§ MR. J. B. SMITH
said, he would beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether it be his intention to follow the example of his predecessors in bringing forward the Indian Budget on the last week of the Session of Parliament, or whether he desires to alter the period of making up the Indian Accounts to such a date as will enable him to lay them upon the Table of the House at the opening of the Session of Parliament, so that the Budget may be brought forward, and Indian questions discussed previously to the pressure of other business?
MR. GRANT DUFF
said, in reply to the first part of the Question, that nobody could be more anxious than he was that the Indian financial statement should be made to the House at a time when it would suit the convenience of all those hon. Members who took an interest in Indian affairs to be present in their places, and to aid the Government by their information and advice. With regard to the second part of the Question, the state of the case was this:—In the year 1806. In consequence of a No- 202 tice given in this House by his hon. Friend (Mr. J. B. Smith), this whole subject was most carefully gone into by the Government of India, acting under the directions of the then Secretary of State, and the Government of India came to the conclusion that the views of those persons who regretted that the financial statement was made so late in the Session would be best met by altering the old Indian financial year, which used to end on the 30th of April, and making it end on the 31st of March, the same as the English financial year. That change had been approved by the Home Government, and since it had come into operation there was nothing to prevent the Indian Budget from being laid before the House a month earlier than could previously have been the case, if such were the will of the House. A change in the financial year caused, of course, a great amount of inconvenience in India, and it would not, therefore, be reasonable to adopt any suggestion for a further change until the present system had been sufficiently tried, and it was ascertained whether it worked well or not.