§ Captain FULLER
asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what funds 1533W now exist in India for the purpose of famine relief; and what appropriations, if any, are made yearly for this purpose, and whether any of these funds are available and are used to assist the victims of earthquakes in India?
§ Mr. BUTLER
All the "Governors' Provinces," except Burma and Assam, are obliged under the Devolution Rules to make prescribed annual assignments from revenue for expenditure upon relief of famine, and any amounts so assigned but not actually expended in any year are set aside to form a famine relief fund. When that fund has reached a prescribed minimum, which varies for the different Provinces, such assignments cease to be compulsory. The annual assignments and the minima holdings in the fund up to which assignments are compulsory, as laid down in the Devolution Rules, together with the balances actually standing to the credit of the famine relief funds of the various Provinces at the end of 1933–34 (being the latest year for which closed accounts are available) are as follow:
Province. Prescribed annual assignment. Prescribed minimum of famine relief fund. Balance in famine relief fund on 31st March, 1934. (Rs.lakhs). (Rs.lakhs). (Rs.lakhs). Madras 3.00 40.0 59.9 Bombay 12.00 75.0 75.0 Bengal 2.00 12.0 13.5 United Provinces. 16.00 55.0 55.5 Punjab 2.00 20.0 15.5 Bihar and Orissa. 3.00 15.0 32.2 Central Provinces. 4.00 45.0 45.5 North-West Frontier Province. 0.01 1.5 0.2
As long as the balance in the famine relief fund of a Province is not in excess of the prescribed minimum, any expenditure from the fund or from annual assignments must be confined to the purpose of famine relief; but when the balance exceeds the minimum, the excess may be used for certain other purposes including other forms of relief. In any case, the word "famine" is interpreted as famine 1534W arising from any natural calamity. A famine relief fund balance may therefore be used in connection with earthquake disasters, and in fact such use has been made.