§ MR. MACLEAN (Oldham)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether the India Office has any evidence to show that the recent reduction in the area of poppy cultivation in Bengal is due to the intention of the Government of India to do away with. the Opium Revenue little by little, and not to the commercial necessity for re 1153 ducing production in order to keep up the price in face of the increasing competition of opium grown in China; and whether the policy of the Government of India with regard to this source of revenue is correctly expressed by Sir David Barbour, the Indian Finance Minister, who, in introducing his Budget for the year 1891-2, said—The Opium Revenue has no doubt fallen largely, and at this moment there are no indications of a recovery. On the other hand, the fall up to date has been discounted, and provision made to meet the consequent loss of revenue. As the fall has been so great we may fairly hope that for the present we have seen the worst "?
SIR J. GORST
The reason given for the reduction of the area of poppy cultivation in Bengal is that the reserve stock of opium had become unduly large. The statements of Sir D. Barbour, no doubt, do correctly express the policy of the Government of India.
§ SIR G. CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the cultivation of opium has been stopped altogether in certain districts where it was least profitable?