§ SIR H. FOWLER
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India what was the date of the appointment of the Royal Commission to inquire into Indian expenditure; how many sittings were held, and how many witnesses were examined; what was the date of the closing of the evidence; how many sitting', have the Commission held for the consideration of their report; and when does he expect to lay the Report upon the Table?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
The date of the appointment of the Royal Commission to inquire into Indian Expenditure was the 24th of May, 1895. I learn that the Commission held 46 sittings for the taking of evidence, and examined 31 witnesses. The oral evidence closed on the 21st July, 1897. No sittings have since that date been held for the consideration of the draft Report. A large part is, I understand, in print; but I have not been informed when it will be submitted to the Commission, and I am, therefore, not in a position to name any date for its presentation.
§ SIR H. FOWLER
May I ask the right honourable Gentleman whether he intends to take any steps in this matter, the evidence having closed upwards of 18 months ago? I may say, as a justification for putting the Question to him, that the proceedings of the Committee over which I have the honour to preside, in reference to Indian currency are seriously hampered by their not being in a position to obtain the decision of this Commission upon the civil expenditure of India.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA
The Secretary has no control whatever over the proceedings of a Commission of this kind. I think there is an understood rule that, when a Commission of this kind is appointed and has taken the evidence necessary to enable it to form a judgment, the Report should be presented to the Commission in order that it may come to a conclusion as soon as possible.