§ MR. M. M. BHOWNAGGREE (Bethnal Green, N. E.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether the estimate which has been published of 20 1,312,500,000 ounces, as the silver savings of the inhabitants of India, is approximately correct; whether he is aware that in former famines such savings were usually exchangeable into rupees weight for weight, but now they have been depreciated about 700,000,000 rupees, or equal to £44,000,000 sterling, owing to the mints being no longer open for the coinage of silver, apart from any further deduction by the native dealers to cover their risk of the market; and whether the Government have any scheme in view to remedy the loss to the people in their distress?
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
I cannot undertake to give any opinion as to the value of the estimate to which the hon. Member refers, or as to the total amount of the depreciation in relation to rupees of the uncoined silver held by natives of India. But, as I have already pointed out in reply to a question in this House, although there is now a greater divergence than formerly between the gold value of coined and uncoined silver in India, it does not follow that the purchasing power of silver bullion in that country has correspondingly fallen. The Government of India are sparing neither effort nor expenditure to assist the people in their distress, but such assistance will not be based upon the considerations mentioned in the hon. Member's Question.