HC Deb 19 July 1900 vol 86 cc464-5

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is now in a position to specify the amounts advanced by the Government of India to the several native States by way of famine loans; whether, when making each loan, the Government of India ascertained that the State was exercising economy in its general administration, with a view both to the relief of the famine-stricken and the repayment of the loan; and whether the Bhaunagar State in Kattywar applied for a famine loan of 30 lakhs, what is the reason why Bhaunagar, recently prosperous, is now in financial straits, and has the Government of India satisfied itself that this State has reduced all unnecessary expenditure both in India and in England.


The total amount of loans to native States for relief purposes sanctioned up to the end of May, either from Government funds or on Government guarantee, was £1,217,000. A list of these loans will be found at the end of the Papers presented to Parliament regarding Famine Relief in Native States, which Papers will, I hope, be distributed before the end of next week. The Government of India has repeatedly inculcated strict economy on native States suffering from famine and applying for financial assistance. Applications for loans to such States and their conduct of relief measures are subjected to such scrutiny and supervision as are possible without undesirable interference. Bhaunagar is undoubtedly a prosperous State, but its Government has recently invested £507,000 in its railways, and had a working cash balance of only £20,000 at the beginning of the year. Owing to the famine, its income has shrunk and its expenditure has increased considerably. The net deficit to be met was estimated in March last at £147,000, and so the State applied for and received a large loan from the Government. The ways and means of the State, its intended expenditure, and the possible economies to be made were considered by the Government of India before the loan was granted.