HC Deb 28 April 1908 vol 187 cc1081-2
SIR H. COTTON (Nottingham, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that, in the Budget statement of the Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam, the deficit of the current year is stated to amount to 23½ lakhs of rupees, and the deficit in the year 1908–9 is estimated to amount to 45¾ lakhs of rupees; and whether, having regard to the unforeseen additional expenditure involved in the administration of the new province, he will consider the advisability of modifying the partition of Bengal with special reference to the appointment of a governor and council for the whole of Bengal, in accordance with the intention of the Government of India Act of 1833 and the subsequent Statute of 1853, 16 and 17 Vict., c. 95, and the delegation of powers to certain local authorities corresponding to those which, under the Indian Act of 1868, obtain in Sind, as was suggested by his predecessor in office.


The figures quoted by the hon. Member are not quite accurate. The "deficit" (that is to say the reduction of provincial balance) in 1907–8, to which he presumably refers in speaking of the "current year," is estimated at 21½ lakhs, not 23½, and that in 1908–9 at 23½ lakhs, not 45¾. The reduction of the provincial balance in the two years is chiefly due to the expenditure of the special grant made to the Provincial Government in 1906–7 to provide for the government buildings required at the capital of the new province. The expenditure is, of course, of a temporary and. non-recurring character, and cannot be regarded as a reason for so serious and far-reaching a measure as modifying the whole administrative arrangements of the province.


Is it the fact that the expenditure on the new province exceeds by many lakhs of rupees that which was estimated when the partition was decided upon?


I do not think so. There has been a special expenditure which will cease in a short time, but provision was made for it and it was fully anticipated.