HC Deb 21 June 1889 vol 337 c404

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India (1) whether the Secretary of State's attention has been called to the fact that in the Budget Estimate of Expenditure for 1889–90, issued at Calcutta on 27th March, 1889, and since laid before this House, the provision made for expenditure to be incurred in famine relief works during 1889–90 in the whole Empire is only Rx.20,500; (2) whether he will state whence the funds are to be obtained which will be needed to carry out the policy of protection against famine suffering and famine deaths, to which the Government of India, with the sanction of the Home authorities, is pledged—namely, that no effort and no expenditure are to be spared to save life and to relieve distress, seeing that in page 32 of a Paper recently laid upon the Table of this House ("Memorandum on some of the results of Indian Administration," &c.) it is stated, regarding the Famine Insurance Fund of Rx.1,500,000 per annum raised annually since 1878, "no surplus at present exists"; (3) and, whether, with a view to the more satisfactory discussion of the Indian Budget, he will prepare a Return showing the precise purposes to which the Famine Insurance Fund has been applied in each year since the tax was imposed?


(1) The provision for expenditure in 1889-90 on famine relief is correctly stated in the question. There is a further provision of Rx. 80,000 for relief works. (2). Further expenditure for relief of famine would be met (a) from surplus revenue; (b) from surplus cash balances; or if, contrary to all anticipation, such should become necessary (c) from borrowing. (3). The accounts laid before Parliament already show the purposes to which the Famine Insurance Fund has been already applied; and, if moved for, shall be summarized in such a Return as that suggested.