Sir HERBERT ROBERTS
asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the continued increase in the consumption of intoxicating liquors throughout India; whether he is aware that in the Punjab last year the Excise receipts rose to fifty-seven lakhs as compared with forty-three and a-quarter lakhs in the previous year; whether he has noted the remarks of the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab upon these figures and their connection with increased crime in the Province; and whether, in view of the seriousness of the situation, he will obtain the views of the Government of India as to the adoption of effective reforms to check this growing evil?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. Herbert Lewis)
The Secretary of State does not accept the view, which is not substantiated by facts, that the consumption of intoxicating liquors is increasing throughout India, but is aware of the facts mentioned by my hon. Friend as to the growth of the drinking habit in certain districts in the Punjab. The subject is closely engaging the attention of the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province, who has urged all sections of the community to co-operate to combat the evil. He is also considering what further restrictive measures can effectively be adopted. I may add that the reform of the Excise administration is engaging the attention of all the local governments, and the Secretary of State is not disposed to interfere with their discretion.