MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that the number of shops open for the sale of intoxicating; liquor and drugs in India rose from 97,910 in 1901–2 to 99,497 in 1902–3; that the net revenue on liquor And drugs consumed in India for the year 1902–3 was £4,741,000, an increase of £502,000 on the figures for 1900–1; and that in the last financial statement of the Government of India a further increase of £498,800 is anticipated during the current year; and whether he is in a position to explain the reasons for this increase in the number of shops opened and the consequent increase in consumption.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Mr. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
The increase in the number of shops was considerable only in the two provinces of Bengal and the Central 18 Provinces. In Bengal it was chiefly due to the fact that many shops sanctioned but unlet in 1901–2 were let in 1902–3; and in the Central Provinces to the Government taking over the Excise arrangements in certain semi-feudatory areas and to the consequent more strict enforcement of the law. As the increase of revenue in 1902–3 over 1901–2 in these two provinces was not marked, the additional shops could not have had much effect on consumption.