HL Deb 18 December 1908 vol 198 cc2181-2


Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, in the absence of my noble friend the Secretary of State for India I beg to move the Second Reading of this Bill. It is an enabling Bill, and I do not think the character of the measure necessitates any further explanation. The Bill does not raise any large question of controverted policy, and, in the circumstances, I hope your Lordships will be ready to give the Bill a Second Reading.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(Lord Fitzmaurice.)


My Lords, I only propose to trouble your Lordships with one observation on this Bill. I believe that there will be a unanimous feeling of approval at the introduction of this Bill, and also that the Secretary of State has taken so considerable a sum that he will not be hampered by the conditions of the money market or otherwise in pushing forward the railways proposed under the Bill. If the noble Viscount the Secretary of State had been present, I would have urged him not to restrict his programme in the near future. For some years past larger amounts could have been profitably expended on railways in India, but the condition of the money market has made the Indian Council shrink from raising money at somewhat higher rates to meet the expenditure. Every mile of railway which has been laid in India has more than paid the interest on the money expended on it, and the effect of railway extension on India, commercially and in other respects, has been incalculable. I therefore hope the noble Viscount will not hesitate to come to Parliament even for further sums, if necessary.

On Question, Bill read 2a. Committee negatived. Then (Standing Order No. XXXIX. having been suspended) Bill read 3, and passed.