HC Deb 08 February 1926 vol 191 cc596-7

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he can state in pounds sterling the total expenditure out of Indian revenue during the last three years on military services, education, public health, agriculture, irrigation, stationery and printing, and superannuation allowances and pensions, respectively?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Earl Winterton)

With the hon. Member's permission, I propose to circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the figures of gross expenditure for the last three years for which the final Indian accounts are available.

Following are the figures:


I am aware that the horrible practice referred to by the hon. Member in the first part of his question is unfortunately too common in the least though I do not believe it ever reached in Bombay City or elsewhere in British India such a pitch of degradation as the question alleges. The Bombay Government, within whose competence the matter is, passed a law two years ago which should make, it far easier to deal with the worst scandals of organised prostitution.


In view of the Noble Lord's answer, will he consider photographs and official reports—supplied not later than two months ago—with the object of getting some remedy for this gross scandal?


The hon. Gentle man will realise that this is a matter which is, as I have already said, really within the competence of the Bombay Government. In so far as it relates to the question of health, that is a transferred provincial subject; in so far as it relates to police administration, it is a reserved provincial subject. The hon. Gentleman will also realise that even before the reforms were brought in, it was very unusual for the Secretary of State to interfere in details of police administration in any province.


In view of the public hostility expressed by the Noble Lord and his friends to the very idea of nationalisation of women elsewhere, would not he consider whether any steps can be taken to induce the Bombay Government to put a stop to this practice?


Before that question is answered, I should like to know, too, if we are not to have a distinct understanding whether there is to be independent local government in India or not? Having granted independent local government, are we constantly to raise questions here the responsibility for which rests with the local governments we have created?


Have we not a right to interfere if slavery, for instance, were practised in India; and is not a practice of this kind equivalent to slavery?


I am not going to answer theoretical questions of that kind. If the hon. Gentleman desires to ask a question upon slavery, he should put it down.


May I beg for an answer to the second supplementary question which T. addressed to the Noble Lord?


I gather that the Noble Lord has given such answers as he is prepared to give on this matter.

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