HC Deb 02 July 1877 vol 235 cc599-600

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, If his attention has been called to the speech of Sir John Strachey in the Legislative Council of India on the Salt Duties; and, whether the Indian Government will be able, without any loss of revenue, to equalize or reduce the duties on salt so as to admit English salt into the Madras Presidency on the same terms as it had been introduced into Calcutta?


Sir, Sir John Strachey's argument was to the effect that, in dealing with the salt duties, we ought to endeavour to give to India a supply of salt at the cheapest rate consistent with financial necessities. He also analyzed at some length the different systems under which salt was taxed in the different parts of India, and the various sources of supply. In Bengal, where Native manufacture of salt was not easy, the salt consumed was almost exclusively English, upon which an import duty was levied of 3r. 4a. per maund. On the other hand, in Madras and Bombay, the manufacture of salt from the sea by Native agency is cheap and easy, and a duty is levied of 1r. 13a. per maund. Unless English salt can compete in cheapness with the salt manufactured in Madras, no reduction or alteration in the duties will secure its use in that Presidency. The Secretary of State has recently directed an inquiry into the whole question of salt duties, and more especially with regard to the Madras system.