MR. J. B. SMITH
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for India—seeing that another Session was coming to a close, and the India Budget was not announced—Whether he has taken into consideration the desirability of having the Indian accounts made up to such a period as would enable him to bring forward the Budget in the early part of the Session of Parliament, instead of, as heretofore, at the close; and whether he is prepared to name the day on which he intends to bring forward the India Budget?
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, in answer to the latter part of the hon. Member's Question, he proposed to make the statement upon the India Budget on Monday next. With respect to the first part of the hon. Member's Question, he might mention that some two years ago the question as to the possibility of antedating the time for the closing of the annual accounts of India had been raised with the view that the India Budget might be brought forward in that House at an earlier period of the Session, and it was then ascertained that to antedate the closing of the annual accounts of India more than a month would result in great inconvenience to the Indian Government. At present the Indian accounts reached this country in April; it was necessary that they should then be examined here, and therefore there was no probability that under the present arrangement the accounts could be brought before the House at an earlier period of the Session. Even if the Indian accounts were ready at au, earlier date it would be impossible to bring them on during a period of the Session when the House was occupied with matters of more pressing importance. The mere operation of laying the accounts before that House was to some extent of a formal character; but the opportunity thereby afforded enabled hon. Gentlemen to bring on a general discussion on Indian questions of interest. He thought there 1671 was no difficulty in the way of those who were interested in such questions being in attendance when the statement was made. He proposed to take that opportunity of moving that the Order of the Day for going into Committee upon the Government of India Act Amendment Bill and the Governor General of India Bill on the Paper for that night should be read, in order that it might be discharged.