asked the Secretary of State for India whether the Government of India has recently authorised the cultivation of the coca plant and the manufacture of cocaine?
§ Mr. BENN
No, Sir. The facts of the case are that recently the Government of India in order to strengthen the means at their disposal for carrying out their obligations under the Geneva Convention, placed before the Indian Legis-1454W lature a Bill to control the traffic in dangerous drugs. One Clause of the Bill prohibited the cultivation or gathering of the coca plant, and to this Clause the Select Committee added the proviso that the prohibition did not apply to the cultivation or gathering of the plant by Government, the object being to allow Government to grow the coca plant and to experiment in the manufacture of cocaine if at any time it were thought desirable that the cocaine required for proper medicinal uses in India should be produced in India. This appears to be the foundation of the incorrect report that the Government of India have authorised the cultivation of the coca plant and the manufacture of cocaine. No action in this direction has been taken nor, so far as I am aware, is any contemplated. The Dangerous Drugs Act, which has passed into law, merely makes this legally possible.