§ *THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Sir W. HARCOURT,) Derby
I have received notice from my right hon. Friend the Member for St. George's, Hanover Square, who is not now here, of a question of great importance, and I wish now to give the answer I was prepared to make. The question 395 was, whether the Government intended to make any change in their present policy in reference to Indian currency. The answer I have to make is this—there is no intention of re-opening the Indian Mints to the free coinage of silver or of returning to a minimum rate for the sale of bills. It is not intended to impose a special tax on the importation of silver, and no change in the present policy of the Indian Government is in contemplation. My hon. Friend the Member for Argyllshire asked a question about the loan recently authorised by a Bill of this House, and I will give the figures of that. The borrowing powers granted by the Act 56 & 57 Vict., c. 70, extended to £10,000,000, India bills were issued under this Act on February 3, 1894, to the extent of £2,500,000, and the outstanding powers under the Act are £7,500,000. Of the sum raised by these bills £2,000,000 has been applied in repayment of temporary loans raised under previous Acts. Adding that to the £7,500,000, the present outstanding borrowing powers of the Indian Government are £9,500,000.
§ SIR D. MACFARLANE
I desire to ask whether the present course adopted by the Secretary for India is adopted in concurrence and after consultation with the Government of India, or whether it was adopted in spite of the Government of India?