§ 44. Mr. Bossom
asked the Under secretary of State for India whether India 912 produces enough rice to meet the annual need, and, if not, what steps are being taken to put under cultivation the great areas of arable land that could be cultivated.
§ Mr. A. Henderson
India is not self-sufficient in foodgrains, and in the years before the war it was necessary to import annually from abroad for the rice-consuming areas an average of over 1½million tons of rice. During the war, the Government of India and the Provincial Governments have taken all practicable steps to increase the production of rice and other foods, mainly by substituting food crops for other crops. The Provinces have plans for irrigation works which are expected to increase considerably the amount of land under cultivation. I would however point out that a high proportion of the uncultivated land in India, is, in fact, unsuitable for cultivation.
§ Mr. Henderson
I should say that depended upon the amount of increase possible as a result of the projected improvements.
§ Major Wyatt
In view of the Minister's reply, can he explain why less land was under cultivation in Bihar in 1941 than was under cultivation there in 1921?