous revenue.
It is only concerned with revenue. The members tour
in the province, but they have their headquarters
at Dacca and visit iShillong during a portion of
the hot weather and rainy season.

19246. Do they ever sit as a Board of Revenue?
—Occasionally both members jointly sign a reply
if they are consulted jointly on any important
matter, but their work is practically separate..

19247. Has each individual member the full
powers of the Board, as a Board?—He has, except
in the matter of appeals; if the Board of Revenue
differ from the Commissioner on appeal, both mem-
bers have to be called in.

19248. What is the distribution of work at the
headquarters of a district?—'Our districts are
divided mostly into sub-divisions. The central or
sadar sub-division is in the direct charge of the
Collector, but each of the outlying sub-divisions
has a Sub-Divisional Officer, either an Assistant
Magistrate or a Deputy Collector, and some of the
Collector’s powers devolve upon the 'Sub-Divisional
Officer who deals with the criminal work of his
sub-division. In Assam a large portion of the
revenue work is also done by the Sub-Divisional
Officer within his own sub-division, but in Eastern
Bengal practically the whole of the revenue work
is kept in the direct charge of the Collector at
headquarters. He has under him at headquarters
a considerable staff—3 or 4, or more, Deputy
(Magistrates, sometimes a Joint Magistrate and an
Assistant Magistrate also, who deal with criminal
cases and with various departments of revenue
work. Deputy Collectors are placed in charge of
the Income-tax Department, the Excise Depart-
ment, Partition, Road Cess, Land Registration,
and so on.

19249. Has the Deputy Collector at headquarters
no territorial jurisdiction?—No, not in Eastern
Bengal.

19250. There is a Sanitary Board in the pro-
vince; what does that consist of?—IThe first mem-
ber of the Board of Revenue, the Chief Engineer,
and the Sanitary Commissioner—the Sanitary
Commissioner being both member and Secretary.

19251. With regard to the Director of Agricul-
ture, he" has lately been appointed to this province ?
—’Yes. He was previously on the Civilian cadre
of the province. He was selected by the Local
Government.

19252. Was his appointment confirmed by the
Government of India ?—*1 do not think the appoint-
ment was specially reported to the Government of
India, but they are aware of it no doubt.

19253. Have any officers of the Agricultural De-
partment been sent to you lately by the Govern-
ment of India to advise?—Mr. iFinlow, the jute
expert, was in the province of Bengal before the
partition, and he came over to this province which
contains the largest jute area. There is another
expert about to join who is under training at

Pusa; he is an agricultural chemist. He is one of jjon
the experts we have asked for—we asked for 4 or 5. p. C. Lyon. '

19254. Then there are certain other heads of ~ “

Departments, the Jail Department, Registration, an''
Excise, and so forth; are these all under the Local
Government?—Yes. The Departments of Excise
and Customs and Land Records are under the
Board of Revenue.

19255. Is the Customs 'Officer an imperial officer ?

—-The Collector of Customs at Chittagong is the
Commissioner of the division. Under him we have
an Assistant Collector of Customs who is a local
officer, but I think he is under some special agree-
ment. He would ordinarily be an imperial officer.

19256. While the Government of Eastern Ben-
gal and Assam has put in a memorandum which
states the views of the Government, the expression
of opinion by officers generally is that of their own
individual view of the questions put to them?—

Yes, that is so.

19257. The Government of Eastern Bengal
rather takes the view that the control of the
Government of India is over-elaborate? In what
particular ?—'The constitution of the Board of
Revenue as it was formerly in Bengal, and as it
at present is in this province, seems to result in
the delay of work and to afford an example of over-
elaboration.

19258. Does the Government of India inquire too
minutely into the details of your budget?—We are
of that opinion, but I understand that a good deal
of change has been effected lately in the direction
of giving the Local Government more freedom in
settling the details of the budget.

19259. You say you want greater power to judge
from among approved schemes those which are of
the greatest importance; have you not the power
to do that now ?—-The difficulty is that some
schemes are pressed on us as matters of great
urgency, and we have been restrained by the
•Government of India occasionally from proceeding
with other schemes in preference, which we con-
sider of greater urgency, although the expenditure
is mainly from provincial revenues.

19260. Have you no power to resist such inter-
ference in the case of the expenditure of pro-
vincial funds ?—I do not think so ; if the Govern-
ment of India desires that we should cut down
certain items of the budget in view of increased
expenditure on other items they can make us do
so, while we should perhaps prefer to distribute
our expenditure somewhat differently.

19261. Do you mean that, instead of saying to
you, “ Your whole budget represents a total of so
and so, you must reduce it by 10 lakhs,” they say,

“You must take off two lakhs in the Education
Department, two lakhs in the 'Public Works,” and
so forth?—Yes, I believe a great deal of change
has been made recently, and objection is not now
being taken so much, but it was previously the
case. The general limitation of expenditure is
within the proper supervision of the Government
of India.

19262. W ith regard to the status of the Government
of India itself, speaking with the authority of the
Government here, will you explain your views?—

In matters where the Government of India express
views which are opposed to those held by the Local
Government, the Local Government has not always
had sufficient opportunity of emphasising their
views and discussing matters with the Government
of India. That might be remedied if the officers
of the (Government of India were taken from the
various provinces. I do not in the least wish to
suggest that the number of officers of the Govern-
ment of India should be multiplied, or that any
further over-elaboration should take place in the
work of the Government of India., but the sugges-
tion is made with reference to the proposed
increase in the membership of the Legislative
Councils. By such an increase a large number off
official members will be brought into touch with the
Government of India, and that might render it
possible (for representatives of the Local Govern-
ment to be consulted, and the ideas of the Local


6

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

The Son. Sr.

P. G. Lyon.

6 Jan., 1908.

Governments to be thoroughly explained before any
dissent from them is expressed.

19263. You wish to enable the Government of
India to get advice upon the varying local con-
ditions of the various provinces?—Yes. I should
like to refer to a case regarding revenue matters
in Bengal. The Government of India in the
Revenue Department was (almost exclusively drawn
from officers of experience in the Punjab, and the
proposals of the Government of Bengal at the time
with reference to the maintenance of the settlement
records and the Bengal Tenancy Act were dealt
with entirely by officers of the Government of India
who had no knowledge of the circumstances of
Bengal. There was a very lengthened correspond-
ence with regard to the matter, much of which
might have been 'avoided. The result was that the
representations of the Local Government, which had
been repeated on more than one occasion, were
finally over-ruled. The action consequent upon
that case is not yet completed ; the correspondence
took place a few years ago.

19264. Would it not be quite possible, notwith-
standing the overruling of the provincial Govern-
ment, that the decision might be a wise one ?—That
of course might be the case.

19265. The Board of Revenue, as it exists now, is
a copy of the system in Bengal as it formerly
existed. Are the relations of the Local Government
with the Board of Revenue entirely within the
competence of the Government of Eastern Bengal?
—The changes 'that have taken place in the Bengal
Government are wholly within the competence of the
Local Government.

19266. The Lieutenant-Governor desires a change
in the system by which the members of the Board
of Revenue would ibe brought more directly into
touch with them. Surely the Government of
Bengal have full powers over the procedure of their
own officers and the relations of those officers to the
Government ?—I am not sure that there are not
some difficulties as regards .the powers of the Board
of Revenue which might be involved if this change
was fully carried out. The members of the Board
of Revenue have been known to object to the change
as bringing them into itoo great subordination to the
Lieutenant-Governor and making them mere 'Secre-
taries rather than independent members of the
Board. That creates some difficulty in carrying
out the change, but to a certain extent, as regards
pure matters of procedure, there should be no
difficulty.

19267. The view of the Local Government is that
it is desirable first of all to have a Board of
Revenue, .and secondly to have a strong one ?—That
is the view taken in the Government letter.

19268. Is that your personal view?—My per-
sonal view is that we should go further. All I
would leave to the Board of Revenue, as such, is
their appellate jurisdiction, and for its appellate
jurisdiction it should be strong. The Board of
Revenue, except for appellate purposes, should
cease to exist ; the two members who are now
members of the Board should become advisers of
the Lieutenant-Governor, .not as having the powers
of the Lieutenant-Governor, but as his deputies, so
that they could visit various parts of the province
and carry out and communicate his orders. As
senior officers of the Service they should be advisers
between him and the Secretaries, who might be more
junior officers. My proposals are mainly in the
interests of the greater simplification of business.
The present system greatly increases correspond-
ence. There are a vast number of matters which
go from the Commissioner to the Board of Revenue,
and again from the Board of Revenue to the Gov-
ernment, sometimes differences of opinion arise
between the Board of Revenue and the Commis-
sioner, and again between the Board of Revenue
and the Local Government, involving correspond-
ence and adjustment. If all these matters were
dealt with directly between the Commissioners and
the Government, the Lieutenant-Governor being
assisted by two Councillors who could discuss
matters with him, or- visit the divisions, it would
simplify business.

19269. Could the .same result be obtained, not by
the creation of a Council, but by an increase in the
powers of Commissioners, leaving the Board of
Revenue for the purposes of appellate jurisdiction?'
—I think my proposals would be accompanied by
a great delegation of power to Commissioners.

19270. If there was a great delegation of powers
to Commissioners what would be the necessity of
some body intermediate between the Lieutenant-
Governor and the Commissioners ?—I do not suggest
an intermediate authority, but assistance to the
Lieutenant-Governor both with regard to advice and
for inspection purposes.

19271. Would it not be sufficient to make a Com-
missioner go direct to the Secretariat without the
assistance of these Councillors ?—That would be an
inferior system, because the assistance which would
be given by these 'Councillors should be very great.

19272. Are you quite prepared, and is the Local
Government here quite prepared, to delegate very
largely increased powers to Commissioners?—Yes.
The retention of the Board of Revenue for appellate
purposes is of importance in any case.

19273. Do you suggest that ‘the granting of these
larger powers to Commissioners would require their
more careful selection?-—Selection should be more-
carefully made ; it is made with .some care now.

19274. Would you begin the process of selection
very much lower down the scale of officers?—An
officer should be selected for the charge of a dis-
trict ; every officer is not fit for the charge of a
district.

19275. Are officers so selected now ?—Some officers
are passed over.

19276. Is that passing over less frequent than it
might advantageously be?—If greater power was
given, more officers should be passed over; the
system might be slightly more strict than it has
been.

19277. In the case of either a Sub-Divisional
Officer who is passed over for a Collector, or a
Collector who is passed over for a Commissioner,
what should be done with them—should they be
allowed to remain in the Service, or would you
retain them in the charges in which they were
before they were passed over?—I think so. I do
not think it means any further deterioration in the
officer, because he may be 'fit for the charge of a dis-
trict, but he may not be fit for the higher duties
of a Commissioner.

19278. But taking the case of an officer who has
been three or four times passed over, would you
retire that officer or would you retain him to the
end of his service ?—I think he should be retained—
I see no reason against it.

19279. Do you see no reason against retaining an
officer, say, of 40 or 45 years of age as perhaps
Assistant Collector if he has been passed over for a
Collector ship ?—-Some scheme, by which officers who
might be reported as unfit for a higher post than
that of Joint-Magistrate should possibly be given
some compassionate pension, might be worthy of’
consideration, but it is not a matter I have fully
thought out.

19280. You suggest that Commissioners should be
given power to post and transfer subordinate officers
—do you mean Gazetted Officers ?—Gazetted
Officers, but Uncovenanted Officers, such as Deputy
Magistrates. Commissioners have now the power
of transferring and posting Sub-Deputy Collectors,
and it is merely an extension of that system to the
rank of Deputy Collector.

19281. You would not give power of posting or
transferring in the case of Imperial 'Civil Servants ?'
—There would be no objection to the Commissioner
posting Assistant Magistrates to different districts,
but he .should not post Joint-Magistrates or Col-
lectors.

19282. You suggest that reference should be made
to Local Governments after the Government of’
India have received advice from their Inspectors-
General ; supposing the Inspector-General was an
officer, say, of the Government of Eastern Bengal,
and he criticised rather sharply the proposals of


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

7

the Government of India, and his criticism were
referred to the Local Government, might not that
prejudice his forward .path after he had ceased to
!be an Inspector-Generfil of the Government of
India?—Officers are not drawn from Local Govern-
ments. Personally I do not isee any difficulty.

19283. Is the Government of Eastern Bengal not
only prepared to delegate powers to 'Commissioners,
but do they think that the Commissioners, in their
turn, should be called upon 'to delegate powers to
•Collectors and iSulb-Divisional Officers, particularly
with regard to revenue work?—Yes. Delegation
from a Commissioner, of course, would be to the
Collector and the (Collector would delegate to Sub-
Divisional Officers.

19284. With regard to District Boards and muni-
cipalities, the Government of Eastern Bengal do
not think it would be well at present to extend
their powers?—-That is the view taken. In the
opinion of the Government the management of the
District Boards and municipalities has not proved
so 'Specially (successful as to justify the delegation
to them of further powers, but at the present time
very large powers lie in the hands of District
Boards and municipalities.

19285. Do the powers lie with the District
Board now, or with the Chairman of the District
Board?—I should say distinctly with the District
Board.

19286. When you were a Chairman of a District
Board, did you find, generally speaking, that the
Board were unwilling to disagree with you in any
views which you might happen to take upon a
particular question?—I would rather put it that I
•consulted the Board.

19287. And that the Board agreed?—No, I do not
wish ito put it in that way, because I differed in
many cases from the Board. If I had views on a
certain point, I put them to the Board and they
discussed those views, (but I do not think it can be
said that the Board always agreed.

19288. Was there full discussion of all matters
with the Board ?—That would apply to certain
members of the Board, but not to all; there were
many members from whom I did not get much
assistance, but there were others who were ready
to express, their views and from whom I did get the
greatest assistance.

19289. You did not feel that your position as
Chairman so dominated the Board that they .prac-
tically took little interest in the proceedings ?—-I do
not think that any want of interest in the pro-
ceedings which might have .been 'shown by the
members- of the District Board was due to that,
because many of those who opposed the Chairman
were those who took the greatest interest in the
proceedings.

19290. When was the budget first seen by the
Board, the day they . had to discuss it ?—-That I
cannot isay. I .should not dream of asking a
Board, if I was now Chairman, to discuss a budget
on the day I presented it to them. I cannot say
what I did in former days ; it is some years ago.

19291. With regard to transfers, you are respon-
sible, subject to the authority of the Local Govern-
ment? Do you find that there is .a great number
of transfers from post to post ?—There is a very
great deal. I look upon it as a very grave nuisance
and I do what I can to avoid it. The Lieutenant-
Governor has written a minute on the .subject, of
which perhaps I may give the substance now. His
Honour is of opinion that transfers are justified
by so many considerations that, so far as he knows,
they have not been unnecessarily made, in the
yast. majority.of cases.- Such (as have been made
could not have been avoided without falling into
worse difficulties. The. causes of transfer may be
divided into, (u) breakdown of health ; (6) leave ;
arid (c) unfitness proved by conduct. That means-
where an officer has proved a failure in a district,,
and it is necessary to transfer him in consequence.
’Then (d) the. necessity of .taking.’ a: man. from a
district for more important work. Th-usq a Finan-
cial Secretary »might - break down, and it might be?
necessary to select a man for the post -; , there are;
very few men in the province who could be selected

for such an important post, and it might be neces-
sary to take a man from a district where he had
only been for a year or .six months. Then (e) senior
officers returning from leave requiring posts to be
allotted to them ; (f) promotion ; (c/) social dis-
qualification. That is a matter which requires
perhaps -some explanation. It is highly undesir-
able that two officers who are known to be on very
bad terms should be placed in close connection
with each other—similarly with two Deputy Magis-
trate's. We know that two Deputy Magistrates are
on very bad terms (they may have had isome trouble
between them known to Government), and they
could not be placed as Sub-Divisional Officer and
second Deputy Magistrate in the same sub-division.
Then (h) hardship and general dissatisfaction, if
prizes and good appointments are not fairly dis-
tributed among those fit to hold them. We have
a large number of appointments which vary greatly
with regard to the qualifications of the officers who
are required to fill them, and a number of officers
who vary largely in the qualifications they possess ;
consequently transfers are inevitable if attention
is to be paid to the special fitness of officers for the
posts they are to hold. As an example, the very
important district of Mymensingh might fall
vacant ; it would be impossible to appoint to the
post the man who was Assistant Magistrate there,
a,nd it might be necessary to bring a man from
another district to fill -the place.

19292. Would that be the case as regards a period
of long leave ?—Perhaps, anything over six months.

19293. Would you fill a three months’ vacancy
with an Assistant Magistrate ? — Yes, Probably.
The remedies suggested for the transfers are, firstly,
that we must increase our istaff if we are to avoid
breakdowns which are due constantly to overwork ;
secondly, as regards leave, it is suggested that after
six months’ combined leave, even if part of it
was privilege leave, three years should be the in-
terval before the next long leave could be taken ;
and it is .to be considered whether a senior officer
returning from leave could not be allowed to keep
his post and pay, until a suitable vacancy occurs
without having to make a fresh appointment. As
regards promotion, it might be possible that officiat-
ing pay should not go to the officer who would get
the promotion without his having to go and actually
take up the appointment. Those are the main
points.

19294. With regard to leave, do officers stay out
here too long when they first come without going
home? They have to stay out eight years subject
to a period of three months’ privilege leave?—No,
I do not think so. They can sometimes get three
months’ privilege leave combined with, three months’
special leave, and a considerable number of officers
go home after three or four years on six months’
leave, so that the old rule is mitigated by those
circumstances.

19295. Have you any particular trouble with
regard to the knowledge of officers of the vernacu-
lar here?—We have taken measures -to stiffen the
examination, because officers have not so much to
do with other vernaculars—we are almost limited
to Bengali.

19296. Is there any lack of cordiality or a lack
of sympathy between the officers of the GoVernriient
and the people ?—I think the , increase of work has
made it increasingly difficult for officers to cultivate
the-friendship of Indian gentlemen, and meet, them.
Officers have too much work, and they have not the
time for relaxation which would give them the
opportunity.

19297. When they, are actually on tour, does, the
office work so haunt them that.they cannot get about
amongst the village,people?-—Not so much as they
should be able to do. Their tours are confined by
the press of their work ; they Are greatly confined
to the main roads, when they should Be able to go
more into the interior of their; districts than they
do. "

19298. Is there no limit to' thb distanqe that an
officer nYay > cover in a single' day^-^There are sornd
rules (passed to meet the case, of drib-tor cars, but I
do;- not kfiow exactly what thb zjii'eseht limits are?
There were limits beyond which an officer was not

The Hon. Mr

P. C. Lyon.
6 Jan., 1908.


8

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE :

The Hon. Hr.

P. C. Lyon.

6 Jan., 1908.

supposed to travel, namely, 20 miles a day, 'but I
should not like to emphasise that, because very
often an officer has to go out tor the express purpose
of inspecting certain offices which makes it desir-
able that he .should travel far >so 'as to make rapid
progress.

19299. Is it not clear that it is no good an officer
going on tour unless he goes at such a pace, and
within such limits, as to be in touch with the
people ?—If he can make short marches in the cold
weather that would be the ideal thing to do, but he
is prevented from doing so by office work, and par-
ticularly in this province, owing to the want of
staff.

19300. Although you are doubtful about the ad-
visability of extending the powers of District Boards
and municipalities, does the 'Government here think
something could be done in the way of village
councils?—Yes. Efforts are now being made to
introduce a new system of panchayats.

19301. The individual panchayat or- collective
panchayat ? — The individual panchayat who is
called the President in Eastern Bengal. The old
village system which prevails in other parts of
India is scarcely known here ; the districts have
different systems of their own which may be worked
up into some resemblance to the old village organi-
zation.

19302. Is it the desire of Government to gradually
create some system of communal feeling in the
villages?—I think it is most desirable.

19303. For the purpose of dealing with small
petty and criminal work?—Yes.

19304. And some small amount of educational
work?—Yes. I should think the village schools
ought to be in charge of the local bodies.

19305. And also small matters of sanitation?—
Yes, and also for arbitration in cases of land
disputes between tenants and so on.

19306. You stated that at the present moment
such councils should not deal with disputes in
which zamindars are concerned?—The difficulty is
not as to the councils ; it is that if the President of
the panchayat is given powers by Government, it
will be very difficult to appoint a man who would
deal fairly and properly with these disputes. If
we could arouse the communal feeling we should
be able to gradually evolve a local village council
which would have the village at its back, and
would deal with these matters efficiently. That is
a question of time.

19307. Would it be a considerable time ?—Yes, a
considerable time, and it would require very careful
management.

19308. Would that work be hampered by distinc-
tions of caste and religion?—-Very much so.

19309. You say that there are certain reports and
so forth which the local officers have to make which
might be diminished ?—’Some of the information, at
any rate, which is sent up periodically to the higher
authorities might be retained in the office until
some special enquiry was made into a particular
subject, or some necessity arose for collecting the
figures. Some of the statistics as to criminal and
civil jurisdiction, registration, and possibly excise
and education and so on might be thus dealt with.

19310. Do you, as a Government, ask for a good
deal in the way of returns from your officers and
so forth, which are not occasioned by the demands
either of the Secretary of State or the (Government
of India?—I doubt whether we ask for a great
deal which is not passed on.

19311. But have you ever looked into the question
of returns which you yourselves ask for, as apart
from the Government of India ?—No, I cannot per-
sonally say that I have.

19312. Would it be a subject worthy of con-
sideration by the 'Local Government?—Certainly.
I cannot say that it has been done.

19313. I am not speaking of merely annual re-
turns, but rather of a case in which some one wants
information and a return is asked for—We try to
keep every possible check upon that kind of thing.

It is being constantly suggested to us that in con-
sequence of some difficulty which has arisen, or
some fault that has been committed, a return,
should be prescribed in the future, and that it shall
be required from all District Officers and Com-
missioners, but we do our best to stop that, and
sometimes we think the recurrence of the fault is
probably a smaller evil than a large number of
returns.

19314. At any rate you think, as a Local Govern-
ment, you are not particular sinners in that re-
spect?—I hope not.

19315. Has there been a marked improvement
in the morale of the Subordinate iService, or is
there still some leaven of corruption in the Subor-
dinate and Provincial Services ?—‘It depends on how
far you go down in the Service. I think in the
grades of Deputy Collector and Sub-Deputy Col-
lector it is far less than it used to be, though one
knows of instances still. .

19316. Would that be in any way due to the
officers being kept a long time in their districts,
or would the reverse be the case?—I have had a
great deal of work in the Settlement Department,
where the officers are very hard worked and move
about a great deal from place to place, and among
officers there is this security, that they have not
had time to make arrangements to take bribes ;
they are moved too quickly from one place to
another to make any arrangements or ascertain
the persons who would bribe them.

19317. May I draw this general distinction, that
while .in the Imperial and Provincial Services, it
might be well to retain an officer a considerably
longer time in his post, it might be of considerable
advantage not to do so in the case of the Subordin-
ate Service?—I think the danger is greater with
subordinate officers.

19318. How long should a 'Covenanted Officer be
kept in his district ?—From three to five years,
except possibly in special cases. He might lose in-
terest after five years, and a change might be good
for him and for his work.

19319. (Sir Frederic Lely.) Are there -great dif-
ferences in the general administrative system of
Eastern Bengal and Assam, or are they pretty
much on the same lines?—They are on the same
lines, but, of course, there are distinctions; they
are governed by different executive rules; a dif-
ferent system has grown up to a certain extent
and they differ greatly in that the Sub^Divisional
Officer deals with revenue work to a much larger
extent in Assam than he does in Eastern Bengal.

19320. That is to say what is called the system
of territorial sub-divisions obtains more in Assam
than it does in Eastern Bengal?—It is more com-
plete. In Eastern Bengal the revenue work is
more centered at headquarters, -but the criminal
work is distributed similarly in both provinces.

19321. Even in Assam, is the iSub-Divisional
Officer entrusted with the whole general adminis-
tration of his sub-division?—No, a good deal re-
mains in the hands of the Deputy Commissioner.

19322. I was not speaking so much of powers as.
of cognizance; has the Sub-Divisional Officer in
Assam cognizance generally of all the administra-
tive work of his sub-division?—I could not answer
that definitely.

19323. Is it understood when a young Assistant
Commissioner is put in charge of a sub-division,
he is responsible for its welfare and its good
Government in the same way as the Deputy Com-
missioner is responsible for the whole district?—L
should say so.

19324. For instance, is he given to understand'
that he is expected to take an interest in educa-
tion, and that if education advances in his sub-
division he will get the credit, or a portion of the
credit for it?—I know he does a great deal of'
inspection of schools in his sub-division, but
whether nowadays he is responsible for the advance-
of education it would be difficult to say. He can
help, but his powers would be limited, as would"
those of the Deputy Commissioner, by the Educa-
tion Department.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

9

19325. He has not so much general responsi-
bility in the Eastern Bengal districts, has he?—
For instance, a Sub-Divisional Officer in the
Eastern Bengal has nothing to do with income-
tax?—He has a much more limited jurisdiction in
general mattes.

19326. Do you> not think that the Assam system
is much the better ?—I think it is the better
system.

19327. Do you not consider that a man in
charge of a sub-division, going on tour among the
people, is much more likely to be able to do, say
income-tax work well, than a man staying at head-
quarters who never comes into contact with the
people at all?—>1 think so.

19328. It has been said that income-tax work,
as a matter of fact, is done worse by the Sub-
Divisional Officer than by the headquarters officer
—would you agree with that?—I should not have
expected that to be the case.

19329. When the Sub-Divisional Officer tours in
his sub-division, how does he go about?—I hope
he rides. In some parts of Eastern Bengal he has
to go about in boats, but he usually rides a great
deal.

19330. Do you provide the Collector and his
Assistant with boats where they are wanted?—I
think the Collector is so provided, and I should
like to provide every Collector in (Eastern Bengal
with a steam launch.

19331. A suggested remedy for over-work is the
division of some of the districts which are too
large; would it not equally answer the purpose to
devolve more powers upon the Sub-Divisional
Officers, so leaving the Collector or Deputy-Com-
missioner more leisure for the more important
matters of his district?—I do not think that would
meet the case with regard to several of our large
districts which are very thickly populated. I do
not think an officer would have time to get to
know as intimately as he should the requirements
of different parts of some districts.

19332. But if there is a sufficient staff of Assis-
tants ?—Still the distances would be too great, and
he would not be able to spend sufficient time in
each place.

19333. I can understand that that would be an
obstacle to the Collector himself getting so much
personal knowledge of the people as he would like,
but if he exercised control through efficient Assis-
tants, would not the same end be practically
gained at less expense?—I think we should look
to the Collector to gain more personal knowledge,
and let the Commissioner gain it through the
Collector; I should not like to substitute an Assis-
tant for the Collector.

19334. Would your objection be based largely on
the inefficiency of the Deputy Collectors?—I do
not think they would be so efficient as the Collector
or so valuable.

19335. But still you would not call them, as a
rule, incompetent and unfit to be entrusted with
larger powers?—No, but I think the District
Officers should acquire a larger knowledge of the
people in their districts, and it is practically im-
possible in some of our large districts, even though
the Collector might be relieved of a great deal of
work, for him to thoroughly know them.

19336. Short of such a redistribution of areas,
would it not be an advance in the right direction
to increase the number of sub-divisions and de-
volve more powers on the Sub-Divisional Officers?
—-Certainly.

19337. If this were done, would you give the
same power to every Sub-Divisional Officer, or
would you allow the Collector to discriminate?—
The Collector should discriminate; he should be
allowed to exercise his discretion as to the more
important powers.

19338. Would that be a positive advance in the
way of stimulating officers to more zeal and
efficiency?—I think so.

19339. I understand that the function of the
Commissioner is to approach questions with some

33289

personal knowledge and also from a broader point Hon, Hr
of view than the Collector. On the other hand, p, C, Lyon,

the Board of Revenue approaches cases from the ------------

same point of view as -Government—it has not 6 Jan,, 1908.

necessarily any personal knowledge of the matters ---------

or men it deals with at all?—It is supposed to be

especially expert in revenue work.

19340. But it proceeds on paper statements and
on precedents in dealing with each case, distinct
from the Commissioner who deals with his work
on the basis of personal knowledge?—Yes.

19341. Do not the Government and the Board of
Revenue practically cover the same ground?—They
take all matters in certain' stages, the Board of
Revenue, with its expert knowledge of revenue
matters, relieves the Government of a great deal
of revenue detail.

19342. But you would not say that the point of
view was the same?—I do not see much difference.

19343. Then practically the Board of Revenue
is a fifth wheel in the coach ?—I have given reasons
for suggesting that the position might be modified.

19344. When the members of the Board tour on
inspection, is there not a danger of their clashing
with the Commissioner ?—I do not think so ; the
Board is distinctly above the Commissioner, every-
thing it does is on a plane above the Commis-
sioner.

19345. What is the use, if the Commissioner is
a trustworthy man, of a superior body going round
to do the same -work?—The Board has a knowledge
of the whole province, whereas a Commissioner is
limited to his own division.

19346. Have you a selected officer as Registrar
of Co-operative Credit /Societies?—-Yes.

19347. Could that officer also look after and
stimulate the village communities, or organise
them where they do not exist ?—It would be admir-
able in theory but it is too large a business. He
would have to work completely through Collectors
and Sub-Divisional Officers who alone can really
do such work. It would be too big a thing for
him personally.

19348. If he went into a village to organise a
Credit Society, might he not also introduce the other
step of general communal organisation?—I quite
agree with regard to the villages he is dealing,
with; but if the Registrar’s work is in the next
few years highly successful, he will be quite unable
to cope with it to the extent of dealing with the
villages in detail. Where he does his work in a
village he is obviously the right man to encourage
a village council as you suggest, but in time the-
officer in charge of -Co-operative Societies will be
quite unable to deal with the matter in detail in
each village because the work will be beyond him.

At the present moment, incidentally, in connection
with his own work he might render valuable
assistance.

19349. (Mr. Dutt.) While you think the mem-
bers of the Board of Revenue might be better
utilised as advisors of the Lieutenant-Governor,
would you give them the same powers as are
enjoyed by Members of 'Council in Madras and
Bombay?—No, I would not. I would have them
simply as advisors to the Lieutenant-Governor,
and his assistants in regard to matters of
inspection.

19350. Are there any strong objections to their
sharing the work of administration with the
Lieutenant-Governor ?—I do not think it necessary
or advisable for them to share in the final respon-
sibility of the Lieutenant-Governor.

19351. Would there be any objection to certain
departments being made over to each of them, and
certain departments being kept by his Honour
the Lieutenant-Governor himself?—I would pro-
pose that they should deal with certain depart-
ments, and that the work should be divided-among
them, but every reference to the Local Govern-
ment should be disposed of under the control of
the Lieutenant-Governor.

19352. But would not the members in that case
finally dispose of most of the questions which come

B


EVIDENCE :

The Hon, Hr.
' P. C. Lyon.

6 Jan., 1908.

10 MINUTES OF

up, instead of referring them to the Lieutenant-
Governor ?—All matters which they disposed of as
his representative should be brought to the notice
of the Lieutenant-Governor in the same way that
cases disposed of now are brought to his notice,
and a table of cases dealt with should be prepared.
They would be able to dispose of more cases than
they now have power to do.

19353. Would you practically reduce them to a
sort of (Secretariat, disposing of various matters
and bringing them to the notice of the Lieutenant-
Governor for his approval?—I think the
LieutenantnGovernor should know either Iby perusal
of the proceedings, or by some kind of table, what
work was being done, ‘and that he should have a
general knowledge of what was going on. :But
this would not apply to work dealt with by them
within their own subordinate powers.

19354. According to your scheme you would take
away some of the independent powers now enjoyed
by the Board of Revenue, and give them powers
not possessed by them now?—I would do so. Prob-
ably those powers would be exercised by them
under the supervision of the Lieutenant-Governor.

I would not give them independent powers except
as to appeal.

19355. So that the result would be that the
Lieutenant-Governor would have more power in
his hands than he has now ?—'No ; the Lieutenant-
Governor has complete power of supervision over
the work of the Board of Revenue and it would
not enhance those powers.

19356. If the delegation of legal powers is to be
made, is it desirable that it should be done by
amending Acts ?—A good many powers which have
been given by the 'Legislature to 'the Local Govern-
ment might very rightly and without any serious
objection be delegated by a general Act to subordi-
nate authorities, by a schedule ; but there are other
cases in which possibly the scheme of the Act ought
to come under fresh consideration before such a
power was granted. I should prefer to leave it to
a legal authority to decide ; some cases are more
important than others.

19357. Would you think it advisable to delegate
much of the revenue work which is now done at
district headquarters to the headquarters of sub-
divisions to be done by Bub-Divisional Officers'?—
Yes. Probably it might be possible in that case
to reduce the staff at headquarters sometimes, but
on the whole it would probably require a
strengthening of the sub-divisional staff.

19358. Would you create, as in Madras and Bom-
bay, small circles within the sub-division with a
Deputy Magistrate or a senior Bub-Deputy Magis-
trate in charge of each of them to dispose of judicial
and revenue work, in subordination to the Sub-
Divisional Officer ?—Here and there such a delega-
tion would be possible and useful. Each case
would have to be considered on its merits. It
would be a pity to weaken the power of the Bub-
Divisional Officer in some cases, but in other cases
it is desirable that the Magistrate should be
brought nearer to some large centre.

19359. Where such a scheme was feasible, would
you entrust those officers to organise or develop
village institutions and supervise their work?—•
Undoubtedly ; an officer of the stamp of a Deputy
Magistrate would always be the officer we should
wish to employ on such work.; a good officer is
sympathetic and understands Ithe people and the
closer he is brought to the people the more easily
be is able to carry out the wofik.

19360. Do you think, possibly, he could do it
better, than the Registrar of the Co-operative
Societies, who has to tour over the whole province ?
—I think so far as the Registrar of Co-operative
Societies now visits villages he could help to stimu-
late matters, but the work must come under the
Sub-Divisional Officer or the District Officer eventu-
ally.

19361. Would you entrust the Divisional Commis-
sioner with the power of transferring Deputy and
Assistant Magistrates within his division?—Yes.

19362. Would you allow him that power with
regard to Joint Magistrates?—! think not. That

is a matter for the convenience of the Appointment
Department. Joint Magistrates at headquarters
are very rare ; they are constantly being called on
to fill District Magistracies, and we must know
where they are, as very often we appoint them for
special purposes to a -district perhaps to succeed a
Collector who is going on leave ; consequently we
do not wish to give up the power.

19363. But are not Joint Magistrates also Sub-
Divisional Officers ?—Civilian Bub-Divisional Offi-
cers are in almost all cases men of the grade of
Joint Magistrate.

19364. In their case would you allow the Com-
missioner to remove a Bub-Divisional Officer from
one district to another?—No. With reference also
to Deputy Magistrates in charge of sub-divisions,

I should prefer to reserve sub-divisions for the
Appointment Department to deal with subject to
the recommendation of the Commissioner.

19365. As Chairman, did you find on the District
Boards some members who took an interest in their
work and other members who did not?—'As a
Commissioner I had a great deal to do with District
Boards, and I found that to be very much the case.

19366. Do you think that the members would
take more interest in the work if small sub-com-
mittees of the District Boards were formed over
which the District Officer should keep a general
supervision?—I am doubtful whether the work of
a District Board could with advantage be sub-
divided much, because the volume of it is not great.

19367. For instance, could the preparation of the
budget be conveniently entrusted to a Finance Sub-
Committee and then be submitted to the Board for
approval?—The work would be facilitated by its
being prepared .in the ordinary way and then being
discussed either by the whole of the Board or
portions of it, perhaps by separate committees.
The initial preparation, in order to get something
to work upon, had better be left to the office under
the supervision of the Chairman, to see that it is
in proper form and order.

19368. Would you entrust education to an Educa-
tion Sub-Committee?—Education is limited, to a
great extent, to subventions to schools and the
schools are under the management of sub-inspectors,
but if the work was of sufficient volume to make it
advisable there is certainly no objection to its being
considered by a sub-committee, in fact it is so
considered in many large District Boards.

19369. Do- you think consultation and deliberation
with Indian gentlemen could be more effectually
and regularly held if Advisory Boards were con-
stituted in matters like indigenous industries,
methods of agriculture, local trade, pasturage, cattle
breeding, and the like ?■—Most of the subjects you
mention could be dealt with by local committees,
it may be, specially appointed ad hoc. It would be
r preferable to take each of those subjects when they
arose, and get the advice of gentlemen who were
specially competent to deal with them, or who were
specially interested in them. I am not sure that a
fixed Advisory Board would deal with them quite
so well.

19370. But do such committees exist now?—No.
They are only constituted by the Collector if he
wishes to do so.

19371. Would it be an advantage to have one or
more such bodies permanently formed, so that the
Collector might periodically call them together
and consult the members ?—I think the line which
has been followed in connection with the formation
of Agricultural Associations is a very valuable and
useful line, and should be fell owed up whenever
the work gives sufficient employment, but the diffi-
culty is that until we develop our Agricultural
Department and our agricultural work the consti-
tution of such a body is something of a farce, be-
cause we have no matters to lay before it. Where
business arises and there is an Agricultural Asso-
ciation, then we could do such work with great
success.

19372. Are there not matters constantly coming
before the Collector relating to famine and plague
relief?—Famine relief and plague relief, of course,
are a speciality, and the methods for dealing with


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 11

plague have been dealt with by Ward Committees
in large towns. The procedure is to call the people
of a place into special consultation in such matters.

19373. With /regard to the village panchayat, is
it very often difficult to find a thoroughly impartial
man in a village in matters where the villagers
are concerned, or would that difficulty be reduced
if you gave the power to five people instead of to
one man?—The difficulty is that if you increased
the powers of five people in a village, you would
get nothing done. If one man is responsible, as
the Head of a panchayat, he will get the work
through, but if you have five men they will contrive
to do nothing.

19374. Would you entrust the work of settling
petty disputes and disposing of petty criminal cases
to the village panchayat?—That is a great object
to be attained, if possible.

19375. Would it be safer to invest power in one
man or in a collection of four or five men?—We
cannot find the one man at present; we may be
able to develop village feeling and village com-
munities sufficiently to get four or five good men
as Heads of the village, but until that time comes
it is very difficult to delegate any of these matters
to villages. Here and there we can find the right
man, but in a very large number of instances the
man we do put in power, or the man who tries to
get himself put in power, is a partizan of one
zamindar or the other, or is dominated by one
faction in the place, and it is very dangerous.

19376. Have zamindars much influence in villages
apart from their own headquarters?—-They have a
very large influence.

19377. In matters relating to sanitation or village
rates and village schools, have zamindars much in-
fluence ?—I think they could exercise a large amount
of influence.

19378. But as a matter of fact do they themselves
exercise much influence?—I think not.

19379. (Mr. Hichens.) Do you not already have
in case of need, a number of ad hoc bodies as
councils ; for instance, in cases of plague, is not a
committee appointed?—Yes, it would be done in
most cases, but it is not prescribed by law or rule.

19380. In practice, would a Famine Committee
be appointed?—I believe it is customary to call
in the assistance of people in that way. In the
case of a famine the work is so urgent, and the
organization is so difficult, that it very often has
to remain in the hands of the head of the district.

19381. In the case of a famine would you be in
favour of the Collector having instructions to call
in a small advisory committee ?—Yes, certainly ;
consultation in such a matter would be of great
value.

19382. Would it be sufficient to issue a general
instruction of that sort in lieu of appointing
advisory bodies ?—I would encourage any instruc-
tions which would suggest to officers that in all
matters pertaining to the welfare of the people the
advice of Indian gentlemen should be taken, and
in all matters it should be taken in the fullest
possible way.

19383. Are there a number of societies in dif-
ferent districts, such as Agricultural Societies and
so on ?—No, there are not many.

19384. So that there is no particular opportunity
of getting at public opinion in that way?—These
Agricultural .Societies have hardly been formed in
this province at all ; they were appointed in the
old province of Bengal, but there are very few here.

19385. Do you think that if you encouraged ad
hoc bodies of that sort you would get at the real
opinion of the people better than if you had an
indiscriminate Advisory Council ?—-That is my view.

19386. Do you object to the budget being sent up
to the Government of India for sanction?—Cer-
tainly not.

19387. Do you object to their making changes in
the budget when they get it?—I think that the
changes should be limited to, say, totals. I think
that the details of the budget should not be inter-
fered with.

33289

19388. Would you allow them to make changes in
the interests of accurate estimating ?—Certainly ; pt c. Lyon.

if they feel that they are in a position to estimate -------

more accurately, which they sometimes are from 6 Jan,, 1908.

their broader standpoint, they should be allowed to --------

assist in that way.

19389. Would you add a proviso in that case that
if you did not happen to agree with them, and if it
turned out in the course of the year that you were
right and they were wrong, you should have full
power to expend any amount which they might
have cut out ?—Yes, if such an arrangement is
found financially possible.

19390. Would you be satisfied if it could be ar-
ranged that any sum which was cut out you could
have back at any time if necessary?—That would
be welcomed.

19391. Apart from changes in the interests of
correct estimating, should the provincial budget be
accepted as it stands by the Government of India?

—'Generally speaking, yes. I do not wish to say
that the -criticism of the Government of India and
its interference in some cases are not necessary.

19392. Should they, for example, write back and
say, “ We do not think you are spending enough on
education and you are spending too much on
roads ” ?—They should not interfere beyond making
mere suggestions for consideration.

19393. In other words, they should not interfere
in any way with your policy, (but you should be
allowed to follow your own financial policy and
work it out without interference from them?—The
financial policy in that case would be so bound up
with the general policy and -instructions received in.
educational matters that it would not be quite so
broad as appears from your question. By the
orders of the Government of India we should be
bound to spend a certain amount on education and
so on, and when it came to a further adjustment
of. the budget and the -details of it under the
Government of -India, there is not much room left
for interference.

19394. Obviously the budget must be in accord-
ance with any rules -and regulations that -are laid
down : given that, -do you think that a province
should be free to dispose of its own revenue as it
likes?—Yes, granted that they are working under
the rules and the orders issued by the Government
of India.

19395. Generally what is you view with regard to-
the relations between the Government of India and
the provincial Governments ; is it that the Govern-
ment of India has to deal with matters of principle
and the Local Governments with all matters of
detail?—Yes, I think that is the position.

19396. In regard to regulations and codes of the
Government of India -would you say that in cases,
where exceptions are to be made they should be
made by the Local Government without first sub-
mitting the matter -to the Government of Ind-ia?—

I do not think any amendment of a Regulation or'

Act or rule passed by the Government of India
should be modified without the sanction of the
Government of India, unless the Government of
India had specially delegated power with reference
to certain (subjects.

19397. But if the Local Government is to deal
with details, would you not say that any excep-
tions which may in practice be necessary, should
be made by the Local Government as a matter of
detail?—I think that the Government of India
might delegate its powers with reference to details.

Regulations -an-d Acts in the old days very often
dealt too much with matters of detail which would
now be better dealt with by the Local Government.

19398. If the Local Government considered that
any exceptions were -desirable in the matter of
travelling allowance, -should it have full power to
make them?—If the -Government of India thought
it safe to delegate such powers ; I would leave it
to the Government of India.

19399. Would not any exception to -these rules,
be on questions of detail?—It might very often
infringe the principles of the rule.

19400. -But if only, -as an exception, what -would
you say ?—I would like to leave it by saying “ if it
did not infringe the principle.”

B 2


12

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE I

The Hon. Hr.

P. C. Lyon.

6 Jun.) 1908.

19401. Would you think it reasonable, if a principle
was laid down, that the Local (Government should
have the power of interpreting the rule?—(Subject
always to the general supervision of the Government
of India. They see the proceedings and they might
object; the Local Government might be empowered
to interpret a rule, but the .Government of India
might have the right to object.

19402. Do you think that the Local Government
might reasonably have power to interpret the rule
subject to (periodical -report to the (Government of
India, and that if the 'Government of India took
exception .to anything that had been done, they
might say, “Do not do it again, the interpreta-
tion which should be laid down (should be so and
so ” ?—-Yes ; provided that the Government of India
in some way of other, ;by report or otherwise, was
made .aware of the interpretation.

19403. Under your proposal the work of the
Board of -Revenue would be substantially increased 1
—Yes ; if my proposal were fully (carried out the
Board would have a very (considerable amount of
work.

19404. At the same time under the proposals of
the Government, if certain work were delegated
to the (Commissioners which is done by the Board
of Revenue to-day, the work of the Board would
be lightened to some extent ?—Yes.

19405. Would the amount of work you would
take off them (be as great as the amount that
you would put on ?—I (should say no ; they would
be very fully worked as (Councillors in the position
I propose ; it depends, of course, to ia certain extent
on how far the Lieutenant-Governor would use
them.

19406. Do you think they would be capable of
dealing with all that work properly?—T think The .amount of work sent up by the (Commissioners
could be dealt with quite fully, and it would be
possible for the (Secretariat to deal with it.

19407. Has the Board to-day not got enough >to
do?—There is a great deal of routine work which
they ought not to have to do at all ?—They are not
so hard worked as many other officers of the Govern-
ment, but if any member of the Board of Revenue
inspects all the departments under him he can
make his work as heavy as he pleases ; it depends
a great deal on himself.

19408. Do you think that two people would be
capable of carrying in their heads, and dealing ade-
quately with, all the multifarious matters apper-
taining to the different departments ?—At present it
has to be done by the Lieutenant-Governor alone.

19409. Under your proposals the Secretaries
would not be (such important officials as they are?
—-They probably would not be so senior as they
generally are, although some Secretaries are com-
paratively junior still.

19410. Is it not the case 'to-day that the Lieuten-
ant-Governor has the advice, not merely of the
Board of Revenue, but of three or four senior

. Secretaries?—Yes.

19411. And you would be -really substituting two
Councillors for six?—(I would not put it in that
way ; the work would still come through the Secre-
tariat, and the Lieutenant-Governor would get the
help of all the Heads of Departments just the
same. Very often the help given by the Heads of
Departments is more important than the help of
the Secretary. But the Lieutenant-Governor
would also have the assistance of these two senior
officers, and I do not think the work would be im-
possible.

19412. The Secretaries to Government now have
access to Lieutenant-Governors. Would you inter-
fere with that if the -Board of Revenue were streng-
thened as you desire?—Ordinary catses would go
through the (Councillors -to the Lieutenant-Governor.
Ordinarily the Secretaries -would not use that right
of access. 1 would stop it except in so far as the
Lieutenant-Governor wished it to continue. The
Secretary should send his work up to the Councillor,
who would pass it on to the Lieutenant-Governor.

19413. Then really you would narrow the channel
by which the Lieutenant-Governor (gets his infor-
mation ; you would let him get it, so to speak,
through the spectacles of two men instead of four?
—He gets it at present through the four Secretaries,
and it would be a case of two Councillors with
four Secretaries under him, whose opinions would
probably go to the Lieutenant-Governor also.

19414. Can the Board of Revenue go officially to
the Lieutenant-Governor to-day?—They do not go
officially direct to the Lieutenant-Governor; they
correspond with the Government, and the Secretary
to Government takes the matter up.

19415. In practice can any member of the Board
of Revenue see the Lieutenant-Governor whenever
he likes ?—Of course ; he is senior to the Secretary
and is a man of higher position than the Secretary,
and it is most frequently done. When it comes to
detail probably the 'Public Works Department
would be excluded, but I do not wish to commit
myself as to what work would go through the two
Councillors.

19416. With regard to the tendency for the
number of returns to increase, can you suggest any
means whereby that tendency could be checked?—
Principally I would suggest that inspection should
take the place of returns.

19417. Inspection on the part of the Government
of India?—As regards information sent to the
Government of India, I think they sometimes ask
for more than is necessary, and that we should not
have to send it to them, but I was thinking then
more of the Local Government. Possibly the in-
spections by the Inspectors-General of Education,
Agriculture, and so on might be held to absolve us
of the necessity of submitting some of the reports
and returns which are now sent up by the Local
Government.

19418. Can any -Secretary to the Government of
India ask for returns from the provincial Govern-
ment?—The Government of India can.

19419. In regard to the returns which are asked
for by the Local Governments from authorities
subordinate to 'them, can you suggest any rule of
procedure which might have the effect of curtailing
the returns?—Possibly, if we had travelling Coun-
cillors who could help the Lieutenant-Governor in
certain matters which are reported, a large num’ber
of returns might be done away with.

19420. Do all demands for returns have to be
approved of by the Lieutenant-Governor ?—A new
general return would not be called for by the
Secretariat without the express orders of the
Lieutenant-Governor.

19421. A witness told us for example that when
certain queries were put to him he knew perfectly
well that they did not apply at all with regard to
his district, and that he could quite as well have
sent a big “No ” on a slip of paper and disposed of it;
-but that, as a matter of fact, he had to circulate
them to everybody, get their negatives, and then
send in the reply?—I think that is not very
general.

19422. We have been told that there is a ten-
dency to multiply unduly regulations and codes
and to leave too little to the initiative of the local
officers—what is your opinion?—I think that rules
are occasionally too detailed, and more might be
left to the discretion of the local officers on general
principles.

19423. With regard to the representation of
Local Governments with the Government of India,
do you desire to have a provincial member on the
Legislative Council or on the Executive Govern-
ment ?—No; it is contemplated that a larger num-
ber of officers of Government will be appointed to
the Legislative Council, and will consequently be
at the headquarters of the Government of India
for some time; those officers might be utilised as
representatives of the Local Government for con-
sultation, the Local Government’s papers being
sent to them, and they having full information
direct from their Governments. They might thus be
utilised by the Government of India for the pur-
poses of discussion and consultation.






ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 13

’SS^MWfc

19424. Would you keep them with the Govern-
ment of India all the year round ?—That would be
difficult; they would he there during the cold
weather, and if there was no session of the Legis-
lative Council at^imla, or if none of these officers
were present, we should have to fall back on the
existing system of representation.

19425. Then practically, you want an agent at
Court?—We want an agent at Court without add-
ing to the number of officers of the Government
of India.

19426. (Mr. Meyer.) You desire that, as far as
possible, the (Secretaries and members of the
Government of India who are drawn from the
Indian (Civil Service should be representative of
the various provinces?—With the best intentions,
is that always feasible?—I think it is very
difficult.

19427. Is not the position of a Secretary to the
Government of India in a big department a very
responsible one?—Very.

19428. Is it not essential that the Government
of India should get the very best man they can?
—I think so.

19429. .Might it not happen that in a particular
province which is not represented in the Secre-
tariat there was no one who was particularly apt,
say, at revenue, or finance?—(Certainly they might
not be represented on those subjects, but in the
whole Government, or on the whole staff of the
Local Government, there ought to be a man fitted
for the position of a Deputy Secretary, or suf-
ficiently good to appear in some of many posts.

19430. Do you want a certain number of officers,
at least one from each province, in the higher
administrative ranks of the Government of India,
including the Deputy Secretaries?—Yes, as far as
possible, and I suggested the point about the
Legislative (Council in order to meet cases in which
that was not possible.

19431. If you have a Secretary from a province
in one of the departments of the Government of
India, should he represent the views of the Local
Government?—.No, in that case not. I should be
content with his knowledge and experience of the
Local Government in dealing with a case.

19432. You recognise that a man cannot serve
two masters, and that if he is (Secretary to the
Government of India he must serve the Govern-
ment of India?—-Quite so.

19433. It might be his duty occasionally to point
out, from his own knowledge of his own province,
that he thought certain proposals of the Local
Government were wrong?—Quite so, that would
be perfectly possible.

19434. You do not intend that the Government
of India should be resolved into a number of pleni-
potentiaries from the different Governments?—Not
at all.

19435. iAs regards the alternative proposal for a
number of advisers to the Legislative Council com-
ing from particular provinces, do you mean that
they should be able to talk with the Members and
Secretaries of the Indian Government?—I would
not call it an alternative proposal; it is a proposal
to be taken with the other.

19436. Are not the Bengal Government and the
Government of India both in Calcutta for several
months in the year?—Is it not perfectly possible
for the Lieutenant-Governor to go and talk to the
Viceroy or to one of the Members of Council, or
for the Financial Secretary of the Government of
Bengal to talk with the Financial /Secretary of the
GovernmeUt of India?—Quite possible.

19437. Is it not done?—To a certain extent, not
much.

19438. Might not the Government of Bengal and
their officers have done it if they wanted to?—
That was not always admissible.

19439. At any rate a Government which has the
same headquarters as the Government of India
does not want a separate representative in addi-
tion to discuss matters of State ?—No, probably
not.

19440. With regard to your scheme for the re- pjle Hon.
adjustment of the Board of .Revenue, you call the p, c. Lyon.

members Councillors, but apparently they are ------------

really to be Secretaries ?—(No, I would not call 6 Jan., 1908

them so; they would have great powers of travel- ---------

ling about and inspecting independently of the

Secretariat; they would not be tied down to Secre-

tariat duty.

19441. Would their position be somewhat
analogous to the Chief Engineer in the ? Public
Works Department, who is an Executive Officer,
but who is also Secretary to the Local Govern-
ment ?—To a certain extent that would be the
case, but I would retain the Civil Secretary.

19442. Still it would mean that the present
Secretaries would have to step down?—Probably
they would iby the intervention of senior officials.

19443. Are you opposed to going a step further,
making the councillors colleagues of the Lieu-
tenant-Governor ?—Yes.

19444. Does it occasionally happen that a mem-
ber of the Board of Revenue is senior to the
Lieutenant-Governor in the Service?—Yes.

19445. And possibly he may have run him rather
hard for the Lieutenant-Governorship, and may
feel .aggrieved that he had not got it himself?—

That has been the case.

19446. Might not that induce a little more fric-
tion if you transfer such an officer from his semi-
independent position to a position subordinate to
his successful rival?—'But he would not be a
Secretary.

19447. It is the same thing, is it not? .He has
to send up notes and take orders and so forth?—

Yes. But would pass a good many orders him-
self, though of course under the supervision of the
Lieutenant-Governor.

19448. Might there not be a risk of some friction
in such a case?—'Can it be worse than the condi-
tion of things which existed between the Board of
Revenue and Lieutenant-Governors in the past?

19449. taken, now that Eastern Bengal and Assam are
joined under one administration not to legislate
too generally for the whole province, but to dis-
criminate between the two portions of it?—I think
great care is being taken.

19450. You do not necessarily issue the same in-
structions for Assam as you would for Bengal
apart from legislation?—'Certainly not; we deal in
each case with the existing orders.

19451. When you first came, did you find that
the reports and returns were different in many
cases?—Yes.

19452. IIow did you deal with them?—I think
the Board of Revenue in some cases have a
separate check for Assam and separate check for
Eastern Bengal proceedings; in other cases they
have dealt with them in different paragraphs, but,
as far as possible, continuity has been preserved,
pending a greater amalgamation.

19453. In Assam there is no District Board?—

No, there is a Local Board for each sub-division.

19454. Therefore every Local Board is a little
entity disposing of important work?—Yes.

19455. Whereas in Eastern Bengal the Local
Board does very little, and all the power is centred
in the District Board?—Yes.

19456. Are you going on working under that
system in Assam, or are you going to make any
alteration ?—I cannot answer that question; I do
not know what policy is going to be adopted.

19457. I understand that the Board’s members
are known, respectively, as First and (Second Mem-
bers, and that the First Member has charge of
certain subjects and that the Second Member has
charge of certain subjects; if the Second Member
becomes First Member, does he at once change all
his subjects?—That case has not arisen. In
Bengal, I do not think they change immediately,
and I doubt if they would here. It depends, of
course, on the character of the change. If it were
a permanent change it might be so, and the First






14 MINUTES OF evidence:

The Hon. Mr.

P. HLyon.

6 Zan.,1908.

Member might take over the land revenue, for
instance, which is looked upon as the more impor-
tant work.

19458. In Assam the SulnDivisional Officer has
actual powers and in Eastern Bengal he has much
more limited powers. In Assam there is no such
concentration of .Deputy Collectors at headquarters
as exists in Eastern Bengal?—They have much
smaller districts and a much smaller staff; they
generally have two or three Deputy Collectors at
headquarters.

19459. Eor treasury work, for instance?—Of
course there is treasury work. Outside that a cer-
tain amount of criminal work has to be dealt with.

19460. In Assam, does the same system prevail
of having a Deputy Collector in charge of a sub-
division ?—Yes.

19461. Do you want to parcel out the whole dis-
trict into sub-divisions and to have a Sub-Divisional
Officer for each who would be a kind of miniature
Collector, with a Collector above all?—I think so.

19462. Have you Sub-Deputy Collectors in Assam,
or are they called tahsildars ?—They are called Sub-
Deputy Collectors.

19463. Is the Sub-Deputy 'Collector in Assam, as
in Eastern Bengal, kept at the district headquarters,
or has he a minor charge?—They have minor
charges ; they are in charge of circles, and they
supervise a good deal ; there are three or four
circles in each district, with a Sub-Deputy Collector
in charge of each.

19464. Then the Sub-Deputy Collector there has
a real territorial charge?—Purely with regard to
revenue matters. He is not a Magistrate, but he
sometimes has minor magisterial powers.

19465. Do you see any objection to the same thing
being done in Eastern Bengal, if you had sufficient
Sub-Deputy Collectors?—I would not say quite the
same thing, because the work in Assam is so dif-
ferent. I think something might be done in the
way of vesting Circle Magistrates with some
revenue powers.

19466. Are a good many of your First Class
Magistrates occupied in doing second and third
class work?—A great many of second and third class
cases come to the First Class Magistrate.

19467. You mention the necessity for expanding
the cadre, and having more superior officers ; but
might you not effect the same purpose, and at less
expense, by increasing the number of Sub-Deputy
Collectors and giving them larger magisterial, as
well as revenue powers?—No, I think not. The
main object in expanding the cadre is to get more
men to do the really important work. To make
smaller district charges and to apportion to Sub-
Deputy Collectors would be a delegation of some
important duties.

19468. Speaking generally, before largely increas-
ing the Civilian cadre of your district, might not
the experiment be tried of seeing what work the
Civilian now can be relieved of?—I do not expect
that that would relieve the Civilian sufficiently.

19469. Does not the Indian Civil Service scheme
of recruitment already provide for liberal leave?—
The margin is not sufficient.

19470. Do you give a definite opinion whether the
interference of the Government of India in budget
matters is excessive or otherwise?—I understand
that changes have been made within the last two
or three years in the method of dealing with the
budgets/ and that much less interference with detail
is now the custom of the Government of India than
used to be the case.

19471. You have said that the Government of
India occasionally forces a particular scheme on a
Local Government in preference to a scheme which
they would prefer to adopt with the money at
their disposal ; can you give me an instance other
than the land records scheme which you refer to ?—
There was the question of the pace at which we
developed the Agricultural and Veterinary Depart-
ments, and some of the educational schemes which
have been carried out. I do not think that we have
been left quite sufficiently free to choose and to

carry out those schemes which the Local Govern-
ment would have wished.

19472. With regard to the Agricultural Depart-
ment, has your position with the Government of
India made you force the pace more than you would
have done if you had been left to yourselves ?—I am
not prepared to say that.

19473. In what way do you consider that the
Government of India interfere 1—I think they inter-
fered with the pay and appointments in the
Veterinary Department and the methods by which
we should work. It also interfered with the pay
of our inspectors. Whether it is the Government
of India or whether it is the Secretary of State I
do not know, but I think our methods of developing
our schemes might perhaps have been left to us.

19474. You do not mean that the Government of
India make you spend money on a scheme of
agriculture when you would prefer to spend it on
education, but while you agree that expenditure on
agriculture is necessary, you differ as to the precise
details of the scheme ? — I think there has been
sometimes a difference as to the amount which should
be spent in any particular year on a particular
scheme. I do not wish to make it a great com-
plaint, but there have been cases in which the
Government of India have either wished us to
spend more on a particular scheme or not to go
on so fast with it.

19475. As regards agriculture, education and
police, has not the province had special grants from
the Government of India of late years ?—Yes.

19476. Might not the Government of India then
reasonably claim to have some supervision ?—In the
matter of the imperial grants we do not challenge
that.

19477. Does not a lot of this interference with
detail really hinge round the creation of appoint-
ments?—Some of it.

19478. And if you got considerably larger powers
of making new appointments, and adding to the
pay of existing appointments, than you at present
possess, will not the opportunities for that inter-
ference be automatically diminished?—It may be
that is the reason why schemes 'have to. go several
times before the Government of India, because they
have to go before them again in the matter of
appointments.

19479. You mentioned a particular instance as
to the intervention of the Government of India
with Tenancy Legislation ; which Tenancy Bill do
you refer to ?—I refer to. the Bengal Tenancy Act
and its amendments, not the original Act of 1885,
but the amendments on several subsequent occa-
sions, and especially the amendment which took
place in 1898.

19480. You speak of a scheme having to come up
for sanction more than once, but if a scheme is
thoroughly thrashed out, as a rule does it not only
go once ?—-It has to go up again on the question of
appointments. The original scheme may be a
large scheme extending over several years. Take
our settlement scheme for instance ; we have been
asked for a 25 years’ programme ; we have also-
been asked for a five years’ programme and we
have to make a programme for each year. We
have to send up a budget for each year to carry
out that programme, and we have- to report each
year the appointments we make, above a certain
class, of officers to carry it out ; and we have to.
ask for sanction to that programme for the con-
tinuance of the operations in detail.

19481. Is that the sort of thing you object to?—
Yes, I know of no reason why all these programmes
are called for in detail, and it should be quite
possible to lessen them.

19482. You allude to an elementary maxim in
the Finance Department that inclusion in the
budget is not a sanction ; there are two stages—
there is the budget sanction first, but the budget
sanction does not operate if -administrative sanction
is also required?—Quite so.

19483. Then may I take it that you think that in
settlement matters the Government of India ties-
you up a good deal too tightly?—'! think it should


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

15

'be possible to modify the number of the stages we
have to go through.

10484. In Assam you have periodical re-assess-
ments ?—-Yes. The usual term is for 45 years.

19485. Do the Government of India interfere too
much with those settlements, or do they give the
Local Government a free hand subject to the
general lines of policy which have been laid down
for the provinces?—In the old province of Assam
the Chief Commissioner was bound to send up a
good deal of information, and rightly so, probably,
with reference to assessment. (Since the amalga-
mation and the appointment of the Lieutenant-
Governor, the Government of India has freed us
from the necessity of sending.up those details, and
the control exercised is not in any respect exces-
sive. We carry out the general lines of policy laid
,down by the Government of India, and send the
settlement reports up for sanction.

19486. Do you not have to get sanction for the
appointment of members of the 'Board of Revenue ?
Do you consider that necessary ?—I am quite satis-
fied, and see no reason why it should not be so.

19487. As regards Commissioners, it has been
suggested that a Commissioner might be given
larger financial powers, and that he might be given
a portion of the provincial budget from which he
.might sanction the inception of minor Public
Works projects, instead of their going up to the
Local Government; would you be in favour of that ?
—Yes, and I think that has been done to a certain
extent in Bengal of recent years.

19488. But to a very limited extent ; a Commis-
sioner has powers only up to Rs. 10,000 ; but it
would be a matter of lakhs according to the scheme
I am putting to you?—I did not understand that
any very large scheme was proposed, but if the
Commissioner has sufficient practical and technical
advice at his disposal, he might be entrusted with
a good deal of power in that respect.

19489. Would you give him any power with regard
to small temporary or permanent appointments,
subject, of course, to the existence of budget pro-
vision, say, Rs. 15 clerks and so forth ?—I think so,
but I should subject it to report to the Local
Government.

19490. Do all new appointments now come before
the Lieutenant-Governor ?—Yes.

19491. But as a matter of fact are not a great
many of these things sanctioned by the 'Secretary
and never seen by the Lieutenant-Governor at all ?
■—Yes, a very large number.

19492. With regard to the Land Acquisition Act,
at present everything has to go up to Government.
Would you allow the Commissioner to take up
land for public purposes subject to some pecuniary
limit?—Yes ; a good deal of delegation could be
made, and we have a scheme now before Govern-
ment for some modification in the procedure so far
as we are competent to deal with it.

19493. Would there be any harm in making the
leave rules less rigid? It might, for instance, be
to the convenience of the Local Government that
an officer should go on leave two years and-a-half
after his last return from furlough, whereas the
rule says it must be three years. Similarly it may
happen that a District Officer has to come back
before you have a convenient district ready for him ?

■—I think it is possible, if there is no danger of
laxity. We cannot afford to make the leave rules
more liberal than they are at present, and there
is just a possibility, if the Local Government exer-
cised its rights of letting a man go away earlier
on leave and so on, it would create precedents
against itself which it might be rather difficult to
evade.

19494. Is not the principle that in the higher
Services la man earns one month’s full leave in a
year and three months’ half pay leave after a year’s
service ; there might perhaps be a running 'account
between a man and the 'Government as to leave ;
upon the one side would be the total amount of
leave the man had earned, and on the other side
the amount he had drawn, and if he desired to take
his leave at any time and had it to his credit, and

the Government considered that that was a fit The Hon. Mr.
opportunity, lie should be allowed to take it. If, p. C. Lyon.

on the other hand, it was not to the interest of -----------

the Public Service that the man should take it, 6 Jan.} 1908.

then it might be said, “You must ■wait.” Would -------------

you approve of that idea?—The reason for the im-

position of such restrictions has 'always been to

prevent laxity, and that the Local Government

should not be too liberal in the granting of leave.

I iam not sure that there would not be a danger in

withdrawing some of these restrictions. Perhaps if

it was very fully safeguarded, it migjit be advisable

to do it; but while we cannot reduce the amount

of leave without endangering our recruitment, we

should in no wise increase the facilities for leave.

19495. I am not speaking of increasing the total
amount, but of the frequency of taking leave. If
there were a general rule that an officer should not
take leave for three years after his posting to a dis-
trict, would that not really be the remedy for the
great frequency of transfers?-—Yes.

19496. You say, generally speaking, that the
Local Government should have power over details
as apart from principles, but is it not very diffi-
cult to dissociate the two, especially as to financial
matters such as are dealt with in the Civil 'Service
Regulations ?—-Extremely so.

19497. If you make one exception, it is a prece-
dent for making another, .and .so it 'goes on until
you find that the number of exceptions have prac-
tically undermined your original rules?—Yes.

19498. Therefore, I take it, you would desire, if
you gave Local Governments a freer hand in such
matters as the grant of travelling allowances, house
allowances, and other pecuniary concessions, that it
should be .still on the general lines of policy indi-
cated by the Secretariat and the Government of
India?—-That is what 1 meant.

19499. Have you heard of the system of confer-
ences of Commissioners, such as Sir Andrew Fraser
has introduced Into Bengal, and do you think it
would be a good thing if they were instituted here ?

—Yes ; and we hope to do so.

19500. Similarly, might you not let each 'Com-
missioner convene a divisional conference within his
division once or more annually?—That is part of
the scheme in Bengal, and I think we shall adopt
it.

19501. To those divisional conferences might the
Commissioner not summon (any non-officials who he
thought might help in any matters which were
likely to be brought forward?—I am not sure that
that would be of any real value. They would
deal more with individual oases than with general
principles in a conference of that sort, *and in
addition there would be a greater opportunity of
seeing the officers.

19502. It has been suggested that the Collector
should be dissociated from the Chairmanship of
the District Board ; do you regard that as advis-
able?—I think on the whole it is not advisable
except in exceptional cases which might occur. As
a rule it means substituting an amateur for a
professional, and you do not get the work done pro-
perly. With regard to general things, the Col-
lector knows more than any one else, but it is as
Head of the Executive of the Board that he is
really required as 'Chairman.

19503. Steyning Hdgerley.) What exactly are
the appellate or guasi-appellate functions of the
Board of Revenue ?—They hear all revenue appeals
from the Commissioners, on matters connected with
the Certificate Act, the Partition Act, and so on.

19504. Can pleaders appear?—Yes, pleaders do
appear. They appear before the Commissioners
on such appeals and also before the Board of
Revenue,

19506. Is the Commissioner of Chittagong the
actual Customs 'Officer of the port ?—He is the
officer under the Act. The actual work is done by
an Assistant Collector of Customs.

19506. Are not certain schools affiliated to the
Calcutta University. What does that mean
exactly ?—It means that the high schools are per-
mitted to send up their students for the Entrance


16

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

The Hon. Mr.

P. C. Lyon.

6 Jan., 1908.

Examination at the Calcutta University for matri-
culation. Also incidentally it entails the control
of the Calcutta University, -since, of course, the
Calcutta University will not agree to 'affiliation
except under its own regulations.

19507. Then no one can go up for a matriculation
examination except from -an institution which is
recognised hy the University ?—They allow private
students ito go uip under certain regulations, -but if
a student goes up from -a high school, that high
school must be recognised by the University.

19508. If you had a general delegation Act pro-
perly safeguarded as regards notification, invita-
tion of Objections, and so on, would you say that
there was no objection to having such power in
your hands ?—The safeguards should be very dearly
determined. What one wants is to avoid the removal
of the pledge, practically (given by an Act, that
certain matters should not be removed from the
cognizance of the Local .Government by anything
in the nature of an executive order. The removal
of that right should probably be the subject of de-
tailed discussion.

19509. In that -way would you distinguish it
from such Acts as the Court of Wards Act, which
includes in Bengal a general section of delegation?
—-Yes.

19510. Because you would say that that Act has
been passed by the Legislature with their eyes open
as to the existence of the power of delegation?—
Quite so.

19511. Taking, for instance, the Land Acquisition
Act, could you make the delegation which you
suggest under a (general Act?—I think it would
require in the case of land acquisition either a
special Act, or some safe safeguards, which would
ensure discussion.

19512. (Suppose you got a general delegation Act
safeguarded according to the best ability of the Gov-
ernment of India for the time being, that Act would
practically be passed by the same Legislative
Council which had passed the previous Act?—Yes.

19513. The objection which we have heard from
some of the witnesses who have taken the same
point, namely, that an Act is very often the result
of an animated debate and a -compromise, would be
equally applicable to every amending Act ?—I think
the Legislature with its eyes open might modify its
previous decision ; possibly a schedule to a general
Act, if it included cases which were not of great
importance, might give the Legislature sufficient
intimation of what was being done to enable it to
pass a general Act, but without a schedule—without
some specific finger-post pointing to that particular
Act as one the powers of which were going to be
delegated—I think a general Act would be dan-
gerous.

19514. You do not think that that would be
secured by ia public notification and the invitation
of objections?—There are ,so many Acts and Regu-
lations that I do not know how far a general notifi-
cation would serve.

19515. Supposing you had had an animated de-
bate and a compromise and .settlement -as to the
exercise of powers, say, in 1890, we are now in
1908, and the ease law under the Act is all settled,
would you not practically feel that there is not the
least reason why the power the exercise of which
was very tightly confined in 1890 should not be
used now by some .authority nearer to the people ;
do you think you -are precluded from making such
a change after 17 years?—-No, not in the least.
What 'I mean is that you should not deal with the
pledge or alter the compromise unless you
specifically dealt with the -compromise.

19516. But if the same Legislature which has
passed the original Act has 'subsequently given you
power to deal with such points, subject to the safe-
guards of notification and so on, where is there
any breach of pledge ?—-I see no objection to an Act
which specifically gives power of delegation which
was not given before with reference to any previous
Act, so long as when that Act -delegating -the power
was passed the Legislature fully understood how

far the Act would go and to what extent it would
apply.

19517. Have you any provisions in this pro-
vince by which a Collector can delegate to his
Assistant any powers that he likes, .subject to the
retention of the power of revision or appeal?—No,
I do not -think there is any (general power. We do
delegate a great deal of routine work, but I do not
know whether that is merely by executive practice
or not.

19518. In the case of the Collector of a district
ceasing to foe Chairman of the District Board and
the municipality, thus leaving these foodies in the
hands of non-officials, would you see any difficulty
in helping the people of such ia district to a
further .step in local Government by putting the
Government powers of control into the hands of a
committee under the presidency of the Collector?—
It is -a large question, involving the merits of the
particular non-official Chairman ; at present I am
not entirely -in favour of the idea of delegating the
powers of a Chairman to -a non-official because in
one particular locality you have the man who is
fit for it ; but I -do not anticipate that the pro-
vince is so .advanced as a whole that all these local
self-governing foodies are in that position.

19519. Do you think it would reduce the risk of
transfers and provide better, perhaps, for .special
duty, if you distributed the reserve of Civilian
Officers over -the different grades ?—Any relief
would (be of great assistance.

19520. (Supposing you had three extra Deputy
Commissioners, would that be a help to you in
regulating transfers?—-It would foe more help to
have three senior men than three junior men.

19521. Have you -any experience of the difference
between daily travelling allowance -and permanent
travelling allowance ; have you any opinion -as to
which is the better system ?—I do not think per-
manent travelling allowances are (advisable except
in so far as they are required occasionally as a
horse allowance, or to enable a man to iset up a
camp establishment where he would not be able
otherwise to do so.

19522. Does not a system of daily travelling
allowance involve much more audit -work than the
permanent allowance system ?—That is so, but I do
not approve of the permanent travelling allowance
system.

19523. I suppose under your system of Board
of Revenue Councillors they would have nothing
whatever to do with the (Secretariat; the Secretary
would (still be the Head of the office?—Yes, they
would (have no other (Secretariat. Cases would be
sent from the 'Secretariat to the Councillors.

19524. Would they then record a minute and
send it back either to the Secretary or to the
Lieutenant-Governor ?—They would deal with the
case finally or send it on to the Lieutenant-
Governor, probably direct.

19525. (Supposing they sent it back to the Secre-
tary, would he have the right to take it to the
Lieutenant-Governor?—I do not propose that the
Secretary should intervene between the Councillors
and the Lieutenant-Governor.

19526. (Supposing the member of the Board of
Revenue for any reason had not sent a case to the
Lieutenant-Governor, but straight back to the
-Secretary, would the .Secretary have no right to
take the case up to the Lieutenant-Governor and
show it to him ?—I think if any rule or custom had
been infringed, he should send it back to the
Councillor and inform him that under rule it
ought to be shown to the Lieutenant-Governor. I
do not think I would give the Secretary the right
to take it to the Lieutenant-Governor direct.

19527. You are in charge of the Education De-
partment? (Have you had much to do with the
Director-General?—Yes, I have met Mr. Orange.

19528. You have a very large number of educa-
tion projects in hand, so much so, that you have
put an officer on special duty to deal with them?
—Yes.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

17

19529. Is that in any way caused by difficulty
in getting your projects through?—No, I should
think it was caused more by the difficulty in
framing them and working out all the details.

19530. As a matter of fact, do you find that
criticisms, when they are sent down, are very
detailed?—We have had great difficulty with re-
gard to educational matters, but they are not all
due to the Government of India.

19531. As regards the special grants which you
have had for police, education, and so forth, have
you exactly the same general principles and the
same audit control as you have with regard to any
other expenditure?—I believe so.

19532. If that is so, why should the Government
of India display special interest in that expendi-
ture which they do not display in regard to the
rest of your balances?—As far ‘as the carrying out
of the work in the Education Department is con-
cerned, I have looked upon those grants as

definitely marked for certain schemes of improve- pie Ho/i.
ment. pt c. Lyon. ’

19533. And so long as you carry out those g jan 1908.
schemes of improvement, is it not subject to the ‘A.

same control as any other part of your educational
system?—I should say so, so long as we carry them
out.

19534. As regards the regulation of allowances
to members of the (Civil Service, and so forth, do
you lay any particular stress on the similarity of
treatment of different officers in different pro-
vinces ?—Yes.

19535. Do you think it right, for instance, that
Deputy Commissioners in Assam and Collectors in
-Madras should be paid at such very different
rates?—-I was not aware that there was any
great difference.

(The witness withdrew.)

The Hon. Nawab Khwaja Salimulla Bahadur was called and examined.

19536. (Chairman.) Have you had any actual
or personal experience of Government in this
country ?—Yes, I was a Deputy Magistrate for some
time. I have also been a member of the Viceroy’s
Legislative Council in Calcutta, and the Lieu-
tenant-Governor of Eastern Bengal’s Legislative
Council.

The Local Governments should be vested with
more financial powers than at present. During
famine, the people suffer much from the delay in
securing the sanction of the Government of India
to the amount considered necessary for the relief
of the sufferers. Eor famine works, sanitary im-
provements and telegraphic communications gener-
ally, and for railway connections and proper
navigation in our province, the financial powers of
the Local Governments should be extended.

More complete separation should be made of the
provincial from the imperial revenues. The Local
Governments should be given the control of the
provincial revenues to apply to the improvements
of the respective provinces. At present the
amount budgetted for is not sufficient to meet the
requirements of the province. The Local Govern-
ments are always afraid that the (Supreme Govern-
ment will not sanction the expenditure they sug-
gest, and many small, but much-needed, items are
knocked off consequently.

The Local Governments should have borrowing
powers—by issue of debentures, etc., etc., in order
to lay out minor railways and feeder lines, erect
waterworks and facilitate river communications,
and for the improvement of municipalities.

I do not think there is any necessity of further
extending the administrative powers of the Local
Governments, because the Government of India
with the help of its experienced and wise coun-
sellors always adopt policies in consultation with
the provincial Governments.

In revenue settlements generally Government
consider matters too much from a departmental
point of view or from considerations of revenue.

The powers of the Board of Revenue, Commis-
sioners of Divisions, or Collectors relating to the
Court of Wards, should not be extended. More
powers should be given to them with regard to
contingencies and temporary establishment when
necessary? A member of the Board of Revenue
cannot even sanction a sweeper for a khas mahal,
and a Commissioner cannot sanction even a
pankha-puller. Heads of Departments or Commis-
sioners of Divisions may be given certain powers
now vested -in the Local .Government, as regards
technical details in the matters of travelling allow-
ances, leave allowances, annuities, pensions and
such like matters.

Executive officers have ample opportunities of
mixing with the people if they only wish to avail
of them. They generally do not possess sufficient
knowledge of the vernaculars.

An increase in the administrative staff (more
especially of the ministerial officers) is highly desir-
able. No reduction in the area of the districts is

33289

necessary except in the case of Mymensingh and The Hon.
Backerganj. Nawab

Transfers of Commissioners, Collectors and Dis- Khwaja
trict Superintendents of Police should not be made SalimMa
within'three or four years after their taking over Kahaaur'
the charge of the divisions or the districts, except g jan
in cases of special emergency. *’

I think there should be Advisory or Adminis-
trative Councils to help the Commissioners and
Magistrates. The Magistrate should have one
man from the landed class, one from the bar, one
from the trades, and one from the agricultural
class; and each District Council should elect a
member for the Divisional Council. Responsi-
bilities could be given to such Councils, in respect
of advising the Commissioners or Collectors, re-
garding allotments of the financial grants in dif-
ferent parts of the districts, in matters of
communication, sanitary improvements and especi-
ally for explaining the policy of the Government
to the people and representing the grievances of
the people to the authorities.

As regards the suggestion that more power
might be given to the village communities, the
mass of the people are not educated enough to take
up such great responsibilities.

19537. You instance as one of the harmful re-
strictions of the Government of India that in case of
the occurrence of the famine, the provincial Govern-
ment is not able to dispense relief as quickly as
you think they might do; can you give us any
actual example of that?—Yes. Last year we had
an unexpected famine here, and for the time being
there was no relief obtainable until investigation
was made, and it was found that the people are
suffering; but by the time help came there was no
famine left; there was a stoppage of rice coming
from Rangoon on account of the floods. The
people were in great need of grain here, but as
soon as the flood went down we were able to obtain
it and there was no need of any help. If the
Government here had had full power, they could
easily have rendered that help at the moment it
was wanted.

19538. Was that because the provincial Govern-
ment here was not aware of the famine?—It was
unexpected, because Eastern Bengal had never had
any famine for some ten years before.

19539. The provincial Government was taken
unawares ?—Yes.

19540. If the Local Government in Eastern
Bengal had power to borrow money on their own
responsibility, would they be able to find local
capitalists who would advance the money sooner
than they would advance money to the Govern-
ment of India?—Yes, I think they would have
more trust in the Local Government than in the
Government of India, because there they are in
contact with the Local Government.

19541. Is there much money here which could be
borrowed by the Local Government?—Yes, a great
deal of money.

C


18

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE:

* The Eon,
Naw.ab_
Fhwaja

Salimulla

Bahadur.

6 Jan., 1908.

19542. When there is a loan by the Government
of India, do the people of Eastern Bengal sub-
scribe largely to it ?—Yes; when they cannot invest
their money with greater advantage they have to
fall back on Government loans.

19543. (Supposing the Government of India, and
the Local Government both issued a loan about the
same time in Eastern Bengal, would there be
enough money to subscribe to them both?—I think
there would be less money for the Government of
India, and more money for the Local Government.

19544. Do you think it desirable to extend the
administrative powers of the Local Government?—
No, because the Local .Government has knowledge
only of its own province, while the Indian Govern-
ment has a general knowledge of all the provinces,
and has a competent body of men to assist it. The
policy which they adopt is adopted with experience
which Local Governments have not got.

19545. (Are the servants of Government in
Eastern Bengal not experienced officials?—Com-
pared with the Government of India, they are not
so experienced.

19546. With regard to the Court of Wards, you
think that the powers of Commissioners and Col-
lectors ought to remain exactly as they are?—'Has
the Commissioner at present power to sanction an
expenditure of Rs. 500 for repairs?—He does
not want that power; there is no necessity
for it; there is nothing very urgent in a
case under the Court of Wards. (Sometimes in
the Court of Wards there have been cases where
on account of the hobby of some Collector or Com-
missioner money has been spent without thinking
much about the person who puts his estate under
the Court of Wards.

19547. Have you known of any estate under the
Court of Wards which, when released, was in a
worse state than when it was placed under the
Court?—It would not be worse, but it ought to be
more valuable; there ought to have been more
money collected and a larger surplus.

19548. The Commissioners of districts ought to
have more power as regards travelling allowances ?—
Yes, it is quite unnecessary that people should
have to go to higher authorities for small things—
it is all very well to go for sanction for big things,
but the small ones I think ought to be left to
themselves.

19549. Do you think larger powers are required
with regard to administration, but that only .small
powers ought to be granted to the Court of Wards?
—Yes, because the Court of Wards concerns other
parties, and it would be much better that they
should be careful.

19550. Have you been brought much into con-
tact with the District Boards or municipalities?—-
I am here every day, and in this town of Dacca
the members who are appointed are appointed with
my consent ; if the people of the different wards
have any grievances, they come to me and tell
me about them, so that I know everything about
the municipality.

19551. Is that a very satisfactory .system of repre-
sentation?—Yes.

19552. Would you give any extended powers to
municipalities?—No, they have all the power they
want.

19553. What would you say with regard to village
councils?—-I am afraid that they cannot do very
much work, and if you give them more power I
think there would be greater failure.

19554. (Sir Steyning Fdgerley.) Have you had any
experience of District Boards ?—Yes, and it i.s just
the same as with regard to municipalities ; they
take my advice with regard to the members.

19555. So that you practically more or less con-
trol the representation of the municipality and
the District Board?—Yes.

19556. What proportion of members are elected
in the Dacca municipality ?—The proportion' is five
out of twelve.

19557. And on the District Board?—The propor-
tion is about three to four.

19558. Are they elected by wards or by any other
system of election ?—No, by villages.

19559. Do you think the present (system of elec-
tion works very satisfactorily?—Yes, in Dacca at
present it works satisfactorily, but I think, taking
all Bengal, the hew suggestion which has been
made of an Advisory Council would work much more
satisfactorily.

19560. (Mr. Meyer.) You say that the delay in
famine relief was due to the necessity of getting
the sanction of the. Government of India ; but is
that .so?—.So far as I know, the Local Government
had to get the sanction of the Government of India
to spend the money.

. 19561. If I may say so, you do not know anything
about the correspondence?—No, I do not. During
the famine at Dacca I had to work myself. I was
asked by the authorities to make arrangements for
relieving the town, and I got people to send rice
up from other districts.

19562. You speak of Advisory and Administrative
Councils to help the Commissioner and Magistrate ;
are they only to advise?—Yes.

19563. If they give their advice and the Com-
missioner does not think their advice is right, is
he to be allowed to do as he thinks fit?—Yes.

19564. (Mr. Eichens.) Do you think the District
Boards are looked upon by the people as depart-
ments of the Government, or do you think they are
regarded as independent ?—The general public think
they are departments of the Government, but the
educated persons do not.

19565. Do the members of the Board think that
they have a good deal of independence ?—Yes, they
do.

19566. Do you think that Local Boards should
have further powers ?—-We have not able men on
Local Boards, and there is such a scarcity of men
that it would be difficult to get men for them.

19567. Do you think that it is better to leave the
power as it is to-day in the hands of the District
Boards ?—I think so.

19568. You do not think you could get more
interest taken in public affairs within smaller
areas ?—No, I do not.

19569. Do you find that in Dacca there is a
general interest taken in the public affairs of the
town by the inhabitants?—Yes, they do take an
interest in Dacca, but the masses in the interior
do not.

19570. Do you think that they are so far advanced
that they could assume a little more responsibility ?
—No, not yet.

19571. Is it your experience that some members
of the District Boards take an interest in their
work, and that they help the District Officers in
the performance of their duties?—Yes, they do very
much.

19572. Do you think it would be possible to divide
the work and delegate some of it to committees of
the Board?—They generally do that. The Col-
lector does not want to interfere with the powers
of the members. The members are reluctant to
do the work unless they are forced to, and when
they find the Collector does not come forward they
have to do it themselves.

19573. Do you think that by delegating the woik
to sub-committees it would be done to some extent
by the members themselves ?—But if they were left
to do this sub-committee work themselves they
would be very slow.

19574. So you think that a great deal of super-
vision and control is necessary ?•—Yes.

19575. How often do you think the Advisory
Councils should meet ?—Twice a month.

19576. (Sir Frederic Lely.) Do the people come to
you wheli they are in trouble ?—Yes.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

19577. Do you see every one who comes to you?—
Every one.

19578. Have you any fixed hours for seeing
people?—Yes, I generally at this time of year see
them from 9 till 12.

19579. Have you a special place where they know
they can find you?—'I have three places. 'Now I
do not attend there regularly because I am not
well, but the people find out where I am and oome
to me.

19580. Do they talk freely to you ?—Yes, and they
often come at 2 o’clock in the morning.

19

19581. You have a large estate, have you not?—
Yes, about 6,000 or 8,000 villages.

19582. How are the villagers supplied with water
—is that under the management of the District
Board ?—Yes.

19583. Do the District Boards supply their wants?
—'Sometimes they request me to supply them, and
we are doing a lot of work in that way.

19584. Do you do that work on your own
responsibility ?—Yes, we have to do it ourselves.

(T7ie witness withdrew.)

'The Hon.
Nawab

. Khwaja

SalimuUa

Bahadur,

6 Jan., 1908.

Babu Bhuban Mohan Maitra was called and examined.

19585. (Chairman.) You are Chairman of the
Rampur Boalia municipality in the Riajshahi dis-
trict ?—Yes.

Provincial revenue, after reasonable (allotment
at a certain percentage to the imperial funds,
should be at the absolute disposal of the provincial
Government, otherwise the Local Government, even
when convinced of the necessity of certain urgent
works of public importance, cannot execute them
with a free hand for want of funds. The province
requires development and improvement in many
respects such as the extension of railways, con-
struction of public buildings, &c., and unless the
Local Government has large power to spend money
it will take many years to make it equal to other
provinces. The Local Government should have
power of borrowing money in the open market and
i ssuing debentures.

I would not propose the curtailment of the right
of appeal. It is not desirable to lay down any rule
for not admitting an appeal unless accompanied by
a certificate from the authority passing the order
appealed against.

Executive Officers have not sufficient opportunity
for personal contact with the people for various
reasons, namely, the want of sufficient leisure ; the
want of sufficient knowledge of the vernacular and
etiquette, manners and custom of people on the
part of European officers, and the want of sufficient
sympathy and sometimes dislike on their part.
To remove these obstacles, it is necessary to allow
Executive Officers to mix with people in social
matters to attend public meetings, not being
political in order to interchange opinions and
views ; to reduce their over-work, and to give them
opportunity to attain a sufficient knowledge of the
vernacular and- manners and customs of the people.

The transfers of officers are unnecessarily fre-
quent. As a general rule, they should be allowed to
remain in one place unless transfer is absolutely
required, for three years at least.

I am in favour of creating Advisory, but not
Administrative, Councils to help District Officers.
One to three persons of intelligence and good status
from each thana should be recruited to form the
Councils ; they should be bond -fide representatives
of the community, and should not be talking
machines but should give their opinions in writing.
In matters of. importance, they ishould be required
to assemble in one place for deliberation, the Dis-
trict Magistrate being their President. The opinion
of the majority should prevail, and in case the
District Officer differs with the opinion of the
majority, the matter should be referred to the
Government for final decision. All questions re-
garding the development and improvement of the
district should be referred to them, such as in-
digenous industries, agriculture, local trade, roads,
drainage, water-ways, pasturage, prevention of
cattle disease, sanitation, water-supply, cattle-
breeding, . &c.

It would not be. expedient to invest District
Boards with powers of supervision and control over
smaller municipalities within their respective dis-
tricts. This is likely to create friction between the
two bodies.

It is desirable to enlarge the powers of village
communities in some of the important localities
to dispose of local matters regarding revenue, &c.

19586. In practice are officers entrusted with the
revenue administration too much dominated by
considerations of revenue?—Yes.

33289

19587. Do you know of any cases in which that
has occurred?—I know that in cases of assessing
stamp duty for probate or letters of administration
there is a tendency on the part of the assessing
officer or the Collector to increase the assessment.
This was not more than three or four years ago.

19588. Are you speaking now of particular cases
of estates of persons deceased, or of the general
administration of revenue?—Generally we see the
tendency is to increase in cases of assessment for
income-tax and stamp duty.

10589. Is that because the person whose income
is being assessed has grown richer?—Not always.
Of course that would be the right thing to do, but it
is not so always.

19590. Is there no appeal from an assessment of
income-tax?—(Sometimes there is an appeal, and
the hearing of the appeal is mostly based on the
note furnished by the.Deputy Collector.

19591. With regard to the Court of Wards, you
would like to see Collectors entrusted with more
power? The last witness stated that he thought
Collectors or Commissioners might perhaps indulge
their hobbies if they were given more power—do you
agree with that view?—I do not think so.

19592. You think it would only be reasonable to
give the manager of an estate more power?—Yes,
and I know of certain instances in which there was
a loss to an estate because he had not powers.
A certain tenant of an estate wanted to excavate a
.tank upon certain property of which I am a share-
holder and of which the Court of Wards is also a
joint shareholder. The tenant asked power to
take a certain portion of land .and offered a bonus,
but there was no one who could give him permission
on behalf of the Court of Wards, and therefore
the improvement could not be made.

19593. Is the want of knowledge of the vernacu-
lar on the part of Executive Officers very notice-
able ?—'It is noticeable in young officers.

19594. Are they ignorant of the customs and
social habits of the people ?—Yes.

19595. Could you suggest any remedy for that ?—
I would allow them to mix with people in social
gatherings and public meetings.

19596. Are there no means by which when they
oome out to this country, they could be taught the
habits and etiquette of Indian society?—'There is
no text book.

19597. Would it be possible to compile some
small book which would furnish them with some
idea of the customs and habits of the people ?—Of
course that could be done.

19598. Is there any unwillingness on the part of
native gentlemen to associate with European Offi-
cials?—The idea is that the natives do not receive
proper treatment sometimes.

19699. Have you known of a case where a native
gentleman has received improper treatment at the
hands of a European Civilian?—Personally I do
nett remember halving had . any( occasion too be
offended.

19600. Have you ever known any of your friends
complain?—Yes. They complained that they had
to wait outside some time while no notice was
taken of them.

19601. Do persons who desire access to a District
Officer have to inform his servants and chaprasis

0 2

Babu Bhuban
Mohan
Maitra.

6 Jan., 1908.


20

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Babu Bhuban
Mohan
Maitra,

6 Jan., 1908

outside?—Yes, you must inform the chaprasis and
sometimes send in your card.

19602. Would it he possible sometimes for 'a
chaprasi not to take the card in to the officer?—
I do not think it would be possible for him to do
that.

19603. Do you think, in the case of your friend’s
complaint, that there was a deliberate insult on
the part of the District Officer?—That was the
complaint—it was not one complaint, but several.

19604. Do Civil Servants who are also Indians
sometimes show the same incivility?—I do not
remember ever having heard of any such complaint,
and personally I have had no experience of any.

19605. Do you think that larger powers might be
given to municipalities and District Boards in the
matter of their budgets ?—Yes.

19606. And in regard to administrative power ?—
Yes, to a certain extent. It often happens that a
man commits a nuisance by the roadside, then the
constable has to be informed ; the man is taken to
the tliana ; bail has to be granted ; the man goes
to his house in the interior and has to appear on
the day of hearing when there is a sort of trial
with the result that he may be fined two annas.
That is the ultimate punishment, but there is all
the harassment connected with it. If the Chair-
man or Vice-Chairman of the municipality had
some power to deal with cases like those, it would
prevent all that trouble.

19607. Would the Chairman of a municipality
be a safe person to entrust with punishment for
offences against municipal bye-laws?—-I do not see
any objection.

19608. You would like to see Advisory Councils
created?—Yes, for District Officers as well as for
Commissioners. They should be very small, but
at the same time representative.

19609. Would it be possible to find a sufficient
number of persons of influence to fill the District
Board, the Local Board, and an Advisory Council
for the Commissioner, as well as an Advisory
Council for the Dstrict Officer?—T think so. There
is one class of people whose education and intelli-
gence is not utilised afterwards, such as the young
landholders who are brought up under the Court
of Wards. They get a proper education, but after
an estate is released they are left alone, while if
their services were made use of, the public might
be benefited, because they would make very good
officers and members of an Advisory Council.

19610. You would also like to see greater effect
given to the powers of village communities?—We
have no legally constituted village communities in
our province. Of course we have village communi-
ties on the old system, but if a legally constituted
village community could be created, more would
be done by them.

19611. (Mr. Hichens.) You say that there is a
class of young land-owners who might be utilised
as members of an Advisory Council ; do these
gentlemen, as a matter of fact, take any part in
District Board work to-day?—-No, not many.

19612. What is the reason ?—Because they do not
care to stand for election and they are not nomi-
nated.

19613. Could they be utilised in other ways also ?
—-Yes ; they might be made Honorary Magistrates
or Honorary Munsiffs.

19614. Is that ever done?-—No. If possible they
might gradually be made Honorary Sub-Judges.

19615. Have you ever found that the Government
control over municipalities hampered you in any
way ?—In the matter of budgets we sometimes found
difficulties. Sometimes certain items are struck out
by the Commissioners. That is not frequently the
case.

19616. If the Commissioner strikes out one item
and puts in another, what happens if you object ;
is his decision final?—Under the law it would be
final, but sometimes, if we write again and explain
the thing, he changes his views, although some-
times he does not.

19617. Are there any other ways in which you *
find that the interference of the Commissioner
hampers you?—'Sometimes. There was one matter
with regard to the pay of a municipal servant.
Under the rules certain servants are entitled to
increased pay and the Committee allowed it, but
the Divisional Commissioner would not sanction it.

19618. Should the municipality in most cases
at any rate, have the power of 'appointment and
of paying its own servants according to its own
scale ?—-Yes ; also to treat them as they like.

19619. Would you restrict the power of appeal of
municipal officers to the Government?—No.

19620. (Mr. JDutt.) You suggest that the Local
Government should have the power of borrowing
money in the open market? Do you think they
could get money there on cheaper terms than they
could from the Indian Government?—I cannot say
whether they would get it on cheaper terms, but
I expect they would be able to get it on the same
terms. My idea is that it will improve the work
of the province. Sometimes the Lieutenant-
Governor is convinced of the utility of certain work
which might not ultimately be sanctioned by the
Supreme Government.

19621. Might it not lead to a multiplicity of loans
if every provincial Government was allowed to
borrow on its own account?—Of course it would
increase the number of loans, but at the same time
it is allowed at Lucknow, where the 'Government
issue separate currency notes, and at 'Calcutta,
where the municipality issues debentures.

19622. But these municipalities have incomes of
their own. Has the Local Government any income
beyond what is assigned to it by the Imperial
Government?—I take the other view—the Local
Government assigns to the Imperial Government,
or ought to.

19623. You say that the powers of temporary
remission in a year of drought should be given to
the Divisional Commissioner—do you make that
remark with regard to permanently, or tempo-
rarily settled estates ? — I speak regarding per-
manently settled estates.

19624. In the case of permanently-settled estates
zamindars are not entitled to any remission at all,
even in years of drought?—That I know, but the
policy should be changed to a certain extent.

19625. How long have you been Chairman of
the Rampur Boalia municipality ? — This is my
ninth year.

19626. Were you a member of the municipality
before that?—I was a member for some time at
the beginning, and afterwards I was elected
Chairman.

19627. Has the election been (Sanctioned by the
Government ?—Yes.

19628. Is the Vice-Chairman also elected?—-No.

He is nominated by the Chairman.

19629. Is the work of the municipality dealt with
by different sub-committees?—Certain works such
as, for instance, appeals are dealt with by an
appeal committee. Then with regard to Public
Works certain members supervise the work of the
overseer, and certain Commissioners are empowered
.by me to check the bills and other things. The
system has answered well up to the present.

19630. Is your municipality inspected by the Dis-
trict Magistrate or by the Divisional Commissioner ?

—Yes.

19631. Have any serious faults been found with
your administration during the time you have been
Chairman ?—No.

19632. Are there any schools under the super-
vision of the municipality?—There are primary
schools which are maintained by the municipality.

The sub-inspectors of schools, who are Government
officers, inspect them, the municipality merely pays
the cost. We have no power of supervision or
control in regard to their management; we have to
do that through the sub-inspector and inspector.
Some of the Commissioners sometimes inspect the


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

21

schools, hut that function rests primarily with the
sub-inspectors.

19633. Supposing 'a lOommissiioarer finds fault with
a school, have you any power (to withdraw the grant
or to close the school ?—No.

19634. Are any dispensaries maintained by the
municipality?—Yes, they are managed by the Dis-
pensary Committee, of which I am a member. I
used to inspect the dispensary, but at present. 1
do not. The Vice-Chairman ,sometimes inspects
it.

19635. Are there any members of the Dispensary
Committee who are not Commissioners of the .muni-
cipality ?—Yes.

19636. Are your municipal accounts audited?—
Yes, by the Government auditor of the Accounts
Department. A copy of his remarks is sent to us
and we have to rectify the defects.

19637. Is not the organisation of village com-
munities very feeble in Bengal ?—Yes.

19638. Would some legal recognition of them
strengthen their organisation?—Yes.

19639. Would you entrust the powers of a village
community to a single mian or to a number of men
in the village ?—I should prefer a number of pan-
chayats.

19640. If you had such a body would you entrust
to them some powers in the way of settling dis-
putes and also disposing of petty criminal cases ?—
Yes.

19641. Would you also allow them some powers
with regard to settling civil disputes?—Yes, and
also with regard to sanitation. You often see
cases of carcasses being thrown into the river, and
there is no one to prevent it. The chaukidar some-
times 'goes to the thana, and the thana sub-inspec-
tor, if it pleases him, reports to the Sub-Divisional
Officer ; notice may be taken in time of such a
matter, but meanwhile the body is rotting in the
water.

(The witness withdrew.)

Babu Bhutan
Mohan
Maitra.

6 Tan., 1908,

Mr. H. Duson was

19642. (Chairman.) You are Commissioner of the
Chittagong Division ?—Yes. I have also been

Deputy Secretary to the Government of India in
the Home Department for three years and before
that Under-Secretary ifor three years.

Now that the nature of the provincial 'settlements has
been made nominally permanent instead of periodic,
larger financial powers should be given to Local
Governments. But their financial administration
should remain subject to the general .supervision of
the Supreme Government, and various conditions
and restrictions. What appears to be required is
to increase the limits in the conditions prescribed,
e.g., tho,se as regards both temporary and perman-
ent appointments, pay of grades, new services, pen-
sions, cost of houses for officers’ residences, &c.
If the retention by the Local Government of the
prescribed minimum balance is rigorously insisted
upon, the conditions can be very considerably less
restricted 'than at present.

I do not advocate further separation between im-
perial and provincial finances.

I would not give borrowing powers to Local
Governments. One reason against the proposal is
that they would probably have to pay more for
the money. Another is that it would tend to
make them less subject to the general financial con-
trol of the Supreme Government, which seems
essential.

The smaller cases as regards appointments, allow-
ances, pensions, &c., take up an inordinate amount
of time and attention in the Secretariats. I would
leave as many of these as possible to the Local
Government, allowing the Government of India to
interfere by veto on seeing the cases recorded in
the proceedings, or the individuals affected to
appeal if necessary. The Civil Service Regulations
and Civil Account Code should be exhaustively
examined with a view Ito the exclusion of petty
cases from being of necessity referred to the Govern-
ment of India. These 'Codes are behind the times
in .such respects. The powers of the Government of
India would require some enlargement also.

If the proceedings of the Government of India
are examined .it will be found that there are very
many references in petty cases which might well be
left to Local Governments. “The previous sanc-
tion of the Governor-General in Council ” has been
insisted upon too much in the legislation of late
years. An instance is seen in the provision in
the Chittagong Port Commissioners Act that such
sanction is required to the list of local firms for
the electorate to choose the three elected Port Com-
missioners every two years. The Commissioner
of the division might very well be entrusted with
the power of altering that list, subject to his being
liable to be overruled on objection by the Local
Government.

But whilst (giving larger administrative powers
to Local Governments in such petty matters, I
would not add much to their powers in important

called and examined.

matters. The Local Governments in India are
very powerful institutions. .As -at present con-
stituted, they have not always complete knowledge
of local conditions, and they are not on every occa-
sion right. They should be required to justify to
the Supreme Government iany departure, on the
ground of different local conditions, from the
general lines of policy laid down by that Govern-
ment or the Home Government.

The restrictions as to details imposed on Local
Governments by law or rules having the force of
law might be relaxed by a general Act of delegation
scheduling the restrictions which are to be relaxed
and allowing the Governor ^General in Council to
delegate them. In some cases, e.g., Madras, com-
plete delegation olf the items in the schedule might
be expected ; in others, e.g., the (Central Provinces,
only partial delegation.

The departments of the Government of India
with which I am acquainted appear to me to suffer
mainly from want of direct knowledge with the
conditions of the provinces. There are too many
notes and memoranda put up by clerks and inex-
perienced /Secretariat officers. No officer should
act as a Secretary to the Government of India
until he has completed three years’ service as a
District Officer (as Accountant-General, &c., for the
Financial Department, as a Resident for the
Foreign Department, &c.). No officer of the Civil
Service is allowed 'to act in a High Court until he
has served three years as a District Judge. A
corresponding rule in the Executive branch of the
Service would be of great value. The Adminis-
trative Departments of the Government of India
are too rigid, narrow, -and unsympathetic. Their
officers should be in closer touch with actual con-
ditions. The Secretariats .are often very ponderous
and slow. More expedition is required in the
despatch in them of really important business.
There are too many inter-departmental reference's
in ordinary cases. The Secretariat tends to grind
alike for both great and small; and there is not
enough light and shade in their productions. I
would remedy this by pruning away much of the
less important work, and by taking a succession of
officers from active employment in different parts
of the country.

The Government of India is not too much
dominated by considerations of revenue, as a rule.
But it is too impersonal, and too much removed
from first-hand knowledge of -most of the provinces.
In an outlying province such as that of Eastern
Benigal 'and Assam there is a great feeling of want
of direct touch with the Government of India. The
general conduct of the administration would run
much more easily if such touch existed.

Directors and Inspectors-iGeneral under the -Gov-
ernment of India should be inspecting and advising
officers, and not administrative officers, when deal-
ing with departments which are primarily under
the Local (Governments. They should tour some-
what more than they do. .

Mr.

H. Luton.

6 Jan., 1908.


. Mr. .

H. Luson.

6 Jan., 1908.

22 MINUTES OK

Initiative largely depends on the individual. The
majority of the administrative changes effected in
recent years with which I am acquainted are those
brought about 'by Lord Curzon as Governor-General,
and by Sir George Campbell as Lieutenant-Governor
of Bengal. I do not consider that it would be
desirable to allow provincial Governments to de-
velop their administration on their own lines,
adopting or not at their discretion suggestions of
reform brought to their notice from other provinces.

I would not interfere in any way with the law,
rules, or practice of appeals. To do so would be
most unpopular, and it rni^ht also be dangerous.
Appeals often bring considerable information to the
knowledge of the appellate authority, and the work
done in connection is not excessive or wasted. A
hopeless appeal is quickly disposed of.

Too much reliance is placed by the Government of
India upon returns and reports from the Local Gov-
ernments. Such very often do not, and cannot, con-
vey full knowledge of the conditions. What is
required is more personal acquaintance with the
people and the officers of the provinces. I have
no suggestions to make as to the reductions of
returns and reports demanded from the Local
Governments. The more information the Govern-
ment of India obtains from them the better.

In this province, as well as in Bengal, the Board
of Revenue should be formed into an Executive
Council with the LieutenantnGovernor. I would
make the members of the Board of Revenue
Ministers in charge of departments in the Execu-
tive Council, and abolish the Board’s separate
Secretariat. I would give power regarding the
general administration, as well as revenue matters,
to the members. The Lieutenant-Governor and
his Councillors should .settle how the work should
be divided from time to time, .subject to the
approval of the Governor-General in Council. Many
of the present functions otf the Board of Revenue
might 'be devolved upon the Commissioners of
Divisions.

As regards the Court of Wards, there is at pre-
sent too great an attempt at controlling details
from the Board of Revenue downwards.

Of late years Commissioners here have been
allowed some grants for (a) minor works and (6)
small sanitary improvements. 'Such grants might
be also given to District Officers and Commis-
sioners should have the allotment of them to dis-
tricts (from a total sum for the division) as in the
case with the extra grants from the Public Works
Cess to add to the resources of the District Boards.

The remarks I have made above regarding the
Imperial Government and Secretariat apply
mutufis mutandis to the Local Government and its
Secretariat. In this province the Secretariat is
particularly out of touch with local conditions as
it is mostly located for practically the whole year
at the station of Shillong which is difficult of
access. These remarks do not apply to the Chief
Secretary who tours with His Honour the Lieu-
tenant-Governor throughout the province.

The position of the Commissioner in these pro-
vinces is not at present satisfactory, as the laws
and rules and orders do not give him sufficient
authority in revenue or in administrative matters.
By his standing in the Service, and as administra-
tive Head of a division comprising several dis-
tricts, he usually commands very considerable in-
fluence in all local affairs, but it is possible for him
to act largely as a mere channel of communication
between the District Officers and the higher
authorities. Adequate weight is given to my own
views, but I regret that I have no more oppor-
tunities than I have for personal communication
with the Government.

Executive Officers have not sufficient oppor-
tunities for contact with the people outside their
offices. The District Officers have far too much
work to do. In the heavier districts, I would
have two District Officers and divide the work
between them.

Executive Officers often do not possess sufficient
knowledge of the vernaculars. The regulations for
passed candidates in England require amendment,
and some time should be .spent at home in obtain-
ing a grounding in .Sanskrit and Bengali by
selected candidates for this province.

EVIDENCE :

We have great difficulty in obtaining the sanc-
tioned normal administrative staff. The last Civil
List for this province shows a deficiency of 16 be-
low the sanctioned number of members of the
Indian Civil Service. Two of the most difficult
and important sub-divisions in this division have
been held by unpassed Assistants for considerable
periods during the last two years. The Provincial
Service of Deputy Magistrate^Collectors is also
deficient. The Government of India should have
insisted upon this province being better equipped
with administrative officers from the start.

I doubt if larger powers will in practice make
much difference as regards the selection of officers.
I think it .should do so.

Transfers are unnecessarily frequent, because we
have not the full 'Complement of officers. The best
method of avoiding transfers is to have a suf-
ficiency of officers.

Local Boards in Bengal have never had suf-
ficient powers and means given to them, and
unions under the Bengal Local Self-Government
Act should be encouraged. I would have elections
to such unions, and would create and finance many
more of them.

I doubt the feasibility of Advisory or Admin-
istrative Councils for Divisional or District Officers
unless they are established by law; and if they
were so established, I should hesitate to predict
how they would work. The District Officer already
has a Council in the District Board of which he is
Chairman. The functions of the District Board
might be somewhat enlarged. That I think should
be sufficient for the present. As to a Divisional
. Council there would be great difficulty in getting
the 'members of the outlying districts to come in.
At present when I visit a district I see most people
there of importance, and freely consult them;

I do not think it would be expedient to invest
District Boards with powers of supervision over
small municipalities. Any such scheme would be
very unpopular in Bengal.

There are no village communities in these dis-
tricts. I would extend the unions under the Ben-
gal Local Self-Government Act, making them
largely elective and increasing their functions and
powers. I should like to amalgamate with them
the chaukdari unions in certain tracts as an ex-
periment. I doubt if any village organisation
should be entrusted with the disposal of criminal
or civil cases.

19643. You are not in favour of a complete
separation of imperial and provincial finance?
Will you state briefly why?—'The general features
of the system of provincial settlements which date
from the time of Lord Mayo’s Government should
be continued, and the budgets should be framed
on the principle of unity of finance, so that all
parts of India may share in any growing revenue
according to their needs.

19644. Do you think that unity and share in
any possible expansion of revenue could not follow
upon a system which separated the finances of the
respective Government?—That is so. I would not
allow some province to progress while others re-
mained stationary, by dividing them up as it were
into water-tight compartments.

19645. That might follow upon a separation of
the finances?—One province might want a little
extra assistance at some time and not be able to
get it if the provinces were divided up financially
into separate bodies.

19646. You say that the Civil Service Regula-
tions and Civil Account 'Code ought to be
examined with a view to the exclusion of petty
cases, which have to be referred to the Government
of India. When you were in the Government of
India Secretariat did they in any way take in
hand these regulations or codes from that point of
view?—-I cannot say that any general examination
was made from that point of view, but there were
continual amendments made sometimes with that
object.

19647. (Sometimes perhaps with the object of
tightening up control?—Perhaps, on some
occasions.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

23

19648. When you were in the Secretariat of the
Government of India, were a great number of
cases disposed of by the Undersecretaries and
Deputy Secretaries?—A very great number were
disposed of by them on their own responsibility,
subject of course to their being noted in proceed-
ings and those proceedings being examined by the
officers superior to them, that is, by the Secretary
in the ease of an Under or Deputy Secretary or by
a. member of the Government in the case of the
Secretary. There was a weekly tabulated list
prepared.

19649. Do you think that many of such cases
might very well have been left to the disposal and
discretion of the provincial Government?—I think
so. I should say a majority.

19650. ISo far, that is to say, as the rules com-
pelled the reference, but not so far as the import-
ance of the matters referred was concerned?—Just
so; the rules compel the references.

19651. What proportion of your time was occu-
pied in dealing with those cases which might have
been disposed of by the Local Governments ?—I
used to devote most of the office working hours to
the disposal of small cases, and urgent cases, and
the larger and important cases I used to work
upon at home, so that I should say it would be
about half and half.

19652. Then might one-half of your work have
been perfectly well done, so far as its importance
was concerned, by the Local Governments, and
need never have come up to you at all?—Roughly
I should think so, but it is some years since I left
the Secretariat.

19653. (Have you ever been in the Secretariat of
the provincial Government?—Yes. I was Under-
secretary there for .a year and a half in 1890-91.

19654. Did you find that a great deal of your
time as an Undersecretary in the provincial
Government was occupied in the same way in
deciding these petty questions?—I think more so.

19655. (So that quite one-half of your time in
the Secretariat of the provincial Government was
taken up with cases -which might perfectly well
have been delegated to subordinate officers of that
Government?—Quite so.

19656. You give an instance with regard to the
Chittagong Port Trust in which the Government
of India interfere unduly with the conduct of local
.affairs: is that possibly because you are working
under obsolete conditions which no one has ever
taken the trouble to get amended?—I think that
is an example of a good many cases, and there are
numerous similar ones.

19657. During your three years’ term of office
as Commissioner of Chittagong, have you ever
made any proposals to the Local Government to
amend the Chittagong Port Trust Act?—Yes, I
drafted a Bill for that purpose. It is about to be
taken into consideration.

19658. .How long, after a Bill of that sort has
been taken into consideration, is it made opera-
tive?—-About a year. It is probable in this case
that the Bill will be passed shortly, because the
LieutenantnGovernor has decided to take the
matter up, and it only remains now to introduce
the Bill and carry it through.

19659. You say that there are a great number
of memoranda and notes sent up by clerks and
inexperienced officers: Were you required by office
procedure, as a comparatively subordinate officer
with hardly seven years’ service, to make a num-
ber of notes on these memoranda and pass judg-
ment and criticisms on the proceedings of officers
with much longer experience than your own?—Yes,
that is so. I do not think it is a good system.

19660. Did your notes and your memoranda in-
clude a sort of collation of previous cases, drawing
attention to precedents and that kind of thing,
or did you criticise the proposals from the larger
and wider point of view of policy?—-Both. The
examination of precedents is very necessary.

19661. Were you entitled in your position to do
both—were you not only to point to precedents but

to dilate upon expediency?—Yes; and suggest
action.

19662. What would you suggest to prevent that
state of things?—As' a rule, no officer should act
as Secretary to -the Government of India, that is
to say, in charge of a department which deals
mainly with district work such as the Home De-
partment—until he has completed three years’
service as a District Officer. As regards other
departments, the Financial Department for in-
stance, there would be other offices he should hold
instead, say Financial Secretary to a Local Govern-
ment, or an AcoountantnGeneralship, and as re-
gards the Foreign Department one of the political
appointments in the interior of the country. The
rule they have as regards the High Court is
a very good one, namely, that no officer of the
Civil Service can act as a Judge of the High Court
until he has been three years a District Judge, and
that rule is followed without exception.

19663; You say that the Secretariat rather treats
all matters alike both great and .small and there
is very little light and shade in their proceedings ?
—-The really important business does not perhaps
get the extra attention dev-oted to it which it
ishould have. There are a large number of im-
portant questions which should have special atten-
tion, but because there are so many cases to deal
with they are more or less all treated' alike. There
is such a volume of work to be got through that
the tendency is to treat the cases, as they come,
more or less alike, instead of devoting special and
extra attention to the more difficult ones.

19664. You think the Executive 'Council ought to
include a Member from each of the larger provinces ?
—I do. It could not be worked as a hard-and-
fast rule. It is merely a suggestion, to be carried
out as far as is reasonably possible ?

19665. You say there is too much reliance placed
by the Government of India on the returns and
reports of Local Governments—has that always
been the case?—I cannot say that I know of any
increase lately.

19666. But when it comes to the case of reports
and returns demanded from the Local Governments,
you think the more information the Government
of India obtains from them the better ?—Yes, but I
would have the Government of India have all the
information at hand to enable them to deal with
any point, that is to say, the members of the
Government of India should be more in personal
touch with the people and the officers of the dif-
ferent provinces, but should also have the informa-
tion on record.

19667. But you say that in one case the Govern-
ment of India places too much reliance upon these
reports, and then you say they ought to get more
information from them than they do ; what do you
exactly mean ?—They ought to make better use of
the reports which they receive.

19668. You think Commissioners have not got as
much power as they ought to have?—That is so.
Quite a number of powers which are now exercised
by the Board of Revenue might be delegated to
Commissioners. For instance, take the adminis-
tration of the revenue law in connection with the
permanent settlement. When a case of injustice
or hardship occurs in connection with a sale of
even the smallest estate and it is brought to the
notice of the Commissioner on appeal, the Com-
missioner has no power to interfere, but has to
report it to the Board of Revenue, and the Board
of Revenue has to make a recommendation to the
Local Government before an estate which has been
sold can be restored to the owner, although it is
a clear case of hardship and injustice. Cases of
that kind which are regulated by Act XI. of 1859,
might be left to the Commissioner himself. I do
not think the Commissioner is likely to endanger
the Government revenue.

19669. With regard to the Court of Wards, you
would like a freer hand?—That is so. I cannot
sanction more than Rs. 200 for any work in a large
estate. When an estate is taken under the Court
of Wards, a scheme is drawn up which is approved
for the general working of it during the time it is

Jfr.

TI. Luson.

8 Jan.' 1908


24

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Mr.

H, Luson.

6 Jan., 1908.

to be under the Court, and if any departure from
that scheme, in the case of a large estate, involves
an expenditure of over Rs. 200, the matter must
go to the Board of Revenue. The limit should be
very considerably extended: I would suggest a
percentage on the gross revenue of the estate.

19670. Would you increase the powers of the
Collector in the same way?—The Collector has
powers up to Rs. 100, and I would similarly in-
crease his powers.

19671. You are perhaps aware that in the pro-
vince of Bengal the Commissioners have an allot-
ment made to them of Rs. 10,000 to spend more
or less as they like ? — Yes, I have a similar
allotment.

19672. Do you yourself spend the money, or do
you hand it over practically to the Collectors to
spend ?—I practically see to the spending of it
myself. The Collectors tell me what they think
would be the best way in which the money should
be spent ; I usually see the places where it is going
to be spent and the results, and take a personal
interest in the spending of the money ; the amount
might be considerably increased.

19673. Supposing you kept the amount which you
now have to spend, but a sum was given to the
Collectors which they could spend at their own
discretion, would that remove any necessity for
an increase in your allotment?—(I should like to
have the allotment made to the division and allow
the Commissioner to divide it up among the dis-
tricts, not necessarily in accordance with the area
or population, but as some urgent necessity might
arise. In one year one district would get more than
another, and in another less ; I would not tie the
hands of the Divisional Officer, I would allow him
to have the money to dispose of to the best of his
knowledge.

19674. Should a Commissioner have a separate
budget for his division?—Practically I think it is
scarcely necessary. We get .along pretty well as
we are. Of course there are already budgets for
different departments.

19675. Have you any power over the transfer of
Covenanted Officers or the Provincial Service?—No,
only in the Subordinate Service—only as to Sub-
Deputy 'Collectors. I doubt whether it would work,
because the number of officers in a division is too
small to allow of any reserve. I think the present
system should not be changed with regard to the
powers of transfers, but there are a great deal too
many transfers.

19676. Can you suggest any means by which that
could be checked?—The number of officers is in-
sufficient to go round. That is the chief cause.

19677. It has been suggested that a District Offi-
cer should no longer be permitted to be the Chair-
man of the District Board?—The Local Govern-
ment has the power now, under the Bengal Local
Self-Government Act, of appointing another person.
In Eastern Bengal, it would not be a wise thing
generally, but the experiment might be tried in one
or two districts. It would, no doubt, remove the
Collectors from direct touch with many very im-
portant matters in connection with the district,
and it would require an exceptionally good man,
not the District Officer, to fill the post. He would
probably have to be paid. I would not recommend
it as a system at the present time.

19678. But you would not mind it being tried
here and there?—'Not, if some exceptionally good
man could be obtained, but merely as an experi-
ment.

19679. (Should power be given to the 'Commis-
sioner to appoint a person other than the Collector
to the Chairmanship of the District Board ?—No,
I think the Local Government only should have
that power. It is so important a matter.

19680. Do you think that occasionally a person
might be found who not only would be fit to
exercise the functions of Chairman, but who would
have the necessary leisure and knowledge of the
district?—He might, but there is no such person
in my own division, I have met with one or two,
perhaps, in the course of my experience.

19681. It has been suggested that the Commis-
sioner instead of getting from his District and Sub-
Divisional Officers a report on every sort of
subject, should get from them one annual
administration report ; would that be a good
system?—It is very necessary in many matters to
call for immediate reports from District Officers.
There would be considerable difficulties in preparing
one report. It would have to be prepared in
sections which would be tacked together, so it
would come to much the same thing as now.

19682. Would it not save the District Officer time
and trouble and save you time and trouble?—I do
not think it would have much practical effect.

19683. You think some small additional powers
might be given both to municipalities and District
Boards?—I think that they might be entrusted
with them.

19684. What do you mean by saying that Deputy
Collectors should be allowed to conduct their own
correspondence?—In a district the work is divided
up into different departments, each presided over
by a Deputy Collector. Take for instance the
Partition Department which deals with the par-
tition of estates ; a Deputy Collector is in charge,
and although he writes all the letters, the Collector
signs them and the files go to the Collector on
routine matters ; routine reports have to go to the
Commissioner and the Board, and I think the
Deputy Collector might send them direct, without
beforehand going to the Collector or sending the
case to him and getting his approval of the draft
and his signature to the letter.

19685. Is the Deputy Collector a man not only of
considerable experience but of considerable capacity,
having regard to the work he has to do ?—Of course
they vary, but there are many Deputy Collectors,
who have very considerable capacity.

19686. Has their general tone considerably im-
proved of late years?—I have heard of very few
cases of dishonesty indeed amongst Deputy Col-
lectors. I think that their standard of honesty
in this province is very high, and that their
standard of work, generally, has improved.

19687. (Mr. Meyer.) You speak of provincial
settlements having been made permanent, and
again you say that they require revision ; what sort
of revision do you think these quasi -permanent
provincial settlements should receive ? — If the
revenue in one province became more or less
stereotyped, whilst the revenue in .another province
developed very largely, it seems to me that some
re-adjustment should be made.

19688. That is to say that the .stationary province
should receive part of the increase of revenue of
the progressive province ?—That is what I mean.

19689. Although the progressive province might
have built up its revenue by careful administration,
and the stationary province might have been
stationary through its own inertia ?'—The stationary
province might have remained stationary on
account of its history. I was thinking amongst
other things of the permanent settlement of Bengal.
I do not advocate a periodical revision. I also had
in mind the United Provinces, where I believe it
is found that the financial arrangements are such
that there is a deficit, and I suggest in making,
this arrangement that it should not be held that
that province was cut off from any adjustment later
on.

19690. An adjustment in favour of one province
might imply also an adjustment against it?—
Yes, I meant that.

19691. Therefore, you would sacrifice the whole
permanency of the settlement ?—You are aware of
the previous system of quinquennial settlements
and that they were done away with because they led
to constant bickering as to the 'terms to be given
by the Government of India and obtained by the
provinces for the next settlement —Yes.

19692. Are you prepared with a light heart to
revive that system ?—No, certainly not with a light
heart. I anticipate that readjustments of these
guasi-permanent settlements will ibe really forced
upon the Government.






ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

19693. As regards new appointments, you propose
to give Local Governments power up to Rs. l,U00.
You are aware that the Government of India have
no such power?—Yes. I have suggested that the
powers of the Government of India should also he
somewhat enlarged.

19694. You say that with regard to' personal
cases, you would prefer to let the Local Government
exercise its discretion, leaving the Government of
India to interfere on seeing the cases recorded in
the proceedings, and you refer specially to pen-
sions and allowances. Do you think it would be
satisfactory to a man to whom the Local Govern-
ment had given a pension of, say, Rs. i200 a month,
to have the Government of India come down upon
him some months afterwards and say, “ We must
deprive you of a portion of your pension, you
ought only to get Rs. 150 ” ?—I would risk that. I
do not think it should necessarily lead to that
result. At present under articles 925, &c., of the
Civil Service Regulations pensions are provisionally
paid pending final orders.

19695. As regards the Ghittagong Port Trust, you
stated that you had drafted a Bill ; in that Bill
have you cut out the clauses as regards the inter-
vention of the Government of India which you have
mentioned as unnecessary ?—As a matter of fact, I
have not cut out those clauses ; il have put in a
limit, and if the ‘sanction of the Government of
India is still considered necessary to a very large
work, it is provided that the limit in the case of
Chittagong, might ibe raised from Rs. 10,000 to one
lakh.

19696. In the same way you have got rid in your
draft Bill of the restriction as to the election of
Commissioners by such bodies, &c., as the Local
Government may “ with the previous sanction of
the Governor-General in Council direct.” You have
omitted the words “with the previous sanction of
the GovernornGeneral ” ?—Yes.

19697. Has that Bill been accepted by the Local
Government ?—It has not been thoroughly considered
in detail yet.

19698. You say that a ('Secretary to the Govern-
ment of India, outside the (Foreign or Finance
Department, should not become a Secretary until
he has completed three years7 service as a District
Officer. By District Officer, do you mean Col-
lector or Deputy Commissioner?—Yes.

19699. Have not most of the Secretaries of the
Government of India in the Home and Revenue
Departments had three years’ experience as Col-
lectors and Deputy Commissioners ?—I am not sure
about most of them ; some have.

19700. With regard to your suggestion as to the
Finance Department of the Government of India,
is not that department an administrative depart-
ment dealing with administrative departments ?—It
is largely an administrative department, of course.
It has to deal with cases referred to it (besides
its own administrative cases) by the other depart-
ments of the Government of India.

19701. Therefore, is it not possible that the more
outside experience a Financial Officer of the Gov-
ernment of India had the better ; instead of requir-
ing him to have .special audit experience, would it
not be better to require that part of his experience
should have been -in some other line ?—I meant to
include those which I mentioned just now: a
Financial Secretary to one of the Local Govern-
ments would be one source of recruitment, and the
Secretariats to 'Local Governments should have
three years’ district experience. I want to secure
more direct or personal knowledge by the Secre-
tariat of the people of the country.

19702. Gan you give some specific instance of the
rigidity and want of sympathy which you specify
as having marked the administrative departments
of the Government of India in your time ?—Yes, I
think the Ghittagong -port after Lord Gurzon’s visit
there in 1904, has been treated with a want of
sympathy.

19703. During the time you were in the Secre-
tariat, can you remember any specific instance
which you can speak to ?—Yes, I should say the

action taken in connection with thp Bengal jury
notification. Action was taken in regard to trial
by jury in Bengal, with the sanction of the Govern-
ment of India, by a notification very considerably
altering the previous arrangements. That action
was extremely ill-received, and it was afterwards
practically admitted by the Lieutenant-Governor
himself that it was mistaken. It was very much
modified in consequence of the Commission which
was appointed under the presidency of one of the
Judges of the High Court in Calcutta. If there
had been more knowledge on the part of the
Government of India at that time of the feeling in
Bengal and the conditions of the Bengal districts,
the notification which was issued by the Lieutenant-
Governor would not probably have been sanctioned
by the Government of India.

19704. That is to say, the 'Government of India
showed their rigidity and want of sympathy by
approving the action of the Lieutenant-Governor
instead of vetoing it?—I think so.

19705. Then you say that you would remedy the
constitution of the ‘Secretariat by taking a succes-
sion of officers from active employment in different
parts of the country ; but is not that precisely what
is done now ?—I was specially referring to the
necessity of officers in the Government of India
having local as well as Secretariat experience.

19706. You say that the officers of Government
have too much to do and consequently do not
perform their important work well enough. At
the same time, you propose not to curtail appeals on
matters of great importance ; but do not relatively
petty appeals go up to the Government of India
now ?—Yes, but they do not give a very great
amount of trouble.

19707. Have you not known of cases in which
you have had to wade through a great mass of
documents concerning a clerk in receipt of small
pay simply in order to arrive at a conclusion as to
whether the decision of the Local Government was
right or not?—Yes, but in a case of that kind one
can very soon take stock of the facts, and it need
not take up a very inordinate amount of time.

19708. But if you have a great number of these
appeals -coming up collectively, they take up a
good deal of time, and if, as you tell us, the
Secretariat is overworked, is it not desirable to
relieve them of isome of the work?—I would not
relieve them of the work of appeals.

19709. Do I gather you are of opinion that when
a case can be dealt with by anybody under the rank
of a Member of 'Council in the Government of
India, it shows that that case need not have been
sent up and that the restrictions on the Local
Government may be relaxed ?— I meant to convey. I meant that the cases which
are decided by the Secretaries and do not go to
the Members of 'Council should be examined with a
view’ to ascertaining how many of them might be
struck out .without the necessity of having to be
referred specially to the Government of India.

19710. Is it not difficult to deduce general princi-
ples from these things ? You might have perhaps three
or four cases coming up from a Local Government
which seemed so absolutely clear that the Secretary,
or even the Under-Secretary or Deputy Secretary,
might pass them on his own authority. Then you
might have another case which seemed so abso-
lutely contrary to the intention of the original rule
that it might go up to the Viceroy and the Local
Government be overruled—has that not been very
frequent?—Yes, but I rely upon the examination
of the proceedings of the Local Government in such
cases as you refer to, 'and would let the Secretaries
suggest the calling for cases which they thought
wrong.

19711. Would that not cause friction?—I think
not; they would soon get used to that kind of
procedure, and it is common in other departments.

19712. Are you in favour of converting the Board
of Revenue into a Gouncil on the model of the
Councils at Madras and Bombay ?—No, not exactly.
I would not agree to a condition of things under
which two members of Gouncil, of inferior status,

D


26

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Mr.

II. Isiison,

6 Jaw., 1908,

should he able constantly to overrule the Lieuten-
ant-Governor. I would (give the Lieutenant-
Governor very large powers as regards setting
aside the opinions of his colleagues^ but what I
wish to ensure is that (he has colleagues whose
opinions he should be bound to take, and whose
opinions ishould be put on record.

19713. Do you mean then that in the case of
Local Governments having to make a reference to
the Government of India for sanction, it should be
put on record that one of the colleagues of the
Lieutenant-Governor, or it might be both of them,
disagreed with the Lieutenant-Governor?—I think
â– so, if a colleague desired that to be done.

19714. Taking a case where a Lieutenant-
Governor could act iby himself, and supposing,
according to your ideas, his powers have been very
considerably increased, what is to (happen then?—
Nothing, if he acts within the limits allowed.

19715. Is he to be under any obligation to go up
to the Government of India ; if his colleagues dis-
agree with him ?—>1 would -allow it to be open to
those two colleagues to refer the matter to the
Government of India, but not to stop the action of
the Lieutenant-iGovernor.

19716. And if the Government of India agreed
with his two colleagues, what then ?—Then the
Lieutenant-Governor would be overruled.

19717. Do you not thus open up a source of
fresh appeal to the iGovernment of India in the
event of the Lieutenant-Governor disagreeing with
his colleagues?—I think some such arrangement is
very necessary, as has been (manifest in this new
province.

19718. Would not that -system be very much
akin to a regular Governor-in-Oouncil system, save
that you drag in the Government of India a good
deal?—I think the Government of India should
come in a good deal, in their responsible position
as regards the -administration of the provinces.

19719. Under your proposal it -comes in, not be-
cause the matter is, \primd facie, of sudh import-
ance that it should come in, but because there is a
difference of opinion between the Lieutenant-
Governor and his two colleagues I—That would pre-
sumably show that it was of importance.

19720. Are you in favour of giving the Commis-
sioner the power to appoint Sub-Deputy Collectors ?
—No, because in some divisions like mine, which
are rather backward, it migjht be difficult to get the
material or the class required.

19721. Suppose it were possible to break up the
provincial budget for Public Works a good deal,
and to give the Commissioner large allotments out
of which he could sanction administratively the
Public Works that were not of first class im-
portance, instead of the matter having to go up to
the Local Government; would you be in favour of
that?—I think if you did anything on the large
scale you mentioned, it would be necessary. I had
in my mind only small works, on the scale on
which they are done now, but on a large scale I
presume it would be necessary to have a budget.
I am not prepared to give an opinion.

19722. Would you practically allow delegation
of the powers now vested in the Court of Wards
to the Commissioners?—Not all of them. I would
.not allow delegation to the Commissioner of the
power of saying whether an estate should be taken
or not taken, however petty the estate might be.
We suffer in one or two districts in my division-
in consequence of a large number of petty encum-
bered estates, which have been taken under the
Court of Wards.

19723. Would a reference to the Court of Wards
be a protection against that?—Certainly; in
several cases the Local Government has refused to
accept them, although the Board of Revenue has
recommended it.

19724. What is the exact position as to sanction
for taking over an estate under the Court of
Wards Act; does the Court of Wards do it itself,
or has it to go up to the Lieutenant-Governor?—

It goes to the Lieutenant-Governor. I would keep
that power.

19725. Do you think the time has come for
giving to Commissioners some power under the
Land Acquisition Act, subject to some pecuniary
limit?—Yes.

19726. ,Might they have power, subject to such
conditions as the Local Government may prescribe,
to invest officers with magisterial powers?—There
is a difficulty about that. The Secretariat keeps a
confidential list showing officers’ records from the
commencement of their service; the Commissioner
has not access to that list, because he very often
gets an officer from another division, and if your
suggestion were adopted, he would have to refer to
the Secretariat to find out what there was on
record as to any officer in question; it is con-
venient, therefore, that the power should remain
with the Secretariat.

19727. Is there any objection to informing a
Commissioner what is known about an officer who
is sent to his division?—iNo, that might be done.

19728. As regards local and municipal work, you
have fairly large powers already as a Commis-
sioner ; you pass the budgets of Local and District
Boards and municipalities; you review their re-
ports and you exercise the controlling powers
which are necessary from outside; speaking gener-
ally are you satisfied with these powers?—Yes, I
am satisfied with them.

19729. As regards your district organisation,
was not the distribution of the old Bengal cadre
settled between the two Lieutenant-Governors con-
cerned?^—I am not aware of that, but the pro-
vinces are unequal with reference to the comple-
tion of the sanctioned strength of the Indian Civil
Service. The Government of India should have
power to insist that there should be practical
equality in the division of the men between the
two provinces.

19730. To overrule Bengal for the sake of Eastern
Bengal?—Just so.

19731. Are you in favour of having Sub-Divi-
sional Officers in charge of Sadar sub-divisions?—
Yes.

19732. Are you in favour of having territorial
charges instead of subject charge?—I think that
with a system of subject charges the work is more
efficiently conducted because some of the work is
special.

19733. That may be the case with regard to
treasury and excise work?—And other things—
land acquisition, partition, and various matters.

19734. (Surely the man -who ought best to be able
to deal with such subjects is the man who knows
the country, the estates, or the person he is assess-
ing, -and so on?—The Sub-Divisional Officer has to
deal with such a multiplicity of subjects that he does
not -deal with them so well as a Deputy Collector,
who has been engaged for a number of years in
dealing with one particular branch.

19735. .When a SubDivisional Officer becomes a
Collector, is he quite unfamiliar with a consider-
able amount of a Collector’s work?—No, because
a SubDivisional Officer before becoming a Col-
lector is usually a Joint-Magistrate. As a Joint-
Magistrate when the Collector is away, he is in
complete control temporarily; even when the Col-
lector is there he usually has a number of depart-
ments to attend to himself.

19736. We have been told on all hands that
there are hardly any Joint-Magistrates now?—
That is because there is a deficiency of men.

19737. Do you think your present system, if
you had more men, is better than ithe Madras
system, under which a SubDivisional Officer per-
forms all the local duties, with the Collector above
him?—I do. Under the Madras system the Sub-
Divisional Officer seems to be a petty Cbllector. I
want him to be free of duties which prevent his
being frequently on tour.

19738. You contemplate two Collectors in a
single district?—Two District officers in some
districts.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

27

19739. 'Would they be equal and co-ordinate?—
That would depend upon the work to be arranged
amongst them. I have asked for two for one of my dis-
tricts, and I would make one of thorn the District
Magistrate and give him in addition some of the
Collector ate work. I would divide the functions
according to the needs and the total amount of
work of the district.

19740. Do you not think that might end in a case
of two kings of Brentford?—No; I have had some
experience of it. In this particular district we
have had two District Officers during a time of
stress, and nothing of the kind occurred.

19741. You are in favour of having direct ap-
peals to yourself, as Commissioner from the Deputy
Collectors employed in the district; for instance,
you want an income-tax appeal to come from a
Deputy Collector to yourself, skipping the Col-
lector, your argument being that in all these
matters, the powers of the Collector having been
delegated to the Deputy Collector, he is acting
as Collector?—-Yes.

19742. If the Collector can delegate his powers
to his Deputy in the matter of original work, why
should you not delegate your powers as Commis-
sioner to the Collector in matters of appeal?—-I
was thinking of the system in judicial work by
which a good many Sub-Judges decide cases, ap-
peals from which go to the High Court, and do
not go to the District Judge; that is found to
work well.

19743. But is the analogy a good one; do you
not think you will very much weaken the authority
of the Collector in his own district if you allow
appeals from subordinate officers direct to the
Commissioner?—No Collector has complained to
me in regard to the cases which do occur now, e.g.,
income-tax cases. What I want to do is to relieve
the District Officer as much as possible of the
enormous burden of work that at present falls on
him.

19744. Could he not be relieved just as effectu-
ally, perhaps, by allowing him to delegate the
power that he has now to exercise to his subor-
dinates, and in return being allowed powers which
the Commissioner now exercises and which he has
to report about. You want larger powers from the
Local (Government and from the Board of Revenue
qua Commissioner; why should not the Collector
receive larger powers from the Commissioner in
turn?—I think he should in some matters.

19745. (Sir Sieyning JEdgerley.) I suppose one
method of levelling up provinces with stationary
revenues, would be by the distribution to them of
a portion of the Government of India surplus?—
That would be a temporary arrangement only.

19746. Do you not think it could be done perma-
nently without affecting the betterment of the
other provinces?—But it takes the form of doles.

19747. Cn the other hand in criticism of your
proposal it might be said that you should attain
your object, if possible, without affecting the
financial settlement of another province?—Yes,
possibly.

19748. You say that there is too much “previous
sanction ” required by legislation, but is not that
historically rather a somewhat recent develop-
ment of legislation?—My recollection during my
time in the Home Office is that there was too
great a' tendency to bring in the sanction of the
GovernoteGeneral in Council in minor matters
when any new legislation was being considered.

19749. I think if you compare notes previous to
1870 and subsequent to 1870 the distinction be-
comes more marked; up to 1870 the tendency was
not marked; do you happen to have looked it up ?

■—I cannot say straight off, but my impression is
that of late years there has been a tendency to
bring in the Governor-General in Council more.

19750. Was not the former progress of promo-
tion that while a Secretary to the Government of
India sometimes became an Honourable Member
possibly, on the other hand, except in occasional
instances, Lieutenant-Governors were, as a rule,

33289

promoted from (Honourable Members?—At first it
was so, then there was a break, and again it be-
came the rule.

19751. Then at any rate one may take it that
the Lieutenant-Governor is a person of equal trust-
worthiness and experience as a Member of Council?
—It is not a question of trustworthiness, but of
experience.

17952. Would you not rank a Lieutenant-
Governor as at least equally in the confidence of
the Government as a 'Member of the Government
itself?—More so, I should think, if a comparison is
to be made.

19753. In that case it becomes rather more
marked, does it not, if an officer, as for instance
the LieutenantJGovernor of the United Provinces,
leaves a Membership of Council, where he dele-
gates the power to dispose of routine work to a
Secretary, and then in his higher sphere proceeds
to submit work of exactly the same character to
the Secretary to the Government of India to be
disposed of by him?—Yes.

19754. Would you increase the Council of the
Government of India so as to have one representa-
tive from each province ?—I would; I would not
say as a rigid rule that there should be one mem-
ber from each province.

19755. But, cceteris paribus, do you think there
should be?—There should be, as far as circum-
stances would permit.

19756. As regards the Act of delegation, I under-
stand you to say that you would schedule the
restrictions which are to be relaxed. Do you mean
that you are in favour of a general Act of delega-
tion, or do you mean that you would have a specific
Act?—What I meant was that there should be a
general Act applying to the whole of India.

19757. Supposing your province said “ We want
an Act relaxing such and such restrictions ”;
would you consider that in Council and pass an
Act not only for Eastern Bengal, but for all India,
and say that any other province which liked might
also relax those restrictions?—I mean a general
Act applying to the whole of India with schedules
which might apply to the different provinces.

19758. But still that is a specific Act once and
for all. You would have that Act passed, say,
this year, and if you wanted a delegation two years
hence you would have to pass another one ; is that
your meaning?—Yes.

19759. Then you do not mean a general Act, ‘but
a specific Act of delegation on each occasion?-—
What I meant was an Act for the present times—
up to now—dealing with all the powers which you
might think should be delegated from the Govern-
ment of India.

19760. Do you mean that you would collect all
your material up to now and pass your Act with
schedules for each province, but if any province
wanted anything more done next year, they would
have to get a fresh Act?—Yes.

19761. Is that the best way of proceeding?—It
is really more a matter for an expert of the Legis-
lative Department.

19762. Do you not think when you are dealing
with nine or ten provinces, and so on that they
would be continually coming for this, that and the
other Act, to relax something so that you would
have to have an Act practically every year?—Per-
haps it would be better if each Local Council did
it on their own account. I do not consider myself
an expert in the matter, and it is rather, for the
Legislative Department to advise upon.

19763. Are you prepared to see non-official Chair-
men of Local bodies where you can find fit men ?—
Yes, experimentally if you can find suitable men.

19764. In districts where you can do that, would
you be prepared to try the further experiment of
putting the powers of outside control in the hands
of a committee under the Collector?—No, I would
not have any such committee; certainly not- at
present.

D 2

Mr.

H. Lu son.
6 Jan,, 1908


28

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Mr.

H. Luson.

& Jan., 1908.

19765. You say you think considerably more
powers might be given to a iSanitary Board ; what
have you in your mind ?—The Sanitary Board seems
to me to do very little or to effect very little.
They might deal with most of the medical matters,
such as the dispensaries in a district.

19766. Do you mean that you would relieve the
Inspector-General of Civil Hospitals of control?-—
No, he would be a member of the Sanitary Board.
The work the Sanitary Board does is very much
allied to the work of medical relief, and medical
relief, in the way of dispensaries and sanitation,
should go together and foe under one Head as it were
—that Head should be the Sanitary Board, of
which the Inspector-General of Civil Hospitals
should be a member, if not the President.

19767. That .would be practically replacing the
independent control of the Inspector-General ?—
No, I intended to bring the two together, and the
Inspector-General might very well be the President
of the Sanitary Board.

19768. With regard to village unions, do you say
you would have election to such unions?—That is
permissible already under the present law. It has
not, I believe, been acted upon.

19769. What would be your principle of election,
territorial wards, or classes, or what?—-At present
I should say that the electors should be those people
who pay the chaukidari tax.

19770. {Sir Frederic Lely.) Referring to the autho-
rity of the Commissioner as to the Court of Wards
and what you said about it, does it not often
happen that an estate may be much embarrassed,
and yet that the family may have sufficient social
or political importance to make it worth while to
make an effort to preserve it?—Yes, and that is
done.

19771. In considering whether an estate is worth
keeping under the Court, there are two considera-
tions—one the financial position of the estate, and
the other the claims of the family to help ?—I think
those should be the considerations.

19772. Is not the Commissioner from his local
knowledge just as fit, or even more fitted, to decide
on those points than the Board of Revenue ?—Dif-
ferent men have different views on this subject ;
some say that we should take as few estates as
possible, and others say we should take as many
as possible. I would bring the Government in to
ensure uniformity of policy.

19773. Is not the Court of Wards a link between
the Collector and the Commissioner and the landed
classes?—Would you associate the Collector and
the Commissioner as much as possible with its
action ?—Yes.

19774. Has the Commissioner any influence at all
in matters of excise ?—Matters of excise are sent to
him for criticism if he sees fit to offer it. I think
the present arrangement is sufficient.

19775. As to Public Works, has the Commissioner
any influence at all?—He has ; the lists of certain
Public Works are sent to him for his opinion,
especially as regards the order of their urgency.

19776. Do you think that is enough, or would
you give him more power ?—-I would increase con-
siderably the grant now made to the Commissioner
for minor Public Works ; as regards major Public
Works the present arrangement is suitable.

19777. Have you any forests in your province?—
Yes, we have very large forests.

19778. Has the Commissioner any word with re-
gard to them ?—Yes, a great deal ; I think quite
sufficient in practice ; nothing is done without con-
sultation with the Commissioner.

19779. Has the Commissioner any influential word
in the matter of education ?—A very great deal
indeed ; practically nothing is done as regards edu-
cation without consultation with him.

19780. With regard to police, do you require any
extension of authority ?—I do not think so.

19781. Lastly, what do you say as to agriculture ;
do you require any more voice in regard to that
than you have?—At present the arrangements in

connection with agriculture are new, but they are
developing, and I should not like to say anything
which would interfere with the development ; as
far as I can see it is promising.

19782. Then, on the whole, you scarcely bear out
in your evidence the statement that you have made
that “The position of the Commissioner in these
provinces is not satisfactory ” ?—It is not, because
the law and the rules do not bring him in suffi-
ciently ; it is only the practice and his personal
influence that bring him in in many matters. I
would like to have it on a more solid basis.

19783. Do you consider that the Collector has any
authority at all in excise matters ?—My experience
is that he has sufficient authority.

19784. Has he any authority as distinct from the
non-official influence which you speak of ? — The
rules have been rather changed of late in regard
to the Excise Commissioner ; he works subject to
the control of the Excise Commissioner.

19785. Are the excise subordinates in his district,
subordinate to him?—Yes. He can give them
orders, and the policy of the Excise Department is
to bring the District Officer into the excise adminis-
tration as much as possible.

19786. Is that policy recognised by the Govern-
ment?—Not so formally as it might be, perhaps.

19787. Ought the position of the Head of the
district to be strengthened in the matter of excise?
—In my division there is not much excise work,
but at present I have nothing to suggest.

19788. Should the Head of the district be asso-
ciated more closely with the administration of Pub-
lic Works?—The Head of the district is consulted
as regards Public Works by the Executive Engineer,
but what I should like to see is certain minor works
carried out by the District Officer himself, with-
out the intervention of the Public Works Depart-
ment.

19789. As to works which are actually undertaken
by the Public Works Department, does the Head of
the district incur any responsibility at all for them ?
—Estimates are sent to him for his signature.

19790. (Supposing a reckless contract was given
at extravagant rates, would Government expect him
to take any official notice of that?—Any extrava-
gance in dealing with Government money should
be brought to notice by the District Officer.

19791. But as things are at present would he be
thought interfering if he did bring it to notice?—
I do not think so.

19792. Have you ever known of a case of a
District Officer interfering on behalf of the Govern-
ment with regard to anything like that?—I have
known the Head of a district bring to my notice
as Commissioner that too high rates were paid
by the Public Works Department.

19793. Does the Head of a district generally
understand that he has any responsibility in such
matters?—'Yes, he does understand that he has
such responsibility, I believe.

19794. Does he understand that he has any
responsibility in the matter of schools?—Yes.

19795. And in the conduct of schools, referring
not merely to primary schools, but to such schools
as normal training schools?—-Yes, as regards train-
ing schools, but only as a visitor.

19796. But if there has been any laxity’ would
the Collector be held to blame for not having
brought it to light?—I think so, if he knew of it.

19797. But would the Government hold him
responsible for being cognisant of such things in
his district?—In regard to a training school I do
not think so, but certainly he would be held
responsible in regard to primary schools.

19798. Do you draw a distinction between train-
ing schools and other schools 1—I was thinking with
- reference to the actual practice. As a matter of
fact, the training school is looked upon more as a
departmental institution than the ordinary school.

19799. As a matter of fact, would a Collector
trouble to visit a training school at all—would he


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

29

consider it within his day’s work?—He would con-
sider it within his year’s work. There was an
order passed that the District Officer should -visit
every primary school once a year ; but that is
impossible.

19800. With regard to the sub-divisional system
and the (Sub-Divisional Officer being treated.as a
general administrator, in preference to an official
at headquarters entrusted with special subjects, is
not your view rather in the direction of technical
efficiency than of knowledge and sympathy?—The
great object in my idea is to enable the Sub-Divi-
sional Officer to be clear of a good deal of extra-
neous work so that he may move about amongst the
people.

19801. (Mr. JDutt.) Does the disposal of appeals
add appreciably to the work of the Secretariat?
—There is an appreciable amount of work, but it
is not comparatively very heavy. Some individual
cases give a good deal of trouble.

19802. (But taking the whole year, would the
work be very much diminished if the right of
appeal was curtailed?—Not very greatly.

19803. Do you think that the right of appeal
gives a sense of security to Government officers?—
Certainly.

19804. tAnd that it is desirable to maintain that
sense of security in 'Government officers, even if it
gives some little additional work to the Secre-
tariat?—I think it is worth a large amount.

19805. You spoke of the want of touch between
the administration and the people, from various
causes—do you think one of the reasons is that we
have not in Bengal, as they have in Madras and
Bombay, iEexcutive Officers in charge of smaller
areas than a sub-divsiion ?—Ordinarily we have
not. I am not personally acquainted with the
Madras system, and I understand that the officers
you refer to are men of the sub-tahsildar class,
who would be something between our kanungo and
Sub-Deputy Collector. As a 'Sub-Divisional Officer
myself I came very closely into touch with the
people.

19806. Would it improve our administration if
we had a class of officers in charge of one or two
thanas with revenue and judicial powers over the
area in their charge?—I should be rather chary of
giving judicial powers to low-paid officers.

19807. I was speaking of Deputy Magistrates, or
the senior Sub-Deputy Magistrates ?—Perhaps
judicial powers might be given to officers of the
class of the iSub-Deputies, but not below that.

19808. If you placed such areas in charge of Sub-
Deputies, do you think it would be an improve-
ment on our present administration?—I cannot
quite see in some places what work they would
have to do; I suppose they would be a kind of Sub-
Divisional Officer, but it might be tried as an ex-
periment ; it is worth a trial as an experiment,
but I should not like to adopt it straight off
throughout the whole province without some ex-
perience of its working.

19809. If it was tried as an experiment, would
you expect such officers to pay attention to the
creation and fostering of village communities in
advanced villages?—I am afraid in most of these
districts, scarcely any trace of village communities
exists; it is hardly possible to trace village com-
munities, so that I would rather look to another
means of getting down to the people, that is,
through the unions under our Local Self-Govern-
ment Act.

19810. You say that the Commissioners of divi-
sions have sufficient control over forest adminis-
tration ; is' that so ?—I was speaking with refer-
ence to my own division, where there are large
forests. The position of a Commissioner depends
•a great deal upon the practice rather than upon
the direct provisions of the law or rules; but if I
found anything in my division was being done
with regard to the forests, which I considered wrong,
I should immediately write to the Government and
object that I had not been consulted,- and then
Government would consult me. My point is that
the work of the Commissioner depends too much on

his personality in this respect and that his position
is not satisfactorily laid down by law and in the
orders.

19811. (Should a Commissioner have more
powers formally bestowed upon him under the
Forest Act or Buies?—In a number of matters
under the Forest Act Buies provision should be
made for the Commissioner’s opinions being
obtained and considered.

19182. Do the forests in your division include
any grazing or pasture land?—In my division the
forests are mainly in the hills away from the great
body of the people, but they do include some
grazing lands, and in parts of the district there is
a large amount of grazing land which is not forest
—it is still Government waste.

19813. (So that you do not hear many complaints
from the people as to difficulty in grazing their
cattle?—'Not in my own division.

19814. We have had evidence that in order to
dis-forest any area, however small it may be, the
sanction of the Indian Government is necessary
under the law. Do you think it is desirable when
the area is small, say within a 100 acres or so, to
empower the Local Government to dis-forest that
area ?—Yes, the .Local Government might have that
power with certain limits, but taken as a whole,
in this country the amount of land under forest is
comparatively small, so that it is a very important
matter to protect forest reserves, and in giving
powers to the Local Government I would contem-
plate that the Government of India should watch
their proceedings and call the'm to book if they
dis-forested anything which the Government of
India thought should not be dis-forested.

19815. Do you say that you are not in favour of
Advisory or Administrative Councils at present
but that the functions of District Boards might
be somewhat enlarged so that the members might
be consulted in matters other than those contem-
plated by the Local Self-(Government Act?—Yes, I
think so.

19816. Would it be necessary to enlarge their
functions by modification of the existing law?—
Yes.

19817. (Mr. Hichens.) You propose that the
Board of Bevenue should delegate power down-
wards, and that they should in their new capacity
take over a good deal of additional work. Do you
think that the amount of additional work, which
you propose they should take over, would be
greater or less than the work which you propose
should be delegated ?—I think they would have
about as much work to do as they have now.

19818. Are you prepared to allow the Secre-
taries to Government to have access to the Lieu-
tenant -Governor just as much of right under the
new scheme as they have to-day ?—Yes; that is
an arrangement which I think is a valuable one,
and which I ‘have seen work without objection.

19819. Why do you think the Board of Bevenue
do not perform a useful function to-day, and that
their functions should be materially enlarged?—I
did not mean to say that they do not fulfil a use-
ful function, but that the functions they fulfil
might be fulfilled by other officers, namely, Com-
missioners, and that their experience and standing
might be made better use of by associating them
with the Lieutenant-Governor in the general
Government of the province.

19820. Have District Boards adequate revenues
at present?—Their revenues have been enhanced
of late years by special grants, but they require
still further grants.

19821. Their main income is the Bead Cess of
half an anna in the rupee. Is that adequate, or
do you think they ought to have the Public Works
Cess given them in addition?—They at present get
a share of the Public Works Cess, but they should
get a considerably larger share.

19822. /Should they not get the whole of it?—I
think they require a considerably larger grant
than they receive, but municipalities also require
financial assistance-. The District Boards have
been assisted of late years by the Government and

Mr.

11. Luson.
6 Jan., 1908


30

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Mr.

H. Lu sun.

6 Jan.. 1908,

the municipalities have not been assisted so much,
and many of them suffer in consequence.

19823. Do municipalities impose the maximum
rate of taxation allowed by law?—(Not in all cases,
but they do in some cases.

19824. Should they have an annual contribution
from the provincial Government?—The District
Boards have been assisted, and the municipalities
also require assistance on the same basis.

19825. With regard to Local Boards, would you
suggest that they should have a definite portion
of the District Fund allotted to them?—-I should be
inclined to do so, because the members of the Dis-
trict Boards are not disposed to part with powers
and funds to the Local Boards to any extent.

19826. Is the Local Board an institution that
might be developed?—I think so.

19827. You do not think that all the work can
be better done by a District Board?—-No, I do not.

19828. Do you think that the Local Board has a
greater interest in local affairs?—Yes, and they
would have more knowledge of the conditions of
the localities they represent.

19829. Would you give them a separate staff?—
I would give them some separate staff, for instance,
for certain classes of roads.

19830. Would it not be rather expensive to have
a separate staff for each Local Board, and also a

staff for the District Board?—With certain classes
of road made over to the Local Boards, I would
make over a staff which would be subordinate to
the staff of the District Board; that is to say, I
would give them sub-overseers who would work
under the overseer of the District Board. I am
not sure whether that might lead to friction.
Something of the kind exists in some districts at
present.

19831. In practice is there a road-gang working
in the area controlled by each Local Board to-day?
—-As a rule they do not employ men permanently
in gangs, but when they get a grant for a road,
they do the work on that road by employing a
temporary gang. They do not, as a rule, employ
permanent gangs, but employ local people and
make the best use of the labour, because they use
it at a time when it can be obtained cheapest, that
is, when it is not required for agricultural or other
purposes.

19832. Would you give the Local Boards any
power in connection with education?—Yes, I would.
They have some powers now. I would increase
them. I would not give them full powers, but I
would give them the power of allotment to the ’
different schools within their areas of the Govern-
ment grant for primary education subject to the
rules made by the Department.

{The witness withdrew.)

Adjourned.

TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY.

Dacca, Tuesday, 1th January, 1908.

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 0., C.I.E., I.C.S. W. L. Hichens, Esq.

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

Mr. R. Hughes-Buller was called and examined.

Mr, R.
Hughes-
Il utter.

7 Jan,, 1908,

19833. (Chairman.) You are Magistrate and Col-
lector of Backergunge?—Yes.

19834. From the record of your service you do
not appear to have had very much administrative
experience ?—No, not a very large amount ; we did
a good deal of administrative wonk on the frontier
when I was Secretary to Sir Hugh Barnes, and we
came a good deal into contact with the people in
that way.

A Collector should have power to deal with
matters which depend on his local knowledge, such
powers, of course, to be subject to necessary finan-
cial control. With regard to Sub-Divisional
Officers, I am in favour of giving them more ex-
tended powers. I would place them in charge of
revenue matters, such as khas mahal work, with
which they do not deal now. There are other
matters, sucih as excise, in which they are not now
consulted, and in which they ought to be consulted
and utilized. Power may be given to the Com-
missioner to deal with certain personal matters in
the working of the Municipal and Local Self-
Government Act. I refer to such matters as the
approval of election of Chairman of a municipality
and the appointment of members of District and
Local Boards, &c. In chaukidari and panchayeti
matters, I would give the Magistrate absolute
powers.

At present a District Officer only has power to
re-appropriate contingencies within the same major
head. His powers should be extended by allowing
him larger powers of re-appropriation under major
heads. Subject to budget allotment, he should be
allowed a freer hand for what may be termed “ job
and contract” work. A Collector could often get
a piece of work done more quickly and economically
if he was in a position to choose his own time for
it. For instance, petty settlements (really colon'
ization work) in this district commence in October,
for at that time the sea is calm and men can get to
the chars without danger. Amins should be sent
out for work immediately the calm weather begins.
But the .sanction, which I have to get from the
Board for petty settlements, did not reach my office
until the end of last March, by which time the
season was over. Hence, loss of Government
revenue for a year. I would give a District Officer
“ reserves ” under appropriate heads for .such pur-
poses. A District Officer should also have power
to sanction estimates and execution of works up to
Rs. 1,000 in khas mahals. The system of doles,
from the Board of Revenue for khas mahals im-
provement works should ibe abolished. I did not
know what money I ishould have for expenditure
on khas mahals improvements until November this
year. Damage is caused to buildings and works
in the rains which need immediate repair, but no


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

31

money is available for the work. A school build-
ing was blown down in June last, ibut 1 am only
now in a position to replace it.

Grants iare at present given to 'Commissioners for
miscellaneous public improvements and sanitation,
and are doled out to District Officers. The grants
should be made direct, so that a District Officer
may be able to put an improvement in hand without
writing and correspondence.

I am strongly in favour of one appeal, and no
more, on the facts. Revision on a point of inter-
pretation should toe admissible. At present the
right of appeal of a ministerial officer practically
extends up to the Local Government. I would con-
fine the right to a single appeal on the facts, an
appeal on a point of interpretation toeing allowed to
another authority. I have heard officers say that
they would not dismiss -a man on account of the
time that would have to be spent in answering the
grounds of appeal to the various higher authorities.

Executive Officers have not sufficient time to
mix with the people. A Commissioner in Bengal
when he .visits a district spends his time largely in
inspection work. He ought to have more time to
look into wide schemes for improving administra-
tion, and he ought also to be able to get into closer
contact with the people. The District Officer is
over-burdened with correspondence, in addition to
the other multifarious duties which he has to per-
form. The cause of this is 'to toe found in the
attempt to perfect the administration by the multi-
plication of laws, rules, &c. Again, there is a
tendency to concentrate officers in sub-divisions. I
should like .to isee more officers posted in the
mufassal. Such officers could be supervised by
the 'Sub-Divisional ’Officer. In my district, I have
three officers in each of two of my sub-divisions and
two in the other. I should (prefer to have two
officers at each isub-division and other officers
posted at suitable places in the mufassal'

European officers do not as a rule possess suffi-
cient knowledge of the vernaculars, and this might
be remedied by placing them on settlement work for
the first year of their official career.

A general increase in administrative staff, or a
reduction of the size of the districts is 'certainly
required in Eastern Bengal. The population of
my district is 2J millions, which is far more than
the average population even of .Madras districts.
There were 37 districts in .Bengal at the time^of the
last census, having a population of more than a
million. If a comparison is made .with the staff of
officers above the rank of naib tahsildar in districts
in other -parts of India it will toe .found that the
staff of a Bengal district is very much smaller than
elsewhere. I know the Quetta-Pishfn district of
Baluchistan ; there 11 officers above the rank of a
tahsildar held charge of a population of less than
150,000.

Where possible, a general increase of staff is pre-
ferable to the reduction of the size of the district.
It is more economical and in a way leads to more
continuity of policy and obviates to isome extent the
harm done toy frequent transfers of officers. If
there are a Magistrate and an Additional Magis-
trate at a district headquarters, when the Magis-
trate goes on leave, the Additional Magistrate will
succeed him. I would .strengthen the district
staff, reducing the lowest unit of administration
(the Bengal sub-division is too large) by posting
Deputy 'Collectors or Sub-Deputy Collectors to the
charge of a thana or a group of thanas, somewhat
as the tahsildars -are placed under Sub-Divisional
Officers in other parts of India.

Great care should be taken in the selection of
Executive Officers, less regard being had to
seniority. . No business firm would conduct its
Appointment Department on the lines on which
that department is conducted in the Government of
India.

The powers of the District Board and municipali-
ties need little extension. The -District Boards
should be authorised to deal with matters which
immediately concern them, such as the opening and
closing of dispensaries.

The only village organization in Bengal is that
represented by the tahsil and assistant panchayets.
I believe that much might toe done to improve the

status of these men. The Chaukidari Act under
which they work is not sufficiently elastic. It
limits the pay of the chaukidars to Rs. 6 and the
percentage allowance to tahsil panchayats as com-
mission to 10 per cent. These are matters with
which the Local Government should have power to
deal according to the peculiarities of each district.
Rs. 6 in a rich district like Backarganj is not a
high pay for a chaukidar, and the tahsil panchayat
should get commission at a rate which will give him
not less than Rs. 15 a month. I would extend
the panchayat system on the lines on which the
jircja system is worked and regularised through
the Punjab Frontier Regulation. -Under that sys-
tem the District or ISub-Divisional -Officer may
refer specific issues to a jirga for an opinion. The
jirga, after recording evidence, if necessary, comes
to a finding on those facts. It is against the custom
and rules of oriental polity to put large executive
power in the hands of such men, but we may well
go- to them for information and facts. Some small
powers might be given to them by special legisla-
tion, as has been done in the -case of village head-
men in Burma. I have seen the Burma system
worked in the district of Akyab among a population
consisting -of Chittagong Muhammadans, and am
informed that it works well.

I doubt if there is sufficient work for a District
Advisory Council, but I would give the Magistrate-
Collector power to invite selected gentlemen to
meet him to discuss any particular subject, and
would authorise him to pay such men a daily allow-
ance if necessary. -Similarly, the Sub-Divisional
Officer should toe authorised to call together
selected advisers. This would create -a body of
public opinion working with Government.

The smaller municipalities might very well be
supervised and controlled by the District Board.
At present there are small bazars in which sani-
tary arrangements are required, but which do not
contain sufficient population to enable them to be
made into municipalities without taking in a large
tract of agricultural country. Moreover, the
smaller municipalities are unable to maintain an
adequate staff for repairs or even for executing
public works, but this could be supplied if these
municipalities were under the District Board.

I would encourage the village headmen at the
expense -of the chaukidars. The latter are too
numerous and are ill-paid. I should be very glad to
see a system of justice introduced, toy which cases
of 'a petty civil nature could be disposed of at or
near the spot. Civil justice in Bengal is far too
centralised, and cases which could be disposed -of in
a few ’minutes by a visit to the spot take -months
owing to the examination -of witnesses being taken
at headquarters.

My experience in Rackargan-j is that -the Educa-
tional Department is too centralised. The district
possesses 17 high schools, 78 middle schools, and
2,576 primary -schools, tall of which are under the
control of one inspector -at Dacca. His influence
is too remote in ,so important a matter as education.
I have -a-s my educational adviser a sadar deputy
inspector of schools. This district should be given
the services of an officer of the Provincial Service.

Having myself had a considerable amount of
experience of different parts of India, I can testify
to the advantages to the administration if some
-system could be devised by which Civilians and
Deputy Collectors could see something of the work-
ing of provinces other than their own. I doubt if
the language obstacle is as great as -some people
believe. English and Hindustani are now so wide-
spread as to minimise the difficulty. I am certain
that both Civilians and Deputy Collectors would
get many new ideas if they saw the working of
other provinces.

I should like to see Commissioners and Collectors
authorised to grant rewards, either in money or
gifts, freely to deserving persons in return for
services rendered. This system exists in the Pun-
jab and is very successful. At present it is not
in vogue in this part of the country.

19835. As a Collector, you wish to be in posses-
sion of considerably larger powers?—We ought to
have a somewhat freer hand, more particularly
with regard to the Agricultural Loans Act, about
which the Collector has special knowledge. At

J/r. R.

Hughes-
B idler.

7 Jan. 1908


32

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Mr. R
Hughes-
Ruller.

7 Jan., 1908.

present I have to send up a list of suspensions if
I make any under the rule, and if I want to suspend
the payment of an instalment of a loan. That is
a thing in which my local knowledge is essential,
and it would be very hard for a Commissioner or
the Board of Revenue to say no to me. In practice
they do not do so.

19836. You want a free hand up to any particular
limit, or do you want unlimited discretion? — I
should be quite content with a fair limit, say,
Rs. 100 or Rs. 200, or something of that kind, in
each case.

19837. Could you get the actual cash quickly
enough to the person who applied for it?—I intro-
duced somewhat of a special system this year ; I
left a large discretion to my Deputy Collector ; I
gave each man a circle, and sent him out to make
personal enquiries among the people with the help
of the pancliayets and leading men of the locality,
and after’ making those enquiries, I allowed him
to make advances generally to groups of people.
There was no difficulty in that way in getting the
money to the people quickly. That mode of pro-
cedure is not entirely in accordance with the rules
under the rules, the man is expected to come into
headquarters and get his money there and go back
again ; I took the money to the spot and I found
the system worked very well ; the .same may be
said of recovery work, which I am doing in some-
thing of the same fashion as we recover settlement
costs. At the end of a settlement, costs have to be
recovered from the parties concerned, and in Bihar
we send out a camp with receipts for the amounts
payable in charge of a Deputy Collector. He gives
a man his paper, and takes the money on the spot.
In the same way I have introduced a system now
of recovery of loans on the spot. Of course it
means a certain amount of detriment to the other
work, but the advantages are great in getting near
the people and in saving them from coming to head-
quarters. The advantages are far above any detri-
ment to criminal work which might take place.

19838. Did you draw the attention of the Local
Government to what you have done?—I made a
report to the Commissioner about three months
ago on the whole system. I expect it has gone on
to Government.

19839. Would such a system be applicable to the
whole province?—Yes, as far as I have experience
of it ; I know the Chittagong district and it might
be worked there.

19840. What you have done rather points to the
fact that somewhat greater power than is usually
given should be given to your Sub-Divisional Offi-
cers ?—Yes, I am all for trusting the Sub-Divisional
Officer under supervision.

19841. Do you think that the class of Sub-
Divisional Officer, the Deputy Collector more par-
ticularly, has improved of late years? — Yes, I
should say it had. I noticed on coming back here
that the stamp of man has improved, and I have
got three Sub-Divisional Officers now, two of whom
are very good men indeed in every way.

19842. Is the pay any higher than it used to be ?
—I do not think so, but the training generally is
of a higher standard amongst them.

19843. Can they be trusted, in consequence of
this better training, with a good deal more respon-
sibility than they had in the past ?—I do not see
why they should not have a certain amount more
responsibility.

19844. Would it relieve you of a portion of your
work if you could trust them?—Yes.

19845. Should the Collector no longer be asso-
ciated as Chairman of the District Board though
retaining his powers of supervision?—No, I am
against that; it would be very difficult to work ;
in the first place, you would probably have diffi-
culties with the District Engineer. The District
Engineer is directly subordinate to the Chairman,
and I foresee trouble to a certain extent between
him and a non-official Chairman. Then the Chair-
man sees a great deal of the district, far more
than a non-official Chairman would see, and is able
to put more life into the District Board than a

non-official Chairman would as a rule be able to.
After all, the leisured class from whom the non-
official Chairman could be drawn is very small, so
far as my district is concerned.

19846. Are the men on District Boards of whom
you have knowledge men of pretty good standing
and capacity ?—At the present moment my District
Board is of very fair capacity.

19847. Supposing you split up your District
Board into committees and divided the work
amongst them, would you find men on the Board
capable of taking the post of Chairmen of such
committees ?—We do our work very largely by com-
mittees, and I very seldom sit on them. I leave
them very largely to run by themselves. For in-
stance, in a year, I do not suppose I have attended
more than two or three committees.

19848. Who works them? — The members; we
elect various members of the Board to the Educa-
tional Committee, the Public Works Committee and
the Medical Committee, which are the principal
Committees. They stand in much the same rela-
tion to the District Board in those matters as Local
Boards do ; the Local Boards 'send their proceedings
to us for sanction, and in the 'Same way the com-
mittees send their proceedings to us for sanction,
and those proceedings are very largely accepted.

19849. Is that system generally followed in other
districts?—1 cannot tell you.

19850. Do you find it work well in your own dis-
trict ?—Yes.

19851. Do you give a considerable amount of real
freedom to the Chairmen of these committees?—
Yes, everything goes through their hands and we
accept their recommendations, or not, as the case
may be. Where a work has to be taken in hand,
it is gone into by the Public Works Committee,
and their recommendation is sent up to the District
Board.

19852. Suppose the District Board accept the
recommendation on a proposition for a tank, for
instance, do you let the Chairman of the Public
Works Committee take any part in choosing the
site and seeing that the work is being done
properly?—He can go to the spot if he likes, but
the construction of the tank, of course, would be
in the hands of the District Engineer. Then take,
for instance, the technical school—‘the Educational
Committee have just rented a house for a boarding-
house and the Chairman of the committee, or one
of the members, has gone and seen to that and
supervises it more or less.

19853. And he does the work very well 1—I think
so, as far as I have seen.

19854. Would you give municipalities any freer
hand than they have at present?—As a matter of
fact in the Barisal municipality, which is the prin-
cipal one, we have a non-official Chairman and a
Vice-Chairman, and a certain number of nominated
members, and it gets along fairly well.

19855. Their budget goes to the Commissioner?—
Yes.

19856. Have they a right to impose a rate or a
tax?—Subject to the Commissioner’s sanction.

19857. Would you give the Municipality a right
to impose a rate without reference to the Commis-
sioner?—Perhaps his control is, on the whole, a
good thing.

19858. Are taxes any more popular in this
country than they are elsewhere?—Rather less I
think.

19859. Would there be any danger in giving a
municipality a right to tax itself?—No. It is
really a moot point. On the whole, the control by
the Commissioner is not a bad thing.

19860. You wish the Collector to have the right
to sanction settlements, and the reduction of rents
on raiyats’ holdings. To whom do those questions
now go?—At present they go to the Commissioner
for sanction, but the Collector is the man who
knows most about these things. We have certain
powers of sanction now, but a settlement of over
Rs. 200 has to go to the Commissioner. The Col-
lector’s power might be extended up to a limit of,
say, Rs. 500.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

33

19861. Even in the case of a settlement up to
Rs. 1,000, the Commissioner acts on the Collector’s
opinion ?—Yes.

19862. And he hardly ever, if ever, acts on his
own knowledge ?—*No, he only looks into the papers
which we send him.

19863. With regard to your annual district bud-
get, you want larger powers of reappropriation
under major heads'?—Yes.

19864. Up to what amount can you reappropriate
expenditure?—I can reappropriate under my con-
tingent grant ; I have a certain amount for one
thing and a certain amount for another, and I
can reappropriate under those heads, but we -might
have larger powers to reappropriate, and if we save
money on one major head, we should be allowed
to spend it under another head.

19865. You mention a case when you made an
attempt to get from the Board of 'Revenue sanction
to some little settlement in October, and you did
not get it till March?—The budget went up some
time in August, and I sent up my application in
June, or it may have been earlier, but I did not
get my money quickly enough.

19866. Is there not a system of provisional sanc-
to such things ?—I do not know.

19867. Would that not help you out of your
difficulty?—Yes. Ais long as we get the money at
the time we wanted it—'that is the great thing.
Last year I was not there, but I am told by my
office that the money was sanctioned in March.
That, of course, is within the financial year, but
the whole necessity for using it had gone. We
want to use the money at the proper time, which
is October. IMy district is rather a difficult dis-
trict ; one can only travel in boats and when the
sea is calm; it is rough, say, from April till
October. When I was an Assistant Settlement
Officer I had very large powers under what I call
“job and contract” of appointing men for a par-
ticular piece of work and as soon as that work
was done, of taking them off again.

19868. You were not as senior as an Assistant
Settlement Officer as you are now, but yet you had
more power than you have now ?—Yes, at all
events as far as discretion goes.

19869. Do you think you are more fit to exercise
that financial discretion now than you were, hav-
ing had so many more years’ experience?—I hope
so.

19870. With regard to appeals, you would like to
confine the right of appeal upon facts to a single
reference; but upon questions of law how many
references would you allow?—One more.

19871. Would that cause discontent?—It would
not be popular.

19872. Would it be so unpopular that it would
be impolitic to make such an order?—-No, because
it would be a very desirable reform. The class of
persons affected is not sufficiently large to be con-
sidered to that extent.

19873. Your general view is that the adminis-
tration tries to be too efficient?—I am a strong
believer in efficiency, but in the search for efficiency
we put a tremendous strain on the officers; that is
to say, our efficiency has grown faster than the
number of our officers.

19874. Do you mean that the real trouble, as
far as you are concerned in this province is that
you are short-handed?—We are short-handed. If
you double your officers you can do the work; if
you have two (Collectors in a district, as I have
now, because I have an Additional Magistrate and
Collector, of course, it halves my work to a large
extent. The work is too much for one pair of
shoulders, certainly in my district.

19875. Would the search after efficiency very
soon overtake an increase in the staff?—Not neces-
sarily. It depends on the efforts after efficiency.

19876. Do you suggest that there ought to be
some officers below the present Sub-Deputy Col-
lector?—Below the Sub-Deputy Collector there is
the kanungo, who is a revenue officer, or more or
less of a surveyor; he comes after a Bub-Deputy

33289

Collector in the ordinary order of precedence in
revenue work.

19877. Is 'he the official who is most closely in
contact with the ordinary raiyat?—In my case we
have a poorly paid officer called a tahsildar; he is
not the tahsildar you find up-country. He is a
very poorly paid official at about Rs. 30 or Rs. 40
a month, and he is the person who collects the
revenue from the raiyats.

19878. Is he below the kanungo?—The kanungo
comes betwixt and between, and makes miscel-
laneous inquiries, helps (in survey work, settle-
ments and so on—he has no definite duties.

19879. Are the tahsildar and the kanungo pretty
reliable officers?—The tahsildar is not reliable.
The kanungo is fairly reliable.

19880. In what rank should an increase of staff
take place?—To work my district properly under
the present system, I require the Additional
Magistrate whom I have at the present moment.

19881. (Supposing the Commissioner could give
you much greater responsibility, and therefore
much less necessity of reference to him, and sup-
posing you in your turn could hand on a certain
amount of your duties to your subordinate officers,,
would not that relieve both of you of a consider-
able amount of work?—Yes.

19882. 'Supposing you could hand on those
powers, which you think you ought to be able to
do, and take over from the Commissioner those
responsibilities which it would be appropriate for
you to take, can you say whether or not it would
relieve you of a very considerable amount of your
work?—Speaking entirely for my district I doubt
whether any decentralization would be sufficient
to enable me to do without an Additional Magis-
trate. I have done without an Additional Magis-
trate, because I have only had one within the last
two months; but if I am to work really efficiently
and well, I doubt, considering the size and the
enormous population of my district, whether I
could get on without him.

19883. What is the size and population of your
district?—Three thousand and six hundred square
miles, with a population of two and a quarter
millions.

19884. Bo that, no matter what decentralization
might effect for you, you require an additional
European staff?—Yes, permanently. I have an
additional European staff which have been put on
for special purposes, but it is wanted permanently.

19885. A delegation of these duties both by your-
self and to yourself would relieve you, but would
not do more than that?—(No.

19886. It would enable you to do your duties
with more ease and more efficiency?—And it would
leave time for thinking, which I have not got at
present.

19887. You think that something might be done
with regard to village communities?—I am very
strongly of opinion that we should try and do
something. I should like to be able to go to them
for facts. The system has been tried of making
the panchayet into a little Executive Officer, or
Honorary Magistrate, but if you do that his power
should be very small indeed. I should like to see
them referred to, under proper supervision, for
facts as to criminal cases, because they are the
people who know the facts.

19888. 'Could they be trusted generally to deal
fairly ?—With proper supervision ; of course, there
is bound to be partiality unless the system is
worked with the greatest care. That is where my
Sub-Deputy Collector in charge of a thana would
come in. I should make him responsible for hold-
ing inquiries of that kind, and in fact we are try-
ing it to a certain extent now with our own men,
and my Additional Magistrate, who is working the
system, tells me that it is doing fairly well. We
have been trying it for a month, and so far as we
have been able to judge we like the result, but it
requires constant supervision.

19889. Does it promise to take a good deal of
work off the Magistrate’s shoulders?—Yes, because

E

Hughes-

Butter.

1 Jan., 1903.




34

MINUTES OF EYIDENCE:

Mr. R,

Hughes-

Buller.

7.
in many cases, if taken on the spot, a compromise
is effected, and it would really be a relief.

19890. In the generality of villages, though you
would not like to. make the system universal, could
you get twTo or three responsible people to work the
system ?—Yes.

19891. You suggest that education in a district
is over-centralized ?•—It is over-centralized in the
way that the supervision is at present centralized
at Dacca. My headquarters are 100 miles away
from Dacca, and I 'have the best part of 2,700
schools in my district, but I have not sufficient
supervision over them.

19892. Are you supposed to supervise them?—
We do not give technical supervision, we give
general supervision as Magistrates; we just look
in, and questions of general importance and prin-
ciple or of buildings are referred to us. What I
want is someone close by me who can advise me
and who would personally supervise the schools,
because I look upon education as so very important
that the closer supervision it has, the better.

19893. Are you satisfied that the system of edu-
cation now feeing given in the primary schools is
satisfactory?—I have no fault to find with it.

19894. Would you say the same with regard to
the middle schools?—Yes, but there is too much
teaching of .English to my mind. You very often
go into a school, certainly the larger schools, and
find a small boy of four or five years being brought
up to read English, while he does not know his
own language.

19895. You would like to see somebody sent into
your district who could, more or less, control the
education going on there?—Yes, I want an addi-
tional adviser located in my district. At present
I have not got a responsible educational officer;
the whole of the education is under an inspector of
schools who lives, in Dacca, and of course he has
many other districts to look after. The result is
that although I have been in my district nine
months I have never seen the inspector.

19896. Has he ever been in the district?—I
think so before I came.

19897. (Sir Frederic Lely.) Is your actual experi-
ence of existing facts in this province confined
practically to the time you have been in charge
of the Backarganj district?—Yes, I was ,in Bengal
before then.

19898. Do you not think the limitation of the
right of appeal would be impolitic in that it would
diminish the popularity of Government Service?—I
can get fifty applicants for one appointment at the
present moment, and I do not fear it for that
reason. Government Service is so popular now
that I doubt if the limiting of the right to one
appeal would affect the popularity of it in any
way.

19899. You do not think that the right of appeal
is a very important factor in the present popu-
larity of the Government Service?—
19900. You say that the District Officers are
overburdened with correspondence—what would
you say to the proposal to give a Collector, at any
rate of a very large district, an assistant who could
deal with the correspondence?—I am all in favour
of that; I counted my correspondence the other
day, and I think there were 200 letters of different
kinds to deal with in one day.

19901. What proportion of them would be papers
which you would practically only sign without even
reading?—About fifty per cent.

19902. Is it not the fact that every day you
have to initial a certain number of papers simply
meaning that they are to be put in the record, the
case having been disposed of?—Yes.

19903. Is five or ten minutes of the day em-
ployed in work of that sort which is purely and
absolutely mechanical?—Quite that.

19904. You suggest posting Sub-Deputy Col-
lectors to the charge of subordinate charges in
sub-divisions; would .there not be a further great
advantage, namely, that it would remove the

agency in general administrative matters from the
police?—That is one of its chief advantages; in
fact, it is very largely the up-country system of
the tahsildar who has subordinate groups of vil-
lages under the Sub-Divisional Officer.

19905. Do you consider the change of agency
would be extremely beneficial ?—Extremely, (and a
counterpoise to the police ; it would counteract the
police and also lead to more interest being taken by
the police in administration. Even now, where
we have a Sub-Registrar living beside the thana,
I look upon it as a certain amount of check.

19906. Would you also entrust the proposed Sub-
Deputy Collector with the general work of de-
veloping village responsibility ?—Yes, that is what
I am anxious he should do principally, and of
course he would have a large number of enquiries
to make in connection with criminal oases.

19907. Have the municipalities in Bengal at
present, nothing to do with the management of
schools?—They aid them, but beyond that they do
nothing.

19908. Are you of opinion that the municipalities
might take over the management of the schools
with advantage, or -would you still retain their
management, more or less in the hands of the
expert department?—I should feel inclined to keep
it under the expert department. Municipalities
very often have a School Committee who manage
petty details, such as giving holidays, and so on.

19909. And the hours of attendance?—I think
the hours of attendance is a matter which is dealt
with by the department.

19910. That is a matter which concerns the con-
venience of the parents more than what one
might call the art of education ?—Yes.

19911. You say you doubt if there is sufficient
work for a District Advisory Council ; is that your
only objection to it?—1 am always very glad to be
advised, but to have a standing Council seems to
be superfluous at the present moment.

19912. Would it have an injurious effect on the
relations between the Collector and the people?—
No. .

19913. You do not think it might tend to make
their relations more rigid and formal?—I do not
see that it should. I am all for consulting the
people about what concerns them, but to have a
standing (Council, so to speak, would be useless ;
one would not have time to consult it, and there
would not be enough work for it to do.

19914. Do you suggest that when a Collector
calls in any gentleman of standing to consult him
from any part of the district, that he should be
able to pay him his expenses?—I think so.

19915. That is to say, you would do it in an
informal manner ; you would ask him to give you
a note of his expenses, and hand it to his servant?
—Yes ; you would have to be very careful, be-
cause a native gentleman would not like to be
offered money direct. In Baluchistan we did work
that system to a certain extent, and if you asked a
man to come and see you from a long distance you
paid him a certain amount from What we called
“entertainment allowance.” I think the Collector
should have a certain amount to use in that way,
the same as he does with regard to what are called
Secret Service grants.

19916. (Mr. Dutt.) Are you in favour of giving
more extended powers to Sub-Divisional Officers
placing them in charge of more revenue work?—
Yes, I should like that.

19917. The income tax assessment is now done
from the headquarters in every district? Do you
suggest that within his own area the Sub-Divisional
Officer, with such assistance as may ibe necessary,
should be entrusted with the assessment of the
income tax ?—I do not see why he should not; he
is the man on the spot, and he knows more about
his assessees than ithe Income Tax Deputy Col-
lector probably does.

19918. You do not see any objection to entrusting
him with the work of the assessment of the income


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.



tax ?—No ; of course, we have an assessor as well as
the Income Tax Deputy Collector, and you would
have to give the Sub-Divisional Officer .the sendees
of the assessor for a month or two when his turn
came round for assessment.

19919. You have said that in the matter of
appeals you would only allow one reference, tout in
the .case of the dismissal of a clerk would you
make any exception to that rule ?—I think we
should .adhere to it—that is to say, that the charges
would toe .brought up toy the Collector ; there is a
regular set form in which the evidence has to toe
recorded, the charge drawn, the answer taken, the
evidence discussed, -and an order passed; that
record should go to the iCommissioner, and an
appeal should toe allowed on the facts to the Com-
missioner ; after that, if there is a point of law,
it may go to a higher authority.

19920. Have you the right of .appointing your
own head clerk in your district?—I think it has
to receive the (Sanction of the Commissioner.

19921. And your sharistadarl—That also has to
go to the Commissioner.

19922. You have the power of dismissing your
sliaristadar ?—'I think 1 have.

19923. (Supposing you dismiss your sliaristadar,
a man receiving B-s. 200, would you allow him an
appeal on facts beyond the Commissioner?—No.

19924. Are ,sub-Deputy Collectors now generally
employed at the headquarters of districts or sub-
divisions ?—Yes.

19925. I-s not the kanungo employed very often
on survey work ?—Yes.

19926. Have kanungos any territorial charge?—I
have one kanungo posted to my -sub-division. at
Bhola. I have a large number of Government
estates there. His duties are to hold enquiries into
settlement cases, to survey newly formed churs, and
duties of that kind.

19927. Are tahsildars only employed on .Govern-
ment estates, and not on permanently-settled
estates ?—That is -so.

19928. ,-So that at present there is no officer be-
tween the Sub-Divisional Officer and the people
holding charge of a circle and performing duties
within that circle ?—No responsible officer, and it is
very desirable that we -should have one.

19929. As District Magistrate you are Head of
the police. Have you found that your control of
the police has been modified in any way toy the
recent rules?—Yes, to a -certain extent our control
over .sub-inspectors is not as large as it was, but
on the whole I have sufficient control ; it depends
on one’s relations with the Superintendent of
Police to a certain extent.

19930. That is as regards your social relations,
but so far as your powers are concerned, are they
the .same as they were (before the new rules were
framed?—No, they have been weakened to a cer-
tain extent.

19931. Is that a good thing?—I have not had to
find fault with it so far.

19932. Generally speaking, has police work been
a little more -centralised toy the new rules under the
Departmental Head?—-Yes; things go to the
Inspector-General now that used to come to the
District Magistrate; matters in regard to in-
spectors. I think now go direct to the Inspector-
General, whereas formerly we used to have a say
in them.

19933. Is the District Engineer under the Dis-
trict Board a well-paid man ?—Yes ; he gets Us. 600
to Rs. 800.

19934. Has he charge of the construction of most
of the roads and bridges in your district ?—Yes.

19925. When you have a big estimate, have you
to send it up to -some higher authority for sanc-
tion?—-Yes ; if it is over Its. 2,500, it goes to the
Inspector of Works at Dacca.

19936. Does that cause any inconvenience or
delay to your work ?—It delays our work.

33289

19937. Would you like to remove that restriction? ft

—The limit might toe raised certainly to, shall I Hughes-
say, Bs. 10,000. The District Board could very Sutler,

well look after itself up to Its. 10,000. Anything ----------

over Its. 10,000 would probably toe a pretty big 7 Jan., 190&
scheme. ----

19938. Your district is full of natural creeks. Is
a large part of the District Board’s money spent
in deepening those creeks and keeping them open
for navigation ?—It ought to toe, tout it has not (been
hitherto. The District Board intend discussing
the question.

19939. For deepening these creeks and keeping
them open for navigation have you to get sanction
from the Inspector of Works at Dacca ?—I think if
we determine to carry out a work and prepare the
estimates, (beyond the actual technical estimate, the
Inspector of Works does not interfere ; his business,
is not to tell the District Board that they should
take up such and such a work, tout to advise on the
technical part, of it. We send our estimates to
him with the report.

19940. You have three sulb-divisions besides the
headquarters sub-division?—!We have a sadar Sub-
Division, but we have not a sadar Sub-Divisional
Officer.

19941. Do you suggest the appointment of a sadar
Sub^Divisional Officer ?—Certainly, it would be
most important; at present the sadar suib-division
is nobody’s child ; in the old days when the Col-
lector was not overworked it used to be his child,
but it has drifted away into the world and lost
itself.

19941. -In that case, would you require an ad-
ditional officer, or do you think your Assistant
Magistrates might be placed in charge of the sadar
sub-division-?—I would rather have a separate Suto-
Divisional Officer ; 1 think his establishment and
his office and everything else should toe quite
separate, and he should toe treated in exactly the
same way as other Suto-Divisional Officers.

19943. You say that the small municipalities
might be very well -supervised and controlled by
District Boards, but of course you are aware that
the duties of municipalities are different from the
duties of District Boards?—Yes.

19944. How would you like the idea of the work
of the .small municipalities being controlled by a
body of non-official men at headquarters presided
over toy the Collector himself —I think that would
lead to a multiplication of bodies, and the advice of
the District Board would be quite sufficient for any
control of that kind. I only wish to have the
small municipalities under the District Boards.

There are certain places which spring up in what I
may call an artificial way ; you put a little sub-
division down, you -appoint a Sub-Divisional Officer
and a certain number of zamindars’ agents and
pleaders and people of different kinds are -attracted
to the spot; then you require to make -some kind of
sanitary -arrangements, and it is in these -small
towns that I should like to see the control of the
District Boards ; it would lead to co-ordination.

At present I have in my district one or two of
these -small municipalities, and -they have difficul-
ties with regard to supervising their works ; they
want -their latrines repaired, and all that kind o-f
thing has to go to Calcutta, whereas those little
things could be done in a central workshop, and
they could toe helped toy the expert advice of my
District Engineer.

19945. Might there not be some difficulty under
the Local Self-Government Act in a District Board
controlling the actions of these -smaller municipali-
ties ?—No ; I should put them on a separate footing
altogether.

19946. Would a District Board be justified at
present in passing any sort of order in regard to
a municipality ?—No, there would probably have
to toe special legislation. I should not call them
necessarily municipalities ; I would call them Local
Funds under the District Boards.

19947. But are there not municipalities of that
nature now?—We have small municipalities which
are really not self-supporting.

E 2


36

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE I

Jfr. R. 19948. Are the primary schools managed and
Hughes^ aided by the District Board?—A good number of
Buller, them ; a good many of them are cold-weather

— schools. Thus maulvis start a small school during

7 1908. the cold weather and then it is abolished again,

and we give them aid in certain cases. We give
them a monthly stipend, and then if they pass
certain examinations, we add to it, or we give them

a lump sum down.

19949. Who inspects those primary schools —
The sub-inspectors and the assistant sub-inspectors.
The sub-inspectors belong to the Educational
Department ; the asistant sub-inspectors are ser-
vants of the District Board. The sub-inspectors
are more or less under the District Board now, but
their appointments are certainly not sanctioned by
the District Board.

19950. Are they paid by the Government or by
the District Board?—All the education now prac-
tically comes out of the Government grant.

19951. Have you not sufficient supervision over
these primary schools through the agency of the
sub-inspectors and assistant sub-inspectors?—Yes,
but I want supervision over the sub-inspectors and
assistant sub-inspectors themselves.

19952. Supposing you found a sub-inspector
neglecting his duty, as Chairman of the District
Board have you any power to punish him ? — I
should report him to the inspector.

19953. Do you think a little more local control
is desirable for the efficient inspection of schools
in your district?—Yes.

19954. (Mr. JELichens.') Do you want a personal
assistant belonging to the Imperial Service?—No,
I am quite content with an officer belonging to the
Provincial Civil Service, in the same way as the
Commissioner has a personal assistant.

19955. Would he replace you if you went away?—
No.

19956. Is it necessary to have a Joint-Magistrate
in each district?:—Yes. At present I have in my
district an Additional Magistrate and a Joint-
Magistrate, and in practice in all districts there
should certainly be, if possible, a Joint-Magistrate,
and where necessary an Additional Magistrate, too.

19957. Do you have 'much work personally in
connection with returns?—They are made up in
the office and I supervise them.

19958. Do you go through them in detail, or do
you simply pass them as they 'Stand?—It depends
a good deal on what the return is ; a return with
regard to excise shops would probably not receive
so much attention as a return with regard to crimi-
nal cases.

19959. Do you think that most of that class of
work could be profitably delegated to somebody
else ?—Certainly.

19960. Have you a shorthand-writer to assist you
in your correspondence?—-I have at the present
moment as a special case ; owing to the conditions
under which my district has been for the past year,
which are somewhat special, I was given a short-
hand-writer a couple of months ago, but it is an
assistance which I believe in tremendously, and I
think the work would be very much facilitated by
having shorthand-writers, and by our office pro-
cedure being modernised to a certain extent; I refer
to matters like carbon copies and that sort of thing.

19961. You have a correspondence clerk?—Yes,
I have a large number ; I think the clerical estab-
lishment under the Magistrate and Collector num-
bers 145.

19962. With regard to the 200 letters which you
alluded to, could not your correspondence clerks
deal with them and draft the answers for you with-
out your having to instruct them as to what the
replies should be?—Yes, as to a great many of
them, and they do so now. You receive your post
in the morning, you look through your letters, and
with regard to letters on which you can pass orders
at once you very likely do so ; the rest go into the
office and are distributed among the various depart-
ments, the routine drafts are made up, and the
letters are answered, or enquiries are made and
action taken as may be required.

19963. You have all the clerical assistance that
you want, but is it as efficient as you could desire ?
—I have as much clerical assistance as I want, but
I cannot say that it is as efficient as I could wish.

19964. You said that you thought the Collector
should remain Chairman of the District Board be-
cause you thought there might be difficulty with
regard to the execution of Public Works. Do you
think it would be desirable that a District Board
should have its own engineering staff?—It has. I
have a District Engineer who is under the Chair-
man and who takes his orders direct from the
Chairman ; he belongs to the Public Works Depart-
ment, or many of them do. Another difficulty
might be that if you had a European engineer there
might be friction between him and an unofficial
Chairman.

19965. Have not municipalities unofficial Chair-
men ?—Yes, but they have overseers ; they do not
have engineers of the standing that a District
Board has. Their overseers are paid perhaps
Rs. 100 a month, whereas a District Engineer is a
man who is probably a member of the College of
Engineers and draws a pay, as my man does, of
Rs. 600 a month.

19966. Is there no way out of that difficulty?—
I think it would lead to difficulties, but I do not
say that they are insurmountable.

19967. You would agree, broadly speaking, that
it is desirable to develop a sense of responsibility
as regards local affairs?—In consonance with the
interests of the district, but I do not think we have
a sufficiently large leisured class to undertake that
kind of duty at present. My Vice-Chairman, who
I presume would be Chairman in my absence, is a
pleader, and the best men on my District Board
are pleaders ; and if you made one of them Chair-
man he has his own business to attend to, so that
he could not get away and travel about the district
as I can. It is part of my business to be in my
district for 120 days in the year, and Public Works
must receive the Chairman’s special attention, so
that my Vice-Chairman would not have the same
opportunities of developing the district or pro-
viding for what is required.

19968. Have District Boards enough money to
carry out their work properly ?—'My District Board
happens to be very well off ; it has an income of
about four lakhs of rupees a year.

19969. With regard to Local Boards, could any
further powers be given to them in sub-divisions ?
—I am inclined to think so, but that is a matter
which a District Board can do of itself ; under the
present rules it can delegate any powers it likes
to a Local Board. I raised the question only the
other day in regard to giving a Local Board larger
power to sanction works. At present it has only
power to sanction works under Rs. 200, and I think
they might at any rate be given powers up to
Rs. 500.

19970. Are Local Boards institutions which are
worth developing more?—Yes.

19971. With regard to municipalities you say that
you think the control of the Commissioner is, on
the whole, a good thing ; do you mean from the
point of view of efficiency?—Yes ; inspection and
supervision certainly are required in this country.

19972. As regards transfers, your view is that
they are undesirably frequent at present. Do you
suggest that the main remedy for that is to have a
larger staff?—No, I do not say that is the main
solution. I believe many heads have been search-
ing for a solution for years and have not found it
yet, but I say that it will at any rate be a pallia-
tive, if you have in selected districts a Magistrate
and an Additional Magistrate, or a Magistrate and
a Joint-Magistrate. It is quite possible to arrange
that the one shall succeed the other which will lead
pro tanto to a continuity of policy.

19973. Is it desirable to lay down a general rule
that a Collector, on appointment, should remain a
certain definite time in his district, say, three years
or five years or some period of that sort?—But
supposing he becomes entitled to promotion what
are you to do ; that is the difficulty.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

37

19974. But would it bo generally desirable?—
Certainly it is desirable that a Collector should
be ordered to remain in his district for at least
three years, subject, of course, to the necessities
caused by vacancies above him.

19975. Is it your view that three years would be
a reasonable time for a man to remain in his
district, and it is desirable to lay down as a
standard that a Collector should remain for that
time or longer?—Yes, three to five years.

19976. Assuming that the post of a Collector in
a certain district falls vacant, and that the man
who in the normal course of events ought to get
the post is going on leave in six months, would you
say to that man, “You are going on leave, you
cannot be appointed to that post, and we are going
to give it to B who is below you on the list,” would
that be unfair?—The difficulty would be that you
would run the danger of disgusting your officers ;
you must always take the personal equation into
consideration in laying down rules of that kind ;
if you disgust your officers, they will say “ Why
should I do more than I am paid for.”

19977. Would you say to such a person : “ Yon
must either forego your leave or forego your appoint-
ment ” ? —< You could say it, but you would
certainly cause discontent.

19978. Then you do not think it desirable?—I
do not.

19979. It might quite well be that the principle,
if it were adopted, would act both ways, that is to
say, at one time a man might get an unexpected
lift, but at another time he might have an unex-
pected wait, and one thing might balance the
other?—Possibly it might work that way.

19980. Have you any further suggestions to
make whereby the frequency of transfers could be
limited?—-It is a very thorny question, and I con-
fess it has baffled me.

19981. You say that you think the system of
village headmen might be developed?—Yes, I
should like to see that.

19982. (But first of all, at any rate, you would
rather use the village headman to investigate facts
than give him any authority?—Yes, I think that
would be more in consonance with Oriental politics,
and that the actual executive order should be
passed by the paramount power.

19983. But would it be possible to give him
authority under very close supervision?—-I under-
stand the experiment has been made in this dis-
trict, and, speaking subject to correction, it was
not very successful.

19984. Do you think that there are prominent
men who could be got to act as headmen in your
district?—-Yes, if you take the trouble to find
them. We have what we call the tahsil panchayats
now, who ought at any rate to be the principal
men of the unions in which they work. Very
great care has to be taken in selecting them, which
I do not think we take.

19985. iSpeaking broadly, are they possibly
under the thumb of the zamindars?—-There is the
difficulty; of course, they are to a certain extent
under the thumb of the zamindars, but if you
raise their status, they would act as a counter-
poise to a certain extent to the influence of the
zamindar.

19986. It has been suggested by some witnesses
that there is strength in numbers, and that if a
number of villages were grouped together various
influences might be brought into play which would
counterbalance each other, and produce a more in-
dependent Board—what is your opinion with re-
gard to that?—We do group villages into unions
at present, and I should continue that process.
We have very often three or four villages in a
union, I think the number of revenue survey vil-
lages in my district is 3,600 and the number of
unions is 514, which gives nearly seven villages to
a union on the average.

19987. Is the union a real community that ap-
peals to the people, or is it a mere geographical
expression?—-It is a mere geographical expression.

Each community or union has its name, and they B.

know that their village is included in that particular Hughes-
union, but the union to the ordinary villager does Butter.

not convey anything beyond the knowledge of the ----------

man who collects in it. ? ^an'

19988. Could you infuse more vitality into a
small local community by reducing it to a single
village or to smaller dimensions?—-I do not think
that is necessary at present. Some of the present
unions are a little too big, and I should divide
them up where necessary, but on the whole they
work fairly well.

19989. Would you have a headman assisted by a
Council?—There are what we call assistant pan-
chayats—-there are five of them; there is one tahsil
panchayat and four assistant panchayats to each
union, and it is those men on whom I wish to
work.

19990. (Mr. Meyer.) You have served a good
deal in Baluchistan?—Has the Baluchistan officer
much work to do as compared with the Eastern
Bengal Officer?—No, he has very much less work.

19991. Is that due to the fact that the country
is a primitive one or to a better arrangement of
the duties?—I should say .it is because the country
is more primitive. There are not the same num-
ber of departments; he has not a large Excise
Department to attend to; his educational work is
very small; his District Board, on what corre-
sponds to it, is not large, and in many other ways
he has much less work.

19992. When you speak of the Bengal or Eastern
Bengal Officer being overworked, might you not be
influenced by a comparison between him and the
officer in Baluchistan ?—I do not think so; it is a
matter of common knowledge that the Eastern
Bengal Officer is overworked.

19993. Apart from any comparison with Balu-
chistan, do you think that at Backarganj you are
overworked?-—I do.

19994. You spoke of having to tour for 120 days
in the year, and in Bengal we were told that the
Collectors toured as a rule three months—is there
any difference here?—The rule in my district is
120 days; that is the minimum for a Collector.

19995. Are you in favour generally of territorial
charge as against, what I might call, subject
charge?—-Yes.

19996. At present in your sub-division, the Sub-
Divisional Officer, outside magisterial work,
apparently does not do very much?—-He does not.

19997. The revenue work is largely done by sub-
ordinates at headquarters. You have a Deputy
Collector for income-tax, and another for stamps,
and another for khas mahals?—Yes.

19998. Are you in favour of doing away, as far
as possible, with those Deputy Collectors, and in
place of them having more sub-divisions, giving
each sub-division a Deputy Collector exercising all
the functions of a Collector within his own charge ?

—Yes.

19999. Under the present system has an officer
appointed to act as Collector of a district for the
first time had sufficient training in the whole of
the work of a Collector ?—-No, I doubt if he has;
of course, it depends on the man he has been under
a good deal, but our assistants at the present
moment go to a sub-division when they have 18
months’ service. They try nothing but criminal
cases, and then they come back as Collectors, so
that I think they are not sufficiently trained.

20000. Whereas under the other system we were
speaking of, they would be much better trained?—

They would.

20001. Do you consider that population is the
sole criterion of the heaviness of a district charge?

—No; there are a number of factors; what adds
more to my work now than anything else in Back-
arganj is the fact that I have to deal with tem-
porarily-settled and Court of Wards’ estates.

20002. Speaking generally with regard to the
Bengal and Eastern .Bengal districts as compared


38

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Air, B.
Hughes-
Buller.

7 Jan., 1908.

with the districts of other provinces, in consider-
ing a demand for increased establishment on the
part of (Bengal, one would have to take into con-
sideration, besides population, the revenue system
and the existence of a permanent settlement?—
Certainly, because the permanent settlement works
automatically, so to speak.

20003. You desire to have powers to allocate func-
tions to your subordinates on your own responsibility.
Have you not such power now ?—Not in every case ;
I have to get the Commissioner’s sanction to
appoint a Deputy Collector for land acquisition
work; I have to get the Government sanction to
authorise a Deputy Collector to do any income-tax
work. I have to select one out of my staff and
send his name up to Government for sanction to
put the work in his charge.

20004. Do you mean you cannot transfer work
which a Deputy Collector is supposed to do under
present circumstances from A to B or C without
having to go to Government ?—-Not in all cases;
I can in most cases, but I am speaking of special
cases such as income-tax cases; possibly it was
because the Income-Tax Act required special mani-
pulation, because it was not very popular, that
rule was passed in Bengal.

20005. Suppose you bad an important report to
write to the Board of (Revenue, and you knew you
eould trust a Deputy Collector who knew your
opinion upon the matter, could you say to him,
“\My views are so and so; write a letter to the
Board of Revenue and sign it for the Collector ” ?
—I can do it, but I do not think I would. I have
that discretion, but it is only in certain cases that
I wish to have powers to delegate work to officers.

20006. Is it your experience that the high
officials in your districts are doing work that a
lower agency might perform?—A lot of detailed
inspection work is done by the Bengal Officer that
might be done by a lower paid man, somewhat on
the lines on which the Registration Department is
worked. Under our system in Bengal the Sub-
Registrar’s offices are inspected in detail by the
special iSub-Registrar at headquarters, and also by
inspectors deputed from the Inspector-General’s
office, and I am inclined to think that something
of that kind might be introduced into divisions
also. A large amount of my time, and the Com-
missioner’s time, is occupied in the detailed inspec-
tion of offices. I go to a sub-divisional office and I
inspect the criminal side, the revenue side, such
as it is, and the (Excise Department, so far as it is
run by the Sub-Divisional Officer; that work I
think might be done by a paid inspecting staff.

20007. But surely it is the elementary duty of a
Collector to inspect the work of his subordinates
when he goes on tour?—Quite so, but the detailed
examination of registers is superfluous.

20008. Do you have to send detailed reports as
to the registers to any higher authority?—Yes.

20009. Do you mean as to the state of the re-
cords and the number that can be destroyed, and
that sort of thing?— cords there are certain rules, and those are more
or less automatic, but I think the Collector is per-
sonally responsible for destroying a number of
papers.

20010. Taking magisterial work, do not your
SubiDivisional Officers, and your Deputy Magis-
trates generally, have a good many second class
cases to deal with?—I have iSecond and Third
Class Magistrates—Deputy Collectors or Sub-
Deputy Collectors.

20011. Is the Deputy Collector made a First
Class Magistrate as soon as possible?—Yes, but
Sub-Deputy Magistrates are not.

20012. Do the SuhnDivisional Officers hear ap-
peals in their sub-divisions?—No, but I do not see
why they should not. All appeals go now to the
district headquarters.

20013. Would you like a Sub-Divisional Officer,
as a Magistrate, to be the appellate authority for
his sub-division ?—Yes, as a rule ; if you fcould
trust a man to run a sub-division I do not see why
he should not be trusted to hear appeals.

20014. You have expressed a desire to have power
to sanction works up to a limit of Rs. 1,000—what
sort of works do you refer to?—Tanks and the
fencing of tanks are the principal works, building
little ghats and making village roads inside the
Government estates.

20015. Do you mean works which are paid for
from local funds or works which are paid for from
provincial funds?—They are works which are paid
for from provincial funds given us for the khas
mahals ; we get a grant. This year I got Rs. 20,000
to spend on my khas mahals for general improve-
ments.

20016. But you cannot sanction an individual
work beyond some limit ?—d think it is Rs. 200.

20017. Besides the Rs. 20,000, is there other
expenditure for which you have to get a further
grant from your Commissioner, or would your
Rs. 20,000 do for you?—It does not do for me, but
it is all I could get. There is another sum of one
and-a-half per cent, paid from the khas mahal col-
lections to the District Board fund, and that is
supposed to be spent on communications in khas
mahals ; as a matter of fact, !I do not think it ever
has been spent on khas mahals hitherto, but I got
it this year.

20018. Is there any ear-marking of the khas
mahal expenditure or is it a part of the regular
budget allotment under Public Works ?—The Board
of Revenue has improvements, and they dole it out to the different
districts—to the divisions in the first instance,
and then it is allotted to the districts.

20019. Have you got power to grant loans under
the Agricultural Loans Act at present?—We have
powers to grant loans. -

20020. Is there much demand for loans in your
district?—There has been recently. Last year there
was a certain amount of scarcity and the people
took loans very freely ; we have outstanding over
a lakh of rupees if not a lakh and-a-half.

20021. You spoke of having introduced a new
system of giving loans on the spot—will you explain
that a little more fully?—I do not claim any par-
ticular originality with regard to it.

20022. Was that not recommended by the Govern-
ment of India to the provinces generally two or
three years ago ?—Possibly.

20023. Have you any power of remission of agri-
cultural loans?—iNo, I have to go to the Commis-
sioner. I see no reason why we should not be
allowed to remit in cases of small sums.

20024. Would there not be a danger if a Collector
had power to remit largely?—I hardly think so—
we must have some sense of responsibility.

20025. Might not some idle officer relieve himself
of trouble in collecting his outstanding loans if he
made too liberal remissions?-—I hope the sense of
responsibility in officers is sufficiently developed
to guard against that.

20026. Are the khas mahals all under temporary
settlement ?—Yes.

20027. With regard to re-appropriation under dif-
ferent heads of your budget, do you refer to the
major heads of the provincial budget, such as land
revenue and education and so on, or do you refer
merely to sub-heads?—To sub-heads.

20028. You would not propose that you should
have power to appropriate a sum from land revenue
to education, or vice versa, for instance ?—No.

20029. With regard to petty settlements, you say
you wanted to commence a work in October 1906
and that you did not get sanction till March 1907 ?
—For the money — we want to get sanction for
certain monies.

20030. Are not the figures in your budget allot-
ment ?—No, I do not think so ; it is not in the
regular budget allotment list.

20031. Is it not under contingencies, or anything
else?—No.

20032. It is not the fact, then, that your district
budget of 1906-07 was not sanctioned till March


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

39

.1907?—No, not the district budget; this comes, as
jar as I know, under the 'Board of . Revenue, and
they have, a special grant for petty settlement which
they distribute.

20033. It has been suggested that Collectors
might have small grants from which to engage
special clerical assistance when work was specially
heavy. Would you approve of that ?—Yes ; it is
'what I call “ job and contract.” I have to get some
maps prepared which are wanted urgently and have
not got any money for it, and I cannot appoint the
establishment without going up for sanction ; that
“ job and contract ” work is a thing for which we
might have a small amount of money.

20034. Including the taking of an extra clerk
or two into your office for a short period?—That,
of course, would be a danger sometimes, because
it might be overdone ; the sharistaclar might want
to engage help which he really did not require and
come to the Collector for some temporary estab-
lishment, but on the whole the advantages would
outweigh the disadvantages.

20035. As regards District Boards and education,
is primary education generally in the hands of the
District Board?—Yes.

20036. That is to say, as far as the privilege of
paying for it is concerned ?—Practically all our
primary grants come from Government, Govern-
ment gives the money, and we distribute it.

' 20037. We have been told that in Bengal an
educational officer went round land picked out various
gurus and said “ This guru is deserving of assist-
ance, but this one is not,” and the Board had to
grant aid to schools or refuse it according to the
inspector’s discretion—is that your experience?—
Yes.

20038. Secondary schools are entirely in the hands
of Government, as far as they are aided or main-
tained?—Yes.

20039. Does your District Board do a good deal
of medical and sanitary work ?—Yes.

' 20040. Do you find any interference from head-
quarters with regard to it ; does the Sanitary Com-
missioner come and say “ You are not spending
enough money on sanitation, you ought to spend
more,” or are you allowed your own way?—We get
advice from the Sanitary Commissioner at times,
but I have not found any undue interference.

20041. And in the same way with medical
matters, do you get advice from the Inspector-
General of Hospitals?—Yes. There is a question
now about the number of hospitals. We have too
many hospitals we think, and they are not well
enough equipped ; that matter will have to go
before the Inspector-General, and his expert advice
will probably be useful to us.

20042. Does not the Commissioner pass your
budget ?—Yes.

20043. Supposing the Inspector-General of Hos-
pitals wished to make some representation with
reference to your alleged inadequate expenditure
on medical relief, would he report to the Commis-
sioner?—Yes, he could.

200-44. Would the Commissioner decide off-hand
on the point, or would it have to go to Government ?

-I cannot tell you.

20045. Have you a right to punish any member
of the District Board staff ?—Yes, as Chairman.

20046. To whom does an appeal lie in that case ?—
To the Commissioner of the division.

20047. Is there no appeal from you as Chairman
to the collective Board?—No.

20048. Might that system be adopted, and the
system of appeals to an outside authority, such as
the Commissioner, restricted ?—-It would lead to
a great waste of time if, in every case in which
I punished a subordinate, he went to the District
Board ; there would be a tremendous discussion
about it.

20049. But conceivably every case can go to the
Commissioner?-—Practically every case can go to
the Commissioner.

20050. Would appellants go more freely to the
District Board?—I think so, certainly.

20051. On the other hand, might you not talk
over the question at the Board and not have to send
in voluminous reports to the Commissioner?—In
any case that came before me I should prefer to
consult the District Board in, the first place, rather
than have an appeal to the District Board.

20052. Does it conduce to the responsibility of
Local Self-Government if an appeal of a Rs. 10 or
Rs. 15 man who has been punished by you, as
representing the District Board, can go to the
Commissioner of the division?—'Perhaps not.

20053. As regards a high officer such as a District
Board’s Engineer, have you any power of punish-
ment—could you dismiss him, for instance?—The
District Board would act in a case like that; I
should certainly take it before the District Board.

20054. Would that be a matter of personal dis-
cretion, or is there any rule laid down ?—It is a
question of personal discretion.

20055. Then, as regards the higher appointments,
the District Board must act collectively and in the
smaller appointments the Chairman can act in-
dividually ?—As a matter of practice, he does.

20056. You said that the District Board Engineer
might be dismissed by the collective Board. Could
he then appeal?—My impression is that lie could
go to the Commissioner then certainly, and to
Government probably as a member of the Public
Works Department.

20057. You might have a man from outside not
connected with Government 'Service at all. In that
case if you dismissed him, would an appeal lie ?—
I think so, certainly.

20058. You have spoken of the tahsil panchayat
—does that mean the headman or the chairman of
the panchayat 1—It means the principal panchayat.

20059. Have you any Local Fund unions?—No.

20060. You say that the right of appeal with
regard to a ministerial officer extends right up to
the Local Government, but has there been no
limitation, that the Local Government will receive
no second appeal from a man who is in receipt of
less than Rs. 50 ?—No, the Board’s rules practically
allow an appeal right through.

20061. You suggest that there would be some
advantages to the administration by Civilians and
Deputy Collectors seeing the working of other pro-
vinces—-would you make it a regular thing to
depute an Eastern Bengal Civilian to work in other
provinces during the course of his service ?—I think
it would be an excellent thing if something of the
kind could be done. For instance, I am entirely
in the dark with regard to the Madras system of
administration. I happen to know something about
the Punjab system of administration, because I
have been in Baluchistan, and there we worked on
the Punjab principles, but it would be of great
advantage to an officer to see other parts of India,
especially now that the means of communication
have increased so enormously.

20062. That is to say, instead of leaving it to
the chance of an officer being selected by the
Government of India, you would make it an under-
stood thing that each officer should have some work
in other provinces ?—I do not know whether it
could be managed in every case, but my idea would
be that there should be -an exchange of Civilians
and possibly of Deputy Collectors, to the extent of
half a dozen or so, between the different provinces,
and I do not think the difficulty as to language,
which is the principal difficulty, would be felt in
these days.

20063. How long would you depute your Eastern
Bengal Civilian for service in another province?—
I should think six months or a year.

20064. Do you mean that he should go for six
months or a year to some other province?—Yes,
that is to say, I would send my Joint-Magistrate,
now a man with about three years’ service, to
another province, and it would be aii excellent
thing if he saw something of the Working of an-
other province for a year.; .

Mr. R.
Hughes
JJuller.

.7 Jan., 1908.


40

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Mr. Ii.
Hughes*
Buller.

7 Jan., 1908.

20065. Would that conduce to (the general effi-
ciency of the administration of a province ?—It
would give us new ‘ideas.

20066. But you might have rather a conflict of
experience, and differences of opinion .between the
men who had gone to the Punjab, and the men who
had gone to Madras ; would there not be some
danger of that?—I think the experience would be
distinctly beneficial.

20067. In this province until lately there was
rather a complicated system of appeals in police
cases ; and if a head-constable were punished by
the ’District .Superintendent of Police he might
appeal direct to the Deputy Inspector-General, or
he might appeal to you? Has that system been
put an end to, and is there only one appeal
straight to the Departmental Head ?—Yes.

20068. Do you regret that?—I should be glad to
have some say in the matter

20069. Are you not grateful for being relieved
of a part of your extra work?—I think the men
would like it, top ; some of them have spoken to
me about it.

20070. Is it not an extremely chaotic arrangement
by which a man may take two roads by way of
appeal?—I only ask for some say in the matter,
and at present I have none ; I do not necessarily
refer to head-constables, but to sub-inspectors.

20071. Do you desire that every case with regard
to a sub-inspector should come to you?—We are
consulted now in certain cases ; we are consulted
about the transfers of sub-inspectors, not punish-
ments.

20072. Supposing a sub-inspector is thought by
the District Superintendent to be quite an upright
man, but to be very slack in matters of discipline,
would that be a case in which the District Magis-
trate ought to be consulted?—'The District Superin-
tendent knows best, naturally, in a matter of that
kind.

20073. Would you discriminate between matters
which affected the welfare of the people, and law
and order generally, and an after s which might be
called pure police administration?—Yets, perhaps so.

20074. And as regards the first, the District
Magistrate should 'be consulted, but not necessarily
with regard to the (second?—‘Yes

20075. The general power with regard to the
municipal budget, and so forth, rests with the
Commissioner?—-Yes, general supervision is all we
exercise ; I inspect the office ; I look into questions
of sanitation and other matters and record a note,
and they accept it or not, as they like.

20076. In a matter which the municipality have
to refer to the Commissioner, such as the sanction
of the municipal budget, or the sanction to a
proposed tax, would it come through you to the
Commissioner, or would the Chairman address the
Commissioner direct?— Magistrate.

20077. And if you have any special opinion to
record are you supposed to record it?—Yes.

20078. Would it be possible to give the control
more 'to the Collector than to the ‘Commissioner?—
Yes, I do not see why it should not 'be so.

20079. If a municipality wanted to impose a tax
which it can impose by law, ought they to go to the
Commissioner first ?—Yes.

20080. Is one of your reasons that it is possible a
municipality might not have taken into account, or
might not sufficiently represent, some class on
which the tax might fall?—Yes, -some class might
be in the minority.

20081. Is the Inspector of Works the same person
as the Superintending Engineer ?—As a matter of
fact, he is the Executive Engineer.

20082. Is there no Executive Engineer at Backar-
ganj ?—*No ; we have only one Executive Engineer
for the whole division.

20083. Then who does your buildings and such
provincial work as you have to do in the district;
do you employ the District Board agency at all ?—

It was employed until two years ago, when I think
Sir Bampfylde Fuller initiated the system of
putting all works under the Executive Engineer.

20084. Was the change a matter of necessity?—
Yes, things had not been going on might have been, but personally I would like to see
the District Engineer again employed.

20085. Do Government pay some commission?-—
Yes.

20086. Could not transfers be reduced by making
acting promotions locally more than is now done ?—
For instance, when the Collector takes three
months’ privilege leave only, and there is a
Civilian in the district fit to take charge during the
time, he is put in though he might not be the
senior man?—Yes, there are orders to that effect.

20087. Could that not be extended to periods of
six nionths at any rate?—Yes, possibly so.

20088. Is it not an understood principle that a
man has no right to, accumulate leave ?—Of course,
it is, but at the same time you might cause discon-
tent although it may not foe a principle.

20089. Is it not also an understood principle that
no man has a right to a mere acting appointment?
—Yes.

20090. Therefore if 'Government mid, “We are
dealing with two things to which you have no
positive right ; we will give you one or the other,
but not both,” would that be unreasonable ?—No.

20091. (Sir Sieyning Eclgerley.) A.tq the com-
mittees of Local Boards efficient?—They are fairly
efficient, I think.

20092. Are any of the Chairmen promising men?
—'They take somewhat more interest than other
members in their work. It is sometimes rather
difficult to get a quorum of members.

20093. We have heard from a witness that lie
had been Vice-Chairman of a District Board and
that for two years the Collector had delegated
the whole of his powers as Chairman to him,
though he had informally kept watch over the pro-
ceedings ; have you any one in your district whom
you would be prepared to trust in the same way ?—
My present Vice-Chairman is a most worthy man,,
and I have delegated fairly large powers to him,
but important questions come to me ; lie takes a
good deal of the work off my shoulders.

20094. Do you find that there is more interest
being shown in regard to public affairs and the
people are becoming more and more acquainted
with them ?—I can hardly say that there is more
interest being shown.

20095. Then you do not think Local Self-Govern-
ment is growing in the country?—All I can say is;
that three of the elections for my District Boards
failed last year. ‘There were candidates, but the
electors failed to turn up ; there was no interest,
taken in the election.

20096. Was that because there was no contest?—•
The elections do not create any interest at
present.

20097. You said you would have only one appeal
in certain cases, but supposing the original
authority and the appellate authority differed,,
would you accept the appellate authorities’ de-
cision without anything further?—I think so.

20098. Do you not think you ought to get two-
concurrent decisions?—'But you must have finality
somewhere.

20099. What is the calibre of your chief educa-
tional officer?—The deputy inspector of schools is
a B.A. His salary would be about Rs. 200 a
month. It is a graded post rising to about
Rs. 250.

20100. Have the results of the inquiry of the
Police Commission been applied yet? Have you got your new establishment?—'
Yes, we have a certain amount of new establish-
ment.

20101. Is your Superintendent of Police satisfied
with the establishment he has been allowed?—
At present I have had no complaint; we were pretty


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 41

fully policed as a very criminal district before the
Commission.

20102. We were told at Mandalay and elsewhere
that occasionally sanction had been refused to the
creation of a certain number of head-constables,
and that an inspector had been cut out where he was
very much wanted ; in your district have the local
needs been sufficiently met or have you been rather
driven by formula ?—'The number of thanas is 27 ;
the number of police inspectors 10 ; the number of
sub-inspectors 68 ; the number of constables 588,
including 50 head-constables, so that I do not think
we are badly off.

20103. And you have a number of chaukidars
besides?—We have 5,466 chaukidars.

20104. What do those chaukidars get?—Rs. 5 a
month.

20105. You say that special legislation would be
required to give small powers to the village head-
man? In Burma they have a special Aet as to
that, have they not?—Yes, the Village Administra-
tion Act.

20106. Would you prefer to build up a system
under an Act like that, or would you have a few
general clauses allowing you to make any necessary
rules ?—We have a Chaukidari Act now under which
we work, which constitutes the basis of our system,
and probably an extension of that Act would be
sufficient.

20107. Is that all laid down section by section,
or is there a power given to make rules?—It is
laid down section by section ; in fact, it is not suffi-
ciently elastic in many ways. It lays down, for
instance, the maximum pay of a chaukidar as
Rs. 6, which is not sufficient in my district.

20108. In trying any development would you
prefer an Act giving rule-making power, or would
you proceed by a detailed Act?—'Certainly I should
prefer rule-making powers.

20109. We were told in Burma that it would help
the heads of districts . considerably if the technical
examination of treasury and records was taken off
the shoulders of the District Officers ; would you
be in favour of anything of that kind?—I have

Babu Jatra Mohan Sen

20118. {Chairman.) What is your profession?—I
am a High Court pleader and land-owner iat Chitta-
gong. I have been a municipal Commissioner at
Chittagong where I was Vice-Chairman for about a
year.

I am in favour of giving larger powers to pro-
vincial Governments as to details of expenditure
leaving the principles to be dictated and controlled
by the Imperial Government. There should be
some definite rules laid down for contribution by
Local Governments of fixed amounts to imperial
funds, leaving ample funds to provincial Govern-
ments, but so far as the new province of Eastern
Bengal and Assam is concerned, the Government
of India should assist the Local Government with
sufficient funds to effect necessary improvements
as rapidly as they can be made till the land revenue
of Assam proper is developed land placed on a firm
basis.

Provincial Government may be vested with autho-
rity to borrow within certain limits, say, two lakhs
of rupees.

I am not in favour of the curtailment of the
right of appeal to the Government of India and
Local Governments, and would not require any
certificate from the authority passing the order
appealed against that reasonable grounds of appeal
exist.

The Secretariats both of Imperial and provincial
Governments are dominated too much by considera-
tions of revenue, and they regard matters too much
from a purely departmental standpoint. The Board
of Revenue is not of much use.

District Officers are not in touch with the people.
Advisory Councils may be usefully employed, but
the members must be elected by the people. Nomi-
nation by Government has a demoralizing effect.
Such nomination generally would lead the nominated

33289

thought about it, and it seems to me that the
amount of treasury work on the shoulders of a
Collector is very small now-a-days. With regard
to the examination of record-rooms, I myself sug-
gested that it would be part of the work which I
should* like to put on to a special staff.

20110. Since you have been in Backarganj have
you been visited by any members of the Board of
Revenue?—A member was in my district for the
Christmas holidays.

20111. Did he come on duty?—Yes, he wanted
to see something in connection with the Sundar-
bands.

20112. Does a Commissioner come on regular
inspection work and a member of the Board of
Revenue too ?—Yes.

20113. Does that lead to over-inspection?—The
member of the Board does not go into great detail
as a rule.

20114. He practically does not inspect, but he
comes to inform himself?—Yes ; that is more what
he does.

20115. Do you work on daily travelling allow-
ances or on a permanent travelling allowance ?—-A
limit of Rs. 45 a month has been fixed as the
maximum monthly allowance for my excise sub-
inspectors, and I find they have been drawing that
amount. We all travel in boats in my district,
and where you have to hire a boat I am not quite
sure that for a peripatetic officer a fixed travelling
allowance is not most suitable ; we give fixed
travelling allowances for the sub-inspectors of
schools.

20116. What system do you think causes most
work to control?—The most work is caused by the
ordinary daily allowance rules. A good deal more
has to be done especially in checking, and the
distances are very difficult to check sometimes.

20117. Would it be an entirely inaccurate state-
ment to say that the daily travelling allowance
system does not give more work than the permanent
allowance system ?—I should certainly say that the
daily travelling allowance system gives more work.

(The witness withdrew.)

was called and examined.

members to court the favour of District Officers with
a view to future re-election. District Boards, as
at present constituted, are not representative
bodies. The District Officers generally see that
their own whims and caprices are carried out.
Selection of members is generally made on wrong
principles and personal considerations. If the
present system is allowed .to continue, I am not for
extension of their powers. Indeed, the District
Officers should rather be placed exclusively in
charge of the affairs, so that they may be held
responsible both to the Government and the people.
The present system has the effect of dividing
responsibility and exonerating the District Officers
of sole responsibility, although the whole affairs
are practically conducted by them.

The District Boards should be elected bodies, and
the Chairman should be elected from the elected
members. The Chairman, to secure effective work
from him, may be paid a sufficient salary. • The
District Officers and the Advisory Council should
have the power of criticising and reporting to
Government to suspend resolutions of the Board
which may be unreasonable and objectionable.
They may also temporarily suspend action. The
same observations apply to municipalities, and
District Boards and municipalities should be in-
dependent of each other.

Three years should be the general rule for an
officer to remain in one district. The people may
be given the right to present to Government for
retention of popular officers for another three years,
and not longer. They may also move Government
for transfer of officers who are not popular.

Panchayats are practically useless bodies now.
Respectable people avoid being members of pan-
chayats. They are generally oppressed by the
police, being more their servants than anything

F

Mr. R.
Hug lies -
Butter,

7 Jan., 1908.

Babu Jatra
Mohan Sen.
7 Jan., 190S.


42

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Babu Jatra
Mohan Sen.
7 Jan., 1908.

else. They are generally made to serve as touts
to secure bribes to the police officers. People, in
whose houses thefts are committed or whose houses
are burnt down by incendiaries, do not as a rule
give information to the police, for fear of police
oppression. The chaukidars, daffadars and pan-
chayats are generally warned by the police officers
against reporting such cases, leaving the parties to
personally report them, in which case they are
subjected to oppression and harassment. If pan-
chayats are elected by the people and made in-
dependent of the police, really substantial and
independent men can be obtained and powers may
safely be vested to them to try small civil and
criminal cases. Indeed, it will be a great boon
to the village communities to do so. Arbitration
and decision of cases on the spot by men of the
locality are very much appreciated by the parties.
Real and substantial justice is done in such cases.

20119. Are you in favour of iany curtailment of
the right of appeal ?—I am rather in favour of an
extension. I think a ministerial officer ought to
have a right of appeal to the Government of India.
A limit might be made as to certain classes. I
would suggest, after Rs. 25.

20120. You think Advisory Councils might be
usefully created ? — Yes, I would have small
Councils of not more than five members.

20121. Should they ibe constituted in addition to
the existing Local Boards, or in substitution for
them?—If the District Board and the municipality
are not entirely elected bodies, then they should
be in addition to them, but otherwise in substitu-
tion for them.

20122. You think that District Boards are at
present rather negative bodies, because the Chair-
man is always a 'Government official?—Yes, and the
members are all nominated.

20123. Have you been a member of a District
Board ?—'No ; I was suggested several times.

20124. How do you get your experience with re-
gard to District Boards?—I live in a district where
there is one, and I see the working of the Board.

20125. But still how do you get your experience
that the Board are unwilling or afraid to contest
the autocracy of the Chairman?—I know of one
recent special instance as to granting certain sub-
sidies to a small company in which the whole thing
was settled between the Collector and the company,
and all the members had to yield. Moreover, at
Chittagong, the selections are made entirely from
personal considerations, and most of the members
who are no doubt intelligent people are tea-
planters, paying very little in the way of cesses to
the District Board, and having no sympathy with
the institutions of the people.

20126. Therefore you think that members are
afraid to contest the authority of the Chairman?—
In the case I mention several did contest it.

20127. But the majority of the members might
have agreed with the Chairman?—I think they
did not. I discussed the matter with two of the
members, and they said that they could not go
against the Chairman, as he said he had already
made an arrangement.

20128. How many members of the Board are
there altogether?—'Eighteen.

20129. Have municipalities as much freedom as
you think they ought to have at the present time?
—No, the entire body should be elected. I would
extend their powers in the direction of controlling
the finances.

20130. They send their budget at present to the
Commissioner; is the control of the Commissioner
at present undesirable?—No..

20131. Then in what direction would you give
them greater financial freedom?—Up to a certain
extent, say, Rs. 1,000, they might be left to deal
with the expenditure, without the sanction of the
Commissioner, subject to the total budget not
being exceeded, but it is difficult to fix a limit.

20132. What is their power of sanction now?—
They have no power whatever at present.

20133. If they say they do not want to spend a
certain amount of money and the Commissioner
says he wants them to do so, they have to spend
it?—Generally that is the case.

20134. Do you wish first that municipalities should
be free to spend up to Rs. 1,000 within the limit
of the budget, and, in the next place, if they do
not want to spend any money that the Commis-
sioner should not have the power to make them
do so ?—If the Commissioner thinks that the Muni-
cipal Commissioners have not been doing their
duty, he may report to Government, if they are
unreasonable or objectionable; but generally I do
not believe that they would be unreasonable.

20135. You think that the panchayats of a vil-
lage are at present useless? Should something be
done to create a communal spirit in the villages,
or has the day passed for doing that?—If the
panchayats are in any way dependent upon the
police, it is impossible to effect any improvement.

20136. If there was a complete separation from
the police, what do you think?—Then they would
be very useful.

20137. Should a District Officer be retained in
his post if possible for three years?—Yes, and up
to six years, supposing he is beginning some very
useful work. He ought to be continued then,
especially if the people desire it. Government
might not accede always to their request, but
they ought to be given an opportunity of making
a representation to Government that an officer
should be retained longer; but perhaps he ought
not to be in a district generally more than three
years.

20138. (Sir Steyning JEdgerley.) You think that
panchayets should be entirely elected?—Yes.

20139. Is there any other agency to co-ordinate
work in districts except the police?—Panchayats
might be under the supervision of the Magistrate
—the District (Magistrate in the case of districts
and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate in the case of
sub-divisions.

20140. With anyone else between them?—No.

20141. Ceuld the Sub-Divisional Magistrate
give enough supervision? Could you utilise Sub-
Deputy Collectors for that work?—Sub-Deputy
Collectors are not independent enough.

20142. You seem to hold the opinion that the
connection of Government with these local bodies
is demoralising; is that a general opinion amongst
the people in your part?—That is so.

20143. Do they regard a gentleman who is nomi-
nated to a local body by Government as losing
caste?—Not exactly losing caste, but he is looked
upon with a little distrust in regard to matters of
public interest.

20144. (Mr. Meyer.) Is a Munsiff or a Subordi-
nate Judge, or a High Court Judge, looked upon
with distrust because he is appointed by Govern-
ment ?—No.

20145. It is only when men become members of
Boards?—Yes, and the reason is that they can try
cases independently between the Government and
parties, while the people look with distrust if the
Government has direct control over them. For in-
stance, nowadays the District Judge is made sub-
ject to the Commissioner.

20146. How is he subject to the Commissioner?
—iSo far as his morals are concerned, as the word-
ing goes.

20147. Are you speaking of what is known as
the Carlyle circular?—Yes.

20148. Does that apply to this province?—Yes,
and the people generally have a distrust of the
decisions even of District Judges, not because as a
matter of fact they decide wrongly, but because
there is a feeling amongst the people of distrust,
especially in judicial matters in which Govern-
ment is interested.

20149. Are you acquainted with the principles
of the present financial settlement between the
Government of India and provincial Governments?
—I have very little experience.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

43

20150. Are you aware that the present settle-
ments differ from previous ones, and that they are
not subject to revision at the end of five years?—
I was not aware of that.

20151. Have you considered how the provincial
Government is going to borrow two lakhs of
rupees?—I have simply fixed that as an arbitrary
sum.

20152. (Mr. Sicliens.) You think the Board of
Revenue is not of mtich use?—Yes. I think a
Commissioner who is locally on the spot knows
more about things and is better able to dispose of
all matters of finance; if he were given larger
powers, his decisions would be more satisfactory.

20153. Would you allow appeals to be settled
finally by him?—Yes.

20154. But personal appeals, that is appeals of
-individuals with regard to dismissal and so .forth,
you would extend?—-I would extend them right up
to Government.

20155. But why would you make any distinc-
tion?—It is just to give the people consolation.
We have known of instances in which the Govern-
ment of India have restored an officer whose appeal
had been dismissed by the intermediate
authorities.

20156. Your point of view is, not so much that
the Commissioner is likely to make a mistake in
regard to appeals, as that it would satisfy the
amour propre of the man dismissed?—As a matter
of fact, everyone is liable to err sometimes; we
have known the highest Courts of Appeal make mis-
takes. In the High Court, where it is only the
Judicial .Officers who have a right to grant the
certificate, we have known instances where the
Privy Council have admitted appeals where the
High Court has refused.

20157. At any rate, you think that, as far as
the Board of Revenue is concerned, the appeals
they deal with might equally well be settled by
the Commissioner ?—Yes ; the Commissioners can-
not now do much in the matter because of techni-
calities.

20158. You say that the chaukidari panchayats
ought to be made independent of the police; but
do you think they can be made independent?—
They should be entirely under the District Magis-
trate independent of the police. Nowadays, where
a police officer goes to a village, these panchayats
have to work as his servants.

20159. ,Do you want to abolish chaukidars?—
The chaukidars may be under the influence of the
Magistrate—daffadars and chaukidars are at pre-
sent useless. Recently there have been a great
many attacks in my own village, and not a single
case was reported to the police so that the police
might come and personally investigate: in many
cases it was I who stopped all these things by
threatening the people.

20160. (Mr. Dutt.) Were you a member of the
Bengal legislative Council for some time?—Yes,
for two years. I am not now a member.

20161. You suggested that the provincial
Government should have authority to borrow up to
two lakhs of rupees; do you think that that would
lead to any good result?—It would avoid delay.

20162. Is there ever any necessity for the
Government of Bengal or of .Eastern Bengal to
borrow that amount?—I have merely put it down
as an arbitrary figure.

20163. Might it not lead to a multiplicity of
loans all over the country if all the provincial
Governments were allowed to borrow on their own
account?—If the Government in Council were the
Local Government I think it would not, because it
would be responsible for its own province.

20164. Is it a fact now that the existing right of
appeal is practically unlimited?—I do not know,
but appeals do go up to the India Government
subject to some restrictions, if the Local Govern-
ments choose to send them.

20165. Are they appeals which go up to the
Government of India, or are they memorials?—
Whatever name is given to it; I call them appeals.

33289

20166. I am speaking now of the right of appeal
only; are you aware of the limits which exist as to
the right of appeal?—No.

20167. Without such knowledge, are you in a
position to recommend either a curtailment or an
extension of those rights?—Whether there is any
right of appeal or not, I would be for giving a
right of appeal to the highest authority.

20168. Would not a memorial to the highest
authority answer the same purpose?—It is difficult
to say.

20169. Are the members of the Chittagong muni-
cipality elected?—-They are not all nominated.
Two-thirds are elected, and the rest are nominated.
I ceased to stand as a candidate for the munici-
pality because I thought it was useless under
present circumstances.

20170. Should the Chairman of a District Board
be elected by the members of the Board?—Yes.

20171. Would it be possible to find in all districts
men -who are fit to be Chairmen?—I think they
would always be easy to find, provided they are
paid.

20172. Should they be paid salaries, or a liberal
travelling allowance?—They should be paid liberal
salaries.

20173. Should they also 'be paid travelling allow-
ance ?—'That would be very small, but they ought to
be paid.

. 20174. Was the District Magistrate the Chairman
of the Chittagong municipality ?—No ; the Chair-
man was a non-official, one of the elected members,
during my time.

20175. Was the work of the municipality distri-
buted among different committees, one dealing with
schools, another with assessments, and so on ?—Not
in my time.

20176. Was the work all practically done by the
Chairman and Vice-Chairman ?—Yes, and the Ward
Committees.

20177. Did they give you substantial help in the
work of administration?—Yes.

20178. Were there any dispensaries in the town?
—Yes, there is a very big dispensary there.

20179. Did you contribute towards its main-
tenance ?—‘Yes.

20180. Did you have any sort of supervision or
control over it?—The municipality had control,
but now it is chiefly made over 'to the District
Board, because it also contributes.

20181. Is. there a Dispensary Committee con-
sisting of some members of the District Board?—
Yes.

20182. Have you any primary schools in the
municipality ?—There are ; the municipality con-
tributes something to the girls’ school,

20183. Were assessments made with the help of
the Ward Commissioners?—Formerly.

20184. Who disposed of the appeals?—A sub-
committee was appointed.

20185. Did that system give satisfaction to the
people generally?—In my time it did.

20186. If the police had no power over
panchayats, do you say that arbitration and the
decision of cases on the spot by them would be
satisfactory ?—Yes, in fact we have been doing that.

20187. Would you in that case entrust the
panchayats with small civil and criminal powers ?—
Yes, and not only that, but -also power to see that
no rioting takes place, land they could very well
deal with it by interfering.

20188. Would you entrust them with more power
over the village chaukidars ?—I think so; now
they have practically no control.

20189. At present is there any sort of link be-
tween the villages themselves and the Sub-Divi-
sional Officer, outside the agency of the police ?
Supposing a Sub-Divisional Officer wants to deal
with the people generally in the way of sending
relief in times of distress, or distributing pills in
times of cholera, through what agency does he

F 2

Babu Jatra
Mohan Sen.
7 e/hw., 1908.


44

MINUTES OP EVIDENCE :

Babu Jatra
Mohan Sen.

7 Jan.. 1908.

Mr. B. H.
Henderson.
7 Jan., 1908,

reach the people ?—So far as the distribution of
medicine is concerned, they do it through the
doctors.

20190. But how does the Sub-Divisional Officer
generally reach the (people ?—Through his own
agency when he personally goes and inspects,, and
through some of his subordinates.

20191. Would you suggest the creation of smaller
circles within -a sub-division: supposing each
circle were in charge of a junior Deputy Magistrate
or a senior Sub-Deputy Magistrate, so as to form a
sort of connecting link between the people and the
Sub-Divisional Officer, would that meet with your
approval ?—It would be desirable, but very expen-
sive, I think.

20192. If they were created, would it improve the
administration to some extent?—Certainly.

20193. (Sir Frederic Lely.) You say that a mem-
ber of Local Board, if nominated, is distrusted by

Mr. R H. Henderson

20196. (Chairman.) You are a member of the
Legislative Council of Eastern Bengal?—Yes. I
am a tea-planter.

The Local Government should be given borrowing
powers. Such powers are elsewhere entrusted to
bodies whose status and resources are comparatively
insignificant. Provincial loans might be issued for
well approved local schemes and a freer use of
guarantees of interest would attract local capital
and would materially assist in development of the
province. The absence of such guarantees, which
have been customary, prejudices investors who look
upon any scheme, from which these are withheld,
with suspicion.

There is a natural tendency on the part of pro-
vincial Secretariats, which are not necessarily in
touch with the public, to regard business matters too
much from the point of view of the routine of their
department, and transaction of business would be
facilitated and expedited by the more direct per-
sonal control of the Divisional Commissioner.

Some increase is required in the administrative
staff : for instance, a very extensive and populous
district such as Sylhet with four sub-divisions
should have at least a. Collector and a Joint-Magis-
trate, or, preferably, the district should be sub-
divided into two districts giving each portion the
benefit of the supervision, of.at least one experi-
enced officer, if not of two. The natural develop-
ment of cultivation of trade and of the resources of
the district has increased the volume ‘ of work of
District 'Officers, and has made it more complex,
and the demands on them for information and
returns have increased, while the staff remains the
same, or has been reduced. My remarks as to the
unwieldy district in charge of the Deputy Com-
missioner of Sylhet, apply equally to the duties of
Civil Surgeon. The thorough supervision which
is required cannot possibly be given by either. The
Executive Engineer of Sylhet combines with his
almost impossible duties in Sylhet those of Cachar,
where his headquarters are situated. Efficient
supervision of such an area is impossible.

Transfers of officers are too frequent in the Surma
Valley, which is not a popular one, 'and from which
officers seem anxious to escape. This applies to
every Department of Government Service-Adminis-
tration, Public Works, Police, and Medical. The
objections to such frequent changes are too obvious.

Local Boards should be empowered to borrow
money for the carrying out of urgent public
works. The necessity for this is now becoming
more acute. The expenditure on education by the
Boards has trebled, that on medical has increased
sevenfold in the last 20 years. The 'available re-
sources have been practically stationary. In
consequence many urgent requirements, in the shape
of (1) new roads in newly opened out parts of the
district, (2) metalling rendered necessary by in-
creased traffic, (3) the substitution of bridges for
ferries, are necessarily neglected or indefinitely
postponed. Even assuming that these startling
increases in the claims of these two departments

the people, while a Subordinate Judge is not dis-
trusted although they are both appointed by Gov-
ernment. Is the essential difference between the
two that a member of the Board comes up for re-
appointment at certain periods, whereas the Judge
is appointed during good behaviour?—Yes, that is
the essential difference between the two ; civil ad-
ministration is rather on a sounder basis, whereas
these honorary posts depend on the pleasure of the
officials.

20194. You said you would abolish the Board of
Revenue because the 'Commissioner is more reliable
as knowing more of local matters ; but you would
abolish the Commissioner also—you would abolish
all control over the District Officer?—I think if the
District Officer is given more time and assistance he
would be more useful.

20195. Should be subject to no control at all?—
None except the Secretariat.

(The witness withdrew.)

was called and examined.

are arrested, as to which there is no assurance
forthcoming, and the amount available for original
works is not further curtailed by fresh inroads,
it is estimated that the programme of absolutely
urgent works of the Cachar Local Board cannot,
with the income available for the purpose, be com-
pleted in less than 20 years, leaving out of con-
sideration fresh projects which the development of
the district will certainly bring forth. I am not
in favour of larger powers being conferred on Local
Boards beyond that of borrowing, nor of any exten-
sion of their functions.

The supervision and control of municipalities
might be 'beneficial in so far that sanitation, water-
supply, &c., might be run on more up-to-date lines ;
but, on the other hand, the (sources of revenue of
Local and Municipal'Boards are entirely distinct.
In cases where Local Board members are drawn
from widely scattered communities, 'and where even
the performance of their present duties (attendance
in many cases involving long (journeys) is a heavy
tax on their time, to further increase their duties
would be inadvisable.

I do not consider that it would 'be desirable to
give village communities in the Surma Valley in-
creased powers in the direction indicated. They
are not, in imy opinion, qualified to exercise such.

I am strongly against the establishment of Advisory
or Administrative 'Councils. These would weaken
the authority of District Officers. They would pos-
sibly hamper them in emergencies where entire
freedom of action, in circumstances demanding
prompt and decisive measures, was .required. Apart
from these defects the knowledge that there had
been any dissension in such a Council would have
the effect of encouraging those in conflict with
authority.

20197. Have you any experience of Local Govern-
ment?—No, except as a member of the Local Board
for 20 or 25 years.

20198. You say that Local Governments should
be Igiven borrowing powers ; is there any local
market in which they could borrow money, apart
from the market which is open to the Government
of India?—I do not think there is.

20199. Then the borrowings of the two would
probably have to overlap ?—Yes, and perhaps the
security would be better, though I suppose the
Government of India would be responsible for pro-
vincial loans.

20200. How long do you think a Collector ought
to stay in a district?—Four or five years at least.

20201. Would you keep him any longer?—Not
necessarily, although I see no objection to his
being kept a longer time in special cases.

20202. How long do you think it would take a
Collector of ordinary industry and activity to get
to know his district thoroughly?—In some cases—
for instance, in the Sylhet district—it would be
impossible for him to know it, but in smaller dis-
tricts from one to two years would be necessary. .


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 45

20203. Is the work of a Collector pretty heavy?
—It is almost too heavy now. I am judging by
previous standards ; I think the work is much too
severe now ; it is more complicated and necessarily
so; because everything was much simpler before,
and there have been great developments of late in
every direction ; then the European staff has been
reduced in this province, and I should look mainly
to that staff for instance, there was always an
Assistant Commissioner up to 1903, but there has
been none since.

20204. Is the work of the present District Officer
too largely clerical?—He has barely sufficient time
for his district work, and there are greater calls
upon him from headquarters than there used to be.

20205. Speaking generally, do you see as much as
you used to do- of the Collector ?—Yes, and probably
more, because my circumstances are exceptional,
but generally they have not so much leisure for
going about as they used.

20206. We are told that there is a rule that a
Collector has to tour 120 days in his district ; does
he get out for that number of days?—Yes, but it
is a wide district. I am not sure whether the
present Magistrate does or not; he does a fair
amount of touring, but whether it amounts to as
much as that I doubt.

20207. Have officers, as a rule, a pretty good
knowledge of the vernacular?—Yes, I think so.

20208. Is the work of the Local Board done on
the whole pretty efficiently ?—The work is done very
efficiently, so far as it goes ; of course, there is the
difficulty of want of funds.

20209. Who is Chairman of the Local Board?—
The District Officer in the sadar sub-division ; the
Sub-Divisional Officer is Chairman in his own sub-
division. i

20210. Is that a good plan?—Yes, I see no pos-
sible objection to it ; the District Officer knows
the district better than anybody else, except when
newly appointed. His tours give him knowledge
not available to others.

20211. Taking the district in which you are, and
in which there are a good many other Europeans,
would it be advisable to get one of them as a
non-official to take the Chair?—I do not think so,
because you could not rely upon a non-official
always being able to be present at the meetings.

20212. Would the same thing apply to a district
in which there were Indians only ?—I should think
it would still -more apply.

20213. You think too much provincial expenditure
has taken place upon things like education, medical
requirements, and so forth, in proportion to the
available resources?—No, my argument rather is
that we began with certain revenues and the
developments in education and sanitation have been
threefold, while our income has been stationary,
and the amount available for communications has
been greatly reduced.

20214. Unfortunately reduced would you say?—
I mean it is absolutely preventing any original
works being gone on with in the way in which they
ought to be.

20215. Has that done anything towards diminish-
ing or injuring the trade of the district?—'It is
seriously preventing development.

20216. Is that peculiar to your district, or would
it be general throughout the province ?—I am only
acquainted with the tea districts.

20217. (Mr. Mickens.') What remedy would you
suggest for that -shortness of funds ?—I .would sug-
gest that education should be taken out of their
hands. One reason is that the members of the
Local Board itself do not take any active part in
the administration of the Education Department.
We get very little information as to the working
of it ; we only supply the funds, and the drain
is increasing, and we do not know when it will be
arrested.

20218. Practically speaking, you give grants-in-
aid, which are administered by the inspectors under
the Government?—Yes.

20219. And the Board, as a whole, consequently
takes little interest in education?—We are not
allowed to practically, but in any case it would be
a hardship for the Board to have to take any in-
terest ; I - refer to my own district, where nearly
all the members reside some 15 or 20 miles distant
from the centre, and it is quite as much as we
can do to come in and attend eight or nine meet-
ings a year, so that it would be too much to ask us
to attend more.

20220. Is there no Board corresponding to a
District Board in the Assam districts?—No. I
should prefer a District Board on account of its
greater -financial powers.

20221. Would it not have to administer too big
an area ?—No, I do not think it would.

20222. Would you be in favour of having a Dis-
trict Board with Local Boards under it, or would
you merely have a District Board? — I think I
should prefer a District Board with Local Boards
under it.

20223. Dealing practically only with roads ?—Yes

20224. You say that Local Boards should be
empowered to borrow money? Cannot they borrow
money from the Government to-day?—No, they
have no borrowing powers.

20225. (Mr. Dutt.) What is the source of income
of the \Local Boards ?—Local rates principally, and
provincial grants, ferries and pounds, and rents.

20226. Are the local rates in the ishape of road
cess drawn from the cultivators?—Yes ; they are
partly paid by the zamindars also.

20227. There is no permanent settlement?—No,
or practically none.

20228. Are the contributions made by the Local
Government for the purpose of education or for any
other special purpose?—To some extent, they are
for education, but they do not cover the increased
expenditure.

20229. You said that education might be entirely
withdrawn from the control of the Local Boards.
In that case should the grant for education also
be withdrawn?—Tt would greatly solve the finan-
cial difficulty if it were not withdrawn, and at the
same time it would be better that we should not
incur any loss.

20230. You want that grant as a contribution
from the Government for the improvement of your
roads ?—Yes ; of course the present grant is not
made purely for educational works.

20231. Would you recommend the appointment of
an Assistant Commissioner in charge of the sadar
sub-division ?—Yes.

20232. Who supervises the construction of the
District Board roads in Cachar?—The Executive
Engineer. The Local Board has no officer of its
own.

20233. Does the Local Board make any contri-
bution towards the pay of the Executive Engineer,
or to the Government for his services?—No, I do
not think so.

20234. If your income is adequate, would you
suggest the appointment of a special District
Engineer under the District- Board, or under the
Local Boards?—Unless the funds at our disposal
were very largely increased, I do not think so.

20235. So that at present the Executive Engineer
has to do the work with reference to Government
buildings, and also to supervise the roads con-
structed by the Local Boards?—Yes, and that is
why over provincial roads supervision is impossible ;
you have only to look at the map to see what an
enormous district Cachar and iSylhet is.

20236. If you had any such arrangement as there
is in the Dacca Division, namely, an Executive
Engineer for Government works only and a District
Engineer for the works done by Local Boards,
would that relieve the Executive Engineer of much
of his work ?—Yes, that would be all right ; I do
not think the Local Board for the sadar sub-
division of Cachar alone could support a District
Engineer, but the combined districts of Cachar
and .Sylhet might do so.

Mr. R. H.

Menderton.
7 Jan., 1908.


46

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Mr. R. H. 20237. What is the income of the Local Boards
Henderson. in the district of Oachar—I think about Rs. 85,000

--- for the soda?’ sub-division. Of the outlying sub-

7 Jan., 1908. division it is about Rs. 40,000.

20238. (Sir Frederic Lely.) Does not the question
of whether a Collector should stop more than five
years in a district really depend on the personality
of the man ?—To a certain extent, 'yes.

20239. If a man has a good grip of a district, it
is not well to remove it?—I >do not think so.

20240. (Sir Steyning Fdgerley.) You say that with
the income available for the purpose, the pro-
gramme of urgent works could not be completed
in less than 20 years. How then would you pro-
vide for the re-payment of your Local Board loans ?
—Quite so ; there is no margin ; we want an
increased revenue.

20241. The result therefore would be just the
same if Government left the duty of education with
you, and gave you an increased contribution?—Yes,
except that the Local Board is not a satisfactory
body to administer education, because the tea-
planting community which forms a large propor-
tion of the Board have not the leisure to attend
to it.

20242. (Mr. Meyer.) Your Local Boards in Assam
are not statutory bodies?—No.

20243. That would 'be one fundamental objection
to their borrowing?—Yes.

20244. Assuming. that ithey had funds on which
they could contract a loan, it would also be neces-
sary to give them security by law for the perpetual
enjoyment of those funds?—Possibly.

20245. Are you aware of any proposals for legis-
lation with respect to Local Boards in Assam?—
No ; there were proposals at one time—in Sir
Henry Cotton’s time—that we should have District
Boards in which case we should have had the
necessary powers. The question has been shelved,
like a good -many others.

20246. As regards the Board which you have
experience of, the sadar (Sub-Divisional Board
directly presided over by the Deputy Commissioner,
is there much interference by Government or by the
Commissioner?—No ; of course we have only had a
Commissioner since the provinces have been
amalgamated.

20247. Before that could you pass your own
budget?—-No; that had to be sent up, and it was
altered occasionally with regard to details, but our

principal grievance was that our hands were abso-
lutely tied with regard to funds.

20248. Apart from that, would you be prepared
to advocate a freer hand in the district in the
administration of such revenue as they have?—It
would be better if the control was in the Commis-
sioner of the division, rather than in the provincial
Secretariat.

20249. Could the Commissioner give such out-
side control as is required?—Yes.

20250. You spoke of your income being
stationary; is it mainly derived from the land
cess?—Yes; it is not absolutely stationary, but it
is not increasing very rapidly.

20251. It does expand with a new settlement?—
Yes. I think from 1885—1890 to 1906-07 it in-
creased probably from about Rs. 20,000 to Rs.
32,000; that is the whole of our local rates in-
come. Then we have lost money through the
various lapses; ferries have been bridged, and that
is a thing which is going on, so that there will be
still further reductions. Perries used to provide
us with a considerable income which has been
reduced.

20252. About three years ago did you not get a
special grant amounting to one quarter of your
land cess receipts?—Yes, but it was insufficient for
the total requirements of the district.

20253. Has your Board charge of all the roads
in the sub-division?—Not all; there are two pro-
vincial roads there in addition. Most of the roads
are Local Board roads.

20254. There is one district in Assam where the
Local Board subsidises a light railway; have you
anything of that kind in your district?—No.

20255. Is it the practice to give out the work
on the smaller roads to planters and other gentle-
men ?—Yes.

20256.-Does that system work well?—It works
very much more satisfactorily than if the work
was done by Government or by ordinary con-
tractors ; it is much cheaper, because the manager
takes no profit; he supplies the labour at actual
cost, and the supervision is gratuitous, and most
of the planters have practical experience.

20257. Therefore, in the planting districts at
any rate, there is the less need for any special
Board engineering establishment?—Yes, but of
course the engineering difficulties are not great
as a rule.

(The witness withdrew.)

The Hon. Rai Dulal Chandra Deb Bahadur was called and examined.

The Hon. 20258. (.Chairman.) You are Government pleader

Rai Dulal at Sylhet?—Yes.

^Bahadur^ Under the present system the revenue of a
_______ ’ province is shared between the Imperial and pro-

7 Jan. 1908. vincial Governments. But the revenue allotted to
*’ - the latter in the distribution is not entirely at its
discretion. Invariably the sanction of the Im-
perial Government has to be obtained before any
permanent and recurring expenditure or any work
involving high expenditure can be incurred or con-
structed. This restriction should be removed sub-
ject to the following limitations:—No sanction of
the Imperial Government should be obtained when
the recurring .and permanent expenditure will not
exceed a certain limit to be imposed; no such sanc-
tion should be obtained for the construction of any
original work whatever may be its cost if it can
be undertaken with the revenue allotted to the

Local Governemnt.

A more complete separation than at present
exists might be effected between the imperial and
provincial finances by assigning to the Imperial
Government the entire receipts under certain
heads, or by paying an annual contribution from
the provincial funds. The provincial Governments
should have the power to raise loans on the
security of their provincial revenues.

I am not for curtailing the right of appeal to
the Imperial or provincial Government now granted
in respect of administrative or personal actions.

In the settlement of land revenue, and the
administration of excise revenue, cess and parti-
tion laws, nearly the entire administrative powers
are vested in the Board of Revenue, and the Local
Government has reserved to itself very little power
in respect thereto. No more powers should be vested
in the Board, but the power of the Divisional
Commissioner should be extended by making his
decision final in those appeals which are preferred
to him from appellate orders passed by the Col-
lector or the Deputy Commissioner.

Except in matters relating to revenue, munici-
palities and Local Boards, the Divisional Commis-
sioner in the Assam portion of the province has no
direct hand in the other matters of administra-
tion. I think that in the Departments of Police,
Education, Excise and Forests the Divisional Com-
missioner should have the power of supervision and
control in order to make the administration more
effective and popular than it is at present. But in
all petty matters such as routine business and
discipline it is not necessary that he should have
the controlling power.

In the Court of Wards’ matters, all the powers,
excepting the power to declare a landholder to be
a disqualified proprietor on his own application
and to permit a ward to make an adoption, are
vested in the Board subject to the control of the
Local Government. This controlling power seems
to be unlimited, and some limitation should be im-
posed on it by empowering the Local Government


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

47

to exercise it in those cases only in which the
Board passes an order involving the sale of the
ward’s property, the contract of a heavy debt and
other matters which may effect a change in the
property prejudicial to his interest.

The influence of the Divisional Commissioner in
matters appertaining to municipalities and Local
Boards is sufficiently strong and his opinion
guides these two administrations.

The Executive Officers have sufficient oppor-
tunities for personal contact with the people, hut
they are unable to avail themselves of the same.
The obstacles are their ignorance of the dialects
which the common people speak and their transfer
after a very short term of service in a district. A
long term of service may remove these obstacles.
Though they know the vernacular, it is the book
language and not tlie colloquial in which they are
able to speak.

I am not an advocate for the reduction of the
area of any district. It may create discontent
among the people. For the administration of the
heavier districts the District Officers may be asso-
ciated with additional District Officers.

The transfers of officers are very frequent. The
term of the service of -an officer in a district should
be increased to a period of not less than three
years. Temporary vacancies occasioned by leave
or otherwise may be filled up by the provisional
appointment of an officer in the district who in
rank is next below him.

Under the present law the municipalities have
no hand in the ward and watch of the town. The
town police should be placed entirely under the
control and order of the Municipal Commissioners.

Advisory Councils are not likely to be useful to
the District and Divisional Officers. But I am
an advocate for the creation of Administrative
Councils if the votes of the members constituting
such Councils decide the matters that may be laid
before them. Such Council for a district should
consist of five members, of whom three should be
elected by the Municipal Committees, the District
and Local Boards, and the remaining two nomi-
nated by the Government. The District Officer
should be the President of the Council with vetoing
power in the cases in which any matter is decided
against the policy of Government. The Council
for a Commissioner’s division should be consti-
tuted of seven members, of whom four should be-
elected by the municipalities, District and Local
Boards, industries and landholders, and the re-
maining three nominated by Government. The
Commissioner should be the President of the Coun-
cil, with vetoing power. The matters to be dis-
posed of by these Councils should be—relief in
cases of famine and scarcity; any matter affecting
public health ; communication ; primary education ;
any matter of public utility or convenience which
the District Officer or the Divisional Commissioner,
as the case may be, may think it expedient to put
before the Council.

I do not think it expedient to invest the Dis-
trict Boards with the power of control over the
small municipalities, because the members con-
stituting such Boards have no primary or substan-
tial interest in the municipal affairs.

The following is the outline of a scheme which
I suggest to carry out a decentralization policy in
this province. The start may be made from such
a small unit as the sub-division of a district: —

(1) There should be a Board for each sub-

division, each district, each Commis-
sioner’s division and each province to be
called the Local Board, the District
Board, the Divisional Board, and the
Provincial Board respectively.

(2) Each Local Board to be constituted of

members selected partly by nomination
and partly by election, and the other
Boards to be similarly constituted of
members to be nominated in certain
proportion by Government and elected
by the Boards next below them.

(3) Of the Local Boards the Sub-Divisional

Officer shall be the President and of the
other Boards the District Officers, the
Divisional Commissioners and the Lieu-
tenant-Governors concerned.

(4) The fund at the disposal of the Local The Hon.

Board, District Board, Divisional Board Bai Dulal
and the Provincial Board to be called Chandra Deb
the Local fund, the District fund, the Bahadur.

Divisional fund and the Local Provincial --------

fund, respectively. ? Jan., 1908.

(5) The Local Fund is to be formed of those

items of revenue which at present con-
stitute such funds, and the funds of the
other Boards are to be formed by con-
tribution from the Boards next below
them. All these funds may be supple-
mented if necessary by grants from the
provincial revenue.

(6) The function of the Local Boards will be

the execution of those works which are
now performed by them within the
limits of a sub-division and that of the
other Boards will be the execution of
those works which may commonly con-
cern two or more Boards next below
them.

(7) Each Board shall have the power of con-

trol over the works of those Boards
which are next below it.

The revenue of a division is now appropriated
by three administrative authorities, namely, the
Imperial Government, the provincial Government,
and the Local Authorities. Under the present
system the Local Authorities can spend that por-
tion of the local funds only which is to be spent
within the limits of a sub-division of district. But
the fund which is now spent for the execution of
those works of the like nature which commonly
concern two or more districts or two or more Com-
missioners’ divisions is entirely at the disposal of
the provincial Government. The object of the
proposed scheme is to eliminate the money thus
spent by the provincial Government from the pro-
vincial fund to form therewith two separate funds
and to place them at the disposal of the Divisional
and Provincial Boards to be constructed. The
decentralization of the revenue which is purely
imperial and provincial is not possible consistently
with a vigorous and effective administration of the
Indian affairs.

20259. Have you any experience of Local Govern-
ment ?—-Yes ; for some time I was Chairman of the
Sylhet municipality.

20260. Would you like to see the Commissioner
freed from various small duties that he has to
perform now ?—As regards the routine business and
discipline, I think they should remain with the
Departmental Heads.

20261. Just as you propose to extend the powerte
of the Commissioner, do you want to see the powers
of the Collector increased?—No, the power of the
Collector should remain as it is, (but in regard to
certain appeals, the Commissioner’s orders should
be final.

20262. You say that the Executive Officers have
sufficient opportunities for personal contact with the
people, tout that they do not avail themselves of
them ?—Yes, there are obstacles. One obstacle is
that although they know the vernacular, they are
not acquainted with the dialect of the people, and
another obstacle is that there is a difference in the
manners and customs of the people whom the officer
meets wdiile he is touring, which is the reason why
the touring officer cannot mix with the people.

20263. He does not -know the customs and
manners and social etiquette ?—He may know
them in one district, but in different districts there
are different manners and customs, and when
officers are transferred they are ignorant of them.

In my experience I have not seen a District Officer
remain in one district more than three years.

20264, How long ought an officer to remain in a
district?—Not less than three years, and not more
than five.

20265. In that time he ought to get to know
the district thoroughly ?—Yes, and in that time he
can mix with the people.

20266. Are the districts too large?—All the dis-
tricts are not very large.


48

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

The Hon.
Rai Dulal
Chandra Deb
Bahadur.

7 Jan., 1908.

20267. Therefore, if there is to be any relief with
regard to the work, it must be by 'an increase of
the /staff, and not by a reduction of the area of the
district ?—-That is my opinion ; I think some ad-
ditional officers might be appointed when there is
a pressure of work.

20268. You are in favour of the creation of an
Administrative 'Council, .and you also wish to see a
Local Board, a District Board, and a Divisional
Board. Do you think that in any one district
there would be enough responsible people to fill all
the positions on those Boards ?—There are com-
petent men to fill them. I do not think there
would be any difficulty in finding them.

20269. Are the present powers of 'municipalities
sufficiently large?—I do not think so; The ward
and watch of the town by the town police should
be under the power of the Municipal Commissioners.

20270. Is there any other direction in which they
might have more power?—I do not think it is
necessary.

20271. 'Should the financial control of the Com-
missioner over municipal budget remain?—Yes.

20272. (Mr. Meyer.) Is there no local Boards Act
in force in Assam?—No, there is a Regulation in
Assam which simply says that the •Government are
to have the right to 'appoint district committees
and isub-divisional committees, and under this
Regulation the Government appointed Local Boards
in Assam.

20273. Do you want a District Board in Assam?
—Certainly, because there is a provision in the
local Regulations.

20274. Do you know .anything 'about District
Boards in Eastern Bengal?—From the papers I do,
but I have no personal experience.

20275. There we have been told that the District
Board has all the powers, and the Local Boards
very little power. In Assam you have Local
Boards which exercise
you want a District Board over them ; do you
intend to cut down the powers of the existing Local
Boards?—Certainly, if there is a District Board,
the power of the existing Local Board must be cur-
tailed.

20276. What is the control of the Deputy Com-
missioner over a Local Board in Assam, which is
not in his own sub-division?—The Deputy Com-
missioner has control over iall the Local Boards,
and .Sub-Divisional Boards, in his district.

20277. But he is not Chairman of the Board in
an outlying subdivision?—No, he controls it as
District Magistrate.

20278. Does he give orders to the Board which
they have to obey ?—Yes.

20279. You are dissatisfied with the present
system of the revenues being divided between the
Imperial and provincial Governments?—I -am not
dissatisfied, but if there is any possible way of
separating them it (should be done.

20280. Do you consider the existing system bad?
—I think that both Governments should share the
profit.

20281. You do not think an Advisory Council for
a Collector is necessary, but do you want an Ad-
ministrative Council?—I have qualified my state-
ment.

20282. To put a legal (analogy, you ’want a Board
that would stand in the isame relation to the Col-
lector as a jury does to a Judge?—I do not want a
Board which would merely stand to the Collector
as an assessor would to an Indian Judge, but a
Board that would stand to a Collector as a jury
stands to a Judge.

20283. Would you .still say that the Collector
should have a vetoing power in a case in which any
matter had been decided against the policy of the
Government, and that therefore he is to overrule
his jury in certain cases ?—Yes, of course, there
may be .such a case in which the majority of the
Council would decide a matter against the policy of
the Government.

20284. Then all the Collector has to say, if he
does not like something that the Board has voted,
is “ Gentlemen, this is against the policy of the
Government ” ? Do you propose to allow the
Board power to appeal to the Commissioner?—If
such a plain is to be introduced, the first thing
would be that the Collector would be told of the
resolution of the Council, which he would have to
report to the Commissioner for confirmation.

20285. Do you desire that before he can veto he
must report for confirmation?—Yes.

20286. Could not the District Board serve as the
Advisory Council?—Yes, but I think they would
not be a useful body.

20287. I am speaking, of the District Board which
now exists in Eastern (Bengal and which you want
to call into existence is Assam ; would not that
suffice for the purposes of your Administrative
Board?-—They would be a fresh constitution and
they might serve.

20288. You mention as matters with which your
Administrative Board would deal, matters affect-
ing public health, communication, and primary
education ; are not all these matters which are at
present dealt with by District Boards and .Local
Boards ?—Yes.

20289. Is your Council then to have a superior
authority over the Local Fund District Board?—
Yes ; I answered the question with regard to
Assam.

20290. Is the Local Board in Assam to be under
the Administrative Council ?—Yes, of course it
would be under the Administrative Council.

20291. You say you want 'to put the town police
under the Municipal Council ; would that be quite
safe ? Are there not occasionally big riots in
towns?—Yes, but the town police should be under
the Municipal Commissioners, and in addition in
every district there should be a provincial police
thana.

20292. Do you want both forces ?—No, I want the
town police.

20293. (Mr. Dutt.) How long have you been
Government pleader ?—Eor the last fifteen years.
I have (been a pleader isinoe 1870.

. 20294. Do you remember when the Road Cess
Act was passed hi 1872 or 1873 ?—Yes.

20295. At that time Assam was part of Bengal?
—It was.

20296. Therefore the Road Cess Act applied to
Assam as part of Bengal?—Yes.

20297. And Road Cess is realised in Assam under
that Act?—Yes.

20298. Were Road Cess Committees formed in
Assam under that Act ?—I do not know.

20299. Do you know whether the Local Boards
are a development of the Road Cess Committees ?—I
do not.

20300. Do you get any contributions from Gov-
ernment, 'besides the income from the Road Cess ?—
Yes, each Board receives some contribution from
the provincial revenue.

20301. Are they made for any special purposes,
such as education?—Yes.

20302. And you also have income from ferries ?—
Yes ; there is an income from ferries, an income
under the Cattle Trespass Act, and from the local
rates—(the Road Cess.

20303. Is the total income for the district of
Sylhet, or for each of the sub-divisions, sufficient?
—No, it is not sufficient.

20304. What suggestion would you make to
remedy that defect ?—The Local Board should have
a grant from the provincial Government.

20305. Would you like to have large contributions
from the 'Local Government, or would you like
to have primary education withdrawn altogether
from your hands?—We (should like to have further
grants from the Local Government keeping control
over primary education.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

49

20306. Yon have suggested that there should be
a Local 'Board in every sub-division, a District
Board in every district, and a Divisional Board at
the divisional headquarters, what would the Divi-
sional Board do?—It would have control over the
District Boards.

20307. In that case, the Divisional Board would
have to keep an Engineer ?—Of course, if necessary,
or if the work could be done by the District En-
gineer it would be advisable.

20308. Would the main duty of the Divisional
Board be to control the operations of District
Boards ?—Yes.

20309. Cannot the Divisional Commissioner do
that efficiently?—Of course the Commissioner can
do it, but the scheme I suggest will popularise the
thing.

20310. Do you want a Divisional Board in addi-
tion to the Administrative Council which you have
recommended?—No ; of course if there is Adminis-
trative Council I do not want a Divisional Board.

20311. In the same way, if there is a provincial
Administrative or Advisory Council, you do not
want a provincial Board in addition to that?—It
depends upon the authority of the Advisory Council.

(The witness withdrew.)

The Hon.
Rai Dulal
Chandra Deb
Bahadur.

7 Jan., 1908*

Babu Jamini Mohan Das was called and examined.

20312. (Chairman.) You are Deputy Magistrate
and Deputy Collector at Mymensingh?—Yes.

No extended powers in regard to revenue general
administration or the Court of Wards are required
by the Board, the Commissioner, the Collector or
the Sub-Divisional Officer. I do not think extended
financial powers can be given to the Commissioner
and the Collector except in regard to petty matters.

I do not think any curtailment of the existing
right of appeal is necessary or expedient.

The influence of the provincial Governments has
some tendency towards rigidity and uniformity, but
I do not think it is excessive. The remedy that
can be suggested is that the Government should be
in closer touch with the officers charged with actual
administration and the people. With the Com-
missioner as .a connecting link between it and the
people, the Government is not open to the charge
of being too impersonal and too much dominated
by considerations of revenue. The degree of in-
fluence exercised by the 'Commissioner is to some
extent a matter of personal equation. As a rule,
his influence is fairly strong, and sufficient weight
is attached to his views.

Owing to increase of work, the superior Executive
Officers do not now get sufficient opportunities for
contact with the people. The close personal con-
tact of the District Officer with the .people is
specially desirable, and it is necessary, therefore,
that he should be relieved of isome of his clerical
and judicial duties. A senior officer at the head-
quarters station of each district should have the
power to dispose of all but the most important
matters in which the Collector’s own responsibility
must be maintained or in which his own opinion
is necessary. Besides general supervision and con-
trol, the Collector should remain personally respon-
sible for the treasury, revenue sales, agricultural
calamities, political disturbances and other matters
of similar administrative importance. He should,
as far as possible, be relieved of all other duties.
Similar relief is also required by the Commissioner.
This can be given to some extent by relieving him
of the task of compiling statistical reports and
returns which may go direct from District Officers
to the Board or the Government, his opinion being
asked for, where necessary, after compilation.

European Executive Officers, as a rule, do not
now possess sufficient knowledge of the vernaculars
and idle habits and prejudices of the people. Belief
from work at headquarters with an inclination for
closer association with the people, is the remedy
that can be suggested.

No absolute standard can be suggested for the
strength of the administrative staff. It must
gradually increase with the increase of work con-
sequent on the growth of population and other
complex causes. There should be periodical re-
organisation of the services. Division is necessary
in the case of inconveniently large districts which
cannot be administered on the sanctioned lines
without loss of efficiency.

The rule under which privilege leave may be
combined with other leave and local officers em-
ployed to fill vacancies of short duration has caused
some reduction in transfers, but they are still
frequent enough to cause some loss of administra-
tive efficiency. As, however, they are due chiefly
to the leave rules and the exigencies of the service,

I do not think much further reduction is possible.

33289

There is no need to enlarge the powers of Babu Jamini
municipalities. Mohan Das.

Improvement of agriculture may be added to the “

duties of the -District Boards. They can deal with 7 Jan*' 1908.
famine relief and hold exhibitions of cattle, country

produce and agricultural implements. As a fitting
complement to these duties, they should be em-
powered to take measures for the improvement of
agricultural methods, introduction of new crops
and distribution of selected seeds, maintaining a
staff of agricultural experts for the purpose, under
the supervision of the provincial Director. Very
small municipalities, specially those which are in
need of financial help, may be placed under the
control of District Boards. The powers of Local
Boards do not require any extension. Union com-
mittees have hitherto been a failure, owing chiefly
to their unwillingness ‘to utilize the powers of
taxation given to them. A more acceptable scheme
for provision of funds is required.

I am not in .favour of the creation of separate
Advisory or Administrative (Councils to assist the
District Officer. The District Board, if fairly repre-
senting the four great divisions of the people—(1)
agricultural, (2) industrial, (3) commercial and
(4) professional—should be able to give advice
which, supplemented by the advice of the different
classes of people who come into daily contact with
the District Officer, would be sufficient for all
practical purposes. Neither should the Divisional
Officer who is expected to> be in close touch with
the corporate bodies and the people in his division
require any such Council.

In this province, the old binding elements of the
village community have been entirely destroyed,
there being no common head to whom the villagers
render willing obeisance. If any acceptable scheme
for the provision of funds can be devised, they may
be started in all but very backward tracts with
sanitary, educational and very limited police
powers ; and when they have attained sufficient
stability and developed a proper sense of responsi-
bility, powers for the trial of petty cases may be
gradually extended under proper checks.

20313. At one time had you considerable know-
ledge of irrigation work ? — In the Settlement
Department I made considerable enquiries with
regard to irrigation in Orissa.

20314. Who distributes in Eastern Bengal the
water from the irrigation channels to the actual
fields ? —* There is very little irrigation in this
province.

20315. You are opposed to any extended powers
being given in matters of revenue general adminis-
tration, or the Court of Wards, either to the Board
of Bevenue, the Commissioner, the Collector or to
any Sub-Divisional Officers ?—The powers they
already have are quite sufficient, and what they
now require is more time to do their work
efficiently.

20316. Is the actual remedy an increase of staff
and not a delegation of powers?:—Yes. The sub-
ordinate staff must be increased.

20317. In the Provincial (Service, or in the Sub-
ordinate Service?—In both.

20318. You think there ought to be no curtail-
ment of the existing right of appeal?—Appeals are
so few that I think it is not expedient -to do so, and
the right is also very much appreciated.

Gr




Babu Jamini

Mohan Das.
7 Jan., 1908.

50 MINUTES OF

20319. But if there are few appeals, hew can the
right be appreciated ?—But there are some appeals.

20320. But the right is not often exercised ?—No,
because dismissals are so very rare and other
punishments are also rare.

20321. Would dismissals increase in number if
the right of appeal was done away with?—I do
not think they would increase very much, but there
would be some increased discontent.

20322. But if the right is rarely exercised how
can there be discontent ?—Because in the few cases
in which punishments are inflicted the right would.
be restricted.

20323. Is it desirable that the District Officer
should be .in close touch with the, people of his
district ?—Yes.

20324. Are they in close touch now?—-Not very
much. The District Officer is very much over-
worked. He is out for three months, but even
when he is out he has to inspect so many places
and things that he has not sufficient time for asso-
ciation with the people in general.

20325. Is there any disinclination on his part
to see the people of a district ?—I think sometimes
he is not sufficiently acquainted with the vernacu-
lar, and cannot talk freely with the people, and
he does not therefore feel any interest in their
customs, habits, and so forth.

20326. What part of Bengal -do you come from?
—I belong to the Dacca district.

20327. How many vernaculars are spoken in this
district ?—Only one—Bengali.

20328. Is that a difficult language-to learn?—No.

20329. In other districts there are a great many
vernaculars spoken, for instance in Bengal proper ;
therefore, the language difficulty is not really so
great here as it is in other provinces ?—No.

20330. If the difficulty with regard to speaking
the language is removed, is there any other obstacle
in the way of friendly intercourse between the
officers and the people?—I think there should be
greater inclination on the part of an officer to
associate freely with the people.

20331. On the other hand, ought there not to be
a greater inclination on the part of the people?—
Yes ; I think they should approach the officers more
freely.

20332. Are they afraid of doing so now?—Yes,
because they are very ignorant and do not usually
come into close contact with the high officers.

20333. Do they come into contact with the Deputy
Collector?—Yes.

20334. Do you find that he sometimes shows want
of sympathy?—It may be the case with regard to
individual officers, but not with all of them.

20335. Is it the case with all superior officers
that they show a want of sympathy?—(Not all of
them. It is only occasionally.

20336. You say that the District Officers are
prevented from being sympathetic and being able
to talk in the vernacular by the amount of office
work which they have to do, especially with re-
gard to statistics; have you ever been called upon
to compile statistics?—Yes, I was in charge of a
big census office, and had nearly 500 clerks under
me.

20337. Did you find then that the statistics
which were sent in to you by other people were
accurate ?—That was special work, the census is
only taken once in every ten years.

20338. Were the statistics which were sent to
you in regard to the census accurate?—-They were
prepared under special supervision and were fairly
accurate.

20339. Are the statistics which are sent to the
Commissioner fairly accurate?—Yes.

20340. What proportion of error do you think
there would be?—-It is difficult to give any per-
centage ; it varies according to the nature of the
return; I think the old returns which have been
submitted for a long time and which are subject
to constant check, do not contain many errors.

EVIDENCE :

20341. But are the new returns inaccurate?—
Yes, occasionally, because it takes the clerks some
time to understand them.

20342. Do they begin by putting down any-
thing?—No, not quite anything. .

20343. Are you of opinion that some of the dis-
tricts are unnecessarily large?—Yes.

20344. You are against the desirability of en-
larging the powers either of municipalities or
Looal Boards?—Yes, and District Boards also.

20345. In fact, you would practically leave the
system very much as it is, but you think there
should be an increase in the number of officers?—
Yes.

20346. (Mr. JDutt.) How long have you been in
Mymensingh?—About a year and a half. I was
in Orissa for about 13 years.

20347. Is not Mymensingh a very heavy dis-
trict?—Yes. Its population is about four millions.

20348. How many Deputy Collectors are there
in the sadar sub-division?—There are some Sub-
Deputy Collectors besides the* Deputy Collectors;
there are about five Deputy Collectors employed on
general work. There is also an .Excise Deputy
Collector besides a Deputy Collector employed only
on settlement work, and another employed on
partition work.

20349. Do the Deputy Collectors who do the
criminal work perform other work also ?—Not
much.

20350. -Could part of this work, which is now all
done at headquarters, be transferred to sub-divi-
sions and done by the SubDivisional Officers,
strengthened by the addition of other officers under
them?—I do not think that would be very econo-
mical, and it would also be inconvenient, because
the revenue records are located at the headquarters
station.

20351. Could work like the assessment of the
income-tax be done by the SubDivisional Officer,
if he received sufficient help in his own sub-
division?—That is work which is done better by an
expert.

20352. Would not a SubDivisional Officer be
likely to be better acquainted with the means and
circumstances of the people of his own sub-division,
than an income-tax assessor at headquarters?—
That might be, but he would not have sufficient
time to devote to the work.

20353. I said, if he was helped by other officers;
are you in favour of that plan?—I am not.

20354. Is there any other revenue work done at
headquarters which could be delegated to sub-
divisions to be performed by Sub-Divisional
Officers?—I am not in favour of giving much more
work to iSub-Di visional Officers. I would rather
have it done at headquarters.

20355. Some of your sub-divisions are very large
and thickly populated?—Yes.

20356. Is there any Executive Officer between
the SubDivisional Officer and the people of those
sub-divisions ?—None.

20357. So that if a SubDivisional Officer has to
reach the people or to send any orders to them,
through what agency does he send those orders?—
He generally sends them either through the pan-
ehay et or through the police.

20358. Is it a satisfactory state of things that
the police should be the only link between the
people and the SubDivisional Officer?—No, I do
not think it is.

20359. Would you suggest the creation of other
agencies to bring the people more into touch with
the executive administration?—I would try if I
could to strengthen the village unions and start
them in every sub-division.

20360. Would you suggest the creation of other
officers in charge of larger circles than village
unions, for instance one or two thanas made into a
circle and placed in charge of an Executive Officer ?
—I think that would be very costly.

20361. Do you do a considerable amount of
criminal work?—Yes. I have first class powers
and also appellate powers; I hear appeals from the


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

51

decisions of all Second and Third. Class Magis-
trates.

20362. Are you also in charge of any special
Revenue Department?—I am not at present in
charge of any Revenue Department.

20363. Has the present District Magistrate suf-
ficient control over the police work of his own dis-
trict?—Of course he does not look very much into
details; he cannot, because he has not much time
to do so.

20364. But if he had the time to do so, has he
sufficient power in his own hands to control the
work of the police?—I think he has sufficient
powers.

20365. Has the new scheme, introduced accord-
ing to the recommendations of the Police Commis-
sion, appreciably improved the work of the police?
—It is as yet too early to judge.

20366. Are you a member of the District Board?
Yes.

20367. Who is the Vice-Chairman of your Dis-
trict Board?—He is the Public Prosecutor.

20368. iSo that he is a —Yes.

20369. How is the budget prepared in your Dis-
trict Board ?—There is a Finance Committee which
prepares it and it is then submitted to the Board
for approval.

20370. Who appoints the District Board officers
—the engineer, etc?—The District Board, subject
to the Commissioner’s sanction when the pay , is
Rs. 100 or more.

20371. Have they power to appoint all the higher
officers?—Yes, subject to the above limitation.

20372. Who appoints the lower officers, such as
clerks and ministerial officers?—All appointments
are made by the District Board.

20373. Are there any other sub-committees of
the District Board which take charge of the dif-
ferent departments?—Yes] there is an Educational
Committee. They deal with all educational
matters and submit their reports to the District
Board. There is also a Public Works Committee.

20374. Is the District Magistrate the Chairman
of the Education Committee?—No. The Vice-
Chairman or a member of the Board acts as
Chairman.

20375. Is the work done satisfactorily?—Yes.

20376. Are your primary schools inspected by
servants of the District Board, or by the Educa-
tion Department?—Ry Government officers and
sub-inspectors of schools.

20377. Has the District Board any control over
those officers ?—None, but there are some sub-
inspectors now under the District Board.

20378. How is the work divided between the
District Board sub-inspectors and the departmental
sub-inspectors?—There is a territorial division be-
tween them; some are under the District Bbard
and some are under the department.

20379; Is it a satisfactory arrangement that the
inspection of primary schools for which you pay
should be in the hands of officers who are not your
subordinates ?—It is necessary to retain depart-
mental control.

20380. You do not propose any change in the
system?—No.

20381. Who is the Chairman of the Mymensingh
municipality?—He is a pleader of long standing.
He was elected.

20382. Is the Vice-Chairman also non-official?—
Yes; he is a pleader.

20383. Have you water-works in Mymensingh?
—Yes.

20384. Is a water rate levied?—Yes.

20385. (Mr. Hichens.) Are the debates of the
District Board conducted in English?—Yes.

20386. Do all the members understand English?
—Some of them do not, but things are explained to
them if they wish it.

33289

20387. With regard to union committees, you
say that they have been a failure owing to the
power of taxation. Do you think they would
succeed if they were not taxed at all?—Yes.

20388. Would it be possible, for example, to
establish union committees and give them a grant
from the District Board fund to begin with?—I
think that is a good idea, and that might be done.

20389. What kind of work would they have to
do?—Under section 45 of the Criminal Procedure
Code, every headman has to send certain informa-
tion, and the President of the union should have
that responsibility ; then there might be small
sanitary powers vested in them, and primary edu-
cation also might be entrusted to them.

20390. Would you give them small powers in
criminal oases ?•—Yeis, after a time.

20391. Would it'ibe necessary to appoint a special
officer in a district to look after them and to
instruct them?—Yes.

20392. What class of officer would you appoint ?—
An officer of the rank of Deputy Collector might do.

20393; If that were done there would be some
chance of getting them to do good work?—Yes.

20394. We have been told from time to time that
they are too much under the influence of the big
zamindars of- the neighbourhood and are rather
afraid of them—what do you say as to that?—That
difficulty might ibe overcome, I think, by periodical
election or nomination.

20395. Would you for that reason make your
unions fairly large ?—I would base them mainly on
population.

20396. (Mr. Meyer.) You say that union com-
mittees have hitherto been a failure—do you refer
to the Local Fund unions or to the chaukidari
unions?—I mean the unions constituted under the
Local iSelf-Govemment tAct.

20397, Are there many in this province?—Very
few. There are none in Mymensingh.

20398. Where was your experience of them ob-
tained?—'From what I have heard of such unions
in other places. I have no personal experience of
them. There is a proposal to start one in the
district of Mymensingh at the terminus of the
railway.

20399. Are you doing work which would ordin-
arily be performed by the Joint-Magistrate at head-
quarters if there was one ?—'Yes.

20400. That is criminal work, including the hear-
ing of appeals in the district from Second and Third
Class Magistrates, but not revenue work?—Yes.

20401. Therefore the Joint-Magistrate becomes
Collector and District Magistrate, dealing with
revenue work, but having had no experience in it ?
—Joint-Magistrates do not do much revenue work
except when they are left in charge of a district
when the Collector goes out on tour.

20402. When a Collector goes out on tour does
he depute the Joint-Magistrate to do his work?—
Yes.

20403. But is the Collector out for long periods
on tour or only a few days at a time ?—Only a few
days at a time.

20404. You say that you also deal with all
matters relating to the pancliayet’s work—do you
mean the chaukidari panchayets2—'Yes.

20405. Do they all come to you throughout the
district?—No, throughout the sadar sub-division
only.

20406. Who deals with the others?—The Sub-
Divisional Officers.

20407. And you want a Deputy Collector to deal
with all of them from headquarters ?—Yes.

20408. With regard to appeals, can you dismiss
any clerk receiving Rs. 15 a month?—No Deputy
Collector has any power, only the Collector.

20409. Can you dismiss a chaprasie or a peon ?—
That is not regulated by any rule, but 1 do not
think a Deputy Collector can dismiss even a peon.

G 2

Babu Jamini

Mohan Das.
7 Jan., 1908.


52

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Baku Jamini

Mohan Das.

7 Jan., 1908. .

20410. If the Collector has dismissed a clerk in
receipt of Rs. 15 per month, that man can appeal
to the Commissioner ?—-Yes.

20411. And from the Cbmimssioner to the Board
of Revenue?—'Yes.

20412. Can he go beyond the Board of Revenue
to Government?—No.

20413. Is there a definite rule laid down to that
effect?—Yes, it was issued lately.

20414. I ask the question because one official
witness said that there was no restriction of appeal
in this province ?—It is in the Board’s rules which
I can 'produce. My note is “ All officers have one

appeal ; inferior officers have no second appeal in
any case ; superior officers have a second appeal
aigainst dismissal and punishments for more than
six months.” If a man is suspended for more
than six months he has a second appeal—If he is a
superior officer.

20415. A “ superior ” officer is, roughly, anybody
in receipt of more than Rs. 10 a month ?—Yes.

20416. He has no third appeal?—No-. I think
this right ought not to be curtailed, because it is
very much appreciated by the lower officers.

(The witness withdrew.)

Adjourned.

TWENTY-NINTH DAY.

Dacca, Wednesday, 8th January, 1908

PRESENT I

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, KC.V.O., C.I.E., I.C.S. W. L. Hichens, Esq.

R. 0. Dutt, Esq., C.I.E.

Mr. Robert Nathan, C.I.E., was called and examined.

Mr.

B. Nathan.
8 Jan., 1908.

20417. (Chairman.) You -are a member of the
Indian Civil Service and at present on special duty
in the Eastern Bengal Secretariat?—Yes.

Larger powers should be given to Local Govern-
ments to sanction expenditure and to create
appointments, etc. Financial restrictions have
hitherto been narrower than those imposed with
respect to other aspects of public business, and as
a result the discussion of financial details occupies
an undue share of public time. This has been
largely due to the comparatively narrow limits
placed by the Secretary of State on the financial
powers of the Government of India. These limits
have recently been widened by the orders published
in the Finance Department Resolution of the 1st
November. Great relief will be experienced if the
limits now prescribed for the Government of India
be applied without reduction to the powers of pro*
vincial Governments.

The powers exercised by the Government of India
under the Civil Service Regulations without refer-
ence to the Secretary of State may in general be
delegated to Local Governments in respect to officers
appointed by them and paid from provincial
revenues.

A large proportion of the detailed references to
the Government of India arise out of questions
of financial sanction, and apart from this aspect of
the case I do not think that, speaking generally,
larger administrative powers, more particularly in
matters of internal administration, should be given
to Local Governments.

I do not consider that, in the Home Department,
the influence of the Government of India is in the
direction of excessive rigidity or uniformity. In
the main its influence is not restrictive but stimu-
lating and encouraging. Were that influence
removed progress and reform would be retarded.

The main sphere of work of Directors and In-
spectors-Gemeral under the Government of India
dealing with departments which are primarily
administered by Local Governments should be to
furnish expert advice. The Director-General should

have the widest and most up-to-date information
of any person in the country regarding the con-
ditions prevailing not only throughout India but
also in other countries, and his knowledge and
experience should be at the disposal of the Govern-
ment of India, of the Local Governments and of
the provincial Heads of Departments. In addition
to their general functions Directors-General and
other similar officers may have special duties arising
from the conditions of their department or appoint-
ment. Thus the Director-General of the Indian
Medical Service is the administrative Head of that
Service and the Sanitary Commissioner is entrusted
with the general organization and direction of
research connected with disease. Officers of this
type perform most important service, and their
special knowledge enables them to promote initia-
tive as well as to maintain the policy of Govern-
ment on sound lines.

In matters touching special local characteristics,
such as the relation between landlord and tenant,
the initiative in reform is often due to- the Local
-Government, but in the main the administrative
reforms of recent years in matters such as educa-
tion, medical administration and research, police,
sanitation, jails, and lunatic asylums have been
initiated by the -'Supreme Government.

I am in favour of a free right of appeal for
'Government officers, and I would make no general
alteration in the existing rules relating to appeals
to the Government of India or Local Government.

More power and direct authority should be given
to Commissioners of divisions. In an unduly large
proportion of cases he merely submits proposals of
District Officers to the Board of Revenue or Govern-
ment. The various legislative Acts take little
account of the Commissioner, and usually proceed
direct from the Collector or District Magistrate to
the Board of Revenue or the Local Government.
'Reform can be affected by an examination of the
details of Acts and rules rather than by a general
statement.

The powers of District Officers are more clearly
defined and are very wide. I do not consider that


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

53

any general extension is desirable. The one direc-
tion in'which wider authority may with advantage
be given to District Officers is in the matter of
Public Works. The present system for the execu-
tion of lesser Public Works in Districts is not suc-
cessful and involves great 'delay. District Officers
should be given enhanced powers to initiate works,
to sanction their execution, and to pass estimates.
Moreover, I would allow all works not of first class
importance to be carried out by a District Engineer
under the control of the District Officer. One
engineer might be employed both for the District
Board and the District Officer with a sufficient
subordinate staff to enable him to perform the
double duties. This would make it possible to
employ an officer of higher status and qualifications
for 'district work than is at present practicable.
Such a system would greatly stimulate the execution
of necessary Public Works by giving local officers
greater interest in them.

It is desirable to give more extended powers to
Sub-Divisional Officers both to relieve District Offi-
cers and to bring the administration into closer
touch with the people. The Sub-Divisional Officer
should, in such case, be given more subordinate
assistance. He should exercise the powers of a
Collector for khas mahal work and should carry out
all khas mahal duties under the general supervision
of the Collector. He might also perform the func-
tions of the District Officer for chaukidari work
and possibly for land acquisition and income-tax,
it might also be possible to give him some powers
with regard to lesser Public Works.

The powers devolving on Commissioners and Col-
lectors under the Court of Wards Act and rules are
inadequate, and the correspondence relating to
Courts of Wards’ estates is therefore out of pro-
portion to that entailed by the administration of
other departments of not lesser importance.

Government consults Commissioners on all im-
portant matters, and they have every opportunity
of exercising their influence.

Executive Officers have not sufficient opportuni-
ties .for personal contact with the people. This is
due to the growing volume and intricacy of office
work resulting from the progress of the country
and the introduction of a more modern system of
administration. Rougher methods which would
suffice in the case of a backward community are
inadequate to meet the needs and the criticism of
a more educated population. The evil cannot be
removed by relaxing the control of the superior
authorities over the District Officer, nor by any
mere redistribution of work. Change of method
must be accompanied by larger establishments.
The following remedies suggest themselves —

(i.) Reduction of the size of unwieldy districts.
In Eastern Bengal the Mymensingh and
Backarganj districts should be sub-
divided and possibly one or two more.
No general reduction need be made if
other measures for relieving District
Officers are carried out.

(ii.) Enhanced powers should be delegated to
'Sub-Divisional Officers accompanied by
an increase of their staff.

(iii.) More extensive powers should be devolved
upon Deputy Collectors in charge of
departments,, and where necessary
special officers on enhanced pay should
be appointed to the charge of depart-
ments. Such officers should have the
power of issuing orders on minor matters
on their own authority and should sub-
mit under their own signature the annual
and other reports through the District
Officer: This would diminish the time
the District Officer has to spend on the
preparation of reports. An excellent
suggestion is at present under considera-
tion for appointing to each district a
superintendent of excise who will stand
towards the Collector in the same posi-
tion as the Superintendent of Police. I
recently made a proposal for the appoint-
ment in the Backarganj district of a
special Deputy Collector with a local
allowance to aid the Collector in the

charge of Wards’ estates. Similar ex-
pedients should be tried freely. For one
thing they will form a useful and prac-
tical means of giving the natives of the
country a more important share in the
administration. The proposal involves
some increase in the establishment of
Deputy Collectors.

(iv.) The Collector should be relieved of such
portions of his duties as do not assist
him in maintaining control of the dis-
trict and in keeping touch with his
people. It would be an excellent thing
if the Collector could be entirely relieved
of the responsibility for treasury,
accounts and stamps, both at head-
quarters and at sub-divisions. The
Treasury Officer would then be the direct
subordinate of the Accountant-General,
and it would presumably be necessary
to appoint inspecting officers of the
Accountant-General’s Department.

(v.) Sub-Divisional Officers should be appointed
for saclar sub-divisions.

(vi.) In heavy districts the Collector might be
given the services of a Deputy Collector
or of a skilled office superintendent as
his personal assistant.

(vii.) The quality of the ministerial staff might
with advantage (be improved. Many of
the lower paid clerks are inefficient.

(viii.) More modern office arrangements might
be introduced, the use of typewriters
should be extended, and an efficient
shorthand writer would be of great use
to the Collector.

I am in favour of creating Advisory Councils to
assist the District Officer. District Officers are at
present in the habit of seeking the advice of in-
fluential persons on important subjects. They
would be able to get better opinions from a dis-
cussion in a Council of the kind contemplated.
Moreover, the institution of such a Council would
help the District Officer to get into touch with the
people and would secure his more intimate asso-
ciation with the leading men of the district. The
Council should ibe constituted by election and
nomination. Zamindars, Municipal and District
and Local Boards, and local associations should
elect members, and the District Officer should make
a considerable proportion of nominations. In this
manner he would gather the really influential and
useful men of the district round him. For the
present at any rate the Council should be merely
advisory, and its responsibility should not be con*
fined to definite subjects. The District Officer
should be able to call on his Council for advice on
any subject, and any member should also be able to
suggest to the District Officer subjects for discus-
sion.

20418. For a considerable part of your service you
have been employed in the 'Secretariat of the
Government of India. From March, 1895, until
November, 1904, you were practically almost with-
out a break engaged on duties connected with the
Government of India or on special duties connected
with their work?—‘That is so.

20419. Is there any rule in the Government of
India Secretariat which (governs the length of time
which an officer may remain there?—There is no
rule regulating the total time he may serve directly
under the Government of India, though there are
rules regulating the period which he can spend in
any particular appointment. They vary from de-
partment to department. The Deputy and Under-
secretaries in the Home Department may only
occupy those posts for three years, and all Secre-
taries to the Government of India now hold their
appointments in the first instance for three years
only, but the time may be extended if the Governor-
General wishes.

20420. But there is no rule requiring officers in
the Government of India Secretariat to return to
provincial duty after the appointment to which
they were first sent has terminated?—Not that I
am aware of.

7?. Nathan,
Jan., 1908


54

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE :

Mr.

It. Nathan.
8 Jan., 1908.

20421. You have been Private Secretary to the
Viceroy ?—Yes.

20422. And there is no rule likely to have been
made of which you are not cognizant ?—No, unless
it has been made since the end of 1905.

20423. Is serve for many years consecutively in the Govern-
ment of India Secretariat without returning to dis-
trict and provincial work?—It is difficult to lay
down any general rule ; it would depend on the
individual case. Speaking personally, I 'should
have been very glad to have had two or three years’
experience -as a District Officer ; on the other hand,

I ‘should have been very -sorry to have missed any
of the experience which I have had.

20424. Do you think an officer would be more
valuable if, in intervals of Secretariat work, he
gained provincial experience ?—On the whole,. yes ;
and that would especially be the case if his ex-
perience with the Government of India were con-
fined. On the other hand, general experience in
the Government of India brings with the wider aspects of administration.

20425. From a central point of view, Ibut not from
a local point of view?—Except in -so far as the
central includes the local.

20426. Is it not desirable that any one who has
to administer from the centre should know ias much
as possible about the extremes of Government?—
Yes.

20427. Are you of opinion that the financial
restrictions upon provincial Governments are ‘some-
what narrower and more rigid than they are in
administrative respects, and that they could be
advantageously relaxed?—Yes.

20428. In what particulars?—In making appoint-
ments and in dealing with the emoluments of
individual officers, and also in regard to general
schemes the cost of which may exceed certain
amounts.

20429. With relgard to such schemes, did the
Finance Department in your time look very closely
into the details of provincial expenditure?—Yes.

20430. Do you know whether that examination
has 'been relaxed since then?—(I ishould say that it
is less stringent now than it was eight or nine years
age.

20431. Would you suggest that it was harmful
then ?—A. great deal of unnecessary delay and work
was caused; on the other hand resources were
much more restricted in those days than they are
now.

20432. And therefore the system required some
scrutiny?—Yes, but it got more than it required.

20433. It would be well to give the provincial
Governments a much freer hand with regard to
details ?—Yes, a considerably freer hand.

20434. What would you say with regard -to ad-
ministrative matters?—A scrutiny of the detailed
regulations would show individual points with
respect to which control might be slackened.

20435. Is the control principally and necessarily
from the financial point of view?—Yes, the de-
tailed control.

20436. In questions of administration should the
Government of India not merely lay -down an out-
line of policy, but descend even to administrative
details ?—Yes, -in so far as they are sufficiently im-
portant to materially affect the policy. It is so
difficult to draw a line between the two, but they
certainly should not descend too low.

20437. To take the case of whether a Local
Government, apart from financial considerations,
should or should not have -a District .Superinten-
dent of Police at a particular station, what would
you say ?—- Apart from the financial point of view,
that ought -to be decided by the Local Government.
It would come up as a financial question.

20438. Can you give an example of a case of detail
in which the Government of India should exercise
administrative control ?—If a Local Government
wishes to start a large Engineering College, for

instance, it ought to refer .to the Government of
India before doing so, apart from the financial
question.

20439. Why should such a reference be made
quite apart from the question of cost?—-Because
of the importance of the event upon the general
policy of administration.

20440. Would you not 'give a Government which
controls the area of, -say, Eastern 'Bengal, and
Which is responsible for the administration, free-
dom to put up a College or not, as it liked?—No.

20441. It is probable that a Colonial Government
would have to make a reference to the Home Gov-
ernment, apart .from cost, as to the desirability or
not of establishing a college either for engineering
or education?—I do not think one can accept the
analogy between the relations of a iColonial Govern-
ment and the Secretary of 'State, and the relations
of a provincial Government and the Government of
India.

20442. You think that provincial Governments
are subordinate, and ought to be subordinate ?—Yes.

20443. Are you of opinion that the Home De-
partment particularly is not only not restrictive,
but is stimulating -and encouraging -to Local
Governments ?—Yes.

20444. Can you give a concrete example of -that?
—-My answer lies in my reply to the question
Where the initiative of reform lies of recent years,
and that is certainly with the Government of India.

20445. You point particularly to the policy of
the Government of India with regard to sanitation,
police, jails, and lunatic asylums?—Yes, I have
dealt with one particular department, but in other
departments one can point to the same thing. The
whole of the present administration of India would
be on a very much lower level if it had been left to
the subordinate Governments in India.

20446. Can you give any opinion as to whether or
not the provincial Governments have not taken the
initiative, simply because they were under the
more or less rigid control of the Government of
India?—I think not. There is a (tendency for a
Local Government to become .satisfied with the
existing conditions of -its administration.

20447. And to look to the Central Government to
pull them up, if necessary?—Yes.

20448. In the Home Department did you see a
great deal of work of the Inspector and Directors-
General ?—Yes.

20449. Do you think, on the whole, that that
work -has been good?—Yes, admirable.

20450. Has there been any tendency to encourage
administration by InspectorsXIeneral ?—No, I do
not think -so—I have not noticed it.

20451. Do you think that the functions of
Directors-General should be to give expert advice?
—Yes, primarily to the Government of India, -but
also to .the Local Governments. To the latter it
should (be given in an unofficial manner, and rather
by conversation and visits, i.e., indirect communica-
tion with the Lieutenant-Governor and his Secre-
tary.

20452. Is that done ?—Yes.

20453. Does your experience in the Home Depart-
ment enable you -to say that ?—Yes. I might men-
tion that the duties of the -Sanitary Commissioner
as they were laid down by a letter of the Govern-
ment of India are as follows : —

(1) To work out a practical ischeme for the

reorganisation of the Sanitary Depart-
ment throughout India on modern lines.

(2) To stimulate -Provincial Sanitary (Commis-

sioners to take up the question of vil-
lage sanitation, in respect of such
matters as the building of -model vil-
lages, the improvement of the water-
supply and the removal of refuse.

(3) To acquaint himself with the problems of

hygiene in the larger cities and to en-
able a survey of -all their sanitary re-
quirements to be gradually made.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

55

(4) To study the conditions of epidemic

diseases and to advise on their preven-
tion.

(5) To supervise the vaccination system and

to endeavour to improve the training of
vaccinators and the supply of lymph.

(6) To direct and to co-ordinate the activities

of bacteriological laboratories with re-
ference to a definite programme.

(7) To arrange for researches into fever and

dysentery in jails.

(8) To consider the improvement of vital regis-

tration.

(9) To promote the teaching of hygiene in

medical colleges, vernacular medical
schools, and general education.

(10) To spend a sufficient time in touring to
acquaint himself with the local condi-
tions of the various provinces, the
executive agency available for reforms,
and the requirements of the various
commercial interests.

20454. Taking that as a concrete example does
the (Sanitary Commissioner having gone round and
seen what he wants to see, make suggestions direct
to the Local iGovernment, or does he make them
from the iHome -Department ?—-He makes them
both from the Home Department and direct to the
Local Government on the spot and to the local
Sanitary (Commissioner.

20455. Does that in any way impair the freedom
of the local iSanitary Commissioner?—On the con-
trary, it gives him greater freedom because it sup-
ports (him ; he says : “ The (Sanitary Commissioner
has been round and told us that these things must
be done.”

20456. And that enables him to stir up the
provincial (Government whether they like it or not?
—Presumably they do like it.

20457. Assuming they do not like it?—Then
they may say they will not do it.

20458. And that does not interfere unduly with
the Local Government ?—I do not think it does.

20459. With regard to (your statement that
more power and direct authority should be given
to Commissioners and that the various legislative
Acts take little account of Commissioners, are
those the legislative Acts of the Government of
India ?—I was thinking of both; I had specially in
mind the (Municipal and Local Board Acts of
the local Legislature.

20460. Is it then due to the provincial Govern-
ment, if the position of the Commissioners has been
weakened*of late years?—I do not think it has
been weakened of late years, but the position has
never been sufficiently defined. I would not put
the responsibility for that specially on the Local
Government.

20461. In that matter both the Government of
India and the provincial Governments are to
blame?—I should say so.

20462. You have been quite lately a Commis-
sioner. Do you think that your powers were equal
to your nominal responsibility?—No, I think not.
In a very large proportion of cases you receive the
proposals of the Collector, you sift them and con-
sider them, and you can do nothing more. You
send them on to the (Government or to the Board
of Revenue. If you do this well your opinion pre-
vails and your recommendations are carried out.
But in a number of cases the reference should not
be required, and the Commissioner should be
authorised to pass the final orders, but there are
a proportion of cases which might stop before
that.

20463. iHave you ever held a Conference with
your Collectors?—I never did so, but it would be
a very sound thing to do.

20464. At which you might perhaps be able to
sketch out what you thought would be a good
policy for the division and get them to carry it
out?—Yes.

20465. It would save you a lot of references and
would be the means of giving them sound advice
first hand?—Yes.

20466. Do you think the powers of District
Officers are fairly wide?—Yes, the administration
is based on the District Officer, and the Commis-
sioner’s position in relation to him has never been
fully worked out.

20467. Is it rightly based on the position of the
District Officer?—Yes.

20468. Ought the District Officers to be selected
with greater care ?—One could not conceive a
system under which a considerable proportion of
the Joint-Magistrates did not become Collectors.

20469. But if you found after five or six years’
probation a man was not suitable?—Then you
should send him away. It would not be possible
to keep a man throughout his service on the pay
and status of a Joint-Magistrate, because he would
be utterly discontented and do bad work, and he
would retire on a pension higher than his pay.

20470. Would it be possible to have a proba-
tionary period for Imperial Civil (Servants?—I
think that is largely a question of recruitment,
i.e., whether it w’ould be possible to secure men if
a probationary period were imposed.

20471. Would it be desirable from an adminis-
trative point of view?—If it did not affect recruit-
ment, yes.

20472. For what time would you fix the proba-
tionary period?—I should make it as long as five
years—again, if it did not affect recruitment.

20473. At all events selection, if it is to be made,
might well begin at Collectors?—Yes; that is the
present rule; a Civilian is entitled to go up to the
top of the Joint-jMagistrates, but he is not entitled
to get a district.

20474. Is selection ever exercised in the case of
Assistant Collectors ?—Practically never ; it could
hardly be so.

20475. Would you like, while not extending the
powers of the District Officer very much, to give
more power to ISub-Divisional Officers and Assistant
Collectors and Deputy Collectors?—Yes.

20476. Are the Deputy Collectors on the whole
satisfactory officers?—Yes.

20477. Can you tell me whether during the
period which lapsed between the time you first
went to the (Secretariat of the Government of India
and your return to district work, you noticed any
change in the class of Deputy Collectors?—As far
as there is any change it is certainly for the
better; there is a constant and gradual improve-
ment.

20478. Therefore some extension of powers
might reasonably and properly be given them?—
Yes.

20479. (Some suggestion had been made that the
size of districts is too large; do you hold that
view?—With the present system a good many of
them are too large; if the duties of the Collector
are altered so as to lessen his work then I think
only a small number of the districts in this pro-
vince are too large.

20480. Do you think the proposals which you
make would really relieve the (Collector of any
considerable portion of his work?—Yes, provided
that his immediate subordinates, or the best of
them, are better paid and are well qualified to be
his specialist advisers. The District Officer ought
to be surrounded by a group of subordinates each
a thoroughly good man in his own department.
His educational adviser ought to be a far better
man than is now available; the Superintendent of
Police, the Superintendent of Excise, the Wards
officer, the officer for Government estates and so
forth should each be capable of disposing finally of
a good deal of the ordinary work of his depart'
ment.

20481. Who is the educational assistant of the
District Officer ?—The deputy inspector; he is an
Indian of insufficient status. In some departments

Afr.

Nathan.
8 Jan., 1908


56

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Mr.

R. Nathan,
8 Jan., 1908.

there has been a departure from the district as the
unit and that dislocates the administration; there
ought to he an officer of the status of inspector
for the control of education in each district—either
an officer of the Indian Educational Service re-
cruited in (England, or one of the best Indians you
can get on the pay that would secure him.

20482. A District Officer stated yesterday that
his Educational Officer was one hundred miles
away from him at Dacca, and that he had got in
his district something like 2,700 schools; is that
a sound state of things?—-That is a bad system.
There is only one inspector for the division and
the man on the spot, the deputy inspector, is not
of sufficient calibre to do the work satisfactorily.

20483. Do you particularly suggest that the
powers of Commissioners in respect of the Court
of Wards are inadequate?—Yes.

20484. Does that refer to sanctioning expendi-
ture?—Yes, that is one instance. I refer, how-
ever, to all matters connected with the manage-
ment of Wards estates. The Collector himself in
the case of Court of Wards estates is the first con-
trolling authority; the manager under the Col-
lector is the Executive Officer. The Collector con-
trols in the first instance, the Commissioner in the
second instance, the Board in the third instance,
and the Government in the fourth instance.

20485. I understand the manager outside his
budget has no power to spend any money?—No.

20486. The Collector has power to spend up to
Rs. 100, and the Commissioner has power to spend
up to Rs. 500?—That is so. The Collector has
more extensive powers in estates with a demand
of less than a lakh of rupees.

20487. Is that a totally inadequate discretion?
—Quite inadequate; the practical effect of it in
the Dacca Division is that the amount of corre-
spondence in Court of Wards estates matters is
altogether out of proportion to the importance of
the department.

20488. You would like to see better men in your
office. Are the suggestions which you make such
as a better class of clerks, shorthand-writers, type-
writers and so on, going to entail greater expendi-
ture, or will there be some reduction of the clerical
staff corresponding with a decrease in the amount
of correspondence?—Some reduction would be pos-
sible, but not commensurate with the expense of
the improvement.

20489. A devolution of power and responsibility
will lead to increased expenditure ?—Yes. It is not
so much devolution, as the creation of a staff able
to cope with the increase of work.

20490. Then you want not merely to devolve, but
also to tighten up the administration?—Yes. The
point raised was that the District Officer had lost
touch with the people, and in that unfortunately
there is a considerable measure of truth, the reason
being that work has increased so much that he is
no longer able to do it. I am afraid, that without
considerable addition to expenditure, his burden
cannot be lightened.

20491. But if you prevent the necessity of the
Deputy 'Collector corresponding with the Collector,
and the Collector -corresponding with the Commis-
sioner, and the Commissioner corresponding with
the Local Government, will you not reduce the
necessity for some of the clerical staff?—Some of
it, yes ; but if the subject is worked out in detail,
I do not think we shall find any great reduction
in expenditure.

20492. You are in favour of Advisory Councils,
and want to see them constituted partly by election
and partly by nomination?—Yes.

20493. Of what size should they be?—It would
depend largely on the circumstances of the district.
I would contemplate a Council of something like
15 or 20.

20494. Would you make it compulsory upon the
District Officer to summon the Council and to take
the members into consultation?—Yes, but I would
not work it on very rigid rules.

20495. Would he consult some of them for one
purpose and some of them for another purpose?—
Yes.

20496. He would not necessarily call them all to-
gether at the same time and at one place, but
there would be a list in existence upon which names
would be placed and particular members would be
consulted occasionally, as circumstances required?
—-Yes, and occasionally he would meet them all
together.

20497. (Sir Frederic Lely.) Generally has not the
natural effect of the system which has hitherto
existed been to discourage initiative in Local
Governments?—I think not.

20498. Would a Local Government that proposed
to organise a new departure in any particular
branch of administration have much chance of
getting it accepted without infinite worry and
argument ?—I think it would ; they do not very
often try.

20499. Does not' the existing state of things
rather discourage them from trying ?—I .should not
have thought so.

20500. In regard to the functions of an Advisory
'Council, the duties of the Collector are mainly,
first, to supply information and opinions to the
Local Government, and secondly, to carry out the
orders of the Local Government and to keep the
peace of the district generally ?.—Yes.

20501. In which of those functions do you pro-
pose the Advisory Council should assist him?—In
both.

20502. Would you have him go to the Advisory
Council to ask in what way he .should reply to
a reference from Government for information?—
Yes, as one does at the present time ; by question-
ing individuals.

20503. Supposing the Collector did not agree with
the opinions he received, what would he do?—He
would state what the opinions were and his reason
for disagreeing.

20504. Would he state his own opinions and
merely forward the opinions he had received with
them?—Yes, just as he does at the present time,
when he has asked to advise on some matter.

20505. Then when you say you would have an
Advisory Council to assist the Collector, you mean
an Advisory Council to the Government ?—It would
assist the Collector in the advice he gives to the
Government.

20506. But do you mean he would be likely to
modify his opinions by the opinions of a few leading
men whom he might gather together ? — Yes, it
would be quite likely.

20507. Supposing a Collector was of opinion that
certain immediate action was necessary, he would
have to act on his own responsibility at once?—
Of course in a crisis he has to act at once, but
there are many cases in which he takes the initia-
tive which are not urgent.

20508. In most cases he has got to take the
initiative promptly, but has the general orders of
the Government to guide him?—On principle but
not on local details. I can quite conceive that a
Collector might consider that a new high school
was desirable, and that he would call the principal
people of his district together and find out if
they were prepared to- support such an institution
and to get their advice.

20509. Taking a case like that would you have
him call the Council together and act on their
opinion?—He would act or not on their opinion,
as he pleased.

20510. But he would be affected by that opinion ?
—Quite so.

20511. Do you not think that would tend to sap
his responsibility ?—I do not think it would in the
least affect his responsibility.

20512. But supposing he was a weak man and
made a mistake, would he not be able to shield
himself under the opinion of the Council?—I do
not think any one would regard that as an excuse.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

57

20513. But is it not an excise that a weak man
would put forward?—If he put it forward, I think
it would only more abundantly show his weakness.

20514. (Mr. Dutt.) You recommend greater free-
dom in matters of appointment to Local Govern-
ments than the existing rules allow? The India
Government itself is bound by certain rules in
matters of appointments, and their powers are
limited by the .Secretary of State. Do you suggest
that the Local Governments should have the same
powers as the Government of India has in reference
to appointments?—Previously they had very much
the same powers, but the powers of the Govern-
ment of India have recently been considerably
enlarged. The powers of Local Governments should
now be correspondingly enlarged.

20515. In recommending that more direct autho-
rity should be given to Commissioners of divisions,
do you mean that they should have more voice in
the control of the work in their divisions?—At
present a Commissioner has an important voice in
the control of the work, but he ought to be able
to give the final order in a larger proportion of the
cases.

20516. Taking the Public Works Department,
would you suggest that there should be divisional
budgets?—I should not be in favour of decentraliz-
ing finance to the divisions to any consideiable
extent because it would create confusion.

20517. At present is there an Executive Engineer
in each division of Eastern Bengal ?—Yes, and that
is quite an inadequate arrangement.

20518. Would you suggest that in all matters,
excepting merely technical matters, the Executive
Engineer .should work under the control, or under
the orders of the Divisional Commissioner ? — I
think for ordinary work he should work under the
control of the District Magistrate. I would rather
have a system under which there were District
Engineers under the control of the District Magis-
trates, and that the Commissioner should exercise
his authority through the Magistrate and not
directly.

20519. At present there is a deputy inspector of
schools in every district, and an inspector in every
division?—.There are several deputy inspectors in
some districts.

20520. Would you propose that inspectors of
schools should, except in purely departmental
matters, act in consultation with the Commissioner
in matters of education within the division?—Yes,
and again I should be inclined to think that the
preferable course would be to have an officer of
the status of inspector advising the District Magis-
trate and that the Commissioner should control
through the District Magistrate. I think the more
intact you can keep the territorial system the
better.

20521. Is the control of the Commissioner over
the police work in his division (Sufficient?—I think
so, he is able to give an order to the District
Magistrate on any point.

20522. Would you think it desirable that m
matters of promotion and punishment and transfer
of police officers up to the rank of ..sub-inspectors
and inspectors the 'Commissioner should have some
voice?.—That might possibly be sound, but as far
as possible, I am in favour of the District Magis-
trate performing these functions under the control
of the Commissioner. I mean that the power
should be vested in the District Magistrate subject
to an appeal to- the Commissioner, but there may
be cases which now go to the Government
which might go to the 'Commissioner in place
of the -Government..

20523. Could some control over the excise ad-
ministration of a division be .safely vested in the
Commissioner?—Yes, but I do not think excise
is a matter in which it is desirable that he should
take -any detailed part, because there is a Commis-
sioner of Excise who to .a large extent takes the
place of the Divisional Commissioner. There may
be some danger of overburdening the appointment
of Commissioner in the same way that the Collector
has been overburdened, and one must guard against
that.

33289

20524. In what way would you give more direct
authority to the Commissioner?—In delegating to
him a large portion of the functions of Govern-
ment under the Municipal Act, the Court of Wards
Act, and so forth.

20525. But in the other departments I have men-
tioned you would rather the Commissioner exer-
cised his powers through the District Magistrate®
—In all cases, if possible, but he should have more
extensive powers to give orders to the District
Officer.

20526. The Board of Revenue has certain statu-
tory powers in the matter of appeals, and they deal
with a vast amount of revenue matters which do
not fall under the Statutes. Could those matters
to a certain extent be delegated ?—Yes.

20527. In that case should the members of the
Board of Revenue be vested with powers to advise
the Head of the Government in matters of general
administration, apart from revenue?—I have not
had very much opportunity of watching the working
between the Board of Revenue and the Govern-
ment, but I can conceive that that might be sound.

20528. Supposing the work in revenue matters
was lightened, would you suggest that the members
of the Board should be colleagues of the Lieutenant-
Governor, in fact Members of an Executive Council
as in Madras and Bombay, besides exercising the
powers of the Board in those matters as -to which
they have power under Statute ?—I think they ought
not to have anything like the status of the Council
of Madras or Bombay.

20529. Would you leave the Lieutenant-Governor
power to act on his own responsibility ?—Yes, I
would in no way lessen his responsibility.

20530. Consistently with that, would you make
over certain departments ito the Board of Revenue,
leaving certain departments with the Lieutenant-
Governor himself, making the same sort of division
of work as exists in Madras and Bombay ?—-No, I
do not think that would be sound.

20531. Would you keep them only as members of
the Board of Revenue and allow them no hand in
general (administration?—Yes, except it should be
open, as it is at present, to the Lieutenant-Governor
to take their advice on any point. I would not
brinlg them in as a definite -step in the ladder, nor
as colleagues.

20532. I understand that at present the Lieuten-
ant-Governor takes their advice only as to revenue
matters?—I imagine he takes their general advice
on all difficult questions in which he thinks they
would be able to help him.

20533. Do you recommend that the Superinten-
dent of Excise should be a kind of subordinate to
the Collector as the Superintendent of Police now
is ?—'Yes.

20534. And therefore that the Collector should
have larger control over the excise administration
in his district than he has now?—I think that the
principal Excise Officer of a district should be an
officer of considerably higher status than he is at
present, and that he should primarily exercise con-
trol over excise matters in the district. The
Collector should exercise control through him by
giving orders to him on general points.

20535. So that they would always act in consulta-
tion in regard to excise matters?—Yes, and it
would give the Collector probably better control
with less work.

20536. With regard to education you have already
said that you would like to have a better officer in
each district than the. present deputy inspector;
besides that, would you like to vest in the Collector
greater control over educational matters in his own
district?—His control is exercised in the first place
as Chairman of the District Board, and in regard
to secondary education he is required to initiate,
stimulate, and advise. He has no direct power,
and I would not give it him except in so far as
he is Chairman of the committee of the district
high school ; his present duties, if he carries them
out satisfactorily, give him a 'great deal of in-
fluence.

II

Mr.

JR. JNatKan^
8 e7hw., 1908,


58

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE:

Mr.

R. Nathan.
8 Jan., 1908.

20537. With regard to Suh-Divisional Officers,
you think that more work should he given them.
Would you have to provide them then with more
Suh-Deputy Collectors ?—Yes, otherwise you will tie
them to headquarters.

20538. In that way you would distribute a lot of
revenue work that is now done at headquarters
amongst the different sub-divisions ?—Yes, to some
extent.

20539. Would you keep these Suh-Deputy Col-
lectors at the headquarters of the sub-division, or
would you give them independent charge of smaller
circles than a sub-division?—I am hardly prepared
to say. It would be necessary to retain one man at
headquarters to help to look after the treasury and
other headquarter business, hut it is possible that
the sub-division might be divided into two or three
circles with subordinate Magistrates exercising
magisterial and police powers and possibly acting
as hlias mahal tahsildars. I think the experiment
would be worth trying tentatively.

20540. And if it was successful, would it bring
the administration into closer itouch with the
people ?—I think it would ; it would igive the Sub-
Divisional Officer and the District Officer other
channels of communicating with the people. That
is very desirable ; wTe suffer from the want of it in
Bengal.

20541. You are against an extension of the right
of appeal. Is the present right of appeal un-
limited ?—No.

20542. There is a Bengal circular dated May
'25th, 1905, on the point, which clearly lays down
and defines the right of appeal?—Yes.

20543. You would not like to restrict the right of
appeal any further ?—1 think not.

20544. Do you think the present right of appeal
enjoyed by Government officers gives them a sense
of security in their posts ?—Yes, I regard it as a
very important matter. The tone of the Service
depends largely upon the security that officers feel
that they cannot be dealt with harshly or unjustly.
One has known of instances when it has been
necessary that the right should ibe exercised.

20545. Would you expect a (Collector to consult
his Advisory Council in such matters as the de-
velopment of industries in his district?—‘Certainly.

20546. Or in carrying out plague relief measures?
—Yes, and undoubtedly he would be able to render
his measures -more helpful to the people by thus
working through them.

20547. And with regard to famine relief opera-
tions ?—Yes.

20548. Would it enable him to explain to -the
people better the views and policy of the Government
in important matters ?—'I think it would. I can
quite see the point that it would be dangerous to
fetter his initiative in cases where he has to act
quickly. I would leave him perfectly unfettered.

20549. But in those matters in which he thinks he
can with advantage ask their co-operation and
advice, would you like the Collector to act with
them ?—I should, and it would add to his control
over the administration.

20550. Would you also allow any member of an
Advisory Council to suggest subjects for discussion
to the District Officer?—Yes.

20551. If the people of any district or any part
of a district felt strongly on any point, would you
allow any member to bring the matter before the
Council for discussion ?—Yes, I should leave it
open 'to the District Magistrate to say, “ This
would be unwise, I do not think the Government
would like discussion on this point at the present
moment because it would create difficulty ” ; but if
there was no objection he should allow it 'to be dis-
cussed.

20552. And in that way the administration of the
district would be very much more in touch with
the people and their requirements ?—I think it
would be a very sound experiment,

20553. (Mr. Mickens.) Would you have the mem-
bers of these Advisory Councils formally appointed
and gazetted?—Yes. I think by the Government.

20554. Therefore you would have it publicly
known that they were, so to speak, a ^uus^-official
body ?—Yes.

20555. Have you had any practical experience of
Advisory Councils ?—No.

20556. Would you say that a body of that sort
when appointed would feel that it was collectively
representative of the people in the sense that it
was there to look after the interests of the general
public ?—Yes.

20557. Might there not a priori be a certain ten-
dency on their part to play to the gallery?—Yes,
except that the proceedings would not be public.

20558. Their opinions might not 'be published, but
at the same time you could not prevent their
explaining to other people what they had said ?—Of
course not.

20559. And you could not prevent them holding
a public meeting and explaining what they had
done ?—I did not contemplate their holding, a public
meeting 'to explain what they had done.

20560. In that case, supposing questions of real
importance which interested the people came up for
discussion, would there not be a tendency that the
members might play to the (gallery?—Yes, I can
conceive that individual members might do so.

20561. They would have no responsibility of their
own ?—No.

20562. Therefore it would be a natural tempta-
tion to them, as they have no responsibility for
carrying anything out, to give advice and make
recommendations which they thought would be most
acceptable in the popular opinion regardless of the
requirements of the Government?—! can conceive
that that might occur, but it is putting it on a
very low plane to assume that it would be the
general tendency.

20563. Are not the chances that it might grow
into something more formal?—It might eventually.

20564. Would there not be tendency for an Ad-
visory Council gradually to insist more and more
upon its opinions being carried out, and gradually
to resent it more and more if its opinions were not
carried out ?—Judging from one’s experience of this
part of the country, I do not think that the danger
would arise for a considerable time. I should not
regard it as a danger.

20565. Has the number of appeals been restricted
by an order issued some time ago?—As far as I
know the Bengal orders referred to rather formu-
lated the existing practice ; I am not aware that
they created a change in the system ; they only
apply to lower officials ; other officers are governed
by rules of the Government of India.

20566. With regard to the Board of Revenue, why
do you think Mr. Dutt’s sugjgestion would be unde-
sirable?—I think the personal rule of the Lieuten-
ant-Governor is a very strong, factor.

20567. Is personal rule in a province like Eastern
Bengal very important ?—I think it has greater
initiative.

20568. Do you mean that the Lieutenant-Governor
could carry out his opinions more quickly and get
his own way better?—Yes, and that the adminis-
tration will be more stamped with individuality.

20569. Would that apply to a weak Lieutenant-
Governor ? I suppose there would (be the same
scope for him ?—Yes, but you are more likely to
have strength with one man than with three.

20570. Is it an advantage to have a strong
Lieutenant-Governor with strong opinions of his
own, and that he should be able to carry them
out ?—Yes.

20571. How long are Lieutenant-Governors ap-
pointed for?—Five years.

20572. Then at the end of five years would it be
an advantage to get a new Lieutenant-Governor
with ,new ideas to reverse all that had been done
before, and start with a clean slate?—I do not
think -that experience shews that that would be
the case.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

59

20573. I thought your reason for preferring the
Lieutenant-Governor system was because you would
got full scope for one mail’s views ?—Yes, but
probably two 'succeeding men would work on similar
lines.

20574. I thought your object was to give them
an opportunity of departing from those lines. Do
you desire continuity or not?—To a, reasonable
degree, yes.

20575. With regard to the relations between the
Government of India and the provincial Govern-
ments you stated that you thought, ordinarily
speaking, the Government of India ought to deal
with matters of principle, and that, as far as
possible, Local Governments should deal with
details, ibut you added it was very difficult in
practice to isay what a detail ,was, and that that
must • be left to be decided in each individual case,
more or less?—Excepting in (so far as it can be
decided by regulation.

20576. Do you mean that the provincial Govern-
ment is to have a certain amount of initiative?—
Yes.

20577. You do not want them merely to do hum-
drum routine work, but you want them to have a
certain amount of initiative of their own?—Yes.

20578. Will you give me an example of something
which is not a detail on the lines you have sug-
gested?—I said that starting a college was not a
detail which should be left to the Local Govern-
ment ; I think that the establishment of a high
school may be so left.

20579. How would you differentiate between the
two ?—In the particular case by their relative im-
portance. The difference is not susceptible of
general definition.

20580. In practice if a scheme of the sort you
suggest with regard to a college came to the Indian
Government, would they criticise the details of it ?
—Yes, especially the finance.

20581. Does that tend to promote initiative on
the part of the provinces?—I think it promotes
good colleges.

20582. It promotes good colleges but bad Govern-
ment?—No-, I think that good colleges represent
good Government. If the Local Governments
started their colleges without reference, the colleges
themselves would be inferior to what they would
be if established in counsel with the Government
of India.

20583. Are the Educational Codes framed in the
first instance by the provincial Governments and
then sent to the Government of India for approval ?
—Not quite that ; a considerable number of the
orders they .contain would in the course of their
making have gone up to the Government of India,
but the code would merely consist of a series of
existing orders
20584. Would any alteration of these codes have
to go to the Government of India ?—Not unless the
change related to a matter which had to be referred
to the Government of India.

20585. Would you think it necessary to go to the
Government of India to falter a syllabus for example,
for primary or secondary schools ?—iNo.

20586. Or colleges?—That depends on the Uni-
versities.

20587. (Mr. Meyer.) From your experience of your
contemporaries and officers who have served in the
Imperial Secretariats, what does a man do after
he has served his three years in the Secretariat ?—
A good many go back.

20588. So that there is always a stream ; a kind
of ebb and flow ?—Yes, by far the larger number go
back.

20589. In this country are there any real means
of gauging public opinion?—That is a very large
question.

20590. There are newspapers which profess to
represent opinions of sorts, but I am speaking of
the general opinion of the masses ?—It is extremely
difficult to ascertain it.

33289

20591. For that reason might it not be necessary
to impose larger restrictions on the freedom of a
Government which must be to a large extent a
bureaucracy?—I do not isee how that affects the
conditions as between the Government of India
and the provincial Government.

20592. You have told us that you are in favour
of the Lieutenant-Governor of a province acting
himself. Might it not be desirable, under the par-
ticular conditions prevailing in India, that any
large schemes of his should be subject to the test
of outside criticism?—Yes.

20593. And a scheme perhaps might be more
carefully thought out, and more satisfactorily
arranged, if it was known that it had to run the
gauntlet of the Government of India’s criticism
and the Secretary of State’s criticism, than if a
Lieutenant-Governor could enforce it straight away ?
—Yes, I agree.

20594. Do you think there is a 'risk in having a
Government which is a one-man government, and
that there might be large fluctuation of opinion ?—
I think it would be a greater risk than in the case
of a three-man government.

20595. That again might justify some restrictions
on the action of a, one-man government which might
not be applied to a Council Government?—Yes.

20596. During your work in the Finance Depart-
ment did you have specially to deal at various
stages with provincial settlements as between the
Government of India and the Local Governments?
—Yes.

20597. Do the present settlements differ in
character from those previously made ?—Yes. They
are guasi-permanent.

20598. And apart from that are they much more
liberal in their terms?—Yes, they have been
drawn up on much more liberal lines.

20599. You have spoken of what you consider the
unnecessary restrictions on Local Governments in
the Finance Department ; were not those restric-
tions largely imposed by the Secretary of State ?—
Yes, undoubtedly.

20600. Apart from the restrictions which the
Secretary of State imposed, were the Government of
India unnecessarily restrictive in dealing with
Local Governments?—There was not formerly a
very great margin between the restrictions imposed
by the Secretary of State on the Government of
India and those imposed by the Government of
India on the Local Government, but there are some
points in the Civil Service Regulations in which
the Government of India have authority which they
might delegate to- the Local Governments.

20601. Taking the margin as it existed in the
past, do you think the Government of India were
unduly finicking in dealing with Local Govern-
ments ?—I think they made the Local Governments
go up to them in -some cases that ought to have
been left to the Local Government.

20602. But in cases which had to- go up, was it
so?—No, I do not think so ; it may have been so-
formerly, but the policy has been changed within
the last 8 or 9 years.

20603. Is that partly due, do you think, to the
different character of the settlements ?—Partly ; it
is partly due to greater financial prosperity, and
partly to personal idiosyncracies.

20604. Have you known cases either in the
Finance or Home Departments in which the
Government of India were of opinion that the Local
Government’s action was not quite justified, but
still said, “Let them do it” 1—Certainly, often.

20605. Are cases in which the Lo-cal Governments
have been overruled carefully considered?—Yes.

20606. Should provincial Governments have as
tree a hand as the Government of India in matters
dealt with by the Civil -Service Regulations, and
would that include the travelling allowance regu-
lations?—Yes, portions of them.

20607. And rules as to grants for house allowance
and so forth?—-Yes.

H 2

Mr,

R. Nathan,
8 Jan,, 1908


60

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Mr.

M. Nathan.
8 Jan., 1908.

20608. Do you mean that they should have quite
a free hand, or that they should act upon certain
general rules t—Certainly they should act upon
general rules in all those matters ; I would have
the rules laid down as precisely as (they can be.

20609. It has been suggested that when the Local
Government differs from the Audit Officers as to
the interpretation of some rule, the Local Govern-
ment’s opinion should prevail ; are you in favour
of that?—No, I am opposed to that. The action
of the Audit Officer is a necessary check where there
is a difference of opinion as to' the meaning of a
rule.

20610. In such cases should the Audit Officer be
able to claim a reference to the central Govern-
ment ?'■—Undoubtedly.

20611. And the same thing would apply as be-
tween the Government of India and their Audit
Officer ?—U ndoubtedly.

20612. Have there not been considerable remis-
sions, of taxation of late years, which have been
popular and beneficial measures?—Yes.

20613. Could they have been carried out if, as
has been suggested, the Government of India had
had less funds at its disposal and more had been
given to the provincial Governments ?—Certainly
not.

20614. Do you think the tendency of the provin-
cial Governments would have been not to remit
taxation, but to improve administration?—It must
have been so.

20615. As regards education is there mot one code
which has been imposed for India uniformly, the
European Schools Code?-—Yes, I think it is neces-
sary, because the conditions of teaching Europeans
are very similar everywhere, and they are con-
siderations which can be more readily dealt with
by the Government of India than by Local Govern-
ments.

20816. Is not the result that a Local Government
runs against some restriction which might not be
applicable to its province, and that it has to come
to the Government of India with regard to it?—

I have not had that experience, if it is so. When
I was acquainted with the -working there was one
code for northern India, another for (Madras, and
another for Bombay—there were three codes.

20617. Would it not have been sufficient for the
Government of India to issue a general Resolution,
or to lay down general principles, and let the
Local Governments please themselves otherwise?—

I do not think so as regards northern India be-
cause the schools are recruited from different pro-
vinces—they are not provincial institutions.

20618. It has been stated by some witnesses that
the Government of India interfere with the Pro-
vincial and 'Subordinate cadres of the Educational
Service, and with the appointment of officers ; apart
from the general financial rules are there any
special restrictions which are imposed?—No, I
think the reference must have been to the finan-
cial rules.

20619. Apart from financial rules is there any-
thing to prevent a Lieutenant-Governor or a
Governor-in-iCouncil arranging his cadre as he
likes?—Not in the least.

20620. Have you had any experience of medical
work in your time?—Yes.

20621. Has not the Government of India taken
over the appointment of (Chemical Examiners?—
Yes, and also with regard to Bacteriology.

20622. Were those measures necessary?—Yes,
most necessary.

20623. There are a certain number of Bacterio-
logical Institutes which are maintained by Local
Governments. Would it be advisable to leave them
as they are or to make them all Imperial Research
Institutes ?—I 'should be inclined to make them all
imperial. They should all work under the general
supervision of the Sanitary Commissioner in proper
co-ordination.

20624. Would you be in favour of making Sani-
tary Commissioners and Deputy 'Sanitary Commis-
sioners of Local Governments subject to appoint-
ment by the India Government?—There is a great
deal to be said for it.

20625. So as to bring them more under the con-
trol of the Government of India?—No, because of
the difficulty in selecting officers locally.

20626. If a Local Government can be entrusted
with administration, is it not primd facie fit to be
entrusted with the various appointments ?—Of
course if they had a man in the province they
might appoint him, but very probably the best man
for the specialised post would be found elsewhere.

20627. You would desire the Local Governments
to communicate with the Imperial Inspectors-
General freely, but informally as far as possible?—
Yes.

20628. Suppose a Local Government wants the
advice of an Imperial Inspector-General, but he is
at the other end of India, what would happen?—

I should write to him demi-officially.

20629. And the Imperial Inspector-General
should reply freely ?—Yes, ordinarily the reference
to the Imperial Officer would, perhaps, come better
from the local Head of the Department.

20630. It has been put, as against that, that
it would weaken the position of the Local Govern-
ments that their own officers should correspond
behind their backs without their authority?—I do
not think that is a serious objection.

20631. It has been suggested that cases which
are habitually disposed of in the Government of
India by a Secretary or Under-iSecretary without
going any higher might be put down as matters for
delegation to the Local Government. Would that
work?—On examination there would probably be
found to be a number of cases in which it could he
done.

20632. In such class of cases is there any uniform
principle ?—No; the number of cases which, as a
matter of fact, do not go beyond the Deputy
Secretary, is small.

20633. Gases do come up which are such plain
sailing that the Secretary or the Deputy Secre-
tary disposes of them, but, on the other hand,
cases might come up which would be of such a
character that he would have to refer them higher ?
—Yes, and it is very difficult to lay down a rule
based on a class of cases.

20634. It has been suggested that it is an
anomalous position that a Lieutenant-Governor,
having as a Member of Council disposed of cases
of importance, should afterwards have to refer like
cases to his successor, it may be, in the Govern-
ment of India, and that is not a correct position
for him to occupy?—I do not think the feeling
does, or should, exist.

20635. Taking his position in the Government of
India, can a Member of Council dispose of really
important matters by himself without reference to
the Viceroy?—No.

20636. In regard to other matters, under the
rules would he not have often to go to the /Finance
Department or some other department?—Yes.

20637. And in certain cases, apart from specific
importance, is not the Viceroy’s sanction neces-
sary?—Yes.

20638. Therefore, the Member is not a one-man
power in the Government of India ?—Certainly
not; I think one may take it that no matter of
importance is ever decided by a Member himself.

20639. Therefore, when he becomes a one-man
power in a province he is really stepping up and
not down?—Yes.

20640. Complaint has been made that the
Eastern Bengal cadre is insufficient; is that owing
to a fault of the cadre itself normally constituted,
or to the fact that the cadre is at present depleted?
—The latter. It is owing to the creation of a
certain number of new posts, and to the fact that
there was an unduly low recruitment some time
ago.


^;: i*.? .«-'■' ^ >v.» ♦.#,«,/«*•» » X .-,£>*.•

ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

61

20641. Is not one of the main principles of the
present system of recruitment not to remedy a
deficiency or excess too fast?—Quite so. Other-
wise it would hamper promotion, and you would
have a stagnated Service.

20642. Therefore the defect will be remedied in
time?—It is being remedied, and in two or three
years it will be put right.

20643. After that has been done, will the pro-
vince have any cause for complaint?—Two of the
districts will still require to be sub-divided.

20644. "But, speaking generally, is the provincial
cadre unduly low?—It would not be lower than
the normal except for the size of the districts.

20645. Are you satisfied with the recruitment
system ?—Yes.

20646. Have you in your experience had a good
many appeals which are really of a petty character
and involve waste of time to consider them?—I
have had to deal with many petty appeals.

20647. Would you be in favour of anything
which could be done, without affecting the general
security of tenure of Government servants, to get
rid of such appeals?—Yes, if it could be done.

20648. You said that the position of the Com-
missioner is unsatisfactory, and that there is no
definition of it in many Acts?—Yes.

20649. Is that not largely due to the historical
origin of a COmmissionership ?—Yes. The func-
tions of a Commissioner have never been clearly
defined, and that might be done.

20650. It has been suggested that a Commis-
sioner is more or less a post office, and that he
should be more of a Sub-Governor—would you be
in favour of that?—That, of course, would be the
effect of giving him definite powers to pass orders.
I would give him more administrative control
within his division.

20651. It has been suggested that he might
have larger powers in the matter of appointments
and posting, do you agree with that?—I think so.

20652. Sub-Deputy Collectors are appointed at
present by the provincial Government?—Yes, they
must always be appointed by the provincial
Government.

20653. Would it not be possible to break them
up into divisional cadres?—No, that would spoil
the Service.

20654. As regards the posting of Deputy Col-
lectors and Civilians below the rank of Collector,
might that be made over to the Commissioner?—
Yes, that ought to be done.

20655. Would you be in favour of giving the
Commissioner power, subject to general conditions
of fitness prescribed by the Local Governments, to
invest officers with magisterial functions?—Yes.

20656. That would require an amendment of the
Criminal Procedure Code?—Yes.

20657. Would you give them power with regard
to land acquisition matters?—Yes.

20658. But you are not in favour of giving them
budgets of their own?—No, but I would allow
them to give sanction for provincial works up to a
higher limit than they can now.

20659. A suggestion has been made that the pro-
vincial Public Works budget should be broken up,
and that the Commissioner should have power to
give sanction for buildings and less important
irrigation works subject to some pecuniary limit;
are you in favour of that?—I am mot.

20660. Are you in favour of giving Commis-
sioners any powers with regard to the creation of
appointments?—I think that in the case of the
menial staff on pay of less than Rs. 10 per men-
sem he might have powers, and also with regard
to temporary appointments.

20661. Do you think that the appointment of a
clerk on Rs. 15 should go to the Local Government?
—Yes.

20662. For what period would you give the
Commissioner power with regard to temporary
appointments?—Two years.

20663. Would you be in favour, as has been sug-
gested, of keeping the Civil Officers in a province
as far as possible in the same divisions?—No,
because I think they would get narrow.

20664. Does a man get more broad-minded by
having to deal with administrative work under
different conditions ?—Yes, and life would be very
unattractive if an officer remained all his time
within a small area.

20665. Would you be prepared to have a general
delegation which would give the Commissioner
most of the powers now enjoyed by (the Board of
Revenue in Court of Wards matters?—Yes, most of
the powers.

20666. Who should have power as regards the
initial taking over of estates under management?—
The Local Government. A limit might be fixed,
below which the power to take over petty estates
might be delegated.

20667. You are in favour of a preliminary period
of probation for Civilians ?—(Subject to the proviso
that it did not interfere with recruitment.

20668. Is it not possible that a man who does
well, and even brilliantly, during his first five
years, might go to pieces afterwards?—Yes.

20669. How would you deal with a case like that ?
—The officer would be degraded, but that would be
likely to happen only in very exceptional cases.

20670. But take the case of a man who is known
to be doing his best, and yet that best is so poor
that the work suffers, and the interests, of the
State suffer ; supposing he is in the position of a
Collector of a district, or even in charge of a sub-
division, would you be prepared to get rid of him?
—The power would have to be exercised with the
extremist care, but probably we are a little too
tender in such cases now ; on the other hand, it
has to be remembered that if it were done at all
frequently it would tend to spoil the Service.

20671. In the case of a province with a Lieuten-
ant-Governor or a Chief Commissioner, would you
leave this to be dealt with by the one officer?—No.

20672. Would you require a Committee to report
first and then leave the LieutenantGovernor to
decide whether he agreed with the Committee?—
That is a good suggestion.

20673. You advocate larger powers for a Com-
missioner in regard to local and municipal matters,
but has not the Local Government delegated a
great many functions to Commissioners already?—
Not many, I think.

20674. A 'Commissioner has the power of passing
budgets and dealing with administration reports ?—
Yes.

20675. Can he sanction municipal bye-laws ?—No.

20676. Is it in matters like that that you want
further powers given ?—Yes.

20677. Do you desire that the Commissioner
should have power to exercise all the functions of
outside control where necessary instead of the Local
Government?—Not all of them, but the majority of
them.

20678. Would you except, for instance, the sus-
pension of a municipality or the creation of a
fresh one ?—Yes.

20679. Would you apply the delegation of func-
tions universally ?—I think you would have to
except very large municipalities.

20680. Would you be prepared to adopt any
population limit?—No, I should leave that to be
decided on the merits.

20681. Are you familiar with the Bombay system
in which some municipalities are declared City
municipalities, in regard to which the Govern-
ment acts, and others in regard to which the Com-
missioners act ?—Yes.

20682. Would you be in favour of a policy of that
sort ?—Yes.

Jd. Nathan.
8 Jan.r 1908.


62

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Mr.

jR. Nathan*
8 Jan,,. 1908.

20683. Leaving what is to be a City municipality
and what is not a City municipality to the dis-
cretion of the Local Government concerned?—Yes.

20684. Have 'Superintendents of Excise been ap-
pointed yet?—1 do not think so—the question was
under consideration recently.

20685. They will replace the Deputy Collectors
who previously did Excise work in the districts?—
Yes.

20686. You are in favour of giving considerably
larger powers to Sub-Deputy Collectors. Are their
powers at present mainly magisterial?—Yes.

20687. Do you want to make them Magisterial
and Revenue Officers?—Yes; I think in any par-
ticular branch of revenue it would have to be care-
fully considered whether the work would be more
suitably done by a Deputy Collector at headquarters
or by a Sub-Divisional Officer.

20688. Other things being equal, would you be in
favour of the territorial system ?—Yes.

20689. Can a Sub-Divisional Magistrate, assuming
he is a First Class Magistrate, hear appeals?—No,
that has to be done at headquarters, but I would
allow him to do it.

20690. Speaking generally, would you divide a
district into sub-divisions each in charge of a Sub-
Divisional Officer?—Yes.

20691. Do you think the Madras system could be
adopted here ?—Yes, excepting that there are
various revenue branches in regard to which it
would not be suitable.

20692. Are your Deputy Collectors, and your
junior Civilians 'to any extent doing work which a
Sub-Deputy Collector might just as well do?—Yes,
I think so.

2093. In regard to magisterial work, do they try
a good many second and third class cases which
might go to the Sub-Deputy Collector?—-As soon
as an officer is qualified he is given first class
powers. First Class Magistrates do try a good
many cases which might be tried by a lower Magis-
trate.

20694. Is it not a waste of power to have a
First 'Class Magistrate trying second and third
class cases as a rule ?—Yes, quite so.

20695. When you spoke of relieving Collectors
from treasury work, did you mean that you would
dissociate them absolutely from responsibility for
the treasury ?—Yes, as far as possible ; I take it
there would have to be some slight control.

20696. You have many lakhs of rupees in the
treasury sometimes. Do you think it would be
right to leave those to the entire charge of the
Deputy Collector?—Yes, it would be possible.

20697. Is it not desirable that the Collector
should have the pecuniary responsibility for the
treasury?—I think not.

20698. He does not do much in the way of trea-
sury detail ?—'Not much, but what he does do takes
up an appreciable portion of his time.

20699. He counts the balances every now and
then ?—Yes ; the rules laid down for him to follow
in the Treasury Manual give him a great deal to
do. Much of this is done without due care, and
that weakens the responsibility of the Treasury
Officer.

20700. Are you prepared to release the Collector
from the obligation of verifying the treasury bal-
ances ?—Yes.

20701. Will they be equally secure if he has
nothing to do with them ?—'Yes.

20702. Are you aware of the system of a double
key for the currency chests, the Treasury Officer
having one and the Collector the other?—Yes.

20703. Would you ibe prepared to relax that sys-
tem ?—No, I would still have the two keys.

20704. If you eliminated ithe Collector who would
the second key-holder be?—It might still be the
Collector—it is the mere custody of a key ; or if
there is a Joint-Magistrate he would 'be a very
suitable person, or even an Assistant Magistrate.

20705. The 'Collector passes a number of bills,
which the Treasury Deputy checks ?—Yes.

20706. Supposing the Treasury Officer is not in
any way subordinate to the Collector, might there
not be more rigidity and more delay with regard to
the passing of bills ?—I do not think so, if the de-
partment were well run.

20707. It has been suggested that Collectors may
have special grants within limits for special con-
tingent expenditure, and for making temporary
appointments when work is more than ordinarily
heavy ; would you be in favour of that?—Yes.

20708. What is the division of work between the
Government and the Local Boards with regard to
primary education?—In Bengal the Act throws on
the Boards the functions of construction and repair
of school buildings, the appointment of masters and
assistant masters and the payment of salaries.
Then the rules of the Local Government confer on
the Board the power of deciding, subject to the
sanction of the Board, where a new school shall be
opened and the manner in which accommodation
shall be provided, the transferring or closing of
existing schools, fixing the classes and other things.

20709. But all that refers to schools directly
maintained by the Board. It has been stated that
in Eastern Bengal the Boards act mainly by aiding
schools ?—Yes.

20710. Do those rules apply to direct Board
schools, or to aided schools?—It applies to the
Board schools.

20711. In this province are the schools which the
Boards pay for mainly direct Board schools, or
what are they ?—They are mainly aided.

20712. With regard to the aided schools, would
it be correct to say that the officers of the Educa-
tion Department pick out the schools which are to
be aided and specify the conditions under which
they are to be aided, or *have the Board any dis-
cretion in these matters?—The Boards have dis-
cretion.

20713. Can the Board pick out particular schools
and say: “We will aid this school and not the
rest ” ?—Yes.

20714. Taking a dozen schools of the same type in
different areas, can the Board pick out three schools
and say: “ We will help these schools and not
trouble about the rest”?—Yes, I think they can
do that.

20715. Even though the Educational Officer was
in favour of aiding the lot?—Yes.

20716. As Commissioner you have to deal with
the budgets of Local Boards and municipalities?
Do the Heads of Departments, the Director of
Public Instruction, the Sanitary Commissioner and
the rest of them have an opportunity of stating
whether they think that a District Board’s allot-
ment for education and sanitation is sufficient?—
Yes.

20717. Is that representation made to you as
Commissioner ?—The Director of Public Instruction
reports, but I do not think the others do.

20718. Suppose the Director of Public Instruction
considers a Board’s allotment is not sufficient, what
would you do ?—I should write to the Board and
point it out, or if I thought there was any doubt
about it, I should call for further information.

20719. But if you were convinced that the Board
had a reasonable excuse -for not spending more
and that the Director of Public Instruction was
unreasonable, would you have the final decision ?—
I should refer to Government.

20720. You would overrule the Board on your
own responsibility, buit you would not overrule the
Director of Public Instruction without going to
Government ?—Yes.

20721. Does the Sanitary Commissioner not apply
to you at all?—I do not think he does.

20722. Are you in favour of giving larger powers
to Local Boards as opposed to District Boards? —
No, I think they have powers enough.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

63

20723. We have heard a good deal with regard to
the paucity of the engineering establishment in
this province ; would you be in favour of utilising
the District Board Engineer ,for Government works ?
—Yes.

20724. In fact that used to be done?—It was.

20725. Why was the practice discontinued ? — I
cannot say. I would place him for that purpose
under the District Magistrate.

20726. It has 'also been suggested that it would
be desirable to dissociate the Collector from the
Chairmanship of the District Board. Have you any
views on that point?—I think that would be a
mistake. The control of the Collector over the
executive work of the Boards is essential; and the
work would be very greatly neglected if he were
dissociated from the Board.

20727. Do you think in the first place that the
Collector can do the work better than any non-
official or other Chairman ?—Yes, unless it be a
very highly paid Chairman.

20728. From the point of view of the Collector
would it be desirable to dissociate him from the
Board?—Lt would be undesirable. It is very
important that he should keep in touch with the
whole working of the district.

20729. Are you aware of the system which has
been adopted in the Bengal Secretariat as to its
relation with the Board of Revenue ?—Yes.

20730. Would you be in favour of that system
being 'adopted here?—Yes.

20731. (Sir Steyning JEdgerley.) You left the
Government of India Secretariat in 1904, having
been there for .almost ten years ?—Yes.

20732. So that what you say with regard to
Inspectors-General is really your opinion as to
what you think should be the case, rather than your
experience of what actually is the case?—Yes, as
regards provincial experience except in so far as I
have talked the matter over with provincial officers.

20733. Have you since had to try and get big
schemes through from a provincial stand-point?—
Yes, I am concerned in one or two now.

20734. When you left the Home Department had
the work of the Sanitary Commissioner been begun ?
—His work had started before I left the Private
Secretaryship in November, 1905.

20735. Had the work of the Director-General of
Criminal Intelligence been begun?—It had been
begun but it had not gone far.

20736. Are the instructions to which you refer
relating to the duties of the Sanitary Commissioner
contained in any published Resolution1?—They were
contained in a letter of the Government of India.

20737. To the Sanitary Commissioner?—They
are given in a Home Department letter of October,
1904.

20738. The Resolution of the Government of
India which was published to Local Government
was dated September, 1904?—Yes.

20739. Supposing you had sent up a big scheme
of police re-organisation, and had had to wait some
13 months for the opinion of the Government of
India upon it, and then they objected to the placing
of police in certain places in the Presidency or
altered the grade of .an officer suggested for a par-
ticular place from inspector to sub-inspector and
so on, would you consider that to be going too
much into detail ?—If I had waited for a very long
time and then received an inadequate reply on
points of detail, I should think so.

20740. It might retard progress in getting a
scheme carried through?—If treated in that way
it might.

20741. Supposing you sent up proposals for the
policing of a Presidency, and after seven or eight
months you got a reply asking for a full explana-
tion as to the duties of all the head constables and
constables asked for for town work—'that would
be rather going into detail, would it not?—One
would like to 'See the letters in such a case before

replying ; it might be desirable that the duties
should be stated.

20742. If you had to state the duties of all these
head-constables and constables, do you think the
Government of India would be able at all to appre-
ciate the exposition?—It is difficult a question without knowing the circumstances.

20743. With regard to the Education Code, was
it the case that the .Government of India sent a
model European School Code and asked Local
Governments to adapt it as far as possible?—I do
not remember the exact circumstances. Of course
I do not claim for the Government of India complete
freedom from error.

20744. Supposing on the return of that code there
is considerable criticism of proposed curricula and
the syllabus in schools, would you call that going
too far into detail?—I think that in the case of
European schools the Government of India is the
proper authority to deal with these matters.

20745. Would that be sound even against local
opinion ?—L think it would be right even from the
point of view of local opinion.

20746. The great majority of European schools
are supported by religious bodies?—Yes.

20747. And the first aim of those religious bodies
is not educational, but that the religious tenets
should be carefully considered?—Yes.

20748. Therefore if they have any strong opinion
as to any variation of curricula, should the Govern-
ment of India insist on having their own way?—
If the Government of India did not pay due
attention to the wishes of the persons interested
in the schools, it would be a mistake of judgment,
but not perhaps an interference with detail.

20749. Is not the existence of the Board of
Revenue one great cause of the very small amount
of influence possessed by Commissioners in pro-
vinces where both exist?—I think it is the cause
of their not being permitted to pass a sufficient
number of final orders. My point with regard to
Commissioners is not that their influence is less
than it should be, but that they have to pass on
too many cases for the orders of superior authority.

20750. Probably or possibly, that is due to the
existence of the Board?—The fact that an authority
intervenes between the Commissioner and the
Government is naturally a reason for delegating
less to the Commissioner, but in practice more
power has not been delegated to him in subjects
which are not dealt with by the Board of Revenue,
so that perhaps it is difficult to say it is due to that
cause.

20751. Is the system by which you have both an
Executive Engineer and a District Engineer a very
efficient system ?—I do not think the present system
is efficient. The Executive Engineer is an officer
for the whole division in these parts, and he is
hopelessly overburdened with work.

20752. In Bombay there is an Executive Engineer
for each district instead of an Engineer for the
Local Board—are you in favour of that?—I am
entirely in favour of that, or of one Engineer for
both Government and Board work.

20753. How far would you carry your theory of
freedom of interpretation by an Audit Officer in
the case of a controversy with a Local Govern-
ment, practically, on the question of what the facts
of a case are ; should an Auditor accept the assur-
ance of the Government that the facts are so and
so and apply the rules on that hypothesis ?—No ; I
think the Auditor should decide ; he should be
regarded as the lawyer in financial matters of the
Local Government.

20754. As to matters of fact as well as of law?—
Yes ; but it is rather difficult to conceive a case ;
ordinarily there would be no question of fact in
dispute.

20755. It has been suggested that Commissioners
should be allowed to delegate magisterial powers,
but that would necessitate an amendment of the
'Criminal Procedure Code. What are the chances
of getting an amendment of a Code of that kind ?—
I have presumed that the result of this Commission


64

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE I

Mr.

R. Nathan.
8 Jan., 1908.

will be a substantial amount of legislation of
which that would form a part.

20756. Are you prepared to igo so far with regard
to the supersession of officers as to favour a scheme
of proportionate pensions?—That would be a very
•dangerous power to use, and I do not think I should
be in favour of it.

20757. Would it help to diminish transfers at all
if instead of placing the whole reserve of officers
in the lowest grade, you distributed it over some
of the higher grades ?—I do not at the moment see
how it would have that effect. I should have
thought that a readier way would be to have an
Additional 'Collector in each district who could take
over its charge if this could be afforded.

20758. You suggest that Local Governments in
respect to officers appointed by them and paid from
provincial revenues might have much greater
powers; why do you limit that to provincial
officers?—I think that the conditions of service
of officers who are appointed by the Local Govern-
ment may be left to a greater extent to the Local
Government.

20759. But you have under the provincial
Government certain classes of officers, the charge
for whom goes to imperial heads ?—Yes; I have not
considered their case specially; the number is not
very great.

20760. Is there any reason why you should not
have the same powers as regards such officers as
you would have as regards provincial officers?—

None, except that the imperial revenues would
bear the charge.

20761. But the principles are the same, and the
audit is the same; could not the Local Govern-
ments be trusted?—I think they could, but the
point I had more specially in view was with regard
to officers appointed by the Local Government.

20762. (Chairman.) Having been in both the
Financial and Home Departments of the Govern-
ment of India, have you ever had any reason to
observe on the part of the Finance Department a
tendency to claim greater control than the Home
Department claim? — The Finance Department
claim a greater detailed control than the Home
Department.

20763. Have you any reason to believe that the
Finance Department now claim a greater control
over the questions which come up to it from other
departments than was claimed when you were
there?—No, I think that the control claimed by
the Finance Department was formerly greater.

20764. (Mr. Dutt.) Is it a fact that the Col-
lector keeps the treasury key in his own custody?—
As a rule he does not.

20765. One key is kept by the Treasury Officer,
who is a Deputy Collector, and the other is kept
by the treasurer, who is an officer giving a security;
is not that the case in Bengal districts?—It may
be so.

(The witness withdrew.)

Mr. Henry Sharp was called and examined.

Mr,

II. Sharp.

8 Jan., 1908.

20766. (Chairman.) Are you the Director of
Public Instruction?—Yes. I began my career in
India as principal of the Jubbulpore College. I
had previously been an assistant master in a public
school in England.

The Government of India do not hamper the
provincial Governments in the matter of adminis-
tration. They lay down broad principles and leave
it to the provincial Governments to apply these
principles as local conditions demand. Provincial
Governments have not been unduly tied by the
Resolution on Education of the 11th March, 1904,
e.g., different provinces have worked out their own
scheme for fixing grants-in-aid to schools.

There is a danger of excessive uniformity, but
such a danger is mitigated by two facts—the
power permitted to provincial Governments to
work out general schemes in their own way, and
the existence of the Director-General of Educa-
tion, who is an expert adviser, in touch with both
the Government of India and the provincial
Governments, and who, by means of extended
tours, becomes acquainted with the special circum-
stances of each province.

Initiative in educational reforms in recent years
has been mainly due to the action of the Govern-
ment of India. I would cite as instances the ex-
tension of primary education effected by the giving
out of imperial grants for that purpose, and the
reforms of the Universities under the Act, of 1904.
At the present moment the Government of India
has under its consideration the reform of secondary
education and the question of free primary educa-
tion. While the Government of India has sup-
plied funds, the provincial Governments have
initiated some useful reforms in primary educa-
tion. These reforms were, no doubt, facilitated by
that allotment. The experience gained by one
provincial Government in effecting changes might
well be utilised with allowances for differences in
local circumstances in other provinces. It would
be undesirable for the Government of India to lay
down, except in the broadest manner, the methods
in which such grants are to be utilised. But there
is always the danger when large grants for a
special purpose are made to a province and the
provincial Government called upon to show their
expenditure, that there may not be full time for a
province to develop its schemes sufficiently to allow
the money to be used in the best manner. It
would be well if the Government of India made its

grants when the provincial Government was able
to report that its schemes were, to some extent,
matured; and the Government of India in
instructing provincial Governments to devise such
schemes might usefully bring to their notice sug-
gestions of reforms in other provinces.

University reform is a different question, since
Universities are not necessarily provincial bodies,
and where one University has jurisdiction over
two or more administrative units, there is a dis-
tinct danger that the interests of one of these units
may suffer.

The demand for returns and information from
the provincial Governments has not largely in-
creased in recent years.

The suggestion to insist, before admitting an
appeal, on a certificate from the authority passing
the first order is a good one. The question has
special application with reference to schools and
colleges. There is a tendency in this country to
deal with educational institutions in too judicial
a manner. A principal or a head master must
wield immense powers within the limits of his in-
stitution in order to maintain respect and disci-
pline among his staff and his pupils. In England,
this is fully realised. The head master of a public
schools wields despotic powers, and so do the class
masters and the house-masters. Appeals are rare,
and, when made, are not likely to be entertained.
In India, the opposite is the case. It is not in-
frequent for a boy punished by a class master to
appeal to the head master, or the committee, or to
the Inspecting Officers of the Department. This
occasions enquiries in which I have known pupils
actually produced as witnesses against the masters.
Assistant masters also appeal from the action of
head masters. Making all allowances for the local
differences between the two countries, more trust
should be placed upon head masters, etc., in India.
An occasional miscarriage of justice is not so
serious as a universal weakening of discipline; but
where a punishment inflicted is likely to affect the
whole life and career of the pupil, some investiga-
tion is no doubt essential.

It is difficult to restrict the right of appeal; but
in this country that right is undoubtedly abused.
Bengal (Miscellaneous Gircular No. 25 of 25th May,
1905, allows double appeal to superior officers and
also appeal against stoppage of promotion and in-
crements for over six months. Whether the appeal is
to the Government of India, or to the provincial


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 65

Government, the right of appeal might be re-
stricted, and if the authority, which has ordered
the punishment, is sufficient, the limit of six
months for stoppage of promotion, etc., might he
largely extended, if not abolished.

There is a danger of over attempts at uniformity
in large provinces, but the province of Eastern
Bengal and Assam has not been in existence suf-
ficiently long to give proof in this matter one way
or the other. .For the present, the educational
systems of the two parts are being only slowly and
tentatively amalgamated. As affects the Educa-
tion Department, there is not much danger. The
question is mainly one of finance, and all that can
be done would be to permit the department larger
powers in the expenditure and reappropriation of
the funds for educational purposes. The charges
of Inspecting Officers have hitherto been too large
in Eastern Bengal. This defect is being amended.

Transfers.of officers are a necessary evil in large
Services on account of the variety of interests in-
volved. It is particularly an evil in colleges and
schools, but may here, to some extent, be mitigated
by choosing a suitable time for effecting transfers.

Desirable as it would be to place more power in
the hands of local bodies, I fear that the experi-
ment would not likely be attended with success.
In my experience these bodies are lacking in initia-
tive, save in so far as they are inspired by the
official Chairman. District and Focal Boards are
most important factors in our educational schemes.
But the improvement of education in each area
depends solely upon the interest taken by the
official Chairman, and the aid accorded him by the
subordinate inspecting staff. I am doubtful
whether the other members of such bodies are
either interested in primary education, or know
sufficient about the wants and conditions of the
Board area to give very useful advice, still less to
carry out improvements and reforms. It may be
argued that were such bodies freed from official
domination they would, when in the possession of
larger powers, develop larger capabilities. But I
doubt whether it is correct to speak of official
domination. Perhaps a more correct term would
be non-official indifference. The experiment might
be interesting; but it would be dangerous to try it
save on a small scale, and under some measure of
control. It is only too likely that the expansion
of the powers of these bodies might result in either
stagnation or disaster.

As in the case of local bodies, I fear that want
of interest in local affairs would be a serious
obstacle to granting larger powers to village com-
munities. In some portions of the Central Pro-
vinces and in (Assam, the village school committee
take real interest and pride in the village school,
and subscribe funds for its improvements, but I am
informed that, at least as regards primary educa-
tion, the leading men in village communities in
Eastern Bengal are entirely indifferent. Three
possible causes may be assigned : —

(i.) The fact that in the Central Provinces and
in Assam there are village School Com-
mittees vested with small powers, while
in Eastern Bengal the village school is
a private institution.

(ii.) In less advanced areas, like the Central
Provinces and Assam, the village com-
munity is less disintegrated than in
Eastern Bengal.

(iii.) The leading men in the village of a back-
ward tract will look for no more than a
vernacular education for their children,
and hence will take interest in a verna-
cular school.

A great deal of correspondence is necessary be-
tween the Heads of Departments and the provincial
Governments. The administrative machinery might
be simplified either by insistence upon a personal
consultation at appointed times between the Heads
of Departments and the Secretaries concerned, or
by making the (Heads of Departments Under-
secretaries to Government. The former scheme
would, of course, be rendered difficult by the
exigencies of touring.

33289

20767. Prior to your first appointment in this Jfr. ~
country, had you any experience of Indian educa- n. Sharp
tional requirements?—None whatever. ----

20768. Had you any knowledge of the language? $ e^6W*’ 190
—No. ----

20769. Or of the country?—Nothing more than I
had read.

20770. Or of the literature?—No.

20771. What were your duties as principal of the
Jabbalpore College?'—To instruct and generally
administer the affairs of the college, but principally
to instruct.

20772. How did you proceed about your task?—As
regards the actual instruction there was no diffi-
culty.

20773. Had you no difficulty in Consequence of
your ignorance of the language?—'No, none what- ;
ever ; there was some initial difficulty as regards
one’s not knowing the precise standard of English
which the students under one were capable of
understanding.

20774. Would it have been a great advantage to
you as the head of am important college if you
had known something about the language, the
history, and the literature of the country?—I do
not think I would say that as principal of the
College, but as inspector, perhaps, yes.

20775. As a principal and a trainer of the young,
you do not think that would have been an advan-
tage?—No.

20776. Have you under you as Director of Public
Instruction, inspectors of schools assistant inspec-
tors, and deputy inspectors and so forth ?—Yes.

20777. Where are the inspectors’ resident as a
rule?—The inspectors are generally resident at
the divisional headquarters, but not invariably so.

20778. Where are the assistant inspectors resident ?

—The assistant inspectors are also resident at the
headquarters of the division, and are under the
orders of the divisional inspector.

20779. Where are the deputy inspectors
stationed ? — Of the deputy inspectors, one is.
stationed at each district headquarters, and the
others are scattered about the district; there are
different systems adopted in Assam and Eastern
Bengal.

20780. We have been told by a witness that he
was not satisfied with the system by which an
inspector of nearly 3,000 schools in hi© district
was stationed at his headquarters 100 miles away ;
is that a satisfactory system?—I think it is most
unsatisfactory.

20781. Can you suggest any remedy?—The most
obvious remedy would be to have for every district
in which educational institutions are numerous an
officer of the Indian Educational Service.

20782. In fact, you want an increase to the estab-
lishment?—Yes, a very large increase.

20783. Does the absence of an inspector from the
district, except in the case of a headquarters dis-
trict, occasion a great deal of correspondence and
clerical work?—I would not say that it is so much
clerical work and correspondence which is entailed,
as that there is a want of responsibility amongst
others on the spot, and the want of an able officer
in each section to push educational schemes.

20784. Do you recommend the curriculum to
Government?—Yes.

20785. And all appointments?—Yes.

20786. Do you invariably find that the Govern-
ment accepts your recommendations as to curricu-
lum and appointments ?—I have not had very much
yet to do with regard to new curricula, and as
regards curricula, for instance, for high schools,
a great deal would be gone through by the Local
Government before any change would be sanc-
tioned; for instance, it would be made known to
people in general widely, and their .opinions would
be taken ; it would be put before a committee
specially qualified to look into the matter, and
eventually in the particular case I refer to it has,
to be referred to the University.

I


66

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Mr.

JET. Sharp.

& Jan., 1908,

20787. Do you think it a wise control which the
Government exercises over you in the matter of
curriculum ?—-Yes, certainly.

20788. Might smaller appointments be left to
you or will it be better to leave them in the hands
of the Local Government?—The powers that I have
are sufficient, generally speaking.

20789. From where is the expenditure upon
education in this particular province principally
met?—Of expenditure on education some 25 lakhs
comes from public funds, and is equally divided
between provincial funds and local funds.

20790. About one-half of your expenditure comes
from public funds?—Yes.

20791. What about the other half?—That comes
from fees, subscriptions, etc.

20792. Who controls the primary schools?—The
primary schools are mainly controlled, by the
various Boards ; there is a difference in the two
parts of the province ; in Eastern Bengal the unit
is the district, and in Assam the unit is the Local
Board which is a Sub-divisional Board.

20793. Who controls the middle schools?—The
middle schools are partially controlled by the
Boards, and partially controlled by the depart-
ment, according as they receive their grant-in-aid
from the district fund or from provincial revenues.

20794. What about secondary schools ?—The high
schools are controlled by the department in so far
as they are provincial schools ; the great mass of
cur schools are either aided or unaided schools.

20795. Does that cover the whole system of
schools ?—That covers the whole system of ordinary
schools ; there .are special schools such as small
training schools, but that covers the bulk of the
institutions.

20796. With regard to your relations with the
Director-General of Education, have you anything
to say about them ?—As Director of Public Instruc-
tion, my sole relations with the Director-General
are demi-official relations. He sometimes writes to
me demi-officially, and if I have a question to put
to him or to the Bureau, I write demi-officially,
or if he comes on tour I may point out things to
him.

20797. On the whole is it well that there should
be such an appointment?—lit is a very good thing,
and of great assistance generally.

20798. You can consult him quite freely?—Yes,
I do consult him freely.

20799. Can you tell me anything as to the influ-
ence of the Director-General upon schemes which
go from you to the Local Government, and so to
the Government of India?—If a scheme required
the definite opinion of the Government of India,
I take it that the opinion of the Director-General
would be obtained before any orders were passed
in the Home Department; on the other hand, if
it was -a matter requiring the sanction of the Local
Government, it would nevertheless go up to the
Government of India in the form of proceedings,
and in the course of time would come before the
Director-General of Education, who might possibly
raise some objections on professional grounds to
some action which had been adopted in the pro-
vince. In that case the Home Department would
probably enquire what was being done, and might
possibly point out that there were certain objections
to the scheme.

20800. Is that what has actually taken place in
connection with any one of your schemes?—I am
not .aware of it, but I imagine that is what would
take place.

20801. Have you any reason to think that the
views of the Director-General have either helped,
or hindered, any schemes of yours which have been
presented to the Government of India?—I cannot
say whether or .not that has been the case, because
I do not see the system of working of the Govern-
ment of India.

20802. You have no reason either to expect help
or harm ?—I have no reason to expect it, for the
reason that I am not in a position to say.

20803. You have not been able to trace whether
his opinion has been either for, or against, you in
regard to any scheme sent up to the Government of
India ?—-No.

20804. You say that there is always a danger
when large grants are made for special purposes
to a province that for various reasons the money
might not be used to the best advantage?—For
example, of the giving out of the imperial grant
for primary education in which the provincial
Governments are supposed to show an enhanced
expenditure on primary education over and above
the expenditure in the year 1904-05. A Local
Government might feel itself compelled to show
an immediate large increase of expenditure, and
schemes might be brought forward in a very crude
state and much money wasted.

20805. Would not such a scheme have to go to
the Government of India for consideration?—No.

20806. Not if it exceeded certain financial limits ?
—-No ; having got the money we can do what we
choose with it $ the only case in which I can con-
ceive the sanction of the Government of India
would be further necessary would be if we employed
part of it in increasing the establishment.

20807. A former witness .told us that he con-
sidered'that if a provincial Government wished to
establish a college as distinct from a high school
that ought to be referred to the Government of
India ; do you hold that view too ?—In the case
of establishing a first grade college, the matter
ought to go to the Government of India for various
reasons, but in the case of establishing a small
college, if the provincial Government thought of
doing such a thing, they might reasonably do so
or raise the status of an existing college without
consulting the Government of India.

20808. If the Local Government said, “It is a
great nuisance having to get the opinion of the
Government of India ; we know we shall get it,
but it will delay our scheme for a year or two ;
let us istart the thing in a small way and we can
develop it afterwards ”—is (there anything that
would really endanger the cause of education in
a province and which would require the control
of the Government of India to be exercised not
only with regard to small, but with regard to large
schemes of the sort that I have indicated?—I co
not think that the interests of education in the
province would be affected except in so far as there
might be considerable delay, and in so far as there
might be changes in the details which it had been
made clear to the Government of India were not
very important but which were indicated by sub-
sequent events ; further delay would then occur
because there would have to be a reference to the
Government of India.

20809. You seriously think that the Government
of India ought to be consulted practically whenever
a college is opened in a province ?—I .think it would
be a isafe .thing, whenever a college is established
that the Government of India should be consulted.

20810. As a question not of finance, but of policy ?
—Both as a question of finance and of policy.

20811. With regard to the question o,f the power
of appointment and selection to posts, have you all
the powers which are necessary ?—Yes.

20812. You say that it is not infrequent for a
boy punished by a master to appeal to the head
master or to the committee, or to the Inspecting
Officer of the department ? In that case what form
does the punishment take?—He might be whipped
or given some form of imposition, or he might be
degraded—that would be the form of punishment—
or again he might be fined, and it is very common
in this country to have appeals from the decision of
the master in various cases.

20813. Then whatever your opinion may be upon
the general question of appeal, you think that the
right of a boy to appeal from the punishment of a
master ought to be limited ?_It ought to be almost
abolished. It causes a considerable amount of
trouble, and it is most deleterious to the discipline
of the schools.




ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 67

20814. Might something fee done in the way of
extending the powers of District and Local Boards ?
—Yes.

20815. You think it would fee desirable, but that
there are difficulties in the way of such reforms ?—
There would be very grave difficulties. I should
like to see their powers extended, but I am very
doubtful as to how it could fee done.

20816. .Is that because there is not a sufficiently
good class of men resident in the municipality, or
on a District Board who are >fit to fee entrusted with
larger powers ?—I would not say it is so much
owing to that, but there is an extraordinary in-
difference on these Local Bodies, at least as to
educational matters. I know nothing about matters
other than educational, but as regards educational
matters they are indifferent.

20817. Do you fear that if complete autonomy
was given to them their indifference would con-
tinue, and that your educational work would fee
retarded?—I fear it might be.

20818. Are you at the present moment forcing
education on districts and municipalities against

) their wish?—Not, I think, against their wish.

We are giving large sums of money to District
Boards over and above that which they received
before from provincial revenues for sipecial pur-
poses, and we are laying down a certain amount of
general rough policy. There is a great deal of
drudgery connected with the 'giving out of this
money, such as the acquisition of lands and the
management and construction of buildings, and so
on, and I fail to see the hand of the Board in any
of these things. It is the (Collector, as Chairman,
who does these things.

20819. You have not answered my question,
which was whether you are forcing education upon
these District Boards and municipalities against
their wish?—I do not think so. Do you mean

\ that we are forcing the management of education in

J general upon them against their wish, or that we

t are simply giving them more education than they

f are capable of managinJg?

20820. I want to know whether your policy is
against the wish of the people w’ho live in these
districts ?—I do not think so at all.

20821. It is not so much they are unwilling but
that they do not care whether it is there or not?—
They do not seem to care whether it is there or not,
possibly because the Boards mostly deal with
primary education, and consist of men who do not
care about primary education.

20822. Would they like to see some improvement
in secondary education ?—In secondary education
they would take more interest, no doubt, and if

\ they had to do with high schools they would take a

j keen interest.

20823. But in the primary education which leads
up to the high schools they take no interest?—
They take absolutely no interest.

20824. (Sir Steyning JEdgerley.) When you came
to Jabbalpore had you any duties outside your own
college ?—No.

20825. Could everybody inside that college speak
English fairly freely?—Yes.

20826. And the subjects which you taught were
the subjects which you had been used to teach in
England?—Yes. m

20827. You were familiar with the administration
of an educational institution?—I was unfamiliar
with it perhaps under Indian conditions—that I
had to learn, no doubt.

20828. But still the difficulty was not so great as
it sounds?—No.

20829. Have you ever found provincial Govern-
ments at all unwilling to take up schemes which
you may have thought should have priority ?—No.

20830. Have you ever felt that the backing of the
Director-General was useful as regards any disin-
clination of the Local Government to do what you
wanted?—I cannot say that I have, because the
occasion has not arisen, but I can imagine that it
would be very useful.

33289

20831. Were you able to spend your special
grants on primary education ?—-Fairly, though we 77e Sharp,
have not attempted .to spend them fully. ----

20832. Are two of the main things in improving ®
primary education the improvement of the inspec-
tion and the improvement of the normal schools ?—

Those are two things.

20833. As to both those would you have to go to
the Government of India for sanction?—With re-
gard to inspection, certainly ; with regard to normal
schools, not.

20834. You would have nobody in a normal school
in receipt of pay over Its. 250 ?—No.

20835. You complain of the difficulty in getting
European stores and so forth owing to the system
of indent—does that cause delay ?—It causes enor-
mous delay.

20836. Are the stores when you get them satis-
factory ?—tSo far as I know, they are quite satisfac-
tory.

20837. You suggest that the Director of Public
Instruction should be an Under-Secretary to Gov-
ernment ; how would you work that ?—He would
be in unofficial communication with the Chief
Secretary ; he would fee able to put his schemes
straight to the Chief Secretary.

20838. Should there be only one office ?—It
would be necessary for the Chief Secretary to have
a small number of educational clerks.

20839. But you would not bring the whole of your
office into the Secretariat ?—'The present Secretariat
education clerks and my office might be combined—
that would be one scheme, but another would be for
the Chief Secretary to retain his staff. It was
rather in my mind that the Chief Secretary should
retain a small staff or clerks to deal with educa-
tional matters separately from my own.

20840. Then you would not amalgamate the
offices ?—It would fee probably better not to do so.

20841. Is there not a model, perhaps, in the
Irrigation Department of the (Government of India
where they have an inspector who travels and deals
with the cases submitted to- him ; do you think
that would fee a suitable plan for educational work,
so that most of the routine would pass in the
office, and only the big cases would come to the
expert Under-Secretary ; or would you like-to see
the whole of the details come to him?—I -do not
say the whole of the details, but as much as pos-
sible.

20842. Would your duties remain exactly as they
are at present?—My duties would 'be precisely as
they are now.

20843. All that it means then is that you would
have more direct access to the Chief Secretary?—

That would be all.

20844. And you would see the notes which might
have been put u,p dealing with precedents and so
forth in the Secretariat?—-Yes.

20845. Would that be necessary, except in large
matters ?—No.

20846. One witness istated that all share in educa-
tion has been taken from the District Magistrate ;
is that accurate ?—No. It -was laid down in Bengal
that the District Magistrate had a great deal -to do
with primary education, but very little to do with
secondary education. As regards secondary educa-
tion he has been rather divorced from it with
perhaps bad results, but as regards primary educa-
tion he has -a great deal to do with it especially in
his capacity as Chairman of the District Board.

20847. But it is more or less true as regards
secondary education?—As regards secondary educa-
tion it is more or less true.

20848. (Mr. Meyer.) You have served till lately
in the Central Provinces?—Yes.

20849. Is there any salient difference as_ between
the Central Provinces and Eastern Bengal in regard
to the powers of the Director of Public Instruction ?

—I should say not.

20850. Is the division of educational functions as
between Government and local foodies much the
same in both?—-Yes

I 2


68

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Mr.

H. Sharp.
s8 jari., 1908.7

â–  s

20851. Are primary schools dealt with-by District
Boards and municipalities in this province ?—
Mainly yes.

20852. Are there any important exceptions?—No,
there are no important exceptions.

20853. Does that apply to girls’ schools as well as
to 'boys’ schools?—(Some of the girls’ schools would
be exceptions.

20851. Taking the .schools that the Boards deal
with, they are mainly /aided private schools ?—The
systems differ again in Eastern Bengal and Assam ;
in Eastern Bengal the primary /schools are aided by
the Boards ; they are private institutions aided by
the Boards ; in Assam they are Board schools.

20855. Taking Eastern Bengal you have a great
number of patshala schools. Who has the selection
as to which of these schools shall be aided from
the funds of the Board and which shall not?—The
selection lies with the Board itself and the Board
is advised by the Educational Committee ; the
deputy inspector is a member of that committee,
and the committee generally accepts his recom-
mendations.

'20856. The Educational Committee is a sub-com-
mittee of members of the District Board appointed
to deal with educational matters and subordinate
to the Board as a whole?—Yes.

20857. Is the deputy inspector the predominant
member?—I should not
20858. You have assistant inspectors and sub-
inspectors ?—Yes.

20859. Who is the man who actually goes round
and sees that .such and such a patshala is a good
one, and says that you /should aid this school and
that you should not aid the other?—In the case
of patshala it would be largely the sub-inspector
who would have to report to the deputy inspector
on the matter.

20860. Does the deputy inspector place the papers
before the Education Committee of the District
Board?—Yes.

20861. Have the Local Boards anything to do
with these matters ?—No.

20862. It has been represented that as a matter
of fact it amounts to this that the District Boards
pay and the local educational -authority select the
schools which have to be aided and the extent of
the aid—is that so ?—That is largely so.

20863. And that the members of the Board do
not, as a matter of fact, depart from the recom-
mendations of the educational authorities?—No,
they accept them.

20864. Is it an advantage to have the Local
Boards dissociated from primary education ? — In
Eastern Bengal I should perhaps say it is an advan-
tage that education should be centred in the
District Board, because the control over the Local
Boards in Eastern Bengal is not quite of the same
kind as it is in Assam.

20865. Whose is the control?—By Government.

20866. Have not the Local Board, in Eastern
Bengal, a double check on them ? They are under
the control of the District Board in the first in-
stance, and of the Government in the second?—
I believe it is a fact that in Eastern Bengal the
Chairman need not be ex-officio an official.

20867. And for that reason do you consider that
the Local Board is not an efficient instrument of
education?—I would not say it is not an efficient
instrument, but it would be safer to leave the
matter to the District Board.

20868. When it comes to dealing with grants to
schools, does not a great deal depend on -the local
knowledge possessed by the members of the schools
in question?—Yes.

20869. In that case is there likely to be mere of
that local knowledge in the Local Board or in the
District Beard dealing with the whole district?—
In the Local Board.

20870. Have the municipalities largely non-official
Chairmen ?—Yes.

20871. Is -their position much the same as that
of a District Board with regard to primary educa-
tion—do they make grants?—Yes.

20872. Do you find the fact of their having non-
official Chairmen makes their grants worse than
those of a District Beard?—Except that they do
very little indeed for education, I should not say
it is worse.

20873. You say that in Assam the primary
system is that of Board schools. Who set up those
schools?—Sir Bampfylde Fuller.

20874. Was that quite a new departure?—Yes.

20875. Who settles whether a school is to be
established or not?—The Local Board. There is
no District Board.

20876. Who settles what shall be spent on the
school building ,t'he number of teachers, and what
shall be paid?—It is all laid down by rule.

20877. Is it laid down that if there are 50 boys
there may be so many teachers with such and such
pay, and if there are 100 boys there may be so
many teachers with such and such pay?—If there
were 50 or 100 boys in such and such classes, it
depends on classification as well as numbers.

20878. Then the Beards have practically no
choice?—No.

20879. They cannot say, “ This school is working
satisfactorily, we should like another teacher cf
two,” as long as the manual says, “You can only
have four teachers,” you cannot have six?-—Yes.

20880. Is that desirable or necessary?—I think
it is desirable ; it works well.

20881. This is pretty strong centralisation?—Yes.

20882. In the matter of secondary education, do
the local bodies have much to do with it?—The local
bodies do aid middle schools—English and ver-
nacular to a large extent.

20883. Is the position as regards their control;
roughly speaking, the same as it is in the case
of primary schools ?—As regards aid, the rules
rather differ in the two parts of the province. In
Assam the giving of aid to, or the withdrawing of
aid from, a vernacular school has to go before the
inspector before the Board can carry it out ; if the
school is an English-teaching school it has to come
before the Director.

20884. The Board cannot deal with it itself ?—The
Board cannot deal with it absolutely itself ; it is
bound to take the views of the Education Depart-
ment.

20885. And it can on no account run counter to
them ?—There is a possibility of appeal if they go
counter.

20886. In Eastern Bengal what is the practice ?—
In Eastern Bengal the practice is not so rigid.

20887. Does the Education Committee of the Dis-
trict Board there deal with secondary schools as
well as primary schools?—Yes.

20888. And the position is much the same?—-No,
there are not the same rules governing the grants
there ; the control of the Board is rather exercised
through the presence of the deputy inspector on
the Education Committee.

20889. Do you mean that the District Board has
larger latitude in the matter of grants to secondary
schools than the Local Board in Assam has as to
primary schools, and is less tied up with regard to
the departmental code?—It is a little less tied up.

20890. It was put by one witness that the Local
Boards in Assam were very hard up and might as
well be relieved of education work—what would be
your view upon that ?—I am not in a position to say
whether they are very hard up or not; they have
supported primary education and also secondary
education to .some extent for a long time, but some
of them do occasionally grumble.

20891. May I put it in this way—that the
Government intervenes so much in the matter, and
they are so bound by departmental codes and
manuals, that it might be as well to recognise the
facts and let the Government take over the direct






69

ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

management. Do you think that that 4s a-legiti-
mate argument?—It is a legitimate argument, but,
as it is, it would be better to leave things as they
are because it is at least an attempt to get the
people interested in these matters.

20892. Suppose you had a Board that said, “ We
should be very glad to spend more on education,
and take some interest in education, if you would
give us a little more discretion and would not bind
us by such hard-and-fast rules ” ; if you had the
power of deciding the matter, what would you say
to such a Board ?—In the case of a single Board it
would be a most interesting experiment.

20893. But not' in the case of half a dozen
Boards ?—I should select one -and make the experi-
ment with it.

20894. Supposing the experiment answered,
would you be prepared to relax matters as to other
Boards?—Subject to the consideration that there
are Boards and Boards, and what would hold in
one district need not necessarily hold in another.
If such a matter were ever introduced, it would
have to be introduced very gradually.

20895. Your position would be that efficiency of
education must take the first place and rank above
any such matter as the training of the people in
Local Self-Government?—Yes.

20896. You speak of the influence of the Calcutta
University involving the Government in large
responsibilities and you mentioned regulations
sanctioned by the Government of India ; the Cal-
cutta University is a semi-autonomous body, which
frames its own regulations, with the sanction of
the Government of India ?—Yes.

20897. Therefore it is not a matter of direct con-
trol by the Government of - India but it is a matter
of control by the Calcutta University ?—Yes.

20898. And the object of the Calcutta University
in making these regulations was to raise the quality
of the . colleges ?—Yes.

20899. Then you say, “ This will involve us in
large expenditure ”—what is your objection ? The
objection is not an objection to expenditure but
an objection to the disposition of affairs, and that
we have an independent body dictating enormous
improvements to us. It may be impossible for the
Finance Department to provide the money which
would allow of those improvements, in which case
we might be brought to a very serious deadlock.

20900. But are you not represented on the Senate
of the Calcutta University?—This province has
three members on the Senate, but no one on the
Syndicate.

20901. Therefore it is really a question whether
this province is properly represented on the govern-
ing body of the Calcutta University?—I should say
that is another question.

20902. And possibly whether you should not have
a University of your own ?—Yes.

20903. You say that the Government of India
should wait until the provincial Government have
schemes developed before making grants. Let us
take it that one year the Government happens to
be rich, and three or four provinces had educa-
tional schemes for the development of which they
got the money, but in the next few years the
Government might not be so well off, and others
might not ibe able to get anything. Would that
not ibe a grievance ?—It would, but what I imagine
would happen would be that the Government of
India would ask Local Governments to formulate
schemes to be ready for a year when money was
plentiful.

20904. In the circumstances which have occurred
is there anything to prevent a Local Government
saying to the Government of India, “ We are much
obliged for what you have given us, but we are not
prepared to spend it just yet, although we assure
you we will make up the expenditure a few years
hence ” ?—No ; such a thing might happen.

20905. Might not the provincial Government try
that course?—Yes.

20906. - The last witness told us that he thought
that an imperial centralized European Schools Code
was desirable ; is that your opinion?—Yes.

20907. Is there a fundamental difference between
European schools and other schools?—Yes.

20908. It has been alleged that there is inter-
ference on the part of the Government of India
(with the cadre and the appointments in the Pro-
vincial and Subordinate Educational Services.
Apart from the financial rules which require you
to come up for sanction for appointments of over
Hs. 250 and. sort over the personnel and grading?—As regards
the personnel, I know of no instance of such con-
trol, but as regards the cadre, there is very great
control in the way, for instance, of having eight
persons in one grade and ten in the next.

20909. Is that due to the financial rules ?—I only
know that cadres are generally submitted not merely
â– to the Government of India, but also to the Secre-
tary of State, and they are considered as abso-
lutely drawn up, and cannot be changed until one
’goes up again.

20910. You have been asked about the creation
of a college ; a first grade college would require the
appointment of at least one officer of the Indian
Educational Service ?—Certainly.

20911. That officer’s salary, and his recruitment
also, would require the sanction, not merely of the
Government of India, but of the Secretary of State?
Yes.

20912. Is it inevitable, when the Government of
India and the Secretary of State are asked to
sanction new officers for a college, that they should
have to consider whether a new college is really
necessary ?—Yes.

20943. You do not think they could discriminate
and isay, “ The Local Government says there is a
necessity for a new college ; now let us give them
the officers ” ; would that be a poissible position ?—
No.

20914. (Mr. Hichens.) Do you say that the Gov-
ernment of India lay down the broad principles and
leave it to the • provincial Governments to apply
those principles as local conditions demand?—Yes.

20915. Are they to be found in any specific code
or volume ?—No. For instance, when the Govern-
ment of India gives a special grant for primary
education it lays down generally on what items of
expenditure the money is to be spent; it says it is
to be expended on the training of teachers, on
increasing the training staff, or in increasing the
number of .schools. It would say that on each
occasion on which a special (grant was given.

20916. Is the tendency for these rules to be laid
down by the Government of India on the increase?
—No, I have not noticed it.

20917. Do you find that the application of these
principles by the Government of India leads to
their going into questions in minute detail—for
example, taking the case of a college—would they
go into that in the minutest detail?—They would
probably go into that in detail.

20918. As a matter of fact is the tendency for
detailed enquiry on the (part of the Government of
India on the increase or decrease ?—I have not had
long enough experience to say that; I have only
been Director for two years.

20919. But a priori would you say the tendency
is for enquiry to be more detailed on the part of
the Government of India?—No, I think not.

20920. With regard to the policy of the provin-
cial Government in connection with education, is
the tendency to keep it more and more in the
hands of the provincial Government or to devolve
it to the authorities below it?—I have not noticed
any tendency to take more power into the hands of
the Local Governments.

20921. For example, are the manuals altered
from time to time in the sense of tightening up
or in the sense of relaxation?—I think possibly
towards tightening up.

Mr.

II. Sharp.

8 Jan., 1908.


70

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Mr.

H. Sharp.

8 t/an., 1908.

20922. Sc that cn the whole the tendency would
he possibly to get more and more power into the
hands of the Local Government?—Yes.

20923. Do you view that tendency with satisfac-
tion ?—No.

20924. Do you think steps should be taken to
relax the control rather than to tighten it ?—I
think so.

20925. (Mr. Dutt.) Gazetted Officers of the Edu-
cation Department are appointed, and orders as to
their transfer and so on are passed by Govern-
ment. Is that a desirable arrangement?—Yes.

20926. Do you know of any Local Board in
Eastern Bengal of which the (Chairman is a non-
official ?—No, I do not, because I have no dealings
whatever with Local Boards in Eastern Bengal. In
Assam there is certainly not.

20927. Has a District Board power to withdraw
grants from any secondary .school if it . finds the
working unsatisfactory ?—It can only withdraw a
grant in the case of a middle vernacular school with
the sanction of the inspector, and in the case of a
middle English school with the sanction, of the
Director of Public Instruction—I am speaking now
of Assam ; in Eastern Bengal there are not. the
same precise rules, and it could withdraw either
grant.

20928. On its own authority or with the sanction
of the inspector or Director of Public Instruction ?—
It could withdraw a grant on its own authority.

20929. With regard to primary schools also, do
District Boards withdraw grants on their own
authority ?—Yes.

20930. Are sub-inspectors of schools paid by the
Educational Department or by the District Boards
in Eastern Bengal?—At present in Eastern Bengal
some of them are paid by the Boards and some of
them are paid from provincial funds. 'Some years
ago the sub-inspectors in Bengal were all handed
over to the (Boards, and their pay was made a
charge on the Boards. Decently the Secretary of
State sanctioned an increase of the subordinate
inspecting agency, and the appointments we had
made to the cadre, which were sanctioned by the
Secretary of State, are paid .from provincial re-
venues.

20931. Would it be a good arrangement if you
handed that money over to the Board so as to
have all servants of the Board paid by the Board?—
It would be a good thing if we had one or the other
system ; in fact we are at present trying to get it,
because the present system is slightly anomalous.
It would be better that the inspecting agency should
be paid by, and under the control of, the Education
Department and not under the control of the
Boards. That has actually been done in Bengal.

20832. In that case would the District Boards
have sufficient control over these sub-inspectors?—
Yes, I think so.

20933. Supposing they were not satisfied with the
inspection work of a sub-inspector, how could they
enforce proper work?—The Chairman of the Board
would report the matter to the inspector.

20934. And get orders from the inspector?—It is
a matter that probably would have to be done
more or less unofficially.

20935. Anyhow, the order would have to be
passed by the inspector and not by the District
Board or the Chairman of the District Board?—In
that case it would have to be passed by the in-
spector or by the Director, if the position of the
officer demanded it.

20936. Would that be a satisfactory arrangement ?
—Yes-.

20937. You do not think that the whole control
of sub-inspectors to District Boards would lead to
better results?—No.

20938. Do you ever hold conferences of Educa-
tional Officers of the whole province, conferences of
inspectors and deputy inspectors?—Yes. I have
conferences of inspectors annually, and conferences
of deputy inspectors are held from time to time, at
no fixed intervals, by the inspectors within their
circles.

20939. Do you sometimes invite non-official gen-
tlemen to attend these conferences, men who take
any interest in education?—Yes.

20940. Do you sometimes get valuable suggestions
from them ?—Yes.

20941. You have said that personal conferences
at times between Heads of Departments and Secre-
taries would be beneficial ; are not such conferences
held occasionally between yourself and the Educa-
tional Secretary, for instance?—Certainly. But I
should like them to be more a matter of rule than
a matter of chance.

20942. But whenever you want you can talk over
matters with the Educational Secretary ?—Yes.

20943. I do not exactly see then how matters are
delayed in the Educational Department by want of
opportunity to talk over things with the Secretary?
—Not from want of opportunity of talking over
things, but it would be well if unofficial communi-
cations were recognised more than they are at
present. If the Secretary in charge of educational
affairs were to become cognisant of a matter
earlier, and looked into it at an earlier stage than
he does now, a good deal of delay would be
avoided.

20944. That is, of course, a matter of detail,
which could be settled between yourself and the
Secretary of the Education Department?—Yes.

^0945. (Sir Frederic Lely.) Even if the people
were very keen as to education would you be in-
clined to hand over the whole management, even
of the primary schools, to them?—No.

20946. Do you say that as an experiment you
would be inclined to hand over the whole manage-
ment, or did you mean only partial management?
—I suggested, as an experiment, that it would be
interesting to hand over some control, but I have
not considered whether it would be whole control
or partial control.

20947. If it was held that assistance would be
useful in the matter of schools, would it not be
better that it should take the form of local com-
mittees rather than action by the Board?—That
would depend very much on the constitution of
the local committees.

20948. With a representative committee of
parents and ratepayers of a place would you not
get more real assistance than from a Board?—Yes,
perhaps one would.

20949. Taking the extreme case of a technical
school, would it be a fair burden to lay on any
popular body to expect them to establish it and
work it?—No.

20950. And what is true of a technical school is
partly true with regard to every school?—Yes.

20951. Would an ideal arrangement be to allot
to a Local or a District Board the location of a
school and distribution of a grant of money, and
to the department the control of education strictly
so called, and to a local committee all the other
details of general management?—That is a matter
which I should like to consider in detail before
pronouncing an opinion upon it.

20952. Would not points of general management,
such as the hours of attendance, the giving of
prizes, fixing holidays and the general every day
management of schools, be more fitly assigned to a
local school committee?—Yes, those matters might
be assigned to a school committee provided they
do not determine the authority of the headmaster,
leaving the art of education to the experts of the
department.

20953. Are there as a matter of fact committees
connected with all the schools of the province?—
Not with all of them.

20954. Would it not be well that there should
be?—I think it would be very well that there
should be, and they are, as a matter of fact, being
created.

20955. What is the arrangement with regard to
the village school houses?—In the case of aided
primary schools nothing is done. In the case of
Board schools in Assam the usual procedure is for


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

71

the Board to allot a certain amount of money to
each village school that requires a building, and
the villagers willingly find the rest either in money
or in kind; generally in kind.

20956. Do they build the school themselves?—
Yes.

20957. Do you supply any large proportion of
the cost as a rule ?—No; it is hard to frame any
rule in the matter because it would vary from
Board to Board, but the kind of thing that hap-
pens in Assam is that when a school has to be built
the Board gives Rs. 30 or Rs. 40 to the villagers,
and they find another Rs. 40 or Rs. 50; the cost
of the school being about Rs. 90 and not more,
material being very cheap. In Eastern Bengal last
year I have devoted a considerable amount of
money for the erection of schools, and those I
propose to be Board schools and not aided schools.

20958. When once they are built are the villagers
responsible for maintaining them?—In Assam the
villagers do maintain the schools willingly, but in
Eastern Bengal they will not ordinarily guarantee
to maintain them.

20959. Is Assam then the villagers’ responsibility
with regard to schools is carried out rather
thoroughly?—It is carried out thoroughly and is
successful.

Mr. J. C. Jack was

20964. (Chairman.) You are the .Settlement
Officer in Backargunj and Faridpur?—Yes.

The power to appoint all-India 'Commissions
should rest with the Government of India; but
action on the recommendation of such Commis-
sions should be left entirely to the (Local Govern-
ment.

In the old province, the area was so large that
both Board and Commissioners could be employed
with advantage. In the new province (trans-
ferred districts), I see no utility in Commissioners.
Their divisions are purely artificial and they are
kings whose subjects are unconscious of their exist-
ence. Their influence in their divisions is quite
incommensurate with their position, and owing to
the permanent settlement, revenue work is so light
that in any case they appear to be an unnecessary
wheel in the machine. At present the Board have
little work; hence if they handed on their existing
powers to the Commissioners, they would be in a
curious position. (Commissioners of late rarely
tour. A Commissioner handing on some of his
direct powers should instead spend one month con-
tinuously in each district, see all classes readily,
examine the administration of the past year and
enter a report. District Officers would act simi-
larly in case of .Sub-^Divisional Officers. As re-
gards the powers of the District (Magistrate a
resident Executive Officer in each thana is the
ideal reform, relieving the District Officers, en-
suring trustworthy local information at first hand
and breaking the power of the local police in
oppression. This is a reform which would have
far-reaching effects and be in the true spirit of
decentralization.

It is very desirable to give Commissioners con-
trol over expenditure on buildings and repairs in
their areas. At present control is with the Public
Works Department and there is much waste. Con-
trol might be given in preference to local officers
and the duties of the Public Works Department
Officer limited to an annual criticism on the quality
of each work undertaken and its cost.

A second appeal should never be allowed, except
on fresh evidence, while a subordinate officer should
be given an opportunity of reconsidering his deci-
sion before reversal on appeal. Thirdly, the Col-
lector’s order should be final in all cases of menial
establishments, but on formal charges and with full
reasons.

The existing obstacles to personal contact with
the people are several: those usually urged are
overwork, and ignorance of the vernacular. I
think the influence of overwork is exaggerated.
In any case, unless there is a knowledge of the
vernacular, no opportunities for personal contact

20960. You say that the Collector has been
divorced from secondary education. Can you sug-
gest any steps by which he may be more closely
associated with it?—I think the Collector should
be the Chairman of the School Committee of the
district headquarters schools.

20961. (Chairman.) We were told in Bengal that
there was practically a great reluctance on the
part of the Secretary to the Local Government who
dealt with educational matters to discuss schemes
prepared in the Education Department before they
were officially submitted to him; have you found
any such reluctance in this province?—No. It is
more a matter of time and opportunity than any-
thing else.

20962. Do you find that if you want to save a
great deal of formal discussion, you can go to the
Local Government and discuss matters as much as
you wish informally?—'Subject to time, and also
subject to one’s touring arrangements, that can be
done.

20963. And is that practically how you settle
most of your business ?—I cannot say that it is ; at
present, with a (Special Secretary in charge of
educational affairs much of the business can be
done quite unofficially, and in fact we are adopt-
ing that system, and it no doubt expedites matters.

(The witness withdrew.)

called and examined.

will be utilised. In this province hardly any officer
possesses a sufficient knowledge of the vernacular,
for which the system of training junior officers is
to blame. There is a great deal of soreness
amongst junior officers on this head, as the present
system cuts them off entirely from any real know-
ledge of the vernacular. In other provinces a
better system yields far better results. There are
also some other obstacles. Thus, contact at head-
quarters is a poor substitute for a close touch with
all parts of the district, yet District Officers have
been very much tied to headquarters by correspond-
ence with Commissioners and the Secretariat.
Since all share in the control of education has been
taken from the District Magistrate, he has been
deprived of a great occasion for intercourse with
influential men of the locality. In Eastern Ben-
gal the methods of travelling are also an obstacle.
The new travelling allowance rules (steam launch)
are unjust and tend very much to increase the
evil. There is a complete absence also of suitable
inspection bungalows. In Eastern Bengal the Dis-
trict Officer is an abstraction and not a personality,
the causes of which are all ultimately traceable to
the central authority.

Either an increase in the administrative staff or
a division of the existing administrative charges s
emphatically required. A reduction in the area
of districts is preferable both for the convenience
of the population and for the personal contact of
Executive Officers with the people. No additional
expense is ultimately involved, if sufficient land is
taken up for the headquarters. Several sub-
divisions are also too large.

Transfers are still too frequent, but are less so
than formerly. If it be held that accepting the
existing rules regarding leave and accepting the
existing special appointments, the object of a
cadre in the province is to provide districts with
officers, who shall not be frequently transferred,
then the calculation of superior appointments in
the cadre is erroneous and really responsible for
frequent transfers.

I am in favour of granting complete self-govern-
ment with powers of borrowing, loans however to
require the sanction of Government. In other
respects the municipal activity of the Local Govern-
ment should he confined to advice. In place of
Government control, I would form a very strong
Audit Department in each province, but indepen-
dent of the Local ’Government which would make
an annual audit of all municipal offices and have
extensive powers to hold Municipal Commissioners
personally responsible (individually and collec-
tively) for malversation and waste. I suggest also
the formation of a Ratepayers’ Association in each

Mr.

H. Sharp.

8 Jan., 1908.

Mr.

J. C. Jack.

8 Jan., 1908.


72 MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Mr.

J, C.Jacli,

8 Jan., 1908.

municipality with the duty of aiding the Audit
Officers. The Audit Department to have similar
powers with regard to District Boards, Wards’
estates and Trust Funds.

Local Boards and village unions are chiefly a
failure. I suggest thana Boards as a better unit.
They should get more money to spend.

I am in favour of developing District Boards
and making them an advisory as well as adminis-
trative body, relieving them largely of control
from above, but subjecting them to strict audit.

I would include in each Council all gazetted officers
in the district; elected representatives (resident) of
each thana ; representatives of each municipality ;
nominees of Government. I would give them the
right of interpolation, except in regard to the
grievances of individual Government servants ; the
control of education in the district ; the right of
discussing the draft Bills of Government before
introduction into the Legislative 'Council; possibly
the control of panchayati unions and chaukidars.

There is grave danger of abuse in developing the
powers of village communities. The experiment
should be tried in certain areas and very cautiously.
There is great difference between district and dis-
trict in village conditions. .

The administrative powers of the Director of
Public Instruction and his department are wholly
evil. Colleges may remain under his control, but
as regards secondary and primary education, his
duties should be purely to examine, to inspect and
to give advice.

A great deal of unnecessary work is now thrown
upon District Officers by the failure to pass small
amending Acts specially in land and revenue legis-
lation. Many Acts are very old and their pro-
cedure cumbersome. In other cases, where a
record-of-rights has been prepared, many Acts could
be much simplified. Such amending Acts would
rouse no opposition, and it appears to me inexplic-
able that they have not been previously introduced.

20965. Has most of your time in India been spent
in settlement work?—Yes.

20966. And that particular class of work during
the last thirty months has kept you twenty-two
months in camp?—Yes.

20067. Has that given you a very good oppor-
tunity of seeing the people and getting into pretty
clo'Se touch with them?—Yes.

20068. Your duties as a Settlement Officer include
the preparation of record-of-rights and agricultural
i nform ation ?—Yes.

20060. You is ay that there is a good deal of wh at
you term “ uneasy uniformity ” in the government
of this province?—Yes, there is a certain amount
of it.

20070. In what particular direction?—-It was in
connection with the orders of the Police Commis-
sion, and particularly with regard pay. All sub-inspectors of all the provinces were
to get the same pay. But the object with which
that pay was given was not brought about in
Bengal, and is never likely to be, because the pay
is too low for -the type of men required.

20071. Therefore, so far as your experience in
this particular province goes, that has hit you hard ?
—Yes, that'was vital, because the whole of the
police administration depends on the grade of men
you -get as sub-inspectors.

20072. You see no particular use in having Com-
missioners ?—I only meant that to apply to Eastern
Bengal. I do not go so far as to say that there
is no use for them, but they are not so useful there
as in other parts of the country.

20073. What kind of officer would you like to see
substituted for them?—I would like to see the
Board of Revenue either exercising all their powers,
or the Commissioners exercising nearly all the
powers of the Board.

20074. You think either the Commissioners or
the Board of Revenue are superfluous?—Yes.

20075. (Speaking generally, which would you pre-
fer to retain, if you had .the power to get rid of one?
'—The Board on the whole.

20076. You say that the Commissioners very
rarely appear now, is that your experience?—In my
part of the country, during the last isix years, I
have seldom seen a Commissioner on tour ; in fact
during the whole of my time I have only seen him
once, and in most districts he does not tour much.

20077. Do the members of the Board of Revenue
tour much in this province?—They tour more than
the Commissioners do according to my experience.

20978. Do you think that it is because you have
happened to miss the Commissioner, or that he has
not been on tour at all?—I think it is chiefly that
he has not toured very much.

20979. Getting rid of the 'Commissioners would
mean increase of power and responsibility on the
District Officers ?—Yes.

20080. And you would give them a very sub-
stantial increase of powers?—Yes, I think so.

20981. Would you establish an Executive Officer
in each thana—Yes.

20982. Of what grade—of an Assistant Collector ?
—Yes, or a Deputy Magistrate ?

20983. Would you limit the existing right of
personal appeal ?—I think so, considerably.

20984. Would that not cause a certain amount
of discontent among the officers ?—It would at first,
but not finally.

20085. To whom would you give the power of
dismissing an Assistant Collector? — I was not
thinking of men so high up as that; but of the
lower grade of 'Government officials.

20086. Then to discharge a kanungo?—I would
allow one appeal from the authority originally try-
ing the case.

20987. Would that appeal be on a question of fact
only?—No, it should be on all questions/

20088. Would that apply to officers below the
pay of Rs. 25 or something of that sort ?—A kanungo
gets Rs. 100.

20080. Then would you apply it to all officers in
receipt of a hundred rupees or less?—Yes, I have
had to deal with hundreds of kanungos getting
Rs. 100, and for two years I have been able to
dismiss them without any appeal at all, but, practi-
cally speaking, none are dismissed ; the mere fact
that there is such a power makes them behave very
much better than Collector’s kanungos do, because
the Collector cannot dismiss them without an
appeal right up to Government.

20990. Are you eligible by length of service to
act as a Collector?—I acted as a Collector years
ago, but I am not eligible for two or three years
yet to be a Collector.

20991. Then What happens is that a Settlement
Officer, because he is a Settlement Officer, can
practically do things which a senior man cannot?
—Yes.

20092. Might the discretion which is entrusted
to you as a Settlement Officer be perfectly well
given to you as an Executive Officer?—Yes.

20993. Have you a considerable knowledge of
the vernacular ?—-I have a moderate knowledge,
though I am not a linguist.

20904. Do you think most of your brother officers
in the Service do not get a fair opportunity of
acquiring a good knowledge of the vernacular?—
Certainly.

20905. And they have not got it in practice?—
No, very few of them can speak Bengali.

20906. Is that largely the result of the system of
training junior officers?—When a junior officer—a
Civilian—comes to the country he spends the first
year at headquarters deciding petty cases and
generally assisting the Magistrate, and during the
whole of that time he meets nobody but Bengalis
who speak English, so that he gets no opportunity
at*-all of talking Bengali, After that he passes his
departmental examination and is sent to a sub-
division where his time- is at once occupied, and
he gets no chance of learning the language at all.




ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 73

S:-r^*s£JsS4aS3sS



20997. What you would recommend as an ideal
system ?—Young officers ought to be sent to settle-
ment work to start with.

20998. Are there enough officers employed on
settlement work to deal with all the young officers
who come out?—I do not mean that they should
actually do the work of a settlement, because they
need a good deal of knowledge for that, but I mean
that they should be attached to a settlement camp
for training.

20999. Would you have three or four of these
young officers attached to a Settlement Officer?—
Yes, and we could absorb them all. We take up
1,600 square miles each year, and we could put
them out to different parts. They must then learn
the language, or they would not be able to get on
aL all.

21000. Would not that interfere very much with
the work?—-Very much less than under the present
system, because we only get them for two months
now, and we have to .make a special course for them
which gives us a lot of trouble.

21001. Has the system of education as it at pre-
sent exists done a great deal to stop District Magis-
trates coming info to.uch with the people of their
districts ?—Yes. So I gather from what the people
in the districts themselves tell me. I have asked
respectable Bengali gentlemen, “ How is it you
knew the Magistrate so much better previously,’'
and their answer is in two out of three cases, “ The
Magistrate used to come and see about the school ;
he does not do it now, he has no occasion to do> so.”

21002. Is the suggestion that he might perhaps
be pulled up by the Education Department if he
did?—He might, of course.

21003. Would you like to see the powers of muni-
cipalities and Local Boards considerably extended ?
—Not of Local Boards, but municipalities.

21004. Would you not give that extension of
power to District Boards ?—Not to the same extent.

21005. Would you do anything in the way of
developing village Government?—T think that is
very dangerous. There is no village system in
Eastern Bengal, and if we put an officer down there
to represent Government, his duties would certainly
be inquisitorial.

21006. But supposing you went to the people of a
village and said, “ We will give you the right to
try small oases of petty assault and theft,” and
that sort of thing, would you not favour a system
which allowed that?—I should like to see it tried
experimentally first.

21007. I suppose you know the villages pretty
well, having been so much out in the district?—
Yes.

21008. Do you not think there are in most of
the larger villages people who would be of use in
that direction ?—Yes, I think there are, but it is
very difficult to find the particular men in any
village who would he trusted by their co-villagers
—that is the real trouble. If we could always be
certain of getting those men, it would he an excel-
lent system, but probably we would never get them,
because they are not the sort of people who would
come forward.

21009. Not even if you gave the District Officer
the power of selecting them ?—He has not the
time; I suppose in an ordinary district there would
be about 15,000 villages.

21010. So that practically the selection would
rest with them?—The Deputy Collector it might
be. If they had a thana Magistrate, he would be
a more or less trustworthy man.

21011. But who 'would select them under the
present system?—Under the present system I sup-
pose one of the Deputy Collectors would be deputed
to select them.

21012. Would he be practically the man who,
under a system of nomination, would select a vil-
lage panchayet?—Yes.

21013. (Mr. Hichens.) If the Board of Revenue
were substituted for Commissioners, would you give
the powers of the Commissioners to District

33289

Officers?—Not all of them. Some of them to the ^Jr.
Board. J\ C. Jack.

21014. So that the Board would have more ——

things to sanction, and therefore more work to do 8 Jan., 1908.
than it has to-day?—Yes.

21015. To-day it deals with five Commissioners,
but it would have to deal with 27 Collectors in-
stead?—’Yes.

21016. That would be a very formidable increase
in its work?—Yes, it would be somewhat formid-
able. .A great deal of the work of the Commis-
sioner now is of a very petty nature, and if it was
made over to the Collectors, I do not think the
residue would be so very formidable.

21017. But it would add to their work anyhow,
and there is a certain residuum which could not go
to the Collector; and in addition to that, if instead
of having to deal with five persons, they would
have to deal with 27, do you not think that would
overburden them altogether?—But nowadays al-
most all the work that comes to Commissioners
finally comes to the Board; it would only be get-
ting rid of an intermediate authority.

21018. But it comes to the Board boiled down?

—But very often the file becomes considerably
bigger before reaching the Board.

21019. In spite of the fact of having to deal
with 27 instead of 5 officers, in spite of the fact
that they would have to sanction certain things
which the Commissioners can deal with to-day, do
you think they would still be able to cope with the
work comfortably?—Yes, I think so.

21020. Am I to gather from that they have not
enough to do to-day?—I cannot say that.

21021. Do you think there would be much time
left for touring on the part of the Board of
Revenue ?—They only tour in the cold months now ;
that is, two or three months in the year, and they
would still have nine months at headquarters.

21022. You consider touring to be -an important
thing which ought to be increased if anything?—

Yes, certainly.

21023. Would there be much chance of increasing
the touring done by the Board of Revenue, if they
had the additional work which you suggest thrown
upon them?—That would be an objection, but it is
a question as to what amount of additional work it
would give them.

21024. Does a District Officer come more directly
into contact with the people than the officers at
headquarters?—Yes, certainly.

21025. Is he therefore more likely to find out
exactly what the people in the district want?—

Yes.

21026. Is the District Officer in practice in-
fluenced by local opinion?—Yes, I think so.

21027. Does he send his recommendations to
Government influenced by that?—Yes, to a certain
extent.

21028. Does Government support him, or are
they apt to stick to the strict letter of the law?—

They are a little apt to stick to the strict letter of
the law.

21029. iSo that from that point of view would
you say there is a certain amount of rigidity in
the Government?—Yes.

21030. (Mr. Dutt.) How long will your present
work take you?—The settlement of the Backar-
ganj is finished, and the work at iFaridpur will be
finished in about three years’ time.

21031. You spoke of employing Civilians gener-
ally in settlement work as likely to give them an
opportunity of learning the language and coming
into touch with the people. If no other districts
are taken up after the wrork is done at Backarganj
and Earidpur, will there be sufficient work in Ben-
gal to employ all the young Civilians?—I believe
there is a programme that will last about 20 years
with regard to the future settlements in this pro-
vince, district by district. I do not know whether
it is sanctioned.

21032. You have spoken of the desirability of
appointing a resident Executive Officer in each

K


74

MINVTBS OJ EVIDENCE:

Mr.

Jâ–  C. Jdc"k,
S Jan., 1908.

thana; that would be very expensive?—-No, I
do not think so; probably the present cadre is
almost sufficient to stand that.

21033. Backarganj has about 25 thanas?—It has
16 main thanas and 7 outposts.

21034. Then that would mean 23 Deputy Magis-
trates for those 23 thanas?—Yes, but we do not
call the outposts thanas.

21035. Then I will take it as 16. If you ap-
pointed 16 Deputy Magistrates, would not that
add largely to the expenditure?—I think there are
already 15 in the district besides some Sub-
Deputy 'Magistrates.

21036. .Would you take away many of those
fifteen if you appointed Deputy .Magistrates in the
thanas?—Yes, you could take away almost all.
The Deputy Magistrate in charge of the treasury
is the only essential at headquarters, and all the
others might be taken away.

21037. sCould the (Collector do with only one
Deputy Magistrate at headquarters?—One besides
the Treasury Officer.

21038. Would such a change bring the admin-
istration more into touch with the people in the
villages?—It would get rid of the sub-inspector of
police being the Head of the thana.

21039. You propose that the District Magistrate
should have some control over the Public Works
Department in his own district?—I think he might
be given power to deal with smaller works without
having anything to do with the .Public Works De-
partment; we have that power in the Settlement
Department where we do all our own works, and
we find that we work at about half the cost of the
Public Works Department.

21040. But he would require an engineer?—We
do not want any engineer.

21041. Are you referring to small works then?—
We spent Rs. 50,000 last year in works of about
Rs. 3,000 each.

21042. What would you propose with regard to
large works now done in a district by the Public
Works Department, buildings erected by Govern-
ment, not by the District Board ?—It is a question
of amount; I only referred to buildings which
present no engineering difficulties.

21043. In those matters you would allow the
District Magistrate or Collector some control over
the work of the Public Works Department?—Yes,

I would allow him to do it without having any
reference to the Public Works Department at all.

21044. Could a large work be done without the
advice of experts?—-I am referring to small works.
Large works could not possibly be done by the
District Magistrate.

21045. In the case of large works should the
District Magistrate have some control or super-
vision over the work of the Public Works Depart-
ment?—I do not see that it would be necessary.

21046. Do you know that the right of appeal has
been defined by a Bengal Circular of 1905?—No.

21047. You suggest the creation of Advisory
Councils, consisting of the 'Gazetted Officers in a
district, with elected representatives from each
thana and each municipality, and with nominees
of the Government. Would not that create a very
vast and unmanageable body?—It would be some-
what large. I suppose it would come to between
40 and 50 in most districts.

21048. If you included all Gazetted Officers and
so on, it might come to nearly 60 or 80. Could
the work be managed by a large body like that?—
Yes, I think so.

20149. You say that you would give them,
amongst other functions, some control over educa-
cation. Would not that bring them into collision
with the Education Department to some extent?
It might if the Education Department retain their
administrative functions.

21050. When you have formed such a Council,
would you be in favour of giving them a genera!

power of control over all local bodies in the dis-
trict, municipalities and Local Boards?—I do not
think I would give them any control over munici-
palities because that would lead to a very consider-
able friction at once.

21051. Would you have the Collector as Chairman
of the Council?—Yes.

2T052. With the Collector as Chairman, do you
think to allow the Advisory Council some control
over municipalities might lead to friction?—But
municipalities always quarrel with the District
Magistrate—he is the person they quarrel with—
therefore if he was Chairman of this Advisory
Council I do not see that it would make any
difference or that the work would proceed more
smoothly.

21053. But you think it would not be worse ?—It
would not be worse.

21054. Is it your experience that municipalities
are always quarrelling with District Magistrates?
—They are very likely to.

21055. But has that been your experience ?—Yes,

I think that it is my experience.

21056. In the case of any suggestions or instruc-
tions given by the District Magistrate, are muni-
cipalities likely to argue against them or do they
accept them as a matter of course?—»No, on the
contrary they rather refuse as a matter of course ;
if they know the Magistrate is in favour of a certain
course, in my experience, it is a great argument for
them to take the opposite course.

21057. Have you large experience with regard to
the work of municipalities ?—I have heard a great
deal about them in my districts, and that is what
I have been always told. They ask what the Magis-
trate thinks, and if he thinks one way they at
once think the other.

21058. You make that statement from. what you
have heard?—Yes, from what I have heard from
the Municipal Commissioners themselves.

21059. But not from your own experience of the
working of municipalities?—No, I have nothing to
do with the working of municipalities.

21060. (Sir Frederic Lely.) With regard to the
training of young Civilians you say that when they
come out they are kept for a year at headquarters ?
Are they supposed for that year to be working up
for their examinations?—Yes.

21061. After they have passed the higher standard
is there a .system here of sending them out to learn
survey work?—Yes, for two months.

21062. Do you propose that that should be done
in their first year?—Yes, I propose that they should
spend say four or six months in their first year on
survey work.

21063. Would it give them as much knowledge
and prepare them for their examination?—Yes, I
think it would.

21064. Would it also be an advantage to get that
work over before they entered on their regular
duties ?—Yes.

21065. Is it rather a trouble to a Collector to
have to spare his assistants for survey work?—
Yes, it is a very great trouble.

21066. You say that the new travelling allowance
rules are unjust ; will you explain your meaning ?—
Before these new rules were published in travelling
by steam launch (and all the travelling in this
district is by river) one drew halting allowances as
well as marching allowances, and that was liberal
—in fact too liberal—(but when the rules were
changed Government gave neither, and the result
is that now we have to spend money out of our
own pockets when we go on tour, and we get nothing
in return at all.

21067. Do you say that no allowance is made for
travelling by launch now?—Practically ; I think
you can draw Re. 1-8 a day on a certificate that
you have spent that amount.

21068. Which is wholly insufficient? — I think
myself most officers would say their expenses were
much more than that.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

75

21069. You have compared the Board of Revenue
with the Commissioner in terms of disparagement,
but is it likely that in the end the Board of
Revenue would be more mobile than an individual
Commissioner?—No, I think less so, probably.

21070. Or that the Board could come more per-
sonally into contact with the people than the Com-
missioner can ?—No, certainly not ; it is the kind
of country you have to deal with which makes the
difference. There is no touring by tent in this part
of the world ; it is touring by river, and that is
what .makes .all the superior officers so immobile.

21071. But there is no superiority in the Board
of Revenue in that respect?—Not >at all, but it is
much easier for the Board of Revenue to go round
in a launch in the same way as a Commissioner
does, than it would be up country to get round in
tents, because a launch covers very much more
ground than can be covered in going round with
tents and the necessary equipage.

21072. Do you mean that the Board of Revenue
would travel in a launch and the Commissioner in
a tent?—No, they would both travel in a launch.
A launch can only travel along the main rivers,
and the main rivers are so limited in number that
it is quite- possible for the Board to cover them all
in their tours. Commissioners never tour away
from their launch.

21073. I do not understand why the Board of
Revenue should be expected to' see more of the
country than the Commissioner?—They could, if
they wished, see as much.

21074. Then is not the sphere of the Board of
Revenue much more limited than that of a Com-
missioner? If you were to abolish the Commis-
sioner, you would leave a certain number of very
important branches of Government without any
one to attend to them between the Head of the
district and Government?—-Yes, I believe that is
so, but Commissioners in this part of the world
have not very much power.

21075. (Mr. Meyer.) You spoke about the aboli-
tion of Commissioners, but is there not a possible
alternative, namely, to strengthen the position of
the Commissioner and make him a sort of Sub-
Governor?—Yes, but it would have to be a very
considerable reform to put him in the position of
a Sub-Governor at all. At present he has very
little power, and in order to give him real power
you would have to reform his position altogether.

21076. Is your point then that at present he is
almost useless?—Yes. But I do not say for a
moment that he need necessarily be useless.

21077. How many thanas are there in an ordinary
district?—In Faridpur there are 11. That is about
the average size.

21078. Then would you desire to make each than a
into a sub-division of a district ?—Yes.

21079. In a district ©uch «as you have mentioned,
how many sub-divisions would there now be?—
Two, plus the headquarters.

21080. Therefore instead of three sub-divisions
you would make 11?—Yes.

21081. A thana is an ordinary police station?—
Yes.

21082. Are you aware of any province in India
which is officered by Deputy Collectors and
Civilians at the rate of one for each police station ?
—If you take population as a test, I think you
would find in other provinces one officer to the
same number of people.

21083. Do you consider population a test of ad-
ministration ?—There is a good deal of work here ;
it is not as if population had nothing to with it,
because there is a lot of criminal and other kind
of work.

21084. But is the mere counting of heads a very
reliable criterion? Are not the differences in the
revenue system and the character of the population
more important?—Yes, but work here is in every
way very heavy except with regard to revenue.

21085. In other provinces they do not proceed on
this liberal scale, but they give the bulk of the
local work to tahsildars who are officers correspond-
ing in status and pay to your Sub-Deputy Collec-
tors ; would it not be possible to do what you
desire more economically by having the Sub-Deputy
Collectors in immediate charge of the local areas?
—Yes, it would be possible, certainly.

21086. And give them second and third class
magisterial powers?—But most of them have only
third class magisterial power now.

21087. If you have this agency, might you not
give it more power ?—I think so.

21088. You are in favour of territorial jurisdic-
tion instead of subject jurisdiction, and you would
like to move a considerable number of the Deputy
Collectors you have at headquarters of each district
and distribute them about?—Yes..

21089. With regard to what you said as to your
power of dismissing fcanungoes, are your
kanungoes permanently employed ? — No, only
temporarily.

21090. Is the Collector’s kanungo a permanent or
temporary official?—He is sometimes the one, and
sometimes the other.

21091. But it makes a great deal of difference
in dismissing a man, whether he is a permanent
official who has claims to pension or whether he is
a temporary official?—Yes.

21092. Is not that possibly the reason that you
have larger powers in the matter of dismissing
kanungoes than the Collectors have?—That is cer-
tainly the reason.

21093. Then you speak of municipalities wanting
borrowing powers, but are you aware that they have
these powers already, subject to the sanction of
the Local Government?—I do not mean to say that
they have not got them, but they are only up to
a small amount.

Adjourned.

(T/?e witness withdrew.)

Mr.

J. C. Jack.
8 Jan., 1908

THIRTIETH DAY.

Dacca, ThursdayJanuary, 1908.

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.b.

W. S. Meyer, Esq., C.I.E., I.C.S.
W. L. Hichens, Esq.

Mr. Edward Charles Ryland was called and examined.

21094. (Chairman.) You are an officiating Deputy
Inspector-General of Police?—Yes, since June,
1907.

As all other departments of Government are
represented in the Imperial Secretariat and the
Police Department has no proper representative, I

suggest that an officer having an intimate personal Jfr,
experience of police work in all the provinces X C

should be appointed for a period of three years. -------------

The officer selected should’ be either an Inapeeto*^ 9 Zrn., 1908.

General, of not less than two years’ service, as -------------

such, in the case of his not being a police officer,

K 2

33289


76

Mr.

Jfi. C. Ryland.
9 Jan., 1908.

MINUTES OF

or a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, and each
province should nominate an officer in turn. A
better spirit of co-operation would then be estab-
lished (between the police of the different provinces.
Uniformity of procedure and general administration
would result, and the Government would have an
officer of experience in the department in dealing
with police matters.

The plague riots and riots in connection with
the agitation in this province have only too clearly
shown that Executive Officers are not sufficiently in
personal contact with (the people. In former years
District Officers made lengthy tours in their dis-
tricts, travelling from six to ten miles when they
moved camp, and the people had an opportunity of
personally meeting the officials and stating their
grievances. Petty cases and disputes were more
expeditiously dealt with, and people were saved
the expense and trouble of attending Courts.
Officers had more leisure to grant interviews.
People looked on the officials as their patrons and
protectors, and the poor who cannot afford the
expenses of a Court, were able to represent their
grievances and receive protection from money-
lenders and unscrupulous zamindari underlings who,
taking advantage of the present condition of
affairs, perpetuate extortion with impunity. At
present officers are rarely able to perform long
tours ; their visits are flying and distances tra-
velled too great to enable them to (gain any know-
ledge of the country or people, and it has thus come
about that the people view the rare visits of an
official with suspicion. The causes for this state
of affairs, so far as the police are concerned, appear
to be the increase of office work and matters requir-
ing the presence of the (Superintendent of Police at
headquarters, the difficulties and expense of travel-
ling. The travelling allowance rules require re-
vision, and the introduction of rules requiring
District 'Officers to visit a certain number of village
unions in the district during the year appear
necessary. The responsibility of proper inspections
of police stations should 'be placed on inspectors,
and the period required to be spent at these posts
by 'Superintendents of Police reduced. Superin-
tendents of Police 'should .be given greater control
over the village headmen and watch and ward staff.

I do not consider that Executive Officers possess
a sufficient colloquial knowledge of the vernacular.
Inducements in the way of prizes or rewards
/should be given to encourage a better colloquial
knowledge, and the rules permitting only officers1 of
«hort service to compete for language rewards
should be relaxed.

The recommendations of the Police .Commission
provide for an increase in the administrative staff,
but in the districts of Eastern Bengal where com-
munication is difficult and by water, there should
be a larger number of sub-divisions with Assistant
or Deputy Superintendents in charge. With the
exception of Mymensingh, the area of districts in
the province known to ime are not, in my opinion,
excessive, but there should be district allowances
to compensate deserving and efficient officers for
continuous heavy charges. Under the present
system a premium is put on slackness. Good work
results in an officer being posted to a heavy charge
where, in addition to his work, it will be generally
found the expense of living is greater and the
climate inferior to that of the lighter districts.

Transfers in the past have in the case of Police
Officers been too frequent and not always due to
the exigencies of the Public (Service. The question
of accommodation has been and is one of the great
causes for officers being discontented and working
for a transfer. The houses available for the police
are wretched and unhealthy habitations, and when
better houses are available the rents are prohibi-
tive. The Government rate of 10 per cent, of an
officer’s pay is too high a rate to demand as rent
for an unfurnished house. Houses should be built
or acquired, and actual necessities in the way of
furniture should be provided. Transfers throw
officers into debt, and many are for this reason
unable to keep horses or other means of convey-
ance which are absolutely necessary to secure
proper efficiency in their duties. Anxiety over
money matters has much to do with the inefficiency

EVIDENCE :

of Police Officers. Though much has been done to
remedy this of late, the expense of living in this
province, which has always been heavy, has greatly
increased.

Far from giving them larger powers, the powers
of municipalities and District and Local Boards
should be reduced particularly as regards assess-
ments.

I am not in favour of Advisory or Administrative
Councils. -Such bodies would only hamper work.
If District Officers are enabled to come more in
personal contact with the people, the necessity for
any bodies who might be looked to to represent the
views of the people would disappear. Provided
District Officers have more time and opportunities
than at present for touring, village committees
might be given greater powers in the disposal of
local affairs ; but I anticipate some difficulty in
securing a sufficiently independent and advanced
class of men willing to serve on the village com-
mittees.

21095. You suggest that the Police Department has
no proper representative in the Secretariat of the
Government of India?—(Do you not look upon the
Director of Criminal Investigation as such a repre-
sentative?— expeditiously if -we had some one who knew the
inner working of the Police Department and who
had actually served with the police, either as an
Inspector-General or Deputy Inspector-General.

21096. Are cases hung up by the Local Govern-
ment or where does the delay occur?—I think the
delay is (generally more with the Imperial Govern-
ment. One or two matters which we have sent up
have been fairly long in being dealt with.

21097. Are you /sure that that was the fault of the
Government of India?—I think so, and we often
get questions from them with regard to matters
referred to them, which would be quite unnecessary
if there were some one on the spot who knew the
technical work of the police.

21098. Could not the Director of Criminal In-
vestigation give that help?—! think not. Of
course it might be the case if such a -man as the
present officer is appointed, but it is not as a rule
that an Inspector-General of Police is promoted to
that appointment. If it were, it would lead to
more uniformity of procedure in the different pro-
vinces ; we are absolutely in the dark as to that at
present.

21099. Have you no power at the present moment
to write to the Director of Criminal Intelligence?
—I do not think, as a rule, it is done much. There
is nothing to prevent it, but it wants more than
mere writing ; it wants a man to go and serve there
for a while, because there may be some rules and
regulations which on paper may look well, but
which in practice are not -sound.

21100. There is nothing to prevent you saying,
“ I find myself confronted with this difficulty
here ; what do you do in your province ” ?—-We
have not made many requests to other provinces.
I think it would be a good thing to do.

21101. You would not get any rebuff from the
Local Government if you adopted that course?—I
am certain we should not.

21102. You say that Executive Officers are not
sufficiently personally in contact with the people ;
do you refer to the police?—Yes, as well as the
Magisterial Officers ; I have noticed that myself
particularly in connection with the (plague riots.

21103. Was it that the people concerned in
those riots did not know the Executive Officers and
therefore they had no influence over them?—Yes,
and in one place I went to, they said they had not
seen a Sahib for five years.

21104. What sort of officer would they expect to
see ?—(A Magistrate or a Police (Officer.

21105. And neither the District Officer or the
police have found the time or inclination to pay
them a visit?—In none of these particular places,
although they happen to be important and large
centres. That was last year in Mymensingh.

21106. What was the size of the particular town
to which you refer ?—It was not exactly a town ;


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

Il

it was a rural area, but it was thickly (populated
and an important jute centre.

21107. Has anyone been there since?—We spent
a good deal of time there in the year the riots
occurred.

21108. We were told in Bengal that the tours of
Police Officers had been restricted by order: are
your tours here restricted?—No. In this province
we are working under the Bengal Code as we have
none here yet, but there are orders which require
the Superintendent to be at headquarters for the
first ten days of the month.

21109. iMr. Knyvett, the Acting Inspector-
General of Police, Bengal, said that he thought
the order restricting touring ought to be with-
drawn. What do you think?—There should not
be any hard-and-fast rule; on the other hand, the
District Superintendent of Police, being at present
responsible for the accounts and the issue of pay
and other things, whether there is a rule or not,
cannot always leave his headquarters.

21110. What is the remedy for that?—We are
going to provide Deputy Superintendents to look
after the office work of the District Superinten-
dent.

21111. When is this improvement likely to take
place in Eastern Bengal?—Within the next two
years.

21112. You tell us that the expense of travelling
is one of the difficulties in the way of Police Officers
getting about?—Yes. Formerly one could get a
cart, for instance, for about eight annas a day;
but you cannot get one now for two rupees a day.
The rate of travelling allowance is not adequate.
It does not cover a man’s expenses.

21113. Have any representations been made to
the Local Government on the matter?—I do not
think so.

21114. Are the rates fixed by the Local Govern-
ment or by the Civil Service Regulations?—By
the Civil Service Regulations.

21115. If the allowances are Inadequate, would
it not be well that isome representations should be
made?—Yes, if representations were made, the
matter would probably be taken up.

21116. Have you no power to make those repre-
sentations to your chief?—Yes.

21117. Do you not think it might be well to do
it?—Yes.

21118. Have Police Officers generally a sufficient
knowledge of the language?—They have when they
pass their examinations, but they have not the
opportunity of keeping it up. In former days all
one’s clerks knew nothing but the vernacular, but
nowadays they are all English-speaking men and
most of the work is carried on in English; our
papers are written in English, and gradually Eng-
lish is being introduced as the language for general
use in regard to police work, with the result that
an officer has no occasion to keep up his knowledge
of the vernacular.

21119. But does he not require a knowledge of it
when he goes into the interior ?—Yes, absolutely;
he cannot enquire properly into a case unless he
knows the language thoroughly.

21120. Do ..the people in country districts
always talk the same patois?—No, they all differ,
and that is where the difficulty is.

21121. Even if your men were acquainted witli
Bengali, they would not be able to speak to the
Pahari people and so forth?—No, but we do not
come into contact with them much unless in
Assam; in some places you can get on if you have
a knowledge of Bengali.

21122. Are you satisfied with the relations be-
tween your District Superintendent and the Dis-
trict -Magistrate?—Yes.

21123. Gan you suggest any improvement in any
way?—I think not.

21124. Do you have any difficulty with regard
to posting your inspectors?—I have not found any.

21125. Have you not found that it has entailed
el good deal of correspondence between yourself and (j. Rylanch
the Commissioner?—No. ---

21126. You state that the Government rate of 9 Jan-> 1908.
10 per cent, on officer’s pay is a very high sum to
demand as rent for an unfurnished house?—Yes,
in view of the frequent transfers which cause ex-
pense to an officer in furnishing and in carting his
furniture about for which he gets nothing.

21127. Is there nothing allowed for removal?—

Absolutely nothing, except that he is allowed
double first class railway fare and the fare by
steamer. A transfer often means throwing a man
into debt several hundred rupees, apart from what
he may lose by having to sell his furniture and
purchase new.

21128. Would you like to see an allowance made
of actual out-of-pocket expenses?—Yes, and the
provision of the actual necessaries in the house
one goes to on which Government might charge a
percentage to the officer using them.

21129. You think village communities might be
entrusted with some powers of self-government?—

They might if they were more frequently visited;
at Backarganj we successfully tried the experiment
of allowing them to deal with unnatural death
cases which would save the police no end of trouble.

They dealt with them very well indeed; we never
had any complaints.

21130. Would you give them power in small
petty civil and criminal cases?—Yes, there are
numerous cases which at present we inquire into
which might well be referred to them.

21131. {Sir Frederic Lely.) Would you not say
that uniformity of procedure is less necessary in
the case of the police than in any other branch of
Government; that is to say, that it depends on the
nature and customs and habits of the people con-
cerned?—It does to a great extent, except as re-
gards criminals—when we find the up-country
criminals coming to Bengal.

21132. That ceases to be local, but so far as the
local keeping of law and order is concerned, the
procedure of the police should depend more on
local conditions than probably any other branch of
Government ?—Yes.

21133. When you speak of questions coming from
the Government of India, which would not be
asked if there was a skilled adviser at head-
quarters, would it not be better if many of those
questions ceased altogether and were left to the
Local Government?—Yes, certainly, or if the
Government recommendations were accepted more
freely.

21134. Has the action of the Government of
India in recent years unnecessarily trammelled the
Local Government and local Police Officers ?—I will
not go so far as that, but it has occasioned delay.

21135. Has action under the Police Commission
been in the direction of laying down too much
detail?—It is hardly time to speak about that;
reforms are only being introduced at present, and
it is a little early to condemn anything they have
recommended.

21136. As a general principle, would you say
that the details of police management should be
left to the local authority?—I think so.

21137. Would you agree that a thorough know-
ledge of the language is as important and perhaps
more important in the case of a Police Officer than
in the case of any other officer?—I think it is just
as important for the Magistrate who has the trying
of cases and the recording of evidence. The same
thing applies of course to the police; in enquiring
into cases it is very necessary that they should
know the language fairly well.

21138. Does Government lay much stress upon
the knowledge of language on the part of Police
Officers?—In the examination they do.

21139. And after a man has passed his examina-
tion, is there nothing more heard of him in that
special direction?—Yes.


78

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE:

Mr.

E. C. Hyland,
9 Jan., 1908.

21140. Have you ever heard of a case of a man’s
promotion being stopped because he has not ac-
quired a knowledge of the language ?—Not in the
case of Gazetted Officers.

21141. Have you ever heard of a man being
censured for it?—No.

21142, Have you ever known of a case where
intimation has been conveyed to a man of the dis-
approval of Government on this account?—No.

21143. Once a man’s examination is passed,
Government takes no further note of whether he
knows the language or not?—I think not. If they
do take note, they have no opportunities of know-
ing whether an officer has kept up his knowledge.
No enquiry is ever made that I know of.

21144. Do annual notes as to the personal char-
acter of officers go up from you at all?—Not from
me. The Inspector-General records his remarks,
and the Magistrates record their remarks as to
Police Officers, but we do not know what they con-
tain ; they are confidential.

21145. Is the examination sufficient, or would
you suggest any changes in it?—I think it is too
severe as regards a knowledge of reading and
writing, and not sufficiently severe as regards
colloquial knowledge; the examination with regard
to colloquial knowledge is a short viva voce exami-
nation of about ten minutes only.

21146. But the reading and writing of the
language is important?—It is important, but not
so important as a good colloquial knowledge.

21147. What sort of translation work is set?—
They get some petition or a report to translate.

21148. Is not that part of the examination
necessary?—It is necessary. Then they have dicta-
tion ; they have to dictate a bit of English into
Bengali, and they have to translate and write in
Bengali a bit of English.

21149. Then what do you say with regard to the
colloquial test?—At present it is not as thorough
as it should be.

21150. Does the blame for that rest upon the
examiners chiefly, or is any change in the Govern-
ment order necessary?—I think a change in the
Government orders is necessary.

21151. (Mr. Dutt.) The appointment of a
Director-General of (Criminal Intelligence was made
to co-ordinate police work in the different pro-
vinces as regards heinous crimes?—Yes.

21152. Was it one of the objects to introduce
some sort of uniformity in the different provinces?
—I think not.

21153. Is it too early yet to judge the result of
it?—For the purposes for which the particular
appointment was established, I think it has been
absolutely successful.

21154. Do you want the appointment of another
police officer in the Secretariat to secure some sort
of uniformity?—Not necessarily a separate officer
—he may be the same officer. All I would suggest
is that he should be a Police Officer.

21155. Have Deputy Superintendents yet been
appointed to the different districts?—Some six or
eight have, but not in all the districts.

21156. Have sub-inspectors been appointed ac-
cording to the new rules?—Yes, the first batch.
We have several of the men who were trained in
Bengal who have come over.

21157. Have the powers of the Magistrate with
regard to the transfer and promotion of Police
Officers been much affected by the new rules ?—I do
not think so.

21158. Have the powers of the Magistrates over
officers been to some extent decreased?—Yes, they
have.

21159. Bo that a District Magistrate has less con-
trol over police work than he had before ?—Yes.

211-60. There used to be a register in which the
Magistrate trying a case made his remarks as to
the conduct of the police ; is that register still
kept up?—There is no such register still kept up

that I know of, but the Magistrates have the right
to record remarks of that kind, though in the case
of subordinate Magistrates it is discouraged.

21101. You say some chaukidari unions in the
Backarganj district have been empowered to deal
with cases. How long ago was that?—Ten years
ago.

21162. Was that system successful so long as you
were there?—Yes.

21163. Was it introduced into many villages?—-
I think it was general throughout the district.

12164. Is not the Bengali language spoken in all
three divisions ?—Yes.

21165. And a man coming from Rajshahi has no
difficulty in understanding the language of Dacca,
and a man coming from Dacca has no difficulty in
understanding the language of Rajshahi?—No.

21166. Are the Superintendents of Police in these
eastern districts thoroughly well acquainted with
Bengali?—The present officers are.

21167. Can they understand the language as it
is spoken by the villagers ?—Yes.

12168. You say that the powers of municipalities
and District and Local Boards should be reduced,
particularly as regards (assessments ; are you aware
that District Boards have no power with regard to
assessments, and that the assessment and collection
of the Road Cess are made entirely by the Collec-
tor?—I was not aware of that.

21169. {Mr. DLichens.) Do you think that the
Government should make a profit out of providing
an officer with a house, or should they provide it
below the market price?—In the case of junior
officers I think they should do the latter.

21170. Does the 10 per cent, represent a price
usually below the market price?—In the case of
junior officers I think it does, but not in the case
of senior officers.

21171. How far is the pay of subordinate officers
uniform throughout India?—I think it is more or
less uniform now, but there are exceptions in cer-
tain places, such as Calcutta and Bombay.

21172. Can you get an efficient type of officer for
the pay prescribed?—Yes, officers we can.

21173. Is the pay of the men prescribed too?—
Yes, by the Government of India.

21174. Can you get efficient men for that pay?—
Not always in the case of the men.

21175. Is it desirable that a principle of uni-
formity in regard to the pay of men should be laid
down?—Some uniformity should be laid down, but
relaxed in certain oases. The difficulty we experi-
ence is in getting suitable men for the town's.

21176. The provincial Government would not be
likely to pay more than it found to be necessary,
if left to itself?—No.

21177. And if they did decide to pay a higher
wage than was paid, for instance, in Burma or in
the Central Provinces, it would be for some very
good reason?—Yes.

21178. Do you think it is necessary to refer that
matter to the Government of India ?—-I think so, in
the case of the men.

21179. Do you think the Government of India
would agree without any demur if the provincial
Government sent up a request to be allowed to
increase the pay of the men on the ground that
they could not otherwise get efficient men?—That
would be one of the cases I refer to in suggesting
that we should have an officer having police experi-
ence at headqu arter s.

21180. Would there be any difficulty to-day in
getting that consent?—I think at present it would
be absolutely refused.

21181. And yet it is desirable that you should
be able to pay a higher wage?—In certain places,
yes.

21182. You are getting inefficient men, the work
is being inefficiently done, and yet you are power-
less to remedy it?—The rates have been lately
revised and fixed. At present we are trying the


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION. 79

experiment of recruiting*men, with regard to which
we have had difficulty, from up-country, and it
remains to be seen whether the steps now being
taken will prove successful or not. At present,
the time has not arrived for making any definite
pronouncement.

21183. If it becomes necessary, should any recom-
mendation be endorsed by the Government of India
before it is carried out ?—I would sooner it was left
to the Local Government to deal with.

21184. (Mr. Meyer.) You rather implied that it
was an exceptional matter for a Director-General
to have been a Police Officer—who is the present
Director?—Sir Harold iStuart.

21185. Are you aware that he was for several
years Inspector-General of Police in Madras ?—Yes.

21186. Do you not think that a sufficient quali-
fication?—There is no hard-and-fast rule laid down
that the appointment shall be given to an officer
with police experience.

21187. But so far as Sir Harold Stuart is con-
cerned, he possesses the qualification you desire?—
Yes.

21188. And was he not the first holder of the
appointment ?—Yes.

21189. Therefore, so far you have no reason for
complaint?—No, except that I suggest he should
be an officer who has had experience in all pro-
vinces, and not necessarily in the one province he
has served in.

21190. Is there any person who has had experi-
ence of police in every province ?—No.

21191. Do you propose that all Police Officers
should travel over them all?—Not all, but I
think the officer selected for appointment should
have a year’s experience of them all.

21192. As a matter of fact, the existing per-
manent officer has that experience, having been
Secretary to the Police Commission?—I could not
tell you.

21193. Do you desire every department to have a
special representative at headquarters in the same
way that the police have?—No;

21194. You complain of delays on the part of the
Government of India in dealing with cases which
arise from the undue discussion of details ; but if
you had an officer with technical police experience,
is it not just possible that he will go into detail
more than another officer would ?—Possibly he
might, but I do not think we should have to refer
things back so often as at present.

21195. But might not his view be different from
the view of your Local Government?—It might be.

21196. You have charge of the Special Intelli-
gence Branch in this province. What are your
relations in connection with that with the Director
of Criminal Intelligence ?—I am directly under him.
I report to him direct as to matters which are of
inter-provincial importance.

21197. And you might receive instructions from
him to carry on an investigation as to some par-
ticular case or to watch some gang that may be
coming in from another province?—Yes.

21198. But are you under his orders in the same
way as you are under the orders of your own
Inspector-General ?—Yes ; he issues circular orders
on matters directing the lines of enquiry ; they do
not interfere with one’s work, but they lay down
the lines of work.

21199. He could not for instance tell you to go
to Gauhati to-morrow in the same way as your own
Inspector-General' could ?—No.

21200. Have you found any inconvenience in this
double control, such as it is?—No.

21201. Have you found any advantage in the
information yiou have received from the Director
of Criminal Intelligence?—Yes.

21202. You have said it was too early to consider
details, but, speaking generally, did not the Police
Commission bring about some considerable reforms
in police organization?—Yes.

21203. And also some considerable enhancement
of pay of the Police Officers and subordinates ?— E, C. Ryland.
Yes. .---

21204, So far, was its action beneficial or other- «7an., 1908.
wise ?—Decidedly beneficial.

21205. Then you spoke about the pay of your
men—was that recommended by the Police Com-
mission ?—Yes.

21206. Before the recommendation of the Police
Commission was adopted, was not the matter re-
ferred to all the Local Governments ?—Yes.

21207. Therefore, your Local Government had an
opportunity, if they thought the pay too low, of
objecting ?—This province was not formed then ; it
came under Bengal.

21208. Are you aware whether they did object ?—I
cannot say.

21209. Are there any local allowances given here
to supplement the general rates ?—Not in Eastern
Bengal. I think there is an allowance in Assam.

21210. Where do you recruit the bulk of your
rank and file from?—A certain percentage, from
20 to 30, from up-country, and a certain percentage
locally.

21211. What do you mean by up-country?—

United Provinces, Central Provinces and Bihar—
the Hindi-speaking districts.

21212. What is the constitution of the military
police ; what class of people are they ?—They are
from up-country. They generally come from Bihar
and other places.

21213. Then so far as your recruiting up-country
is concerned, you are in a way trenching on the
local recruiting-grounds of other provincial Gov-
ernments ?—Yes.

21214. And from that point of view it might be
harmful to them, if your Government were to raise
the pay of police constables considerably?—I think
not, because men would naturally work for very
much less than they would in other parts where
living would be more expensive.

21215. But, nevertheless, a point might be
reached at which it would pay them to leave their
own province ?—Undoubtedly.

21216. Suppose the United Provinces said, “ You
are diminishing our recruiting ground by offering
such high prices,” what would happen?—<1 do not
anticipate that that would ever occur.

21217. But in the event of its occurring I .suppose
ultimately the Government of India would have
the decision?—No doubt.

21218. Have your District Superintendents to
spend a minimum amount of time on tour?—They
have to inspect a certain number of posts twice in
the year, but the number of days is not fixed.

21219. Therefore, conceivably, might not a man
rather scamp his inspection?—-He is supposed to
spend a certain amount of time at those posts
when he does inspect them, and he has to inspect
them twice a year.

21220. Is that sufficient or would you also have a
minimum time for touring as District Officers have
in some provinces?—I think it is sufficient as it
stands ; it is never worked up to at present, because
they cannot possibly do it.

21221. But when matters are improved, would
you insist upon it?—Yes.

21222. Things are different in the Assam Valley
from Eastern Bengal as regards language and
conditions ?—Yes.

21223. Do you have frequent transfers of Police
Officers as between Assam and Eastern Bengal ?—

No, not in the past ; they have been more or less
confined to Assam.

21224. If a District Superintendent of Police
goes on privilege leave, and there is an Assistant
Superintendent in the district, would he be put on
to the work if he was considered fit to do it ?—Yes.

21225. Although he was not the senior man on
the roster ?—No, he would not get the acting ap-
pointment, that is given in the regular grade, the


80

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Mr.

JE. C. Ryland,
9 Jan., 1908.

senior Assistant would get the acting appointment,
and it would mean a transfer.

21226. Suppose A goes on leave, B is an Assistant
in the district but a junior, C is a senior Assistant
outside ; would you replace A by G, and not by B?
—Yes.

21227. Always?—Yes.

21228. Do you think that that conduces to fre-
quent transfers ?—Yes.

21229. What should be done in the case of short
vacancies not exceeding six months. Would you
not let B act ?—It would be rather hard on C if he
happened to lose two or three acting appointments.

21230. But in the course of a man’s' whole ser-
vice, would he .not score sometimes as against losing
at other times?—That might be so.

21231. If it could be managed without undue
damage to the .personal interests of the Service,
would it not be preferable ?—At present there are
not enough Assistants ; there are only Assistants
in two or three districts out of 24.

21232. But that is an abnormal state of affairs—
is it not, because your cadre is .somewhat depleted ?
—It is very low indeed, but still there will be a
large number of districts without Assistants.

21233. Still when you have one, ought he not to
be utilized as acting District Superintendent of
Police?—1 think an allowance might be given in-
stead of the regular acting promotion, which should
go to the 'senior man.

21234. You would add to the expense then ?—Yes.

21235. Another system has been suggested, of
letting the junior man who gets the appointment
take half the ordinary acting allowance, the senior
man who has to forego the appointment taking the
other half—would that meet the case?—I do not
think it would ; you would find it would cause dis-
content amongst the senior Assistants.

21236. You said that it was ruinous for an officer
to be transferred, because of the inadequate travel-
ling allowance, and so on?—It is not necessarily
the case when a man goes for two or three months,
because he generally relieves a man who has gone
on leave for that time, leaving his house standing
and the acting man would take it over.

21237. Then what would happen to the house of
the man who relieves ?—An Assistant generally has
not a house, although there may ibe exceptions.

21238. At any rate, if transfers are so expensive
in general as you represent, it would not be an
unmitigated loss to the officer to have to forego the
acting (allowance?—It might not in some cases.

21239. You spoke of the travelling allowance rules
—does the State take any cognisance of an officer’s
wife and family?—No.

21240. But it igives an officer double first-class
fare in order that he may have something towards
the expense of conveying his baggage and so forth ?
—Yes.

21241. As regards the rent of houses, is not 10
per cent, of his salary the maximum which is
Chargeable to an officer?—Yes, but the value of a
house is usually more than 10 per cent, of an
officer’s pay.

21242. Is it not the Public Works rule, that the
rent is calculated on commercial principles, as near
as may be, subject to a maximum of 10 per cent,
on the officer’s salary ?—Yes.

21243. Therefore if an officer is paying 10 per
cent., he is generally paying less than the market
value of the house?—He may be.

21244. Is it easy to get private houses here?—No,
it is most difficult.

21245. And if there were such, are they rather
expensive ?—Very expensive.

21246. So that the ‘State does not in any way
plunder you?—No.

21247. On the contrary, it rather benefits you ?—
Where we have /Government houses, yes.

21248. We were told in Bengal proper that
chaukidari unions used to be very much under the
control of the police, but that that had been now
altered and the police had ‘been dissociated from
them ; is that the case in this province also ?—To
a great extent ; not entirely. It was tried in one
or two places, but they went back to the old
system.

21249. Have they gone back to the old police
system ?—Not quite to the old police system ; it
has been modified. In the olden days, panchayats
were nominated entirely by the , police, and the
chaukidars were under the police ; but that was all
knocked on the head and a system introduced by
Mr. Savage separating the chaukidars from the
police ; that system was tried and found wanting.

21250. Then is the ehaukidar still under the con-
trol of the police thana ?—As regards attendance
and reporting, he is. The police have nothing to
do with his appointment.

21251. And as regards the selection ,of the mem-
bers of the panchayat?—‘The police have nothing
to do with that.

21252. Then the police are in the main disso-
ciated from the chaukidars?—Yes.

21253. Has that been satisfactory or otherwise ?—■
I think there should be more control of the chauki-
dars by the police; but as regards appointment,
the police need not have further powers ; I think
the chaukidars are being made far too independent
of the police.

21254. With regard to your complaint as to
assessment, do you say anything with regard to the
assessment of municipalities?—Yes. I do not
think the assessments of municipalities are fairly
done. They charge excessive rates in some ca^es,
and absolutely .absurd rates in others.

21255. Who makes the assessment?—The Muni-
cipal Commissioners.

21256. Is there any appeal?—I believe there is.

21257. Have you appealed?—-No, I have not.

21258. (Sir Steyning Rdgerley.) Will the pro-
posals of the Police Commission provide you with
a deputy superintendent in each district ?—No.

21259. Will they give you an Assistant Superin-
tendent, or a deputy superintendent in each dis-
trict?—No.

21260. Will they give you what you consider a
sufficient staff in all classes of officers for the pro-
vince?—I think so, when the system is fully in
work.

21261. Then you have obtained all you have
asked for, having regard to all classes of officers ?—
We have not got them yet; they have been sanc-
tioned, but the system is being introduced
gradually.

21262. But on the whole you think it sufficient?
I think so.

21263. You said you thought certain schemes
had been hung up; what schemes were in your
mind?—A certain proposal which was sent up in
connection with reorganisation and special
appointments which had to be made to deal tem-
porarily with some agitation.

21264. With regard to permanent establishment
what has happened?—That has all been sanctioned,
but the funds have not been allotted yet.

21265. What is the pay of constables?-—They
start at Rs. 8 and rise up to Rs. 10.

21266. What is the pay of head constables?—
From Rs. 12-8 up to Rs. 20.

21267. Before the reorganisation, what were the-
rates of pay?—Before the reorganisation the pay
in some districts was from Rs. 10 to Rs. 25 for
head constables, and constables started at Rs. 7
and ended at Rs. 10, including good-conduct
allowance.

21268. So that there has been no raising of the
maximum of the constable, and there has been a
diminution of the maximum of the head constable
—Yes.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

81

21269. Is there a system of direct recruitment
of sub-inspectors commencing with Rs. 50?—Yes,
but they come in first as probationers at Rs. 30.

21270. So that the prospects of your men up to
head constables are worse than they were before ?—
Yes.

21271. Under those conditions can you get men?

__Yes; our forces are filled, because we have a class

of men known as writer-constables, who are capable
of beings absorbed as head constables into the
regular strength if fit, and there are others being
reverted to the ordinary rank and file.

21272. As regards touring, do you travel on
daily travelling allowance?—Or mileage.

21273. Have you had any experience of the per-
manent travelling allowance system?—Yes.

21274. Which do you think causes the least
labour?—I should think the permanent travelling
allowance system.

21275. Which do you think is the better system?
—The permanent system.

21276. Who countersigns the daily travelling
allowance bills, the mileage bills?—The Inspector-
General of Police.

21277. Have you anything to do with them?—
No, except as regards the subordinate officers.

21278. It is now the 9th of January; have the
subordinate officers got their mileage for (November
yet ?—Yes.

21279. But not for December?—Not for

December.

21280. If the allowance was on the permanent
system, would they not have had it?—Yes, they
would have drawn it on the 1st of the month.

21281. So that it means not only more work, but
further delay in the men getting their money?—
Yes.

21282. As regards the language difficulty, is
there any rule, if a man is transferred from
Eastern Bengal to Assam, laying it down that he
has to pass an examination in Assamese?—Yes.

21283. If he does not pass what happens?—No- j^r

thing, provided he has passed his previous exami- £ Ryland.
nation entitling him to his promotion. ----

21284. Is there anything in the shape of a 9 ^an'1 1908.
deduction from his salary if he does not pass within
a given time?—No.

21285. With regard to the system of disposing of
cases of unnatural death by village panchayats,
does that save a great deal of work?—Yes.

21286. Have you ever known it lead to murders
being lost sight of?—No; it has been only tried, to
my knowledge, in one district.

21287. Is there not great danger of that?—Not
if the men appointed are suitable.

21288. Take the case for instance of a sudden
death—would not that want careful enquiry ?—

There is that risk of course, but intelligence is always
brought to the police.

21289. Of course it is all right if intelligence is
brought to you, but supposing it is not?—The
chaukidars invariably give intimation, and if there
is no call for interfering we do not interfere.

21290. Have you a very large number of chau-
kidars in each district?—Yes.

21291. Are they paid by a separate cess?—Yes.

21292. May they run in a district like Backar-
ganj to as many as four or five thousand men?—

Not so many as that. About 2,000.

21293. Do they do a great deal of police work
for you?—Yes; they bring us information, and
they keep us informed of the vital statistics, and
in the event of our wanting any information col-
lected it is the chaukidar who does it.

21294. Do they report cases of crime in the vil-
lages, and so on?—Yes.

21295. Then practically they enable you to do
with a smaller body of police than you could other-
wise get on with?—Yes.

(The witness withdrew.)

Mr. William Sweet was called and examined.

21296. (Chairman.) You are the Superintending
Engineer in the Eastern Bengal .Circle?—Yes, for
a short time I was acting as Secretary to the Assam
Administration before the present province was
formed.

21297. How many circles have you in Eastern
Bengal?—One.

21298. What is the constitution of your staff
here?—I have five Executive Engineers.

21299. Are you satisfied with the powers which
you, as Superintending Engineer, have now?—No,
I think they might be considerably enlarged, more
particularly with regard to the sanctioning of
estimates.

21300. Alight the Local Government have power
to sanction estimates?—Yes, from imperial funds
up to two lakhs.

21301. Also power to fix the permanent scales
of the Lower Subordinate Officer and the petty
establishment, , and to appoint temporary
engineers?—Yes, within the limit fixed for the
establishment of the province.

21302. And in the same way to construct tram-
ways in certain cases?—Yes, in certain cases.

21303. You think that the procedure for the
acquisition of land is rather roundabout?—Yes,
about seven steps are now required to acquire
land.

21304. Supposing you wanted land, will you tell
us what happens?—We should apply to the Col-
lector for an estimate of the cost of the land, and
for a draft declaration for publication in the
Gazette that the land is to be acquired for a public
purpose. He would send that estimate up, if it

33289

is over Rs. 5,000, to the Commissioner for his ap-
proval ; if it is over Rs. 25,000, the Commissioner
will sign it and send it on to the Board of Revenue;
it would then come back to the local officer who is
acquiring the land who would send it up to Govern-
ment for sanction to acquire the land and the
publication of the notification. After publication
the Government would address the Board of
Revenue, requesting them to acquire the land;
they pass on orders to the Commissioner, and he
passes on orders to the Collector. All these steps
cause considerable delay.

21305. What is the system you would suggest?—
The local Public Works Officer should apply to the
Collector for his estimate and notification (or the
Collector might send it on to the Commissioner and
on to the Board of Revenue), and the local Public
Works Officer could send the estimate up with the
notification. If the Government sanctioned the
acquisition of the land, as soon as the Gazette con-
taining the notification issued, the Collector should
have power to carry out the acquisition and deal
with the actual owners, unless, of course, the final
award exceeded the estimate. That would reduce
the process by three steps.

21306. You would like to see the powers of
Superintending Engineers increased ?—Yes ; I
would suggest that all intermediate officers should
have their powers enlarged.

21307. Would you like the Superintending
Engineer to have power to sanction estmates for
works from all funds up to 10 per cent, of the
powers of the Government?—Yes.

21308. And tc accept tenders and to fix rents in
the same way?—Yes, under the rules laid down by
the Government of India, which are purely
mechanical.

L


82

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

Mr.

W. Sweet.
Jan., 1908.

21309. Are the rules reasonable?—Yes.

21310. You would like power to sanction local
purchases, etc., up to Rs. 2,500?—Yes.

21311. And to purchase tools in the same way.
Have you any power to sanction contracts?—I can
accept tenders up to Rs. 10,000.

21312. Do you desire any extension of your
powers in that respect?—I should suggest a limit
up to my powers of sanctioning estimates.

21313. Does the work in connection with these
things take up some time?—It does not take up a
great deal of time, hut it adds to the office work.

21314. In the same way would you like to see the
powers of Executive Engineers extended?—Yes.

21315. In the case of sanctioning estimates, what
would you put their limit at?1—I would give an
Executive Engineer, reported fit for administrative
appointments, 10 per cent, of the powers of Super-
intending Engineer, and as to others who are not
reported fit for administrative posts, I would give
a lower limit, and a third grade a still lower limit.

21316. You tell us that certain Executive En-
gineers are reported fit for promotion. Do you at
present make considerable selection from your
officers ?—Yes, as soon as an officer becomes a first
grade Executive Engineer, I have to report Whether
he is fit for an administrative post.

21317. Up to the first grade, does he go up by
seniority?—Yes, tempered by reports to a certain
extent.

21318. Are those reports ever unfavourable?—
Yes, and they have to be shown to the Executive
Officer.

21319. Are there cases in which officers have been
passed over before ever getting to the first grade?
—Yes.

21320. Then after the first grade there is a very
fair amount of selection ?—Yes.

21321. Does that system work well?—Yes.

21322. What happens to an officer when he is
passed over?—He remains where he is and never
gets any further.

21323. Does that system work well?—I think his
pay ought to be increased periodically after he
becomes a first grade Executive Engineer (after
19 years’ service) ; he may have to stay on another
15 years.

21324. But if he is of no value to the State,
why increase his pay?—He might be a very good
Executive Officer, but without any administrative
capacity.

21325. Would he improve as an Executive
Engineer?—Yes, every day adds to one’s experi-
ence.

21326. You would in no way curtail the right of
appeal ?—No.

21327. In respect of provincial Officers, have you
all the control you wish for in the way of posting
and transferring?—Yes.

21328. Do you appoint the Subordinate Service?
—The Superintending Engineers appoint lower sub-
ordinates within the scale laid down.

21329. Can you dismiss them ?—We can dismiss
those whom we appoint subject to appeal.

21330. Speaking generally, are you satisfied with
your relations to the staff subordinate to you ?—Yes.

21331. As a Superintending Engineer are you
satisfied with your relations to the Public Works
Secretariat?'—-Subject to what I have said about
enlarged powers, yes.

21332. Is the Public Works Code at all com-
plicated ?—No.

21333. You do not think it could be relaxed in
any way advantageously to the Service?—I think
not.

21334. Do you think your staff is not up to
exercising, or perhaps do not desire, greater free-
dom?—I have no reason to think that.

21335. (Sir Steyning Edgerley.) I understand you
have only five Executive Engineers, which is one
for each division?—Yes.

21336. Gan they do the whole work of the divi-
sion?—The Public Works division is noit the same
as a civil division. In one of the civil divisions
there are two Engineers, in Dacca there is one,
and in Chittagong there is one.

21337. And in Assam ?—Aisisam is the same. I
think there are seven divisions in Assam.

21338. So that you really have twelve Executive
Engineers in the province?—Yes, there are 12 or
13 in the province.

21339. Besides that, you have a certain number
of District Engineers ? — There are District En-
gineers under the District Boards.

21340. Do they do any work for you?—Not now.

21341. Are the twelve men sufficient to do the
whole work of the province?—They are somewhat
overworked at present.

21342. Is there any question about increasing
them?—No, there has not been any question raised.

21343. Are they sufficient as a staff?—No. I do
not think it is worth while raising the number of
divisions ; we can, if necessary, arrange for special
divisions ; we have a special division here at Dacca,
and in case of a large work we should go in for a
special division.

21344. We were told yesterday that the work of
an Executive Engineer is impossible for any single
man—do you agree with that?—No ; it is hard
work.

21345. You think then that there is sufficient
establishment ? — No, I think we require more
Assistant Engineers.

21346. Do you think the system of Executive
Engineers under a District Board is an economical
system ?■—In some ways it is wasteful, because you
have two men travelling over very much the same
area of country. It could be improved by abolish-
ing the District Engineer.

21347. If any change were made, would that be the
change to make?—That is the only way ; you would
have to increase the Public Works cadre and in-
crease the charges.

21348. In that case would you have to put an
Executive Engineer into each district?—I fear we
should unless we could insure a supply of efficient
A ssi stant Engineers.

21349. Have you any such at present?—Yes, but
they are mostly very junior. I think I have five
Assistant Engineers and one temporary Engineer
in my circle.

21350. Have you any difficulty in getting stores
under present conditions ?—There is no great diffi-
culty, but there is sometimes considerable delay.

21351. That is a difficulty when you are finishing
a building ?—Yes, we have had to stop work occasion-
ally, in buildings for the new station, for instance.

21352. Have you any instance in mind?—In one
case the iron-work, girders and so on, had not
arrived.

21353. Is that a sort of thing you would be able
to get in India?—Yes.

21354. When were they ordered?—Many of them
were ordered by telegram, but I could not tell you
the time which elapsed before they were delivered ;
at any rate it was a good deal longer than suffi-
cient for the Director-General to have supplied
them. The delay was over six months in some
cases.

21355. Are you quite sure you could get similar
stores quite satisfactorily in Calcutta ?—Yes ; if
we could not get them we could order them, and
they would be got out in a third of the time.

21356. Would they be satisfactory?—Yes, for the
work we want them for. In some cases they would
be rather dearer.

21357. (Mr. Meyer.) What are the restrictions
which the Government of India impose on the
Local Government with regard to the Upper and


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

83

Lower Subordinate scales in the Public Works
Department?—They want to fix the number for us
—'the number of our clerks and subordinates, not
in each grade, but in each office.

21358. The Government of India have laid down
a uniform scale of clerks for the Executive En-
gineer, Which you cannot exceed without their
sanction?—The Government of India wished to fix
the number to be employed in the office in the
first place, and we shall not be able to exceed that
number unless we employ temporary hands ; we
shall not be able to exceed the scale of permanent
clerks fixed by the Government of India, because
the Local Government cannot revise the orders of
the Government of India.

21359. Therefore the Local Government could not
add a permanent man at Rs. 15 without going up
to the Government of India?—Yes.

21360. Is that a restriction of the Public Works
Code?—'No ; the Code says that a provincial
Government shall fix its lower and menial estab-
lishments. It is with the scale we are going to
start the province with that the Government of
India is interfering at the present time. I do not
know under what rule it is called for, but the
matter lias been referred to the Government of
India, and they have objected to the proposed scale.

21361. Is it not possible that the matter went
up to them for financial sanction by reason of the
new appointments of Executive Engineers or other-
wise?—I think it is being criticised in the Public
Works Department, not the Financial Department.

21362. You get your orders as to Public Works
matters, whether they relate to finance or not, from
the Public Works Department?—Yes, it may have
gone up upon that.

21363. Is it not possible that you have to send up
these schemes for financial sanction by reason of the
total cost of the appointments involved, and that
then the Government of India dealt with the
scheme and said, “ Five clerks are enough for an
Executive Engineer,” but that does not prevent the
Local Government adding a sixth or a seventh
later on ?—I think it would ; the Local Government
could not add a permanent clerk after the Govern-
ment of India had laid down a certain number,
otherwise there would be no object in laying down
that number.

21304. As regards Sub-Engineers and Supervisors
and so on, do the Government of India impose any
check as to appointments?—No.

21365. Rut they do with regard to the cadre?—
Yes, they fix that.

21366. What is the pay of these people?—The
highest pay is Rls. 450, and the lowest of the Upper
Subordinates is Rs. 60.

21367. What do you call a Lower Subordinate?
—A Lower Subordinate begins at Rs. 30.

21368. Do the Government of India interfere with
the Lower Subordinate cadre ?—Yes, they have in
this case.

21369. Can you alter the cadre without going up
to them ?—No, not when they fix it.

21370. As regards the appointment of temporary
Engineers, your present power is up to Rs. 250 a
month. It has been suggested by various Local
Governments that they should have power to make
temporary appointments up to Rs. 500, but you
want to go up to Rs. 950 ; what is the reason for
that?—Because Rs. 950 has been fixed as the
highest pay for a temporary Engineer.

21371. You have, say, 12 Executive Engineers now,
and if you want six temporary men do you mean
that the Local 'Government should be able to
appoint those men at Rs. 950 straight way without
reference to the Government of India?—Yes, if
the scale tallowed us to appoint that number. The
Government of India will lay down the scale, and
say, 12 permanent and so many temporary.

21372. If the Government of -India consider that
from time to time you require a certain number of
temporary Executive or other officers, then you
think that the Local Government might appoint
them and fix their pay ?—'Yes.

33289

21373. You want to give the Local Governments
power to deal with tramways. What is tech-
nically termed a tramway might really be a light
railway ?—By tramway I mean a light railway, too.

21374. A light railway might come into com-
petition with a bigger railway?—It could.

21375. And railways are an important and an
imperial matter?—Yes, and companies as well.

21376. Who controls companies’ railways? The
Local Government or the Government of India?—
The companies, and I suppose 'they would raise an
outcry.

21377. From that point of view is it not neces-
sary that there should be some imperial control
over a tramway which is really a light railway and
not a mere local substitute for an omnibus route?—
Yes, but I have suggested this from experience of
a country which formerly was devoid of railways
entirely—Assam. It now has one.

21378. As regards land acquisition, do you desire
to reserve to the Local Government the original
decision as to whether land requires to be taken
up for public purposes ?—Yes.

21379. In cases of relatively small value, might
that not go to the 'Commissioner?—Yes.

21380. What are your relations in the Public
Works Department here with the Commissioner
and Collector?—We consult the Commissioner as
to new roads and things of that kind and the
Collector, too.

21381. Are not the roads made by the District
Board ?—They are mostly in Eastern Bengal, except
in Rajshahi.

21382. In regard to buildings, I suppose you
would consult the local Head of the Department
concerned ?—As regards new buildings the local
Head of the Department makes the first movement.

21383. In regard to such roads as are outside the
sphere of the District Board, would you consult
the Collector and Commissioner before making
them ?—Yes.

21384. And if they said it was not necessary, or
that road B was better than road A which you
proposed, what would happen?—Lf we could not
agree together, we should refer the matter to the
Chief Engineer.

21385. What would happen if the Chief Engineer
agreed with you and disagreed with the Com-
missioner?—It would then be laid before the Lieu-
tenant-Governor.

21386. It has been suggested that the provincial
Public Works grant should be largely distributed
amongst divisions, and that the Commissioner
should have the power of financial sanction within
the budget allotment, for road and irrigation works
which are not of primary importance, the profes-
sional sanction remaining as at present with the
Public Works Department; do you see any objec-
tion to that?—1 see no objection to raising the
powers of Commissioners with regard to sanctioning
roads.

21387. Would you raise them largely?—Yes, I
think so. I see no reason why they should not be
final in the matter of sanctioning roads if the
Local Government gives them sufficient money to
carry out the work.

21388. You spoke of discriminating between
grades of Executive Engineers—how many grades
are there?—Three. I would discriminate between
men in the first and second grades. As soon as a
man becomes an Executive Engineer, a report has
to go in as to his fitness for an administrative ap-
pointment.

21389. What about the second and third ’grade
men?—I propose for the second grade a larger
limit, and the third grade I would leave where it is.

21390. Are you quite satisfied with the powers of
the provincial Government under the rent rules?—
Yes, as far as fixing rent goes.

21391. Have you not to make a good -many
representations to the Government of India?—Not
about rents ; once laid down it is a hard and fast
rule.

L 2

Jfr.

W. Sweet.
9 Jan., 1908


84

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE:

Mr.

W. Sweet.

9 /arc., 1908.

21392. But whenever circumstances oblige you to
build a house on which the rent fixed under your
giiGsi-commercial principles would exceed 8 per
cent, of the officer's salary, have you not to go to
the Government of India to 'get it changed?—Ye-s,
as a matter of building rwe have, but not as to
fixing the rent for buildings already completed.
The Local Government now fixes the rent.

21393. Are you satisfied with the rules as to
expenditure on houses ?—No. I think the Local
Government might have a free hand in regard to
all classes of officers.

21394. That might mean giving, a house to a high
official at such a rent, as compared with its market
value, that you would be considerably increasing
his emoluments?—Of course you are supposed to be
able to trust the Head of your Government.

21395. Do the present rules go on that principle ?
—The rules go on the principle of absolute distrust.

21396. Does the Public Works Code go on a
principle of confidence or distrist?—On the whole,
a principle of confidence.

21397. Is the Public Works Code in some respects
unduly rigid?—Yes..

21398. There are certain rules under which the
Local Government has to come up to the Govern-
ment of India for sanction for an individual work?
—Yes.

21399. If the 'Government of India approve,
would the Local Government have to send the
estimate up again ?—Yes.

21400. Do they have to send up the estimates in
every case in which they have to get financial sanc-
tion ?—Yes, they have.

21401. Is that necessary?—No, except in the
matter of imperial expenditure.

21402. Are not references required occasionally
where the estimates have been passed, but it is a
question of whether you will execute them by con-
tract or departmentally, and so forth?—No.

21403. Though your own people below you have
to come up to you?—Yes. The Local Government
can accept a contract up to any amount.

21404. Would it not be possible for a District
Board Engineer to take over the Government build-
ing (work ?—'That is how this province was run
before we took it over. It was given up because it
was thought that the Public Works Department
would do it better.

21405. How long had the system been going on?
—I think almost from the time of the formation of
District Boards. The District Board Engineer did
most of the Government work.

21406. But in Assam you had not District Board
Engineers, and consequently the Government staff
did it all?—The Government staff did all the im-
portant works for the Boards.

21407. When Assam and Eastern Bengal were
united under an officer who had been 'Chief Com-
missioner of Assam, then the Assam system was
promptly applied in Bengal as far as Government
works were concerned?—Yes.

21408. Was it done on mere theory, or was there
actual evidence that the old Eastern Bengal system
had been unsatisfactory ?—There was a certain
amount of evidence that it had nob been very -satis-
factory, and there was also the idea of placing
more officers -about the district so as to be able to
check the expenditure.

21409. Under the Eastern Bengal system, the
District Board Engineers were supervised to a cer-
tain extent by the Superintending Engineer of the
Public Works Department in his character of In-
spector of Local Funds Works?—Yes.

21410. The present result is that you have done
away with the agency of -the District Board En-
gineer, of whom you had one in each district, and
you have instituted a scanty Public Works staff
with one Executive Engineer in each Commis-
sioner’s division ?—Yes, except in the case of
Pajshahi.

21411. Do you consider that a satisfactory alter-
native?—Yes, I think so.

21412. An officer coming in to the Public Works
Department has a light if he behaves well to rise
up to the post of first grade Engineer?—Yes.

21413. But the Superintending Engineer stands
on a different level?—Yes, selection is made from
the first grade.

21414. But a senior man does not necessarily go
in ?—No ; as soon as a man becomes a first grade
Engineer, a report has to be made in regard to
him.

21415. Supposing a Superintending Engineership
falls vacant and you have three first grade Exe-
cutive Engineers, all of whom are fit, but the junior
of the three is a much abler man than the other
two, would he be put in?—Not if the other two
had been reported on as (fit.

21416. Then it is really seniority tempered by
selection and not selection purely?—Yes.

21417. Does promotion to Chief Engineer go in
the same way?—Sometimes a man is pretty cer-
tain if -he gets Superintending Engineer to become
Chief Engineer.

21418. So that it goes practically by seniority?—
Yes.

21419. Have you had many appeals come to you,
first as Superintending Engineer and second as
Chief Engineer?—(No ; they are not very plentiful.

21420. Are there not many oases in which a
matter has already been decided twice or more by
people below you?—There is practically only one
appeal—there is the decision of the officer and the
appeal then goes to the Government.

21421. Has an Executive Engineer much power
in regard to punishing or dismissing people?—No,
he has very little power indeed, but he can dismiss
a man he has appointed himself—a clerk or a
menial.

21422. Suppose he does net dismiss him but
suspends him for a month, could an appeal go to
the Superintending Engineer?—-Yes, and from him
to the Chief Engineer.

21423. Then could it go on from the Chief En-
gineer to the Secretary to Government?—It could.

21424. Have you had many matters which under
the existing rules or practice you have to refer from
yourself as Chief Engineer to yourself as Secretary
to Government?—In appeals there have been.

21425. In all important matters you would take
His Honour’s orders, but are there matters which
have to go to you form-ally as Secretary to Govern-
ment but which you consider so unimportant that
you do not take His Honour’s orders but deal with
yourself ?—Yes ; there are many things one dis-
poses of as Chief Engineer or as Secretary which
are not of sufficient importance to go up to His
Honour.

21426. It has been represented by one officer that
one of the instances of harmful interference by the
Government of India was with regard to building
operations here in Dacca, which he said were
largely delayed owing to the action of the Govern-
ment of India ; have you any knowledge of that ?—
We found we could not build here within the rules
and we had to go to the Government of Lidia to
relax them in certain oases.

21427. Are you speaking of residences for officers
of Government ?—Yes, and in the matter of Govern-
ment House there have been many references, and
it has taken u-s two years to get it through.

21428. Was that owing to the cost being dis-
approved, or the plans being disapproved, or what?
—The plan was approved, and then it was decided
that the Government of India architect should work
it up for us and make all the drawings and so on,
but he did nothing for so-me three months, so
Sir Bamfylde Fuller got them back and gave them
to a private architect to work up. Then they were
sent back to the Government of India again, and
I suppose the Government of India architect criti-
cised them a great -deal, and a great many changes
were made before they were finally approved.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

85

Then the architect’s estimates were sent to the
Government of India for sanction, but they said,
“ No, you are to make out your own estimates, and
send us the detailed drawing,” and they wanted
detailed drawings of every bit of moulding and
.so on ; so that altogether there was a good deal of
rigidity about it.

21429. Was your local architect a private man?
-—Yes, a qualified architect.

21430. But in the matter of a Government House
which has to last for a very long time, might there
not possibly be something to account for the
Government of India requiring the advice of their
own architect?—Yes, I have no objection to make
to that, but I do object to the excessive amount of
detail in regard to the estimates.

21431. Was the delay due mainly to the existing
rules, or what one might call vexatious interference
under the existing rules?—I think under the exist-
ing rules the matter could have been passed
through more quickly, because there is nothing in
the existing rules which necessitates any great
delay.

21432. Do the existing rules require a reference
to the Government of India architect ?—Yes.

21433. And they also require a reference finan-
cially owing to the cost of the building?—Yes ;
there was no great trouble about that.

21434. Having regard to the conditions under
which the Government of India had to examine all
these matters, was their examination needlessly
minute, and were you put to unnecessaiy incon-
venience and delay ?—I think we were.

21435. Would you say considerable delay? — I
think we might have started the work some six or
eight months ago.

21436. (Mr. Mickens.) Who provided the money
for the new buildings which are going to be put
up here ?—That is a question I am not prepared to
deal with.

21437. At any rate, given that the money was
available, was there any particular reason why the
provincial Government should not be able to settle
what sort of buildings they wanted and how they
were to be put up?—I think with the exception of
an important building like a .Government House, all
questions as to buildings might be left to the
provincial Government.

21438. The assumption would be that you would
employ a competent architect?—Yes, for a large
building especially.

21439. Have you had much experience with re-
gard to the architect of the Government of India?
—No, very little.

21440. It was put to us in another province that
occasionally he was not versed in local conditions?
—Quite true.

21441. And therefore his advice might be sound
or it might not, but at any rate it was mot desir-
able that a Local Government should be in any
way bound to take it ?—Yes.

21442. Might it be laid down that a provincial
Government might consult the Architect of the
Government of India if they chose, but if they felt
that they had a good enough architect of their own,
they might abstain from consulting him ?—Quite so.

21443. In regard to the Government House, is
there really any reason why the provincial Govern-
ment should not settle for itself the kind of build-
ing it is going to have ?—I think that means that
one man would settle the plan of the building, and
he might have fads.

21444. In the case of that particular building,
the Local Government might rely too much upon
personality and individuality, and therefore the
matter ought to go through more hands?—Yes.

21445. With regard to other Government build-
ings, for instance, as other public offices, is there
any reason why there should go up either for
administrative or technical approval to the Govern-
ment of India?—I think it is very desirable that
we should be able to get an architect’s advice and

help, but if we have a private architect I do not
see that it is necessary.

21446. (Mr. Dutt.) You say that if Government
has approved of the acquisition of any land, fur-
ther procedure might be left to the Collector, but
is not that the rule at present?—No, after the
Government has approved of the estimates, orders
are issued to the Board of Revenue who pass them
on to the Commissioner who passes them on to the
Collector, and I would omit all that; I would
have the appearance of the order in the Gazette
sufficient authority for the Collector to proceed
with the work.

21447. You say that the Collector .should be em-
powered to give immediate possession under sec-
tion 17 of the Act without reference to the Local
Government ?—Yes, instead of having to refer back-
wards and forwards through the same channel for
orders.

21448. Is not section 17 reserved for urgent cases,
where immediate possession is necessary?—Yes.

21449. Do you not think in such oases the Govern-
ment should decide whether there is urgency or
not?—But it very often happens in a twopenny-
halfpenny case ; for instance, we might want a
brick-field, and if we want it, we want it imme-
diately.

21450. But looking at it from another point of
view, does not section 17 set aside a lot of the pro-
cedure with regard to notification and that kind
of thing ? Do you not think the iGovernment ought
to have a voice in deciding whether the matter is
so urgent that the usual procedure should be set
aside ?—I do not think there is very much procedure
set aside under section 17. A Collector cannot take
any action under that section until the notification
has been published and he has issued his award.

21451. You said it would be possible to employ
either an Executive Engineer or an Assistant En-
gineer in each district to be in charge of the
Government work and also of the District Board
work. Would you advocate that system as better
than the present one?—It is hard to say which is
the better ; there are advantages in both systems.

21452. At present have not the District Boards
power to appoint their own Engineers ? — Under
certain rules.

21453. If you sent your Government officers there,
you would have to withdraw that power from the
District Boards, and the Government would send
its own Engineers?—Yes.

21454. In that case would you make the District
Board contribute towards the pay of that officer ?—
We do not in Assam. I do not contemplate that.

21455. If you sent a Government officer to> carry
out District Board works, would you do so without
making the District Board pay a part of his salary ?
—Yes, I do not see any reason why they should pay
him.

21456. Taking the experience of a large district
like Mymensingh, is it possible for one Engineer
to take charge of all the works in such a district,
over and above any Government buildings he
might have to construct or supervise?—Yes, if
he had a sufficient staff of Assistants ; he would
have to have a very considerable staff, and Govern-
ment doing it would be probably more expensive
than the District Board’s maintenance, but it would
be more efficient.

21457. So that on the whole, you have not any
very decided opinion whether the one or the other
is the better system ?—No ; I think the District
Board work, though probably not so good as it
might- be, may be good enough.

21458. You say you would not curtail the right
of appeal ; will you give us your reasons for that
opinion?—I think the more right of appeal there
is, the more care people will take in passing orders
which might be appealed against.

21459. (Sir Frederic Lely.) Supposing a District
Engineer has to build a district cutcherry of aver-
age size, is he supplied with a standard plan?—
He is either supplied with a standard plan or with
a design.

Mr.

IV. Sweet.
9 Jan., 1908


Mr.

W. Sweet.

9 Jan., 1908.

86 MINUTES OF

21460. Have you standard designs?—Not for all
public buildings. We have none for cutcherries.

21461. Or for all public buildings which are
much in demand?—Yes, we have of those which
require to be of the same type, like Munsiff’s
Courts, hut the plans for a cutcherry vary in dif-
ferent districts.

21462. Taking a iMunsiff’s Court, which is a
standard type of building, would the local
Engineer have scope for making any change ?—
No.

21463. Even if he were a man who had made a
study of architecture?—He would not start build-
ing, because he had a type drawing, but he would
have to send an estimate on that type drawing
and get sanction, and if he wanted to make any
changes he would have to send his proposals up to
Government.

21464. Is not that system rather a discourage-
ment in the way of special architecture?—I think
it is hardly necessary to make any arrangement
for giving any scope in those matters, because they
cost money.

21465. Do you think that the system secures you
against any possible waste or mistake, and that
that is worth purchasing even at the expense of a
dead level of design?—No, I think it would be a
very good thing indeed to alter designs, but that
means more expensive buildings.

21466. But do you not think that it would be
desirable for a central authority to be able to give
more scope for special ability or special taste in
the matter of architecture?—Yes; the Local
Government is not bound to stick to these type
drawings.

21467. Supposing an Engineer’s estimates are
sanctioned on certain specifications, and he finds
that it would be economical or desirable to change
an item of the specification, to use one sort of
timber instead of another, for instance, would he
have any power to do that?—He would put that

EVIDENCE :

in his estimate for scrutiny by the Superintending
Engineer and Chief Engineer, possibly, and if they
approved of it that would be sufficient. There is
no hard-and-fast rule with regard to the material
to be used.

21468. Is there a certain amount of discretion
left?—Yes, absolute discretion.

21469. I understand the Public Works Depart-
ment is entirely independent and isolated from all
the other departments of Government?—Yes, it is
in the execution of its work.

21470. I notice in Sir John Strachey’s book that
it is laid down that nothing can pass in a district
of which it is not the Collector’s duty to keep
himself informed and watch the operation; would
you accept that proposition from the point of view
of the Public Works Department ?—No ; the Col-
lector has nothing to do with watching the opera-
tions of the Public Works Department. Where
anything affects his district, such as a railway
embankment, which might affect agricultural opera-
tions, it would be his duty certainly to watch it.

21471. Supposing he became aware of some ex-
cessive waste which was going on owing to the
inefficiency of the Executive Engineer, should he
take any action?—Certainly; it would be his duty
to represent to the 'Executive Engineer’s superior,
if there was anything wasteful.

21472. And if the Superintending Engineer did
not agree with him, and thought there was no
reason for interference, what would he do?—That
would be left very much to his own discretion
whether he went on with the case, or the (Superin-
tending Engineer might show him that the matter
was all right; he could either accept that or go to
someone higher.

21473. Would the Superintending Engineer
think himself bound to refer the matter to a higher
authority?—No, not if he was satisfied.

(The witness withdrew.)

The Hon. Mr. Paul Gregory Melitus, C.I.E., was called and examined.

The Hon. Mr.
P. 6r. Melitus.
9 Jan., 1908.

21474. (Chairman.) You are the second member
of the Board of Revenue, are you not?—Yes.

The chief point of contact between the people
and the administration is the District and Sub-
Divisional Officer. No scheme of decentralization
is likely to remain successful unless District Officers
are given a substantial voice in the initiation of
proposals affecting the district administration.
They are now often consulted too late, that is, after
a decision has been arrived at, or practically
arrived at. The remedies suggested are: to re-
quire proposals of Local Governments affecting dis-
trict administration to be accompanied by the
opinions of District and other officers: to require
District Officers before reporting to consult their
Sub-Divisional Officers, and both the District and
Sub-Divisional Officer to consult those interested
and give all persons wishing to do so an opportunity
of expressing their views for the consideration of
the Local Government: to let the public know that
the proposals of Local Government were framed
after duly consulting officers and persons con-
cerned.

District and Su-bnDivisional Officers are some-
times posted without reference to their suitability
for particular charges. This is partly unavoid-
able. Transfers are frequent. This also is partly
unavoidable ; and in the earlier years of service it is
desirable that an officer should be transferred at
not too long intervals to widen his experience.
But the evil may be diminished by posting officers
when their time comes for holding charge perma-
nently to districts for a period of, say, five years,
and to sub-divisions for two or three years; by
reposting officers to the same district during their
term of five years on return from furlough, the
acting vacancy being utilised to give experience
in a district charge to junior officers; by offering
bad districts—there are many such in the province
—down the line to the first officer considered quali-
fied who accepts. This method would please both
the officer appointed, as he would get his district

permanently perhaps a year or two before his time,
and the officers superseded, who would avoid going
to a district they do not want.

District and Sub-Divisional Officers in the Assam
Valley after some little time generally acquire a
sufficient colloquial knowledge of the vernacular.
In Bengal this is said not to be the case. The
Assam system, especially the land revenue, brings
them more in contact with the people. Ability to
read the written character is often defective. The
remedy is strict examination. The main obstacle
in the way of more personal contact between
officers and the people is pressure of office work.
Sub-Divisional Officers in the Bengal districts, for
instance, have to spend much time on tour in try-
ing cases from a distance which could more con-
veniently be tried at headquarters. I see no
remedy except an increase in the Provincial Ser-
vice. Efficient members of the Provincial Service
might be appointed Additional Collectors at head-
quarters. I would prefer this to the appointment
of a Sub-Divisional Officer at headquarters. The
proposal would relieve the District Officer but not
the Sub^Divisional Officer. There is also much set
work on tour, such as inspections, testing of
measurements, income-tax enquiries, which take up
time. It is a question of departmental efficiency
versus administrative strength. The former re-
quires much time to be spent on inspections, etc.,
the latter would be better served by leaving the
officers free to “ talk ” to the people? Tea-garden
inspections take up much of the time of officers in
Assam, but the supervision of tea-garden labour is,
perhaps, the most important branch of revenue
administration in the Assam tea districts.

One or two districts of the province may be too
large, but no general reduction in the size of
charges is required. I think an increase in the
Provincial Service is required if District and Sub-
Divisional Officers are to have more time for mix-
ing with the people. If the principle of “ greater
care in selection, less regard being had to


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

87

seniority ” is to be applied to district charges, the
strength of the Indian ‘Civil Service may have to
be increased by a small allowance for inefficients,
just as there is an allowance for leave and train-
ing; otherwise districts may come down to officers
too junior for such charges. But perhaps an in-
crease in the Provincial Service would answer that
purpose.

In administrative matters my experience, both
in the Home Department Secretariat and in Assam,
is that the control of the Government of India to
the present extent, is on the whole good and should
not be relaxed. No doubt there is often ignor-
ance of local conditions in the Government of
India leading to avoidable correspondence and
delay, and they sometimes make mistakes. But
those disadvantages are outweighed by the advan-
tage of checking hasty action. There would prob-
ably be more mistakes if the Local Governments
were left more alone. It is not always the case
that a Local Government acts with local know-
ledge. Most Local Governments consist of a single
man, often new to the province. He may come
to the province with preconceived notions, pre-
pared to find fault with the administration of his
predecessors, and unwilling to listen to the advice
of his officers unless it falls in with his own views.
I think it unsafe for the Government of India to
initiate changes affecting the district administration
of a province except by way of suggestion to Local
Governments, but they should retain full control
and veto over details as well as principles. My
Secretariat experience was that they generally
gave in when a good case was made out. I do not
believe in the distinction between “ details ” and
“ principles ” in administrative matters referred to
by some witnesses who have advocated leaving to
Local Government more liberty as to details to be
worked out on principles laid down by the Govern-
ment of India. Most principles are details when
considered with reference to higher principles.
Similarly details become principles with reference
to lower details.

I would not withdraw the control of the Govern-
ment of India under the Assam Land and Revenue
Regulations.

Sufficient corrective for excessive rigidity in, or
mistakes by, the Government of India (Secretariat
exists in the powrer of the Local Government to
suspend action and make representations, and in
the willingness of the Government of India to give
in to those representations. There is not suf-
ficient corrective in the case of such tendencies in
the Local Secretariat when once orders have been
passed, because subordinate officers are not at
liberty to urge objections to the same extent: the
order begins to take effect at once, and there is no
one competent to suspend action all over the pro-
vince, except, perhaps, the Board of Revenue in
cases in which the order is addressed to the Board
and not communicated by circular to subordinate
officers; and there is less likelihood of representa-
tions by subordinate officers being attended to.
The Local Government would not attach the same
weight to their objections as the Government of
India attach to objections by Local Governments.
The proper corrective in the case of Local Govern-
ments is to consult local officers before orders are
decided upon.

The Board have (u) certain statutory functions
not sufficient to occupy their whole time, (b) certain
functions delegated 'by the Local Government. In
the case of (b) it is optional with the Local Govern-
ment to make over work to, or take it /away from,
the Board without reference to the 'Government of
India. When a subject has been made over to
the Board, no /further direct correspondence on that
subject 'should take place between the Government
and the Commissioner or Head of Department
subordinate to the Board.

Were it not for the fact that a Board of Revenue
was established for the new province after full
consideration, I should be inclined to recommend
its abolition, substituting for it a Financial Com-
missioner, whose work would be confined to his
statutory duties. I am not in favour of associating
the Board with Government, as has been done in
Bengal., This would, I think destroy the inde-
pendent existence of the Board, and might lower

it in the estimation of the people. The position Hon Mr
of the members would fluctuate somewhere between p & Melitus.

that of colleagues of the Lieutenant-Governor and ’___________

that of mere Secretaries according to the varying 9 Jan., 1908.

personality of the Lieutenant-Governor, Members, -------------

and Secretaries. I11 any case there should be an

independent branch of the Board for dealing with

appeals. 'In Assam the people are accustomed to

their appeals being disposed otf by Government, but

in the Eastern Bengal districts they attach im-

portance to separate authority.

In the Assam Valley the entire staff of Sub-
Deputy Collectors should be placed at the disposal
of the Commissioner, who would be responsible for
their posting. Here again we have the question
of departmental efficiency versus administrative
strength.

As regards Service appeals, I would leave the
right of appeal as regards dismissals as it stands ;
firstly, because it helps to make Government ser-
vice popular ; /secondly, ministerial and lower
officers are often dismissed for faults for which,
and on evidence on which, no one would dream
of dismissing superior officers, and, thirdly, some
officers >are over-ready to dismiss their subordinates
for faults for which a smaller penalty would suffice;
others perhaps err in the opposite direction. So
much depends on the accident of who is the officer
passing the order or bearing the appeal. Appeals
against dismissals /are those which take up most
time ; the rest do not cost so much time and labour
as to require separate procedure.

The Assam iSub-Divisional Boards have worked
well—probably much better than District Boards
would have worked. It seems impracticable to extend
the system 'to the Eastern Bengal districts. No
change is required in Assam unless it is in the
direction of a Local Self-Government Act, which is
not really required.

I would not place the smaller municipalities
under the District or Sub-Divisional Board in
either section of the (province. Probably these
municipalities would not like the change, and they
are better left to the supervision of the District and
Sub-Divisional Officers. •

I am unable 'to think out /a scheme for the con-
stitution and functions of District Councils which
does not break down as likely to do more harm
than good. There would be difficulties arising
from the composition of the population. If a pro-
portion of the appointments are by election, there
would be a risk of the introduction of disloyal men
which might endanger rather than promote good
relations between the officers and the people. If
all appointments are by nomination, this would be
made an additional grievance and another handle
for friction between disloyal men and Government.

Then there are the questions of the work of the
members, the responsibility for supervising them,
the methods of control and of insuring that their
advice and (action is for the public good and not in
personal or class interests, and of protecting them
against attack by their enemies. 'There would have
to be control over the individual members in pro-
portion to their work. lit would be different in the
case of village bodies, but the Council would not he
large enough to contain ordinarily more than one
member in -any particular locality. To be of prac-
tical use most of the members would have to be
bond fide resident in the villages in the interior.

Further, these .Councils might narrow rather than
widen the held of consultation. A District or iSub-
Divisional Officer should take advice from all per-
sons wishing to give it. I should, however, be
quite willing to support the creation of these
Councils if I could see a scheme likely /to do more
good than harm. Advisory bodies, temporary or
permanent, appointed to advise on 'some special or
technical subject are on a different footing, and
might often be useful.

Petty civil and criminal cases might with advan-
tage be made over to bodies of panchayats,
gaonburas, and leading villagers, where there is not
much chance of their being dominated by landlords,
subordinate officials, and others. This is cer-
tainly practicable in the Assam Volley, where dis-
putes are very frequently settled in this way. The
goshains of the Assam Valley are universally re-
spected, and their influence makes for purity of


88

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE:

The Hon. Mr, and obedience to authority. They might be
P. (r. Metitus, associated with the 'Government and utilised for

---- disposing of minor cases. This would be a popu-

9 Jan., 1908. lar measure. Their decision would have to be

---- final.

21475. You have had a good deal of experience,
not only in the Secretariat, but in the district?—
Yes.

21476. When you first entered the Board of
Revenue as second memlber, your work was not of
the stamp that it is now?—‘There has been a
difference. When I left the province on leave
both of the members were Bengal men with Bengal
experience, and it was thought necessary to transfer
the Assam land revenue to the senior member ; but
the senior member has .recently spoken to me about
transferring it back to me.

21477. Is there no hard-and-fast rule which re-
quires the first member to have certain depart-
ments under him and the other member to have
certain departments under him ?—No, the Bocal
Government has the power to ‘apportion the work by
departments.

21478. Does that arrangement work pretty well ?.
—Yes, I think so.

21479. Is it much better than having a hard-and-
fast rule as «to the way in which work shall be
assigned to each member ?—Much ‘better.

21480. You have been not only a Sub-Divisional
Officer, but >a Commissioner?—I have been a Com-
missioner in the Assam Valley division for over
seven years.

21481. Are Divisional Officers consulted too late
in the day when administrative proposals are
made?—There have been cases in Assam in my
experience where they have been consulted too
late, that is to say in matters on which the Chief
Commissioner, so far as one could judge, has prac-
tically committed himself.

21482. Does that system obtain still?—I think
not.

21483. Is there any system in force of confer-
ences either of Commissioners with the Board of
Revenue, or of Collectors with the Commissioner ?—
There was none when I went on leave, ‘and I have
not heard of any such system.

21484. Would such a proposal be advantageous ?—
I think so ; occasional conferences would be a good
thing.

21485. Might they prevent District Officers being
consulted too late ?—I do not think that would
affect the point to which I am referring. When it
is decided .to take action, District Officers are not

r consulted until it is 'too late.

21486. Can’t you give an instance of such a
case?—In the case of the Assam Labour Immigra-
tion Act of 1901, no officer or planter in Assam
was consulted by the Chief Commissioner from the
time the question arose until the time the Act was
actually introduced in 'Council.

21487. And is that clearly, in your judgment, a
bad system ?—I think so.

21488. And perhaps a system of conferences
might obviate such another case arising ?—It would,
if the subject was referred to the conference.

21489. Were the Commissioners consulted with
regard .to this particular Act?—There is only one
Commissioner in Assam ; no officer was consulted.
Of course, I cannot say what the Chief Commis-
sioner may had isaid in conversation with people,
but I can say that there is no paper in any
district office or in any planter’s office in Assam
showing that from the time that the question of
amending that Act arose, until the time it was
introduced in Council, anybody was consulted—
and that is not a solitary instance.

21490. At that time was the Chief Commissioner
solely responsible for the Government of Assam ?—
Yes.

21491. In your opinion is one of the reasons why
the control of the Government of India ought not to
be relaxed in administrative matters, the danger

which may arise from too hasty legislation passed
at the suggestion of a single official, namely, the
Lieutenant-Governor or the Head of the province ?—
Yes, and not only legislation, but also executive
action.

21492. In practice, although there may be no
formal Council to a Lieutenant-Governor, most
officers at the head of a province call into con-
sultation their iSecretaries and their Board of
Revenue, where such exist?—That would depend
entirely on the personality of the Head of the
province.

21493. You consider transfers very frequent, and
you suggest three methods of remedying the evil.
You would post officers ‘to a district for a period of
not less than five years, and to a sub-division for
not less than three?—-Perhaps he might be less in
a light sub-division, because the Sub-Divisional
Officer is a young man, and he had better be
transferred while young, so as to get a wider ex-
perience.

21494. It was stated by a witness that the .system
of training young officers on arrival at headquarters
was not a satisfactory one ?—I do not see what the
alternative would be. The best training they
could get would be to go to a typical district of a
province.

21495. You would not send them out, say, for six
months on settlement work ?—That would come
more suitably after a year or two of district work,
and after they had learnt the language and passed
some of their examinations.

21496. It was represented that a period of
residence at a district headquarters was precisely
the reason why a young officer did not learn the
language ; do you agree with that view?—I do not,
because he is put on to try cases, and if the Head
of the district takes an interest in him, he takes
him about with him or sends him on local enquiries,
so that he has opportunities of learning the lan-
guage then.

21497. You would re-post officers returning from
furlough to the same districts which they had held
before going on furlough and to get over the diffi-
culty occasioned by the existence of bad district in
a province, you would offer them down the line of
seniority till an officer was ready to take a bad dis-
trict and .thereby secure advancement ?—Yes. That
was tried once in Assam with success for two years.

21498. Why was it discontinued ?—I do not mean
that the system was regularly tried because there
are not many bad districts of that sort in Assam.
It was tried once in the case of one district with
success. But in Eastern Bengal there are a large
number of bad districts.

21499. Has it never been tried in Eastern Bengal ?
—I do- not think so.

21500. You say that the Government of India
ought not to interfere in district administration,
save by way of suggestion?—I should have said
that they ought not to interfere in matters of detail.
The Government of India ought not to initiate
changes affecting the details of district adminis-
tration, but they should retain full control and
veto over Local Governments even in detail.

21501. Would you lead us to believe that the
Government of India, when pressed upon matters
of detail, generally give way ?—That was my experi-
ence in both the Assam Secretariat and the'Home
Department.

21502. But, on the other hand, you are of opinion
that the provincial Secretariat are not so willing
to trust their officers in a matter of -detail as the
Government of India is willing to trust the Local
Government?—That -all depends on the Head of
the Local Government ; the Local Government is
one man, and personalities vary.

21503. The details are so carefully scrutinised by
the Head of the provisional Government that he
can control local officers in details?—I think so
from my experience in Assam, and I should say
also, perhaps, in this province. I cannot say with
regard to the new province, but of course a good
deal of work is left to the Secretaries.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

89

21504. It is the Secretary who interferes in the
details, and not the Head of the 'Government,
although he may write in his name ?—It might be,

21505. Are the representations of isubordinate
officers not taken notice of when they remonstrate
with the Local Government?—They do not remon-
strate very often, because when an order is passed
it has to be carried out. The Board of Revenue
might remonstrate, but there was no Board until
the other day, and before that (the District Officers
and Commissioners would feel it rather beyond then'r
duty to remonstrate after an order had been passed.
I have occasionally pointed out certain matters 'n
the orders which in my opinion might be altered.

21506. With what result?—I do not remember
having pointed it out in any big matter.

21507. You did not think it at all events your
duty as a Commissioner to remonstrate with
Government in questions in which you thought
Government' had taken a wrong course ?—>Not after
the orders had been passed.

21508. Would you think now, as a member of
the Board of Revenue, that it would be well that
Commissioners .should draw your attention to
matters in order to prevent serious mistakes by
the Government or to something which was going
wrong owing -to an order of the 'Government?—-I
think they would do that even now.

21509. But you tell us that they did not do it
in the past?—They did not think it necessary to
remonstrate against an order passed by the Local
Government.

21510. Do you not think It is their duty to do so ?
—1 do not think it is their duty after a decision
has been arrived at, but if the order, when put into
practice, produces bad results, then it is their duty
to point it out.

21511. Will you explain your views as to the
Board of Revenue?—At present there is a multi-
plication of authorities. Both the Commissioner
and the Board of Revenue are really hardly re-
quired between the District Officer and the Lieu-
tenant-Governor. Then if direct correspondence
between a Commissioner or the Head of a Depart-
ment and the Lieutenant-Governor goes on at the
same time, the Board’s responsibility is weakened,
and it is altogether in a position in which it cannot
do much good.

21512. Which is the most desirable to retain,
supposing you had to eliminate either the Com-
missioners or the Board of Revenue ?—I should say
it did not make much difference, provided the num-
ber of the Board was raised, and they toured a
great deal. In the one case the Commissioner is
a local man, which is an advantage, but in the
other case one member of the Board would probably
deal with the .same -subject all over the province
which would be an advantage, and he would have
the other members to consult with.

21513. What number would you fix as the number
of the members of the Board of Revenue, if you
did away with Commissioners ? — Assuming that
they toured as they ought to do, and a great deal
more than they do now, at not less than four or
five.

21514. Do Commissioners tour -a great deal in
their districts ?—My average in Assam was about
150 days in the'year, but in this new province the
circumstances have been exceptional -the last year,
and Commissioners have not been able to get out
as much as they otherwise would have done.

21515. What sort of exceptional circumstances
have there been ?—Disturbances and things like
that.

21516. Is any rule laid down as to the amount
of touring to be done by Commissioners ?—It is
120 days in the Assam Valley, and I think there
are different periods fixed for the different Com-
missioners in the Eastern Bengal districts.

21517. Is there any period laid down for the
touring of the members of the Board of Revenue?
—No, there is no period. They move about at their
own discretion.

33289

21518. If you abolished the Board of Revenue,
would you desire to see a Financial Commissioner
substituted for it?—That would be necessary to
dispose of appeals, but I do not wish to- abolish the
Board.

21519. Would it be possible to give Commis-
sioners final authority in regard to revenue appeals ?
—No, that would not be possible ; I do not think
the people would be satisfied with their decisions,
because a Commissioner is too- much in contact with
Government, and they would like an appellate
authority independent of Government ; there is a
sort of idea that where Government interests are
concerned an independent authority is (better.

21520. Are you in your collective capacity in-
dependent of Government ? — Only in respect of
appeals and certain express powers which the law
gives.

21521. Could not the Commissioner be made in-
dependent of Government?—Yes, he could be.

21522. If so, that difficulty would disappear?—
I do not think it would altogether disappear, be-
cause he would be an officer of a different status.

21523. Could his status be made the same, by
giving him greater power all round and increasing
his position?—Tt might be made the same.

21524. Have you an independent Secretary to the
Board ?—Yes.

21525. Do you appoint your Secretary yourself?—
He is appointed by Government after consulting
with ns. Our Secretaries are entirely separate from
the Secretaries to Government.

21526. Do you not wish to see any closer asso-
ciation between the Government and the Board of
Revenue than at present exists ?—I should not like
-the Bengal system introduced, because it would
depend so much on personal character what the
position would be.

21527. Does the position of the Board of Revenue
now not depend upon personal idiosyncrasies ?—No ;
it is a separate office. The work made over to- us
depends on the personal views of the Lieutenant-
Governor, but the kind of association they have in
Bengal might turn the members of the Board prac-
tically either into colleagues or Secretaries, or it
may even be that the members of the Board might
be placed in a position subordinate to the' Chief
Secretary in certain cases.

21528. Are you mainly in favour of leaving the
right of appeal as it stands at the present moment ?
—I think so. I have only mentioned Service
appeals, but that conclusion applies to other appeals
as well. They really do not take up much time,
except as to the important cases, and any diminu-
tion of the right would be unpopular.

21529. Would it be unpopular with a special
class, or would it be unpopular with the people at
large?—With the people at-large.

21530. You -tell us that in Assam there were Sub-
Divisional Boards which worked better than the
District Boards would have worked. Would you
like to see that sub-divisional system extended to
the province generally?—It cannot be extended,
because there is not enough Public Works establish-
ment. An Executive Engineer’s division in the
Assam district covers two districts only, and he
can professionally inspect and advise and can also
take over works for execution by the Public Works
Department in a way we could not do here, with
one Executive Engineer in each Commissioner’s
division.

21531. From the point of view of administration,
but not from the point of view of districts, would
it be better to have a system of good Sub-Divisional
Boards than to have the present system of District
Boards and Local Boards ?—-My answer would be,

“ Yes,” it would be better if the detailed arrange-
ments could be made.

21532. Cbuld you find in a sub-divisional area
men of sufficient calibre and character to- work
such Sub-Divisional Boards ?—-I think we could.

51533. Could you then get rid of District Boards ?
—-There would be a little difficulty in getting rid

M

The Hon. Hr
P. G. Helitus
9 Jan., 1908.


90

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

The Hon. Hr.
P. G. Helitus.
9 Jan., 1908.

altogether of the District Boards, because each of
the Sub-Divisional Boards could not afford a good
Engineer ; there would probably have to be one
Engineer for the whole district, and some sort of
authority to control him and distribute his time
between the different isub-divisioms.

21534. Is not a great deal of the work which used
to be done by the District Board Engineer now
done by the Public Works Department Engineer ?—

I cannot ,say about the Eastern Bengal districts.

21535. Is the actual trouble, in your judgment to
get a competent District Engineer ?—That would be
the real trouble.

21536. With regard to Administrative or Advisory
Councils, would there be difficulty in regard to their
working?—I should like to see them if I could
work out the details, but I confess that I cannot
do it: It would be a difficult thing to arrange so
that the result should not produce more harm than
good. How are you to get the members? If the
appointments are by election, then taking, for
instance, the state of things in Eastern Bengal if
you had an undersirable or disloyal man with the
status of a member of the Advisory Board, with
the sedition, the boycotting, and other things going
on, he might do a good deal of harm, and his
position would help him to do it, and if the
appointments were by election the probability is
that a good many men of that class would be
elected. On the other hand, if it was by nomina-
tion, the noisy class of people would not be satis-
fied, and would make an additional grievance
against Government out of the method of appoint-
ment.

21537. With regard to village tribunals, do you
think that in selected places they might be started
with advantage?—I should like very much to start
them in Assam, following the lines of the ordinary
village procedure in settling disputes. That pro-
cedure is this: suppose A has a complaint against
B, they call together some of the leading men of
the village, such as the mauzadar mandal and
gaonebura, and anything between 10 and 20 or
even more villagers and they sit down and talk the
case over and come to a sort of decision which is
generally more or less unanimous. There is little
chance of injustice under that system, because of
its publicity, and practically there is little chance
of either party lying because he is sure to be
caught.

21538. Would you make those decisions, what--
ever they were, final and without appeal ?—I should
say so, in small cases, but not in any case where
imprisonment was involved, or in any case which
might eventually be punished by the infliction of a
fine of a few rupees, or in minor civil disputes such
as boundary disputes.

21539. (Mr. Hichens.) Is the time of the Board
of .Revenue very fully occupied with its work?—
I cannot say; it was not before I went away on
leave, but I am told there has been an increase in
the work since then.

21540. Are the subjects with which you have to
deal divided into single-member subjects and two-
nlember subjects?—No, there are no two-member
subjects; they are all single-member subjects, but
either member may call the other in for the dis-
posal of any particular matter.

21541. Do appeals have to be settled by both
members of the Board?—No. Appeals are taken
by each member separately, unless for some reason
the two members sit together. If the member
hearing the appeal proposes to reverse a Commis-
sioner’s order, the concurrence of the other member
is required.

21542. When it is stated that an appeal is to
settled by the Board of Revenue is what is really
meant that it goes before one member of the
Board?—It goes before one member of the Board
unless he decides to call in the other member.

21543. As to which he would use his discretion?
Yes; I only remember two or three appeals of that
kind during the few months before I went on
leave.

21544. Does the same principle apply in Bengal,
that is to say, that appeals are settled by one
member?—I believe so.

21545. Therefore the term “Board of Revenue”
is rather a misnomer, and it would be more correct
to say there are two Financial Commissioners
with separate and independent powers?—I do not
call it a misnomer, because we consult together
very frequently.

21546. But you might consult with anybody else,
the Lieutenant-Governor or the Chief Secretary?—
No, that would not be the same thing. A colleague
feels a sort of obligation to help you with his
advice; for instance there is a big arbitration
pending before Mr. Savage, and he has asked me
to sit with him and hear it.

21547. What would happen if you differed from
him?—Then the law provides that a third person
is to be appointed by .Government.

21548. A suggestion has been made that the
Board of Revenue should be constituted advisers
to the Government in respect of all matters prac-
tically which concern the Government, that is to
say, that their powers should be extended to all
other departments. What is your opinion?—I
should have no objection; we can take more busi-
ness than we are doing with an increase of office
establishment.

21549. Would two members be able to get a full
grasp of all the different departments of Govern-
ment, and be able to divide up the work satisfac-
torily between them without an additional mem-
ber?—If we undertook all the work, there might
be a little strain,. and it might interfere with our
touring.

21550. Would you say that, even if you did have
additional work, the importance of touring would
be as great as ever?—The importance would be as
great as ever, but we should not be able to tour
to the same extent.

21551. And that would not be advisable?—No,
it would not.

21552. If it was decided that the Board of
Revenue should take additional work and be con-
stituted advisers to His Honour in other matters,
might it be desirable to increase the number by
one or two in order to preserve the power of tour-
ing ?—Yes.

21553. What exactly is your objection to the
Bengal system which has just been adopted in re-
gard to the Board of Revenue?—The Bengal
system is that the members of the Board have
authority to dispose of cases within their own
powers, and certain cases, not within their own
powers, but within the powers of the Lieutenant-
Governor, and to submit the important cases not
being within their own powers to Government;
when they submit cases to Government they pass
through the Chief Secretary. My objection is that
you might be treated as a Secretary to the
Government if the Government so wished. Of
course the Board could object to that, and then
there would be constant friction.

21554. As a matter of fact the Board of Revenue
have just the same separate powers as before; they
have not been altered?—No.

21555. It is only the procedure of submitting
questions to his Honour, that is in question?—It
is more than that; it is the amalgamation of
offices; if the office becomes amalgamated with the
Secretariat, you become members of the Secre-
tariat practically instead of the Head of a separate
office, and your position then would depend very
much on the views of the Lieutenant-Governor.

21556. You are afraid that the Board might be
sunk?—I have no such fear at present, but it is
quite possible that other Lieutenant-Governors
might place the Board in an undesirable position.

21557. With regard to the relations between the
Government of India, and the provincial Govern-
ment, you do not agree with the distinction which
has sometimes been drawn between detail and
principle in administrative matters. Would your




ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

91

view be that if the Government of India (is to re-
tain control in a matter at all, it must satisfy
itself fully?—Yes.

21558. It must be satisfied that the details are
correct, just as much as on the broader issues?—
Yes.

21559. What distinction would you draw be-
tween the functions of the Government of India
and those of the provincial Government; would you
lay down any rule at all?—The only alternative I
can suggest is for the Government of India to
exercise discretion as to the matters in which they
say they will interfere and matters in which they
will not interfere; after all, whatever is laid down,
the method of carrying .it into practice is the im-
portant factor.

21560. Would you agree that the Government of
India should only concern itself in matters of wide
importance?—No, I would not agree with that,
because things might be done under that rule
which might be of very wide importance without
appearing to be so at the time.

21561. Then what criterion are you to take with
regard to any particular thing?—None at all, ex-
cept the discretion of the ‘Government of India.

21562. But how are they to be guided?—They
would have to be guided by the merits of each
case; I could lay down no principle.

21563. Looking at it from the point of view of
the province, are there not certain things which
it is desirable that the provincial Government
should control?—'Most certainly.

21564. Could you lay down a broad definition of
them?—No, I cannot define them: I would make
no definition at all; certainly there have been cases
in which much harm would have been done in
small matters if the -Government of India had not
been able to control.

21565. Might the control of the Government of
India be relaxed from the point of view of the
provincial Government in certain respects to-day?
—I think the control might be considerably re-
laxed iin financial matters, in matters of petty
expenditure, for instance in matters like political
pensions. There are many starving or half-
starving members of the late .Assam Baja’s family,
and references have to be made to the Government
of India in all such cases which might be left to
the Local Government. I remember a case in
which a sub-inspector had been killed by a
desperate character whom he was trying to arrest,
and whose widow applied for pension, but she was
told that he had not been killed under circumstances
of exceptional danger and the Government of
India could not recognise any claim. All such
cases might be left to the Local 'Government, and
there may be a large number of them.

21566. In financial matters it is necessary very
often to lay down a general rule, for instance as to
travelling allowances and things of that sort, but
when once it is laid down might one recognise that
there must be exceptions to it ?—I suppose so; all
rules work very hardly no doubt in special cases,
and there ought to be exceptions to every rule.

21567. As a general principle, if a rule is laid
down by the Government of India governing
travelling allowances and so forth, might the Local
Government be allowed to make exceptions to it?—
I think so, within certain limits, but I cannot sug-
gest any limit.

21568. Would it be desirable in such matters
that a list should be sent to the Government of
India either yearly .or half-yearly, in order that
they might watch what a province is doing?—Yes.

21569. And then would you give them power
perhaps, not to reverse what had been done in the
past, but to notify the province that the exceptions
were becoming too frequent and that they must
modify their action ?—I would give the Government
of India rather more power than that if it ap-
peared that the rule was being absolutely evaded
by detailed instructions ; I would give them power
to take away the ipower of the Local Government
if they were abusing it.

21570. But in practice it is not very likely that plG pon^
a provincial Government would do such a thing ?— p, Q, Melitus.

I do not think so. Of course they would be more ---

liberal than the Government of India ; for instance, 9 Jan., 1908.

they would not have refused the pension to the sub- -----

inspector’s widow, and they would have granted

more pensions to the starving members of the
Assam Baja's’ family.

21571. From the point of view of a contented
Government that would probably have been an
advantage ?—Yes, I think it -would.

21572. You say that District Officers are not suffi-
ciently consulted ; is your point that they are more
in touch with the people and that therefore their
recommendations may be -a little less rigid and a
little more sympathetic (than those of the Secre-
tariat ?—No, I do not mean that; what I mean
was that there would be less dependence on the
opinion of a -single man or a Secretariat.

21573. In practice would you -say that a Collector
is more influenced by personal appeals in conse-
quence of his personal intercourse with the people
than a Secretariat?—I should say that a -Collector
who has been some time in a district, .and who
knows the language and the people, would be given
that way.

21574. And in the same way perhaps the provin-
cial Government might be more inclined to deal
sympathetically with questions, such as you have
mentioned, within its own province, than the
Government of India would?—-I think they would
be more sympathetic and there (would be a little
larger expenditure, but it could foe all controlled.

21575. It might be that a certain item was dis-
allowed by the Accountant-General, on the ground
that it was not in accordance (with -the Civil Account
Code. Would you think it expedient for the Local
Government to be able to enforce their own inter-
pretation -as against him finally?—-No. I should
say not; the making of exceptions would be suffi-
cient.

21576. But, on the other hand, there is this diffi-
culty, that if the Local Government wanted to
decide in one way all they would have to do
would be to say, “ Very well, we will make an ex-
ception in that case ?—Yes, they might do that, but
that would be an abuse. It depends on the par-
ticular ''case.

21577. Is it possible or reasonable to give the one
power without the other, and ,should they not both
stand or fall together ?—I have never considered the
question, but power to interpret the rules as Local
Governments think proper -seems rather -a large
one.

21578. Have you never had cases before you
where inconvenience was caused by -a too rigid in-
terpretation on the part of the Government of
India?—I dare ;say there have been instances like
that.

21579. Is that not just the direction in which a
certain amount of freedom and latitude might be
given to the provincial ‘Governments in regard to
their own funds ?—I -think not; you could not
avoid control in any case.

21580. You referred to labour immigration, and
you said that it was one of the most important
questions that had come (forward for -some time ?—I
said that labour immigration was one of the most
important subjects of administration in Assam.

21581. How far have the provincial Government
control in such matters?—Full control, but the
sanction of the Government of India is required for
a few tilings ; otherwise they have full control.

21582. Both with regard to emigration and immi-
gration ?—Yes, inland.

21583. Gould they prohibit persons from Burma
coming in, for dn-stance ?—For that particular thing
they would have (to* get the sanction of the Govern-
ment of India.

21584. For example, could the Government of
Madras refuse to allow recruiting there without the
sanction of the Government of India ?—All the pro- *
visions in restraint of recruiting require the Gov-
ernment of India’s sanction.

33289

M 2


92

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE:

The Hon. Hr.
P. G. Helitus.
9 Jan., 1908.

21585. (Mr. Duft.) Are members of the Board, as
a imatter of fact, consulted by the Lieutenant-
Governor in matters other than revenue matters ?—
Yes. I had a reference the other day on the labour
immigration question, and they are consulted on
other matters occasionally.

21586. Is the labour immigration question con-
nected .with revenue ?—No, in no way.

21587. Are such consultations frequent?—I can
hardly isay ; I have only just come hack, and there
has been a change in the Government; so that I
can hardly give an opinion, but I believe the
members are frequently consulted on other matters.

21588. There are no other officers of the standing
of the members of the Board of Revenue whom the
Lieutenant-Governor could consult in police matters
or in Public Works matters?—Not of the same
standing.

21589. The Lieutenant-Governor on those ques-
tions would have to consult his (Secretaries or Heads
of Departments?—Yes.

21590. You say that it is conceivable that a new
Lieutenant-Governor might come to a province with
preconceived notions, and might possibly carry out
his own opinions ?—Yes, that is (possible.

21591. As a matter of (fact, can you say if succes-
sive Lieutenant-Governors have, or have not, come
to Bengal with pronounced views on certain
matters ?—I can hardly ispeak as to Bengal ; I left
Bengal 21 years ago.

21592. Supposing there was «a risk of a break in
the continuity of policy arising from that cause,
is there any remedy except the control of the
Government of India which you would like to
suggest?—The practice of consulting officers more
strictly enforced would be a 'Considerable (check.

21593. But those officers whom the Lieutenant-
Governor could consult would be of the rank of
Secretaries or Heads of Departments?—I mean that
he should consult his 'Commissioners and Collectors
on district matters.

21594. Is there any rule that the Lieutenant-
Governor should be guided by the majority of
officers he might consult?—No, and I do not sug-
gest ’such a rule ; he should consult them and then
form his opinion.

21595. Would you be inclined to recommend that
the members of the Board of Revenue should be
raised altogether to the rank of jcolleagues of the
Lieutenant-Governor, retaining at the same time
their .statutory powers as a Board of Revenue?—I
do not like to give an opinion on that point, as it
concerns me personally.

21596. Irrespective of personal considerations, in
your opinion, would it be a step in advance if the
members of the Board of Revenue were raised to
the rank of colleagues of the LieutenantiGovernor,
retaining at the same time their statutory powers
as a Board of Revenue ?—I am inclined to think it
would be a good thing.

21597. In ‘that case would you recommend a
division of work into departments as at present
obtains in Madras and Bombay ?—Yes.

21598. Does the right of appeal, as it exists, create in Government officers in the lower
departments a general .sense of (security in the
Government (Service?—I think it does.

21599. In consequence of that, can the Govern-
ment find better men to-day on a pay of Rs. 50
than -a private employer or a quasi-Government
body, like a municipality?;—There are other con-
siderations, such as status and pension, but no
doubt the right of appeal helps.

21600. A question was put to you with regard
to the possibility of working Local Boards and
abolishing District Boards altogether in Eastern
Bengal ; in that case would there be difficulty in
distributing the 'proceeds of the Road 'Cess which
is 'collected for the whole district?—>1 cannot .say
how the Road Cess is collected in Bengal ; there
is no difficulty in Assam, because the local rates are
collected for each sub-division and it should be
possible to make some such distribution in Bengal.
If it could not be settled how much was paid on

account of each sulb-division there would be a
difficulty.

21601. You say that you would be quite willing
to .support the creation of Advisory Councils, but
you cannot work out the details because there is a
danger of undesirable men becoming members of
them ; but do you think that members of the Dis-
trict Boards at present belong to that class of unde-
sirable men ?—I cannot ispeak as to the Bengal dis-
tricts. In the Assam districts I should say, no—
that very few of them belong to the undesirable
class, but the undesirable classes are not very
strong in Assam.

21602. If the District Boards were allowed to
elect a certain portion of the members of an
Advisory Council, would they elect what you call
undesirable men?—Not in the Assam Valley; I
cannot sipeak for Sylhet.

21603. Is it possible under such a system of
election and nomination to get together a workable
body of men 'to advise the Collector ?—The body of
men -might be got together, but there would still be
the (risk.

21604. Do you favour the idea of creating pan-
chayats in villages?—Only for Assam. I am not
speaking .for Eastern (Bengal, but the system of
disposing of disputes in villages in Assam works
very well.

21605. If it were desirable to create the same
class of panchayats in Bengal, would you be in
favour of employing a special officer -to organise the
formation of such panchayats?—Assuming such a
system to be introduced, it imight be a good thing to
have a special officer to look (after them.

21606. You would not make such village pan-
chayats in any way subordinate to the police ?—No.

21607. (Sir Steyning Pdgerley.) What is the ar-
rangement for the .management of the (Salt Depart-
ment here ?—We have not much salt. There is the
detective establishment in two districts. I know
very little about the subject.

21608. Is the control provincial?—(The detective
establishment is, I think, a Bengal establishment;
we have not yet got a separate establishment, but
I do not really know.

21609. You said that -the Executive Engineer diffi-
culty would be in the way of substituting a Board
system in Eastern Bengal. Would that be in-
superable?—Practically, because there would not
be enough work in, say, a couple of districts for
an Executive Engineer. If you have an Executive
Engineer for a whole division, you can hardly
expect him to supervise work in five or six districts.

21610. But if you had a single officer in each
district for both the Government work and the
District Board’s work, would there not be enough,
work for him ?—Then it would be quite feasible.

21611. Would you prefer that the District Board
should have an Engineer, or that the Government
should have an Engineer whose services would
be at the disposal of the District Board?—The
latter method was tried in Assam, and it broke
down there on account of friction, If you have an
officer of the standing of Executive Engineer, he
would not submit to being in any way subordinate
to the Chairmen of Local Boards, who would be
Sub-Divisional Officers—probably in most cases
Deputy Magistrates. That is wliy it broke down
in Assam. Now each Board has its own Service,
and the Executive Engineer is professional adviser
to the Board, with power to inspect the work.

21612. There would not be that difficulty in
Eastern Bengal?—There would not be that diffi-
culty as things stand at present, because each
Board has its own engineer ; the Executive Engineer
is not the engineer of the Board.

21613. As -to the Advisory Council, have you not
got the material to hand in your District Local
Board?—So far as you may take them as repre-
sentatives of the district, you may consult them.

21614. But could not you modify the Act so as
to extend their functions and to make them repre-
sentatives?—I do not know what their functions
would be ; that is the second difficulty I feel; the


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

93

first is as to the constitution of the Board, then,
secondly, as (to what .they are to do and how they
are to be organised. I have not worked a system
out ; every attempt I have made to work it out
has failed.

21615. If the system of making the members of
the Board of Revenue practically colleagues of the
Lieutenant-Governor were adopted, you would of
course very much increase the position of Com-
missioners ?—Yes.

21616. If that were done and matters came direct
to Government, that would avoid a good deal of the
delay and duplication of work which the present
system involves?—Yes.

21617. As regards the relations with the
Government of India, you say you think that their
interference must rest on the merits of each case?
—I can think of nothing else.

21618. How is that to guide a Local Government
as to what it ought to submit and what it ought
not to submit ; must it submit everything ?—No ;
there would be orders as to what should be sub-
mitted. I advocate giving them as much power
as ever could be given to them, with control over
them.

21619. Would they simply submit that which
requires financial sanction?—No, they would sub-
mit whatever required administrative sanction ;
that would go according to precedent.

21620. Would a code grow up as to what they
must submit?—There is a practice now.

21621. You would leave the matter alone on the
administrative side ?—'Administratively I should
leave the matter alone, yes.

21622. Do you tour much ?—I did a great deal of
touring as Commissioner of the Assam Valley.—
between 150 and 175 days in the year.

21623. As member of the Board of Revenue what
do you do ?—I have hardly experienced that, but
the Board do tour.

21624. Did you tour as a Commissioner on a per-
manent travelling allowance?—Yes.

21625. And as to the Board? — On Rs. 10 a
day. 'The Commissioners have a permanent allow-
ance ; the Board have not.

21626. Which is the most convenient system to
work—'the permanent allowance system or -the daily
allowance system?—The permanent system is the
more convenient.

21627. Does the daily allowance system involve
a great deal more work ?—Tt is troublesome ; the
amount of work it involves is not very much.

21628. There is the audit?—I suppose there is a
certain amount of trouble there.

21629. And there is a Manual of Distances?—
Yes.

21630. All that is avoided by the permanent sys-
tem ?l—Yes.

21631. A witness told us that he thought the
expense of travelling had very much increased of
late years ; is that so?—I dare say it has in the
Bengal districts ; in Assam it has always been
high, and has remained about the same.

21632. At the present day are the travelling
allowance rates, mileage and so on, so inadequate
as to put an officer out of pocket in travelling ; such
an officer as 'a District Superintendent of Police,
not a Commissioner?—Yes, I should say they do
not cover expenses unless in exceptional cases an
officer goes out for the purpose of making travelling
allowances ; those are very exceptional cases.

21633. If he gbes out simply doing the work, his
travelling allowance does not cover expenses in
this province?—I should say not.

21634. Is the margin of income of a District
Superintendent of Police so small that it is a dis-
tinct deterrent to his getting about?—Yes.

21635. You tell us that if there is a difference of
opinion between two members of the Board, the
old Regulation provided that a third person should
come in and arbitrate?—Yes, a third person ad
hoc would be appointed to decide.

21636. And he would necessarily be a junior in
status ?—Probably.

21637. Unless the Lieutenant-Governor came in,
he must be a junior?—Yes, he would be a junior.

21638. Is that not rather inconvenient ?—The case
has not arisen in my experience. When I was a
Commissioner in Assam, there was no Board of
Revenue. The Chief Commissioner did the work
of the Board.

21639. You have no experience as to how far a
Board can really inspect a province ?—No, I have
not ; the Board of course could not inspect the
Whole province ; it is the Commissioner’s business
to inspect ; the Board’s business is rather to see
that the inspection is properly made.

21640. It was suggested to us by a witness that
it would be a good thing to say that no officer should
be taken to the Secretariat as Secretary (or we
might almost add, perhaps, promoted to higher
office) unless he could show a record of at least
three years’ service in charge of a district. Would
that be a salutary rule on the whole?—I do not
think the rule would do any particular good.

21641. Is selection for charges of districts suffi-
ciently strict?—There is not much selection ; I
have found very few cases of people being passed
over, and in those cases they were hopelessly in-
competent.

21642. Ought there to be more selection?—There
ought to be more, but the Service is not strong
enough for it; I believe it is already considerably
short of strength.

21643. Assuming the normal Service, would you
increase the severity of selection ?—Yes ; but, even
so, you would require a considerable margin as
reserve for inefficients, or the districts would come
down to quite junior officers.

21644. If you do that, what would you do with
an officer after the decision to permanently super-
sede him had been come to ; should he serve for
his full time?—If he is declared permanently dis-
qualified for his district, the best thing to do
would be to make him retire on a liberal pension.

21645. Would you give that power to the Govern-
ment?^—I think so.

21646. Would it be necessary to exercise it in
all cases?—The case would be very rare of an
officer permanently unfit ; in many cases an officer
might be unfit while young, but he would get fit
with more experience.

21647. It has been suggested to us that it would
be a very good thing to relieve Collectors, as far
as possible, of all work which does not bring them
into contact with the people ; for instance work
like charge of the treasury, and practically to put
the responsibility on the Deputy Collector with a
system of local audit by the Accountant-General ;
do you think that would work?—I do not see any
objection to it.

21648. There is in the aggregate a fair amount
of work that the Collector has to do under the
head • of “ treasury ” at present, that does not
bring him into contact with the people at all?—
That is so.. We have made a suggestion to meet
cases like that, namely, that there should be power
to appoint competent members of the Provincial
Civil Service as Additional Collectors, in order 'to
relieve ithe Collector of office work and so on.

21649. Is there any other subject you can suggest
like the treasury?—Office inspections for instance ;
I do not mean to say that the Collector should
altogether cease to inspect offices, but that is a
detail. The Additional Collector, if a Magistrate,
could probably take many of the District Magis-
trate’s powers under the Criminal Procedure Code.

21650. Is not a great deal of the work in this
province done by departments ; you have Deputy
Collectors and so on under -the Collector working
a whole subject throughout the district?—Yes.

21651. A contrary system prevails in other pro-
vinces of India, where the Sub-Divisional Officer is
practically a Collector for his charge, taking every-
thing?—Yes, that is the system in Assam.

The Hon. Hr.
P. G. Helitus.
9 Jan., 1908.


94

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

Ihe Hon. Mr.
P. G. Tdelitus.
9 Jan., 1908.

21652. How do you compare that with the system
in Eastern Bengal?—I think the Assam system
is far preferable, but there would be great difficulty
in introducing it into Bengal, because all the
records are at headquarters, and the Sub-Divisional
Officers are busy from morning till night trying
cases ; you would have to increase establishments
m the sub-divisions ; there is so much case-work m
Bengal.

21653. But at the same time the district would
be better administered?—I think so.

21654. As regards the record difficulty, is it not
the fact that the (Government of India are now
pressing for central record-rooms in the districts?
—I cannot say. The district record-rooms both
in the Eastern Bengal and Assam districts are at
district headquarters, not at the sub-divisions,
where they are only temporary record-rooms.

21655. So that you would rather start with
the advantage of having your central record-room
already ?—That is so; that would not be a
difficulty.

21656. (Should you say that since you have
known Eastern Bengal and Assam, local self-
government is progressing?—I should say that it is
stationary, and, where it works well, a good deal
is due to the District Officer himself. The Boards
in Assam work well; they do actually carry out
more work through the members than the Boards
in Bengal; but in Assam a large number of the
members are planters.

21657. Is that true of the municipalities also?—
I think they take more interest in municipal work.

21658. Is that growing, or is that stationary
too?—I cannot say if it is growing or if it is
stationary.

21659. Is there more discussion at the meetings
and more interest shown ?—I cannot say that there
is.

21660. Are the funds sufficient to maintain an
interest; or are the funds all absorbed in the neces-
sary expenditure?—I do not know about the funds
in the Bengal districts, but they have a very fair
income in Assam; they are not people of very great
position there—the towns are small.

21661. It was suggested to us that the pressure
of the cost of education on the Boards, which they
cannot control or arrest, was eating up their
revenue and leaving them very little margin; what
do you say to that?—I do not know about the
Bengal districts, but that does not apply to Assam.
The Government gives the Boards grants which
cover the educational expenditure.

21662. Mr. Henderson rather suggested that the
grants did not cover it?—I cannot be certain
whether they do or not, but the Government give
very liberal grants to municipalities, and educa-
tion is one of the duties of the local municipality.

21663. Mr. Sharp told us that in Assam they are
completely tied in primary education by rules; Mr.
Henderson told us that it is growing into a very
heavy burden. If the Government grant covers
the expenditure, what would you think of the
suggestion that Government should become frankly
responsible for education, and give some other sub-
ject to the Boards to deal with?—I do not see any
objection to that. I do not think any of the mem-
bers take much interest in primary education, so
far as I have seen.

21664. It is not a subject that has 11 caught on”
in fact?*—I do not think it is; perhaps I should

correct what I have said; I am not quite sure
whether the grants do cover the expenditure or
not.

21665.(Mr. Mei/er.) As Commissioner in the
Assam Valley you were directly under the Local
Government at that date?—Yes.

21666. The present (Commissioner of the Assam
Valley is not directly under the .Local Government;
the Board comes between?—In revenue matters
that is so; in other matters he is directly under the
Government.

21667. Does that mean that the (Commissioner of
to-day has less power than you had, or simply that
the Board has taken over functions that used to be
exercised by the Local Government?—The Board
has taken over functions that used to be exercised
by the Local Government. So far as the Commis-
sioner is concerned, his power .is not impaired.

21668. You spoke about this Regulation that
required an ad hoc third member of the Board to
be called in the case of the two members differing;
does that refer only to appeals?—Only to appeals.

21669. You have also told us that the members
of the Board deal singly with their subjects; do
they consult each other habitually?—Yes.

21670. You deal with excise at present. Do
you consult Mr. Savage in any excise matter?—
Yes, it is open to me to consult him.

21671. If his opinion differs from yours, what
happens?—If it is my department, I have the pass-
ing of the orders.

21672. And similarly, if he consulted you in
any matter about his department, and you hap-
pened not to agree with him, it would be in his
power to pass orders?—Exactly.

21673. You just fall back on each other as
friendly and experienced advisers?—Yes.

21674. Has the Lieutenant-Governor power to
appoint the members of the Board?—I think the
sanction of the Government of India is required.

21675. Is that necessary?—Yes, I think so. It
ensures greater care being taken.

21676. The Governor of Madras appoints his own
Board of Revenue without the sanction of the
Government of India?—I do not know that.

21677. I gather that you are in favour of terri-
torial arrangements against subject arrangements
for the districts in Eastern Bengal, if certain
objections, which you put, could be surmounted?—
Which objections, I am afraid, are very strong.

21678. With regard to the records and the estab-
lishment?—Yes, and there is the criminal work.

21679. Is not a large amount of the criminal
work of the SubiDivisional Officers second and
third class cases?—Probably.

21680. -Could those not be given over to a sub-
ordinate, and cheaper agency—men of the Sub-
Deputy Collector class ?—It could be done; then
you would have to increase the establishment. The
mere fact of starting a sub-divisional system on
that basis would mean an increase in the numerical
strength of the (Service. Now you have a Sub-
Divisional Officer with perhaps one Deputy to help
him, or perhaps none at all. If you give him the
rest of the work, as he has in Assam, you would
have to give him extra assistance.

21681. You have been speaking of Additional
Collectors; other witnesses have said that it is
necessary to increase the cadre of the province.

* I have since looked up the figures for 1906-7, and I find that the sum total of the Government grants to Local
Boards in Assam exceeds or is much the same as the Educational expenditure in the case of 13 Boards out of the 17.
In the case of four Boards such expenditure is substantially in excess of the Government grants. Expenditure on
education issue of the obligations imposed by law on the local rates. Government is under no obligation to give
grants. The discrepancies in the evidence seem to arise from there being three kinds of Government grants to
Boards :—(1) Fixed, for general purposes, including education ; (2) Fixed, as special grant for education, to cover
certain additional expenditure necessitated by changes ordered a few years ago ; (3) Not fixed, but granted from
time to time at the discretion of Government'either for particular purposes or as a general grant-in-aid. I am
comparing the sum total of the three kinds with the educational expenditure, the other witnesses may have compared
only (1) and (2) or perhaps only (2). The total of (1) and (2), omitting (3), would probably fall short of educational
expenditure in the case of most Boards.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

95

Would not the same object be obtained more
economically by increasing your staff of Sub-
Deputy Collectors, and devolving more power upon
them?—It could be done more economically, but
I do not think it would be so satisfactory; I do
not think any Sub-Deputy Collector has any more
than second class magisterial powers, and very few
of them have those.

21682. In Madras, for example, we never dream
of giving our Sub-Divisional Officers second and
third class work; once they have obtained the
necessary powers they take the first class cases
and take appeals from Magistrates belonging to
the Subordinate Service. Could you not do some-
thing of. that sort here?—I really do not know
enough of the Eastern Bengal districts to say. In
Assam a somewhat similar system is possible. The
Sub-Divisional Officer is practically Collector; he
has Magistrates to help him, and he has his own
Sub-Deputy Collectors. But he does not ordinarily
hear appeals which go to the District Magistrate.

21683. Have you many transfers of officers at
present, as between Eastern Bengal and Assam?—
Yes, there have been a great many transfers.

21684. You have two sub-provinces, with quite
different systems in many ways?—Yes.

21685.-Does it conduce to efficiency that a man
who knows the methods and the language of the
people of one of the sub-provinces should be moved
off to the other sub-province ?—I think it does, be-
cause it gives him experience which prepares him
for higher office. I have felt the want of experience
of the Eastern Bengal districts very much myself.

21686. That is your chief argument?—-I think
that argument holds good; so that when they get
to be senior officers they may have some experience.

21687. Tha/t object could be obtained without
constant transfers; you might exchange a man
between two sub-provinces once in his service?—
That I cannot say.

21688. As regards restrictions by the Govern-
ment of India, you referred to some cases in re-
gard to political pensions, and some special
provision in regard to an officer who had met his
death in the execution of his duty. Are you
aware that in those very cases restrictions are im-
posed by the Secretary of State on the Govern-
ment of India?—No, I am not aware of that, but
I do not think that that affects my argument.

21689. Except that if it is necessary that the
Secretary of State should relax his control, you
would be in favour of that also?—Yes, I should
add that the Assam political pensions are very
small pensions.

21690. I gathered from your answers that you
are strongly against a Local Government having a
dispensing power, so to speak, in dealing with the
restrictions imposed upon it?—I am not strongly
against it, but if they had power to make excep-
tions to the rules, it would be unnecessary to give
them the power of interpreting rules in doubtful
cases.

21691. You may go on making exceptions until
you whittle away the rules?—Mr. Hichens’ pro-
posal was that a return should be sent to the
Government of India for the purposes of a check,
and I assented to that.

21692. Would you do the same with regard to
your Board’s standing orders and ,so forth ; would
you allow a Collector to do anything he pleased
subject to sending in periodical returns ?—If it was
in accordance with the Civil Service Regulations
there (would ibe no. objection. You could not give
them power to make exceptions in the case of any
statutory orders, but in small financial matters I
should not object. For instance, the Board con-
trols more or less the District Officers’ budgets ;
there would be no objection to the District Officer
altering the budget as passed by the Board, and
sending in a return.

21693. You think that no friction would arise
subsequently if the 'Government of India. came
down on a Local Government and said, “ You must
recall your exceptions, because in our opinion they

strike at the principle of the rule ” ?—There is
that risk, but I do not see how it could be avoided.
It is possible.

21694. You have had large experience of Secre-
tariat work. Is not one exception quoted as a pre-
cedent for another, so that you are invited to go on
gradually ?—Yes, that is all possible, but I rely upon
the control to stop that. I do not see why the
control should lead to friction ; it might, of course.

21695. You are in favour of largely enhancing
the powers of Local Governments in regard to
matters for which they find the money wholly or
partially themselves ?—I do not see why the powers
should not Ibe 'given.

21696. You would make a distinction between the
matters in which the Local Government find the
money, and matters such as. customs in which the
whole cost falls upon the imperial revenues ?—Yes.

21697. You think it would not ibe safe to trust the
best intentioned Local Government /to give away
money which is not its own?—It would seem so.

21698. Is there not a distinction between free and
regulated immigration? -So long as a man does
not proceed to some tract in regard to which a
Labour Law prevails, the Local Government can-
not stop him from going there ?—'The Local Govern-
ment can stop any kind of immigration of labourers
to a labour district.

21699. What do you mean by a labour district ?—I
mean the tea districts in Assam.

21700. Those are districts which have a special
Labour Law?—'Yes.

21701. Suppose a hundred people take second
class tickets to Burma from Chittagong?—There is
nothing to stop them.

21702. Simply as regards immigrants, a Local
Government could not stop immigration unless it
was to a particular tract?—To a tract called a
labour district under the Immigration Act. I do
not know about the Madras Act.

21703. You are against relaxing any of the
restrictions imposed upon the Local Government
by the Assam 'Revenue Regulation. Do not some
of those include settlements ?—Yes, settlements and
a general control over the making of rules ; sec-
tions 34, 137, and 158 are the powers I refer to.

21704. Have not the general principles of policy
been clearly laid down by the 'Government of India ?
—I cannot say.

21705. Assuming that they have, what objection
have you to the Local Government having a fairly
free hand in the detailed application of those prin-
ciples?—I do not see how you can lay down prin-
ciples which will cover every case. The settle-
ments you refer to are the ordinary re-settlements
of districts as the old settlements fall in, but there
are various .kinds of other settlements which might
be made ; for instance colonisation grants. I can
remember certain proposals which if they had not
been negatived by the Government of India might
have flooded Assam with concession-hunters and
land speculators.

21706. Those proposed to alter the revenue con-
ditions of the province, and to establish a sort of
permanent settlement ?—It was something like
that, but we do not know quite what their effect
might have been at some future time. I wish to
guard against that by having the control of the
Government of India.

21707. Then with regard to the rules?—Those
very concessions were proposed to Ibe granted by
rules.

21708. You have spoken of certain difficulties be-
tween the Government of India and the Local Gov-
ernments arising in matters of detail more or less,
and you say that the Government of India very
often gives way to the representations of the Local
Government. Do you think that that correspon-
dence and that controversy are likely to be dimin-
ished by the appointment of Imperial Inspectors-
General who come round and tell the Government
of India what the conditions of the province are,
and who can tell what the probable views of the

The Hon. Hr
P. G. Melitus
9 Jan., 1908.


96

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE I

The Hon. Mr. Government of India would be, and so on?—I can-
P. &. Melitus. not say, I have had no dealings with Heads of

, --- the Imperial Departments.

9 Jan.) 1908. 21709. Assuming that your Board of Revenue, as

has been suggested, became colleagues of some sort
of the Lieutenant-Governor, would it be necessary
to largely enhance the power of the Commissioner?
—I do not know that it would be necessary, but
the powers could be enhanced

21710. It has been suggested to us that the Com-
missioner in Eastern Bengal, at any rate, is rather
a post office, and that his real position ought to be
that a Sub-Governoir; would you accept that as
a general statement of the case, leaving the Board
out of the question for the moment?—He could
hardly be made a Sub-Governor, with the Board
on its present footing, because then he would be
rather above his superior.

21711. Suppose there was no Board for the
moment, would you 6b in favour of largely enhanc-
ing the power of the Commissioner in that way ?—I
think so, assuming that there was no Board.

21712. He might, for instance, appoint his own
Sub-Deputy Collectors ?—Yes.

21713. He might post Civilians, at any rate
below the rank of Collector and Provincial Officers,
within his division?—He might be allowed to trans-
fer them within his division.

•21714. Would you give him a budget, especially
for Public Works, which now come from provincial
funds, in respect of which he should be the sanc-
tioning authority without having to go up to
Government in the Public Works Secretariat?—I
would not like to give an opinion as to that.

21715. Would you give him the full power of
outside control in respect of District Boards and
municipalities, with the exception of constituting
them and superseding them ?—1 have no objection
myself to giving them to him, but I do not know
what the popular feeling would be about that.

21716. As an experienced administrator, do you
think it would be safe and expedient ?—It would be
expedient to give him a good many powers of
control.

21717. Possibly the largest municipalities would
be especially reserved for Government ?—This would
have to be considered ; you have to consider not
only efficiency but sentiment; it is difficult to say
off-hand.

21718. From the administrative point of view?—
From the administrative point of view, it would be
a very good thing.

21719. Similarly they might be allowed, subject
to provisions made by the Local Government, to
invest officers with magisterial power and so forth ?
—I am doubtful of that.

21720. Now as regards the Board, you express
yourself as not unfavourable to elevating the
Board to be colleagues of the Lieutenant-Governor?
—I said it was not for me to give an opinion. But
I think it would be a good thing.

21721. What sort of colleagues ; do you mean
full colleagues in the way that the two Civilian
Members of the Council sit by the side of the
Governor of Madras or Bombay ?—I should not like
to give an opinion on that.

21722. In that case, of course, a number of De-
partment which are now subject to the Board, the
Excise Department and the Customs for instance,
would come direct to the Government?—Yes.

21723. As regards the Local Boards in Assam,
what control has 'the Collector over them ; of course
he presides over his own iSub-D-i visional Board?—
He is Chairman of his own Sub-Divisional Board ;
all correspondence and budgets of other Sub-
Divisional Boards in his district pass through him ;
I do not know that he can directly order the Board
to do anything, but he can recommend to 'Govern-
ment ; as a matter of fact, the Boards are generally
willing to carry out his suggestions.

21724. He has no coercive powers apart from
Government behind him ?—The Local Boards are
under executive order.

21725. But does the executive order allow the
Collector himself to set aside or alter the decision

of a Sub-Divisional Board or must the matter go to
Government?—The Commissioner or Deputy Com-
missioner may suspend resolutions of the Boards,
subject to report to, and the orders of 'Government.

21726. As regards the budget, the Commissioner
can do it?—The budget now -is sanctioned by the
Commissioner.

21727. The Commissioner, therefore, could alter
the budget, but the Collector could not?—Yes.

21728. You are aware that some years ago there
was some proposal for putting these Local Boards
on a legislative basis ; what has happened to that ?
—I think it has been forgotten.

21729. You are quite satisfied at present?—Quite
satisfied.

21730. With regard to appeals, one of the rea-
sons why you do not want to reduce the number of
appeals is that you consider some officers are hasty
and unjust?—I do not say unjust, but they are
sometimes hard, especially young officers.

21731. I think everybody is agreed generally that
one appeal should be allowed. Suppose on that
appeal it was found that the officer had been unduly
hard, and suppose this was found not once but
several times, could you not punish that officer?—
There should be a hint of that kind.

21732. A gentleman appearing before us in Cal-
cutta said that he thought it would be a good thing
if the planters who were already Honorary Magis-
trates were also allowed to be Honorary Judges to
settle disputes among the coolies themselves, not
differences between the estates and the coolies ; do
you think that that would work ?—No, I do not like
the idea. I think the planter if he has any influence
with his coolies ought to be -an Honorary Civil
Judge without any sanction of Government.

21733. You would tru-st to mortal suasion?—Yes,
I would never -approve of a planter being an
Honorary Magistrate or Judge or having any
judicial .power unless he exercised it at the district
or sub-divisional headquarters.

21734. Under the observance of the Deputy Com-
missioner?—And of the Bar.

21735. When you say that in a number of cases
the travelling allowance was not sufficient to meet
the officer’s expenses what do you include ; do you
take his living expenses into account?—No, except
when the living expenses come up to more than
they would if he remained at headquarters. Per-
haps he might have to pay more for certain things
on tour.

21736. You recognise that the is not entitled to toe
re-imbursed the cost of living if he were at head -
quarters, it is only the balance that you take into
account when you say that in some cases the
travelling allowances are not sufficient?—Yes.

21737. On the other hand, yo-u mentioned people
making money out of travelling allowances?—I
have heard occasionally of people who have
travelled long distances and have made money out
of their travelling allowances.

21738. Under a system of fixed travelling allow-
ances such as has been suggested, is it not possible
that some officers, a few only, perhaps, might travel
very little, and make the fixed allowance a source
of profit ?—Yes, it is possible.

21739. You have to guard against that; would
you do it by getting returns from them, or how?—
In the same way as you would guard against officers
making too much travelling allowance—by the
control of the superior officer.

21740. But your superior officer may be far away ;
the control must be on paper ; how are you going
to get the information requisite for the control?—
I see your point. He would send for the travelling
allowance bills, but the officer would have to send a
statement.

21741. He would have to send diaries ?—Yes.

21742. And those diaries would give, perhaps,
not so much trouble as travelling allowance bills,
but a great deal of trouble ?—It would mean a little
office work.

{The witness withdrew.)




■ ••• <"-;><<

97

ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.



The Hon. Mr. Henry Savage, C.S.I., I.C.S., was called and examined.

21743. (Chairman.) You are the senior member
of the Board of Revenue of Eastern Bengal and
Assam ?—Yes.

In the contract with Local Governments a lump
sum of liberal proportions should be allotted (over
and above the ordinary allowances). in the disposal
of which that Government should be given a free
hand.

The Local Government should have power to
borrow so as to meet (a) loans to estates which come
under the Oourt of Wards, and (b) loans under the
Land Improvement and Agriculturists’ Loans Acts,
which should be amended to give fuller powers to
the Local Government.

Many of the estates which come under the
management of the Oourt are heavily encumbered,
and the Court find it difficult to get loans at a
reasonable rate of interest to pay off the incum-
brances and save the estate. At present estates
under the Count owe 15| lakhs to private creditors
at rate of interest varying from 5J to 9 per cent.

A beginning has been made in this province to-
wards a practical solution of the problem how to
rescue the agricultural population from the clutches
of the rapacious money-lenders. There is in this
direction scope for the employment of as much
money as Government can borrow. An allotment
might be made to the Local Government of, say, a
lakh a year for three years to meet interest on the
money it borrows until the interest on the loans it
gives out comes in freely. In general, the Local
Government will probably be able to borrow at
4 per cent, and can well ask and obtain 5 to 6| per
cent., of which at least 1 per cent, will be a net
gain and may be accumulated as a reserve to, meet
interest on future loans. Possibly Local Govern-
ments may have to pay a shade higher interest
than the Government of India pay, but there will
be compensation for this since the Local Govern-
ment will only borrow as the money is wanted and
so will not have the money lying idle. Probably
the local borrowings will draw on funds which are
not drawn on by the Government of India and
w^l not come into competition with them.

There is one special restriction imposed by finan-
cial considerations which should, in the transferred
districts at least, be removed. This is the instruc-
tion against the acceptance of salami (premium)
for settlement of land with tenants in Government
estates and estates under the Court of Wards. The
restriction was imposed at the instance of the
Government of India in pursuance of the prin-
ciple that it is financially unsound to take salami
since it involves a draft on the future for the
benefit of the present. Theoretically this is cor-
rect, but in practice, the result is that the salami
is paid all the same, and the only result of the
self-denying ordinance is that the pockets of the
employes in the khas mahals and under the Oourt
of Wards are enriched. The raiyats will not pay
any rent above the ordinary local rates, but will
pay the salamis ; they believe their tenure is in-
secure if they do not. The loss to Government has
been heavy.

As far as restrictions are imposed by law the
best way . of removing them will be by a general
Act of Delegation.

The provisions of suitable accommodation for
offices and officers at the headquarters of this
Government has been delayed to a most unjustifi-
able extent by the action of some of the depart-
ments of the Government of India. This has in-
volved loss in efficiency to' an extent which it is
difficult to estimate. I may instance the disloca-
tion of business caused by the Accountant-General’s
offices being retained at Shillong, remote from the
business parts of the province. The delay has also
caused great inconvenience to officers Who have been
hard put to it to find house-room.

In all matters connected with the improvement of
the relations of landlords and tenants, in matters
concerning the prevention of disturbances on
account of disputes regarding land, especially in
new formations, and in matters regarding the

33289

improvement of village police, the credit of initia-
tive may fairly be given to the Government of
Bengal. In all these matters the Local Govern-
ments should be allowed a free hand. Reference
to the Government of India and then further refer-
ences to other Local Governments not only lead
to inordinate delay, but tend to obscure the points
at issue. For instance, Bengal wanted to pass a
short Act to put a stop to, or at least check, the
fighting out on the land of disputes regarding new
formations which lead to much bloodshed, but when
the matter was referred the proposal took the form
of a project to amend the Criminal Procedure Code,
and there it has rested up to new. Meanwhile the
riots on char lands go merrily on.

Appeals to the Government of India should m
no case be accepted unless submitted in the first
instance to the Local Government and sent on by
that Government. The Local Government Should
have full power to refuse to forward the appeal,
and their refusal to do so should be the final order
in the matter. No appeal from an officer of the
Provincial or Subordinate Executive Service or from
a ministerial officer should be accepted by the
Government of India. The Local Government
should, in the interests of the administration, be
the final authority.

It should be the strict rule that no appeal will
be accepted by the Local Government unless it be
presented to the authority against whose order or
action appeal is made. The present .practice of
accepting appeal petitions sent by post (often un-
stamped, anonymous or pseudonymous), and for-
warding them officially for report, tends to destroy
the prestige of the subordinate • authorities and
encourages the bringing of malicious charges. It
should be the rule not to take any notice whatever
of anonymous or apparently pseudonymous peti-
tions, and if for special reasons it be deemed
desirable to make any enquiries, these should be
made “ confidentially.”

Appeals in a regular form should not be accepted
by Government unless presented to, and forwarded
by, the authority appealed against. It is perhaps
scarcely desirable to impose the restriction that the
authority whose order forms the subject of appeal
should certify as to the admissibility of the appeal.

The Board of Revenue should be the final appel-
late authority in respect of ministerial officers in
all offices of Commissioners and District Officers or
their subordinates. It may be said that the Board
have no direct concern with the criminal side of
these offices ; but experience has shown in Bengal
that it is desirable to have the same final appellate
authority for the employes in both as their duties
are often intermingled. From the Board an appeal
may be allowed to the Local Government if pre-
sented to the Board and the Board think it should
be forwarded, but not otherwise.

The apparently inevitable tendency of the Secre-
tariat is to regard every variation from the strict
letter of rule as an enormity. The antidote is to
be found in the closer touch between the Lieu-
tenant-Governor and the Heads of Departments
and Members of the Board which the formation of
the new province has made possible.

There is no doubt that District Officers are kept
too much at headquarters by the increasing com-
plexity of their work and the continually increasing
care which has to be taken to keep strictly within
the letter as well as the spirit of the law. In the
transferred districts every action of the District
Officer is subjected to the subtle criticism of a well-
trained Bar and the slightest error or omission
is certain to form the subject of appeal. Add to
this that it is not the officer who knows his district
and the people in it and their language, but the
one who can shine as an office man who gets on,
and there is no need to search further for the
obstacles in the way of personal contact with the
people.

They may be removed by relieving District Offi-
cers of much of the routine work at headquarters,
by giving to efficient members of the Provincial

N

The Son. SrF
H. Savage.

9 Jan., 1908.



» a

ill!

IB



98

MINUTES OE EVIDENCE :

The Hon. Mr.
H, Savage,

9 Jan,, 1908.

Service powers (coupled with special promotion)
to take full charge of the duties of the District
Officer in connection with the branches of adminis-
tration, such as treasury, tauzi, arrears, collection,
and registration, and by making a thorough know-
ledge of district work a sine qua non for employ-
ment as Secretary to Government.

At present many Executive Officers are very
deficient in the knowledge of Bengali, which is the
mother-tongue of nine-tenths of the population of
this province. Urdu was the language which the
majority of officers posted to Bengal learned first,
and it was rarely that Bengali appealed to an
officer with a knowledge of Urdu as a language
worth learning. Now that all officers who come to
this province will learn Bengali from the time of
their arrival and will have to pass a stiff examina-
tion in it, there will be a rapid improvement in
this respect.

No large increase in -staff will be required, but
some increase will be necessary to allow of the
appointment of Additional Collectors. If Addi-
tional Collectors are appointed there will be no
need for any general splitting up of districts. In
any case, however, Mymensingh and Sylhet should
be split up.

In this province I do not think the time has
come for giving any extended powers to local
bodies.

There are no village communities properly so-
called in this province—at least in the plains dis-
tricts. A beginning was made towards the creation
of a community of interests in small areas by
appointing for such areas a panchayat of leading
villagers to supervise the village police. Steps
have recently been taken in a few districts in this
province to extend -the powers of these panchayats
to other matters; but the subject has not met with
the attention it deserves. What is called the new
panchayati system demands, as the necessary pre-
liminary to its success, the personal whole-hearted
support and attention of the District Officer both
to instruct the members of the panchayat in their
duties and to encourage them to perform them in
face of the opposition which the system meets with
from the police and ministerial staff who for many
reasons are its determined adversaries. But in no
instance has any District Officer given to the
system the care and attention necessary. When
the system is fully developed the panchayat will
be the proper authority for the disposal of petty
criminal and civil cases and for the management
of all local educational and sanitary institutions,
and of the village banks which will be the proper
distributaries of the loans to agriculturists.

21744. I think you have had no Secretariat
experience?—iNone whatever.

21745. Have you found that a drawback, since
you have been on the Board of Revenue?—No, I
do not think I have in any way.

21746. What subjects have you under you as
senior member?—Everything connected with the
land revenue; connected with that are partitions,
Courts of Wards, agricultural loans, and so on.

21747. Who has excise, salt, and customs?—The
second member has all miscellaneous revenue.

21748. You tell us that the Local Government
ought to have a lump sum of liberal proportions
which it can spend as it pleases, apart from the
ordinary normal budget. Should the Government
of India make a special grant of that, or should
it be part and parcel of the settlement?—I would
make it part and parcel of the settlement.

21749. Do you suggest any particular limit?—
No, I have not really considered that.

21750. You have some difficulty in raising funds
for Court of Wards?—Yes, sometimes considerable
difficulty in getting money at anything like a
reasonable interest.

21751. Have you any reason to believe that
there would be a purely local market for loans in
connection to the Court of Wards?—We should
probably tap some local money in the various
bazars, money which ordinarily would not go to
Government of India issues.

21752. Would you have to pay a high rate of
interest?—We might have to pay about 4 per cent.

21753. On the other hand, would you still have
loans raised for provincial Governments by the
Government of India?—I think on the whole it
would be better.

21754. Would you be prepared to devolve to
Commissioners greater powers in respect of ex-
penditure upon Court of Wards’ estates?—Yes.
(My proposal would be that, after an estate has
been taken in charge by the Court of Wards, the
Commissioner should become the Court of Wards
to all intents and purposes, or estates with a
rental of, say, a lakh of rupees and under. I
would make the Collector up to Rs. 10,000 the
Court of Wards. As matter of practice, after an
estate has once been taken over, there is not much
direct supervision by the Court.

21755. Is there a scheme?—We have a scheme,
and after that the thing works of itself.

21756. Still in spite of the scheme, at the pre-
sent moment the Commissioner has to go up to the
Court of Wards for sanction?—Yes. I have to
sanction, very often, two or three rupees expendi-
ture. I would give all that to the Collector.

21757. Would you put any limit to the power
of sanction of the Commissioner ?—I would make
the Commissioner the Court of Wards for estates
for a lakh of rupees and under; then, for bigger
estates I would give the Commissioner all powers
of sanction up to Rs. 1,000 for any one project,
not beyond that. Also I would give him full power
in all cases in which the scheme has been sanc-
tioned by the Court.

21758. How are you hampered at the present
time by the control of the Government of India
in cases of survey?—The Local Government can
only order survey and settlement under certain
conditions; there are other cases which have to go
to the Government of India for sanction.

21759. What are the points which have to go to
the Government of India?—All the district survey
settlements have first to get the sanction of the
Government of India.

21760. To what extent would you like the powers
of the provincial Government extended?—I think
they might have full powers in the matter; it is
purely a local matter; it is not a political matter
at all. The Government of India wish that there
should be a survey and record-of-rights of the
whole country, and that this should be maintained
up to date. After that the Local Government
should have all power to make any arrangement
they think fit.

21761. Who pays for the survey?—The Govern-
ment of India makes an allotment; for the main
part of the survey the Government of India pays
25 per cent, and the rest is realised from the
people.

21762. Within that extent you would give the
provincial Government a free hand?—Yes.

21763. Are there many restrictions on the admin-
istration of Assam at the present time?—The
restrictions to which I have referred are the re-
strictions on the making of rules under the Land
Revenue Regulations and the restrictions on
making records-of-rights.

21764. Those still remain?—Yes. The Local
Government has to get the sanction of the Govern-
ment of India for all records-of-rights, and the
making of rules is “subject to the control of the
Government of India,” which I presume means
that the rules have to be sent to the Government
of India before they can pass. Under the Ten-
ancy Act in Bengal the Government have full
power to make rules.

21765. It is not “the previous sanction of the
Government of India,” but it is “subject to their
control ” ?—I presume this means that the rules
have to be sent up to the Government of India.
In fact since the new province was formed no new
rules have been passed.


ROYAL COMMISSION UPON DECENTRALIZATION.

99

21766. You would liko to see appeals from
officers limited?—They go too far at the present
time.

21767. And in that case the Local Government
should be the final authority?—Yes, in all appeals
from the Provincial and Subordinate Services.

21768. You tell us that the Secretariat is rather
inclined to regard every variation from the strict
letter of the rule almost as a crime. Could you
give us any particular instance?—I could hardly
mention any without going into very minute
details. I look upon this as the general tendency
of a Secretariat.

21769. You suggest that this might be obviated
if there was closer touch between the Lieutenant-
Governor and the .Heads of .Departments Do you
have any conferences between Heads of Depart-
ments?—I think not.

21770. Have you any powers as member of the
Board of Revenue to call conferences of Commis-
sioners ?—There are no special powers laid down;
I should have to refer to the Government before I
could call any conference.

21771. Has it ever struck you that it might be
a desirable thing to do ?—I have often thought
that it would be a good thing if we followed the
Bengal practice of having a general conference of
Commissioners and the Board at some period of
the year.

21772. I have heard of a case of a member of
the Board of Revenue being recalled from leave
to preside at a conference of Commissioners?—
That is what has been established in Bengal, and
I think it would be well if we had the same thing
here; but as yet there has been nothing of the
sort here.

21773. You have not suggested that to the Local
Government ?—No. There has been all this agitation
about, and iYiave not suggested it.

21774. The same thing might be applied to Col-
lectors by Commissioners?—Yes.

21775, Then you say that District Officers are
kept very much at work by the increasing com-
plexity of their work, and that a man who is able
to write a good report is apt to get on. Have you
anything to say as, to the selection or promotion
of officers?—No. Except as to the selection to the
Subordinate Civil Service.

21776. As a member of the Board of Revenue
your opinion is not sought as to the ability of
superior officers?—No.

21777. Have you ever noticed that a man who
does good district work does not receive his ade-
quate reward for it; can you really say that?—
Yes, I think I may say yes.

21778. In recent years?—I would not like to
mention particular instances, but there is certainly
a tendency that way.

21779. Of recent years?—Yes, I think of recent
years too.

21780. Why is that; ,is it that the Secretariat all
stick together ?—«It is very much this ; that the man
who comes more under the notice of 'the superior
authority is more likely to get the comfortable
billets than the man who does not.

21781. You look upon that as a regrettable fact?—
Yes ; it is a tact which is very difficult to get
rid of.

21782. Do you think that every officer who is
employed for a certain time in the Secretariat ought
to return to district work?—-I think undoubtedly
that no man should get a high ipost in the Secre-
tariat unless he 'has had considerable district ex-
perience.

21783. Is there any rule in Eastern Bengal re-
quiring that?—I do not think there is any rule
which requires it.

21784. Is there practice which amounts to rule?
—No ; of course, we have a very short experience
as yet in Eastern 'Bengal.

22785. We have had a great deal of evidence ten-
dered to us that the staff in this province is too

small for the requirements of the province ; do you
hold that?—I certainly hold that view.

21786. Are the districts too large?—No-, with the
exception of two ; Mymensingh and Sylhet are
much too large.

21787. With those exceptions the districts are of
reasonable size?—Yes, I would not subdivide them,
but I would give them more officers.

21788. In the higher or lower ranks?—In both,
speaking generally ; there are some districts which
have sufficient officers of the higher ranks.

21789. What ranks are you speaking of?—The
Deputy Collectors. I would make Additional Col-
lectors, and give them promotion in that way,
rather than by making them District Officers ; they
are much better fitted for it.

21790. It is an increase therefore of the Provin-
cial Service that you look to more than an increase
of the Imperial Service?—Yes.

21791. A Deputy Collector in this province has
no territorial chartge ?—No ; Deputy Collectors have
generally charge of the whole district in certain
items ; for instance, one man is in charge of certi-
ficate work, but not always. Where the Sub-
Divisional Officer has time (which is in very few
sub-divisions indeed), he is put in charge of certifi-
cates. It is left to a 'considerable extent to the
District Officer and the Commissioner to decide
what the Sub-Divisional Officer can take. In sub-
divisions anything like Madaripur, of which there
are many instances, the Sub-Divisional Officers have
not a moment to spare, and it is impossible to put
them in charge of these things unless you have
another Sub-Divisional Officer.

21792. Is it desirable to maintain the present
system, not of territorial, but of subject charge?—I
think it is necessary to do so unless you put in the
sub-divisions experienced men in addition to the
present experienced men there.

21793. If you did that, which system would you
prefer?—-Then I should prefer the sub-divisional
system—the territorial system.

21794. Ought there to be any increase of status
and authority given to District Boards ?—No ; up to
the present time I do not think the District Boards
have done anything to justify an increase of their
authority. When a District Board does good work,
it is the good work of the District Officer, not of
the Board. Very few members take any interest
whatever in their work.

21795. May that be because they feel no sense
of responsibility for the work done ?—-I do not think
it is that ; I do not think they are capable of taking
very much interest at the present time. Their
education has not been in that direction ; it is of
a political nature, and good work in -a District Board
is not of a political nature.

21796. You think .anything that would divorce
the work of the District Officer from the District
Board would be prejudicial to good government ?—I
am certain it would.

21797. Would you say the same with regard to
any relaxation of control by the Commissioner
over a municipality?—-Yes. I think the munici-
palities have full powers to make very great im-
provements which they have not made. I can give
instances, if necessary, where they have gone back-
ward rather than forward.

21798. Particularly with regard to education ?—
No ; with education the municipalities have very
little concern.

21799. And the District Boards?—The District
Board, a.s a Board, practically does nothing; it is
the District Officer and the .special inspectors who
see to education.

21800. Are the villages capable of having any
extension of authority ?—Yes, I think they are ; if
you can (get them properly formed and get . the
leading men to take an interest in them, it is a
work that could be done ; it would take a great
many years and a great deal of the time of the
District Officer to get them to do it. But speak-
ing from my knowledge of Eastern Bengal, in every

N 2

The Hon. Mi
H. Savage.
9 Jan., 1908,

33289


100

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE :

The Hon. Hr,
H. Savage.

.9 Jan., 1908.

part there are men who could be got to take part
in the work if they are properly organised, and if
they are taken away from the control of the police.
At present we have got panchayats, and we have
started an improved panchayati system, which I
think has a great, future 'before it.

21801. You think that the time of the District
Officer which would be devoted to this work would
be time .well spent ?—Undoubtedly.

21802. With regard to the Court of Wards, we
had it in evidence from a witness the other day
that the account rules of the Civil Service Regu-
lations, as applicable to the Court of Wards, prac-
tically formed a precedent which restrained and
hampered the Local Governments in dealing with
Court of Wards matters ; are you of that opinion?

-—I do not know ; 1 have never met with anything
of that sort that has hampered me in that way.

21803. Would what you say about loans to
estates or local borrowings apply equally to agri-
cultural loans?—Yes, I think we could get the
money locally.

21801. (Mr. Meyer.) You say that “ in the con-
tracts with Local Governments a lump sum of
liberal proportions should be allotted to the Local
Government, over and above the ordinary allow-
ances, in the disposal of which that Government
should be given a free hand.” Is not that very
much what has been done in your last financial
settlement?—I am not aware, really, of what has
been done in the settlement, but, if it has been
done, well and good.

21805. The province got, in addition to its ordin-
ary shares, a large lump sum to be spent at the
Local Government’s discretion gradually ?—That
was for Public Works only.

21806. It was given, generally speaking, primarily
for Public Works, but it could be spent on any
object within the terms of the settlement?—I have
no knowledge of that. What I was thinking of
was, money we wanted for the colonization scheme
in the Sundarbans ; I think we ought not to have
to ask specially for that ; we should have a sum
of money that we could use when we /wanted a little
more than we had budgetted for.

21807. You say -that the Local Government should
have power to borrow to meet loans for estates
coming under the Court of Wards. Has it not
got the power now ?—No.

21808. A zamindar can borrow himself if he is in
charge of his own estate. If you are acting for
the zamindar, cannot you borrow?—The Court of
Wards can borrow, but I cannot go into the open
market, and say, “we want a loan at 4 per cent,
on the guarantee of Government.”

21809. Do you want the Government to guarantee
the private estate of zamindars?—Yes, we want
Government -to lend us the money, so that we can
get it at a reasonable rate. It would pay Govern-
ment, and pay us.

21810. The 'Government does that practically
now, under the Agricultural Loans Act; the Gov-
ernment of India may lend you money at 3| per
cent., and you may lend out at 6J per cent. 1—Yes.

21811. Why are you not satisfied with that sys-
tem?—If the Government of India will give suffi-
cient, that will satisfy us, and if they do the same
for the Court of Wards, we shall be satisfied.

21812. The Government of India has to find that
money from capital ; if it gives a large amount of
capital for this purpose, there will be less money
for railways and productive irrigation works, and
so on ?—Yes, and therefore they cut us down,
whereas, if we would borrow ourselves, we should
be able to tap sources which the Government of
India could not.

21813. You think that that could be done to a
considerable amount?—Not a very large amount,
but I think a considerable amount.

21814. You have got a municipality here. Has
that ever tried -to borrow in the open market here?
— No, I do not think it has.

21815. You speak of special restrictions in regard
to survey and record-of-rights, and so forth, im-
posed by the Tenancy Act ; do you mean the Bengal
Tenancy Act of 1885 ?—Yes.

21816. That Act was passed in the Imperial
Council as the result of a very protracted and
bitter controversy ?—Yes.

21817. Is it not possible that these references
to the Government of India were put in as a
matter .of conciliation?—-Very possibly ; I think
possibly that one about the survey and settlement
was a matter of compromise.

21818. However, you would be glad to get rid
of them now?—Yes, I do not think there would be
any opposition.

21819. You differ from Mr. Melitus as to the
power of the Local Government in matters of settle-
ment ; Mr. Melitus wants to keep the present
restrictions in Assam, and you want to get rid of
them?—Yes. Mr. Melitus objected to the settle-
ments being given entirely over to the Chief Com-
missioner. I think he was referring particularly
to one Chief Commissioner. I do not think there
is any fear of the happening now of what he thinks
really happened before.

21820. You think that the general policy of land
settlement must remain with the Government of
India?—Yes, the general policy.

21821. And there are certain restrictions with
regard to the employment of provincial officers
that you find rather irksome ?—Wes, there is a little
friction at the present time ; it is a thing that
might have been left to the Local Government.

21822. Then you speak of the acceptance of
salami in regard to Government estates and Court
of Wards estates ; do you want it relaxed in both
cases, or only in regard to Court of Wards oases ?
—I want it in both cases, because the money, in
the case of Government estates, ought to come to
Government ; at present it does not.

21823. The general principles of Government in
these khas mahals, as it is in raiyatwari areas, is to
give out the land at a fixed assessment ?—Yes.

21824. You want to exact, in addition to the fixed
assessment, an additional premium?—We do not
want to exact it ; we want to be able to accept it,
because the raiyats do not think they have a good
title until they pay it, and they actually do pay
it to some underling.

21825. You say the restriction was imposed at
the instance of the Government of India?—Yes.
Some years ago the question went up, and it was
overruled, because of the general principle that it
is not right for the present generation to draw a
draft on the future, and this salami is, in a way,
a draft on the future, because it is thought that if
salamis are not taken the land may let at a higher
rate in the future. As a matter of fact, the raiyats
will not pay anything more than the customary
rent, but they are quite willing to pay salami.

21826. Do you know if the principle was imposed
in the first instance by the -Secretary of State?—
Yes, I believe it was.

21827. You say that in the matter of the improve-
ment of the village police the initiative is due to
the Government of Bengal. I think you had a good
deal to say to that yourself?—Yes.

21828. Before that, had not the recommendations
of the Police Commission paved the way?—No;
the beginning was before the Police Commission ;
it goes back to 1874, the first Chaukidari Act.

21829. The pendulum swung to and fro ; the
last Act before the Police Commission came round
was Sir Henry Cotton’s Act, which put everything
into the power of the police ?—Yes, there have been
many variations.

21830. The first move in the other direction came
from the Police Commission ? — Probably, they
received evidence, I do not know quite who gave
evidence in favour of extending the system.

21831. Subsequently—largely, I think owing to
your own efforts in Bengal, the village system has
been much reformed ; the police have been largely
cut adrift?—Yes, to a considerable extent.


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