HC Deb 08 December 1920 vol 135 cc2128-9W

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has received the Report of the Government in India regarding the control of the rice crop in Burma during the coming year; and, if so, what decision has been arrived at?


I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a copy of a communique issued by the Government of India from which it will be seen that the present system of control will cease at the end of the year. From the 1st January the export trade will be left to private enterprise subject to a limitation of the quantity exported by means of licences.

The following is the communique referred to:It has already been announced that all control will be removed over the export trade in rice from Burma to India from the 1st January, 1921, but that no re-exports of Burma rice from India will be allowed. In view of the recent heavy fall in the world price of rice, it lias been decided to now modify considerably the system of control over exports of Burma rice to foreign countries during next year. Traders will be allowed as from the 1st January, 1921, to make their own arrangements for sale and export to any foreign destination subject only to the condition that such exports will be permitted only under licence granted by the Rice Commissioner within the limits of the total quantity sanctioned for export. Applicants for licences will be required to submit particulars of all transactions to the Rice Commissioner. Should the price in Burma rise above the equivalent of the present control maximum rate of Rs. 180 per hundred baskets of paddy, the Government of India reserve to themselves full power to re-impose a system of strict control similar to that in force in the present year. It is estimated at present that the total surplus rice available for export from Burma next year will amount approximately to 2,100,000 tons of white rice. The average amount of Burma rice taken by India previous to the introduction of control was some 850,000 tons, and taking into account these figures the Government of India consider that it will be sufficient at present to estimate the exports of rice to India at a maximum of 1,100,000 tons. The balance of 1,000,000 tons will therefore be allotted for export to foreign countries, but this amount may be increased later if circumstances permit. The existing prohibition on the exports of rice from India proper to foreign countries will be retained. These measures will, the Government of India believe, suffice to conserve adequate supplies for the consumer both in India and in Burma while ensuring that these supplies shall be available at reasonably cheap prices.