HC Deb 12 April 1897 vol 48 cc931-3
SIR SEYMOUR KING (Hull, Central)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the demand made by the Bengal Branch of the Famine Relief Fund on the Central Relief Fund for about one-third of the entire Fund; whether he has information that out of 51½ lacs already distributed 11 lacs have been assigned to Bengal, while the North-West Provinces and Oudh, have received 17 lacs; whether on the basis of proportionate distress as revealed by the number of persons on relief works, the North-West Provinces and Oudh would be entitled to 51.45 per cent of the total receipts, and Bengal to only 12.75; and whether he is in a position to exercise any influence over the administrators of the Central Fund to secure that it shall be fairly and proportionately distributed?


I am not aware of the proportions in which the Famine Relief Fund has been allotted by the Central Committee between the various affected districts, but I know that the distribution is made after a careful consideration of their competing claims. I have also reason to believe, that the Central Committee is in constant communication with the Government of India, and gladly accepts its advice and assistance. But I have no influence in the matter, nor does it appear to me to be possible or desirable for any person in this country to attempt to control the local administration of the Fund.

MR. JAMES BIGWOOD (Middlesex, Brentford)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he can explain why it is that the allowance sanctioned from 1st November 1896 as grain compensation to all native employés(Government servants) in the famine-stricken districts, drawing 10 rupees per month and under, was not given to the recipients till the middle of March 1897; and whether any Government department is especially responsible for this delay in distribution?


Grain compensation is sanctioned by the local authorities, and the dates of such sanctions are not necessarily reported to the central Government; but I have sufficient information to enable me to say that in many cases the compensation was granted before November 1 1896. As to the delay alleged to have taken place, by which the grant was postponed beyond the middle of March 1897, I have no knowledge at present; but if the name of the district in question is supplied to me I will make inquiry.

MR. JAMES BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that, dissatisfaction exists with the administration of the famine relief and the management of famine relief works in the district of Cuddapore, in the Presidency of Madras; and whether he will cause in be published, or lay upon the Table of the House, the Reports recently addressed In the Government of Madras on the state of the district by the Famine Commissioner and the Sanitary Commissioner?


I am not aware that dissatisfaction exists with regard to the administration of relief in the Cuddapore district. The latest monthly relief Report from Madras shows that, at the end of January an area, containing 284,000 inhabitants, and amounting to about, one-fifth of the district, was considered to be affected, On March 6, 2,735 persons in this area, were employed on relief works and 7,488 were receiving gratuitous relief. The unusually large proportion, of people receiving gratuitous relief, which is attributed to the large "numbers of weavers relieved at their trade," warrants a belief that the administration of relief in Cuddapore is not illiberal. All reports relating the famine in Madras have been and will be included in the Pauline Papers presented periodically to Parliament while the famine continues. I should add that the Governor is giving very close supervision to the administration of famine relief within his presidency.