HC Deb 11 August 1875 vol 226 cc864-6

Resolution [9th August] reported.


said, that after carefully considering the statement of the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for India and the discussion which took place on it, he never was more convinced than he now was that there were many things connected with the finances of India which particularly required careful investigation. He thought they ought to receive more precise information in the next Financial Statement. The question of expenditure was of very great importance. If they were told what the Extraordinary Expenditure was they should also be told what the Extraordinary Receipts were. The accounts also were deficient in this—that whilst they showed what the increase of the Revenue was, they did not show whether that increase was real or only nominal. If the occasion permitted it, he could show that in one instance where the Revenue had increased, the cost of collecting it had increased in a greater proportion. He wished to know whether the increase of the Army expenditure was due to any action on the part of the War Office. He gave Notice that next Session, with the view of securing an earlier and a more complete discussion of the Indian Budget, he should move, on the earliest possible day, the following Resolution:— That this House, considering it important that it should devote an adequate amount of attention to Indian affairs, is of opinion that it is desirable that Public Business should he arranged, so that it will not he necessary to postpone the Indian Budget until almost the close of the Session.


said, he would admit that it was desirable, if it could be conveniently done, that the Indian Budget should be discussed earlier in the Session; but, still, he thought that the inconvenience arising from the present course of proceeding was exaggerated. The complaint as to the lateness at which the Indian Budget was brought on was made against every Administration; in fact, it might be called an annual growl. The only object in having the discussion earlier was, that there might be a full House; but he was afraid that could not be secured, because the affairs of India were not administered by the House, but by the Indian Council, and public functionaries, and because the Indian Budget was only brought forward for discussion, without any decision being come to upon it.


thought it only right and just that the affairs of India should be discussed when there was a full attendance of hon. Members. There was a vast population of India which took a deep interest in this discussion, and these matters ought to be reviewed earlier in the Session. But as the Legislature of England had seen fit to set aside the East India Company, which had acquired India, and had for so many years administered the Government of India, it was incumbent on the Legislature to provide for the discussion to which the new Government ought to be subjected, by finding time for doing so. And as regarded the duties entrusted to the Council of India, it was only just that the Parliament which created these duties should ascertain how they were fulfilled.


said, the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Fawcett) had asked him whether the increase of the Army expenditure was due to any action of the War Office? There were two items of increase which were rendered necessary in consequence of certain alterations made at the War Office—one of which was the increase of the pay of officers of Artillery, who had by a Royal Warrant been promoted to the rank of major; and the other was a small addition to the pay of privates, necessary in consequence of certain alterations made by Lord Card-well. He stated the other night the reasons why the Budget was brought on so late; and though, no doubt, it was somewhat unfortunate that it should be the last Business which the Government transacted, yet its postponement this year had been attended with this advantage, that he had been able to receive a forecast of the Public Works expenditure. The discussion turned mainly upon that expenditure, and had the Budget been brought forward earlier in the Session, they would not have had the information of which they were able to avail themselves the other night. He thought that inconvenience arose from postponing observations upon a variety of Indian topics until the Financial Statement was made, when it was almost impossible to reply accurately to the obervations which were made. He hoped, therefore, that another year hon. Members who wished to call attention to Indian matters which were not connected with finance would do so apart from the Budget; and then the discussion upon Indian Finance could be more satisfactorily conducted.

Resolution agreed to.