HC Deb 19 March 1896 vol 38 cc1355-6

I beg to ask the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India, whether it is the fact, as stated in the Madras Land Revenue Reports, that in the Madras Presidency, during the 12 years 1879–80 to 1890–1, 850,528 tenants of the State had, for the collection of the land revenue, their land sold by auction to the extent of 1,984,985 acres, and that of this area 1,183,851 acres were bought in by the Government for want of bidders at the auctions; whether, in the years 1890–1, 1891–2, 1892–3, and 1893–4, the number of State tenants thus sold up was 10,115, 11,118, 12,400, and 14,198 respectively; whether, in the year 1893–4, property, personal and real, of defaulting tenants, of the estimated value of 795,922 rupees, was put up for sale, and under forced sales realised only 209,638 rupees; and whether, out of this amount, property valued at 25,592 rupees was bought in by the Government for 2,300 rupees; whether, with reference to the evictions noticed in Sir Richard Temple's speech on the Indian Budget in 1892, the Secretary of State in 1893 called upon the Madras Government for a Report, and whether that Report has yet been received; whether nearly 3½ million acres of assessed cultivable land are now lying waste in the Madras Presidency; whether, in the year 1893–4, 5,374,303 notices of demand for land revenue were issued, and 209,517 notices for sale of property, and whether fees upon these notices are levied from defaulters; and, whether, looking to the above facts, he will cause special inquiry to be made with a view to an improved system of land revenue assessment and collection in the Madras Presidency?


I cannot trace any reference to Madras evictions in the speech of Sir Richard Temple on the Indian Budget in 1892, but it is the case that my predecessor invited the Government of Madras to report whether some improvement could not be introduced in the method of dealing with land revenue defaulters. I learn from Madras that the Government are considering the matter, and hope to report shortly. When the Report is received the matter will receive the careful attention of the Secretary of State in Council. I do not propose to trouble the House with remarks on all the figures cited in the Question; some of those figures I have been able to identify in the Reports of the Madras Revenue Board, while others appear to be incorrect. But I may add that the Question has been receiving much attention in Madras for some years past; and the "number of revenue defaulters in Madras whose property, real and personal, was sold for arrears" had been reduced from 130,714 in 1883 to 10,115 in 1890.