HC Deb 01 March 1900 vol 79 c1427

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, with reference to the Viceroy's telegram of 20th February, whether he will state what are the stricter regulations referred to as having diminished the number of persons on famine relief in Berar; and whether he will state what is the average daily wage paid to men, women, and children employed on relief works, with its equivalent in sterling.


In accordance with the recommendation of the Famine Commission, relief work is now given only to such persons as are willing to do a full day's work "in return for a wage sufficient for the purpose of maintenance, but not more." This test, which is known as the "labour test," was not applied in Berar during the earliest stages of the famine. But it is now known that the numbers on relief work in that province have not been diminished, as was supposed, but have increased from 243,000 on the 22nd January to 308,000 on the 24th February. The average daily wage cannot be stated in sterling, being based upon the current price of food in the district in question, and varying accordingly from week to week. The wage for an adult is the money equivalent of from 1½b. to 2½lb. of grain perdiem.