§ MR. CAINE
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether the attention of the Secretary of State has been called to the condition of the land revenue in India and the heavy and yearly increasing expenditure incurred in collecting that revenue, as are shown in the following particulars for the years 1881–2 and 1890–91: in Bengal, land revenue increased, at the end of the 10 years named, Rx.87,571, at a permanent additional yearly cost of Rx.52,874; in the North-West Provinces and Oudh, there was a decrease of revenue of Rx.7,074, at a permanent additional yearly cost of Rx.102,620; in the Punjab, an increase of revenue of 190 Rx.231,365, at a permanent additional yearly cost of Rx. 148,783; in the Central Provinces, an increase of revenue of Rx.74,076, at a permanent additional yearly cost of Rx.83,506; in Assam, an increase of revenue of Rx.73,745, at a permanent additional yearly cost of Rx.4,776; and in Madras, an increase of revenue of Rx.19,251, at a permanent additional yearly cost of Rx.116,764; whether any revision of settlement has been made in the above Presidency and Provinces; and whether he can explain why, in view of the great increase of population and, presumably, an extension in the cultivable area of the regions named, there is a decrease in the North-West Provinces and Oudh, and such a slight increase (nearly six times exceeded by additional cost of collection) in Madras and in the Central Provinces, in which latter place also the increased expenditure on revenue account overbalances the receipts?
MR. G. RUSSELL
The figures recited in my hon. Friend's question are correct, or nearly so; the precise figures can be computed from the Table on page 97 of the Indian Statistical Abstract presented to Parliament last Session. But the Secretary of State is not aware that the increase of expenditure is permanent, so far as it is caused by settlement operations. Revisions of land revenue settlement have been in progress during the 10 years, or a part of them, in all the Provinces named except Oudh. In Bengal and Assam the settlement proceedings were of a petty character. The explanation apparently is: (a) In the North-West Provinces and Oudh the land revenue receipts of 1881–2 were increased by realization of arrears, while in the receipts of 1890–91 deficiency was caused by suspensions of revenue, the autumn crop having failed in several districts in consequence of floods. The full laud revenue demand of the Province has increased considerably during the decade. The land revenue expenditure was swelled in 1883–4 by 10 lakhs of new expenditure on Patwaris under arrangements introduced in March, 1882. Since the year 1885–6, when settlement operations began to be contracted, the land revenue expenditure of the North-West Provinces and Oudh has fallen from 81 ½ to 75 lakhs, (b) In Madras Presidency large remissions and slackness of collec- 191 tion consequent on an unfavourable season in most districts reduced the land revenue receipts of 1890–91. The land revenue of that year was, therefore, considerably below the normal receipts. The increase of expenditure in Madras was in great part due to larger allowances to village and rural officers sanctioned in 1890. (c) In the Central Provinces the land revenue settlements, now more than half completed, will yield a considerable increase of land revenue. Six and a half lakhs of that increase accrued between 1886 and 1890. The increase in expenditure is due in part to the survey and settlement charges which will cease within the next four years; and in part to certain changes in the Patwari fund.