HC Deb 22 November 1906 vol 165 c984

To ask the Secretary of State for India whether the Government of India is coining a rupee with the prerogative of unlimited legal tender, and is making a profit of 3d. each rupee; whether there were coined in 1900 over 170,000,000 of these coins at a profit very much greater than 3d. each; whether by similar means in Great Britain the Government has ever closed the English Mint to free coinage of sovereigns, and has exacted a seignorage of 4s. per each sovereign coined; whether in the history of currency in any country the money metal which constitutes the unlimited legal tender currency of the country has ever been subjected to an import tariff: whether silver, the metal of the legal tender currency of British India, is to-day subject to an ad valorem tariff in the ports of India; and whether a protective or revenue tariff on gold and silver bullion is the established policy of the present Government of India.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Morley.) The replies to these questions are as follows:—(1) The rupee is unlimited legal tender in India; (2) The profit on the coinage of a rupee at the present price of silver is slightly in excess of 3d. (3) The number of rupees coined in 1900–1 (including the recoinage of old rupees) was approximately 173,000,000, and the profit on each rupee was considerably in excess of 3d. (4) This question should be addressed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer; (5) This question should be addressed to the President of the Board of Trade. (6) There is in India an Import duty on silver, as on many other articles, of 5 per cent. ad valorem. (7) The Indian Import duties are imposed for revenue, not for protective purposes.