HC Deb 26 January 1897 vol 45 cc507-8
MR. J. M. MACLEAN (Cardiff)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether, as the Indian peasantry will be compelled by the famine to sell their hoards of silver at a heavy loss through the mints being closed and the depreciation of silver bullion, it will be possible to make arrangements at the Government treasuries in the famine districts for the purchase of silver ornaments at a fixed price per ounce?


The form of relief suggested in my hon. Friend's question is not one that I am prepared to recommend to the Government of India, for, amongst other disadvantages, it is open to this practical difficulty, that, if it were once known that the Government would purchase silver ornaments at a price above their market value, those who would derive most benefit from this philanthropic venture would be well-to-do persons who could purchase silver ornaments wholesale. I may add that, although the divergence between the exchange value in gold of a coined rupee and that of an equal quantity of uncoined silver has undoubtedly increased since the mints were closed, it does not follow that the purchasing power of silver bullion in India has fallen.

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