§ MR. POTTER
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, If he will inform the House what changes, if any, have recently been made in Ceylon in the amount of taxation on home grown and imported grain; and, whether the system of farming the paddy tax has been entirely abolished, and what plan for the collection of the revenue derived from the tax has been substituted?
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
Sir, no change has been recently made in the amount of taxation levied on grain in Ceylon, though an important change has been introduced in the mode of collecting that taxation which may result in some small diminution of the amount received. An Ordinance has recently been passed and sanctioned for the entire abolition of the farming system, which will be brought into effect district by district, according as the necessary information is obtained and the necessary machinery provided. This Ordinance provides three modes of commuting the tax—first, by a fixed annual 261 payment; second, by a fixed sum payable only in those years, when the land produces a crop, in order to meet the case of certain districts where there is a want of irrigation; and third, applying only to dry grain, by a sum varying with the estimated value of the crop, and payable only when the land produces a crop. Of course, it is intended that the first plan shall be that generally adopted.