HC Deb 01 October 1942 vol 383 cc947-8W
Mr. Riley

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he can make any statement regarding the available supplies of rice, sugar and salt in India; and whether the Indian Government has under consideration any scheme for rationing the distribution of any, or all, of these commodities?

Mr. Amery

Supplies of rice from the Indian crop of 1941–42 are above the average for the past three years, though not up to that of the previous ten years. Shortage has also been occasioned by the loss of the Burma imports on which India normally relies for some 5 per cent. of her supplies. The shortage is local rather than general and is not acute. It is due more to transport difficulty and to hoarding than to actual deficiency. I am not aware of any serious shortage of sugar or of salt for which India is not normally dependent on any sources which are not now avail- able. These and other foodstuffs have been under continuous and anxious consideration by the Central and Provincial Governments. They have not proposed the rationing of these or other commodities, though in the case of sugar there is control of distribution. It is clear that the rationing of food under Indian conditions must be a very different proposition from that presented in this country.

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