Administration: India,1911

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Extracted from:

Encyclopaedia of India

1911.

No further details are available about this book, except that it was sponsored in some way by the (British-run) Government of India.

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Contents

Administration

By the act of parliament which transferred the government of India from the company to the crown, the administration in England is exercised by the sovereign through a secretary of state, who inherits all the powers formerly belonging to the Court of Directors and the Board of Control, and who, as a member of the cabinet, is responsible to parliament. In administrative details he is assisted by the Council of India, an advisory body, with special control over finance. This council consists of not more than fifteen and not fewer than ten members, appointed by the secretary of state for a term of seven years, of whom at least nine must have served or resided in India for ten years. A Hindu and a Mahommedan were for the first time appointed to the council in 1907.

The governor general

At the head of the government in India is the governorgeneral, styled also viceroy, as representative of the sovereign. The He is appointed by the crown, and his tenure of office Supreme is five years. The supreme authority, civil and Govern- military, including control over all the local govern ment. ments, is vested in the governor-general in council, commonly known as " the Government of India," which has its seat at Calcutta during the cold season from November to April, and migrates to Simla in the Punjab hills for the rest of the year. The executive council of the governor-general is composed of six ordinary members, likewise appointed by the crown for a term of five years, of whom three must have served for ten years in India and one must be a barrister, together with the commander-in-chief as an extraordinary member. A Hindu barrister was first appointed a member of council in 1909. The several departments of administration - Foreign, Home, Finance, Legislative, Army, Revenue and Agriculture (with Public Works), Commerce and Industry, Education (added in 1910) - are distributed among the council after the fashion of a European cabinet, the foreign portfolio being reserved by the viceroy; but all orders and resolutions are issued in the name of the governor-general in council and must be signed by a secretary.

For legislative purposes the executive council is enlarged into a legislative council by the addition of other members, The ex officio, nominated and elected. In accordance Legisla- with regulations made under the Indian Councils Act five 1909, these additional members number 61, making Council. 68 in all with the viceroy, so arranged as to give an official majority of three. The only ex-officio additional member is the lieutenant-governor of the province in which the legislative council may happen to meet; nominated members number 35, of whom not more than 28 may be officials; while 25 are elected, directly or indirectly, with special representation for Mahommedans and landholders. Apart from legislation, the members of the council enjoy the right to interpellate the government on all matters of public interest, including the putting of supplementary questions; the right to move and discuss general resolutions, which, if carried, have effect only as recommendations; and the right to discuss and criticize in detail the budget, or annual financial statement.

The local or provincial governments are fifteen in all, with varying degrees of responsibility. First stand the two presidencies of Madras (officially Fort St George) and Bombay, each of which is administered by a governor and council appointed by the crown. The governor is usually sent from England; the members of council may number four, of whom two must have served in India for ten years. Next follow the five lieutenantgovernorships of Bengal, the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, the Punjab, Burma, and Eastern Bengal and Assam, for each of which a council may be appointed, beginning with Bengal. Last come the chief commissionerships, of which the Central Provinces (with Berar) rank scarcely below the lieutenant-governorships, while the rest - the North-West Frontier Province, British Baluchistan, Ajmer-Merwara, Coorg and the Andamans - are minor charges, generally associated with political supervision over native states or frontier tribes. The two presidencies and also the five lieutenant-governorships each possesses a legislative council, modelled on that of the governor-general, but so that in every case there shall be a majority of non-official members, varying from 13 to 3.

Within the separate provinces the administrative unit is the district, of which there are 249 in India. In every province except Madras there are divisions, consisting of three or more districts under a commissioner. The title Districts. of the district officer varies according to whether the province is " regulation " or " non-regulation." This is an old distinction, which now tends to become obsolete; but broadly speaking a larger measure of discretion is allowed in the nonregulation provinces, and the district officer may be a military officer, while in the regulation provinces he must be a member of the Indian civil service. In a regulation province the district officer is styled a collector, while in a non-regulation province he is called a deputy-commissioner. The chief nonregulation provinces are the Punjab, Central Provinces and Burma; but non-regulation districts are also to be found in Bengal, Eastern Bengal and Assam, the United Provinces and Sind.

The districts are partitioned out into lesser tracts, which are strictly units of administration, though subordinate ones. The system of partitioning, and also the nomenclature, vary in the different provinces; but generally it may be said that the subdivision or tahsil is the ultimate unit of administration. The double name indicates the twofold principle of separation: the subdivision is properly the charge of an assistant magistrate or executive officer, the tahsil is the charge of a deputy-collector or fiscal officer; and these two offices may or may not be in the same hands. Broadly speaking, the subdivision is characteristic of Bengal, where revenue duties are in the background, and the tahsil of Madras, where the land settlement requires attention year by year. There is no administrative unit below the subdivision or tahsil. The thana, or police division, only exists for police purposes. The pargana, or fiscal division, under native rule, has now but an historical interest. The village still remains as the agricultural unit, and preserves its independence for revenue purposes in most parts of the country. The township is peculiar to Burma.

Bengal (including Eastern Bengal and Assam), Madras, Bombay and the old North-Western Provinces each has a high court, established by charter under an act of parliament, with judges appointed by the crown. The Of the other provinces the Punjab and Lower Burma Judici Servicale. have chief courts, and Oudh, the Central Provinces, Upper Burma, Sind and the North-West Frontier Province have judicial commissioners, all established by local legislation. From the high courts, chief courts and judicial commissioners an appeal lies to the judicial committee of the privy council in England. Below these courts come district and sessions judges, who perform the ordinary judicial work of the country, civil and criminal. Their jurisdictions coincide for the most part with the magisterial and fiscal boundaries. But, except in Madras, where the districts are large, a single civil and sessions judge sometimes exercises jurisdiction over more than one district. In the non-regulation territory judicial and executive functions are to a large extent combined in the same hands. The law administered in the Indian courts is described in the article Indian Law.

The chief of the Indian services

The chief of the Indian services is technically known as the Indian civil service. It is limited to about a thousand members, who are chosen by open competition in England between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-four. SeIndian rv ices. Nearly all the higher appointments, administrative and judicial, are appropriated by statute to this service, with xlv. 13 the exception of a few held by military officers on civil duty in the non-regulation provinces. Other services mainly or entirely recruited in England are the education department, police, engineering, public works, telegraph and forest services. In addition to the British officials employed in these services, there is a host of natives of India holding superior or subordinate appointments in the government service. According to a calculation made in 1904, out of 1370 appointments with a salary of goo a year and upwards, 1263 were held by Europeans, 15 by Eurasians and 92 by natives of India. But below that line natives of India greatly preponderate; of 26,908 appointments ranging between Boo and 60 a year, only 5205 were held by Europeans, 5420 by Eurasians and 16,283 by natives.

These figures show that less than 650o Englishmen are employed to rule over the 300 millions of India. On the other hand, natives manage the greater part of the administration of the revenue and land affairs and magisterial work. The subordinate courts throughout India are almost entirely manned by native judges, who sit also on the bench in each of the High Courts. Similarly in the other services. There are four engineering colleges in India, which furnish to natives access to the higher grades of the public works department; and the provincial education services are recruited solely in India.

Though the total strength of the army in India has undergone little change, important reforms of organization have been effected in recent years which have greatly improved The . its efficiency. In 1895, after long discussion, the old presidency system was abolished and the whole army was placed under one commander-in-chief, though it was not till 1904 that the native regiments of cavalry and infantry were re-numbered consecutively, and the Hyderabad contingent and a few local battalions were incorporated with the rest of the army. About the same time (1903) the designation of British officers serving with native troops was changed from " Indian Staff Corps " to " Indian Army." The entire force, British and native, is now subdivided into a Northern and a Southern Army, with Burma as an independent command attached to the latter. Each of these armies is organized in divisions, nine in number, based on the principles that the troops in peace should be trained in units of command similar to those in which they would take the field, and that much larger powers should be entrusted to the divisional commanders. At the same time large sums of money have been expended on strategic works along the north-west frontier, supply and transport has been reorganized, rifle, gun and ammunition factories have been established, and a Staff College at Quetta.

In1907-1908the actual strength of the army in India numbered 227,714 officers and men, of whom 73,947 were British troops; and the total military expenditure amounted to X17,625,000, of which f2,996,000 was for non-effective charges. In addition, the reserve of the native army numbered 34,846 men, the volunteers 34,962, the frontier militia (including the Khyber Rifles) about 6000, the levies (chiefly in Baluchistan) about 6000, and the military police (chiefly in Burma) about 22,000. These figures do not include the Imperial Service troops, consisting of cavalry, infantry and transport corps, about 18,000 in all, which are paid and officered by the native states furnishing them, though supervised by British inspectors. The military forces otherwise maintained by the several native states are estimated to number about ioo,000 men, of varying degrees of efficiency.

The police, it is admitted, still form an unsatisfactory part of the administration, though important reforms have recently. been introduced. The present system, which is modelled somewhat on that of the Irish constabulary, dates from shortly after the Mutiny, and is regulated for the greater part of the country by an act passed in 1861. It provides a regular force in each district, under a superintendent who is almost always a European, subordinate for general purposes to the district magistrate. For the preservation of order this force is by no means inefficient, but it fails as a detective agency and also in the prosecution of crime, being distrusted by the people generally. As the result of a Commission appointed in 1902, a considerable addition has been made to the expenditure on police, which is being devoted to increasing the pay of all the lower grades and to augmenting the number of investigating officers. In 1901 the total strength of the civil police force was about 145,000 men, maintained at a total cost of about 2,200,000. In addition, the village watchmen or chaukidars, a primitive institution paid from local sources but to some extent incorporated in the general system, aggregated about 700,000; while a special force of military police, numbering about 20,000 under officers seconded from the army, is maintained along the frontier, more especially in Burma.

The administration of gaols in India can be described more favourably. As a rule, there is one gaol in each district, under the management of the civil surgeon. Discipline Gaol& is well maintained, though separate confinement is practically unknown; and various industries (especially carpet-weaving) are profitably pursued wherever possible. So much attention has been directed to diet and sanitation that the death-rate compares well with that of the general working population: in 1907 it was as low as 18 per 1000. Convicts with more than six years to serve are transported to the Andaman Islands, where the penal settlement is organized on an elaborate system, permitting ultimately self-support on a ticket of leave and even marriage. In 1907 the daily average gaol population in India was 87,306, while the convicts in the Andamans numbered 14,235.

Local self-government, municipal and rural, in the form in which it now prevails in India, is essentially a product of British rule. Village communities and trade gilds in towns existed previously, but these were only rudimentary forms of palities. self-government. The beginnings of municipal govern ment occurred in the Presidency towns. Apart from these the act of 1850 respecting improvements in towns initiated consultative committees. In 1870 Lord Mayo delegated to local committees the control over these improvement funds. But the system at present in force is based upon legislation by Lord Ripon in 1882, providing for the establishment of municipal committees and local boards, whose members should be chosen by election with a preponderance of non-official members. The large towns of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras have municipalities of this character, and there are large numbers of municipal committees and local boards all over the country. There are also Port Trusts in the great maritime cities of Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Karachi and Rangoon. As theland furnishes the main source of Indian revenue, so the assessment of the land tax is the main work of Indian administration. No technical term is more familiar to Anglo-Indians, and none more strange to the LSett;eand English public, than that of land settlement. No rnent. - subject has given rise to more voluminous controversy.

It will be enough in this place to explain the general principles upon which the system is based, and to indicate the chief differences of application in the several provinces. That the state should appropriate to itself a direct share in the produce of the soil is a fundamental maxim of Indian finance that has been recognized throughout the East from time immemorial. The germs of rival systems can be traced in the old military and other service tenures of Assam, and in the poll tax of Burma, &c. The exclusive development of the land system is due to two conditions, - a comparatively high state of agriculture and an organized plan of administration, - both of which are supplied by the primitive village community. During the lapse of untold generations, despite domestic anarchy and foreign conquest, the Hindu village has in many parts preserved its simple customs, written in the imperishable tablets of tradition. The land was not held by private owners but by occupiers under the petty corporation; the revenue was not due from individuals, but from the community represented by its head-man.

The aggregate harvest of the village fields was thrown into a common fund, and before the general distribution the head-man was bound to set aside the share of the state. No other system of 'taxation could be theoretically more just, or in practice less obnoxious to the people. Such is an outline of the land system as it may be found at the present day throughout large portions of India both under British and native rule; and such we may fancy it to have been universally before the Mahommedan conquest. The Mussulmans brought with them the avarice of conquerors, and a stringent system of revenue collection. Under the Mogul empire, as organized by Akbar the Great, the share of the state was fixed at one-third of the gross produce of the soil; and a regular army of tax-collectors was permitted to intervene between the cultivator and the supreme government. The entire vocabulary of the present land system is borrowed from the Mogul administration. The zamindar himself is a creation of the Mahommedans, unknown to the early Hindu system.

He was originally a mere tax-collector, or farmer of the land revenue, who agreed to furnish a lump sum from the tract of country assigned to him. If the Hindu village system may be praised for its justice, the Mogul farming system had at least the merit of efficiency. Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb extracted a larger land revenue than the British do. When the government was first undertaken by the East India Company, no attempt was made to understand the social system upon which the land revenue was based. The zamindar was conspicuous and useful; the village community and the cultivating ryot did not force themselves into notice. The zamindar seemed a solvent person, capable of keeping a contract; and his official position as tax-collector was confused with the proprietary rights of an English landlord.

The superior stability of the village system was overlooked, and in the old provinces of Bengal and Madras the village organization has gradually been suffered to fall into decay. The consistent aim of the British authorities has been to establish private property in the soil, so far as is consistent with the punctual payment of the revenue. The annual government demand, like the succession duty in England, is universally the first liability on the land; when that is satisfied, the registered landholder has powers of sale or mortgage scarcely more restricted than those of a tenant in fee-simple. At the same time the possible hardships, as regards the cultivator, of this absolute right of property vested in the owner have been anticipated by the recognition of occupancy rights or fixity of tenure, under certain conditions. Legal rights are everywhere taking the place of unwritten customs. Land, which was before merely a source of livelihood to the cultivator and of revenue to the state, has now become the subject of commercial speculation. The fixing of the revenue demand has conferred upon the owner a credit which he never before possessed, by allowing him a certain share of the unearned increment. This credit he may use improvidently, but none the less has the land system of India been raised from a lower to a higher stage of civilization.

The means by which the land revenue is assessed is known as settlement, and the assessor is styled a settlement officer. In Bengal the assessment has been accomplished once and for all, but throughout the greater part of the rest of India the process is continually going on. The details vary in the different provinces; but, broadly speaking, a settlement may be described as the ascertainment of the agricultural capacity of the land. Prior to the settlement is the work of survey, which first determines the area of every village and frequently of every field also. Then comes the settlement officer, whose duty it is to estimate the character of the soil, the kind of crop, the opportunities for irrigation, the means of communication and their probable development in the future, and all other circumstances which tend to affect the value of the produce. With these facts before him, he proceeds to assess the government demand upon the land according to certain general principles, which may vary in the several provinces. The final result is a settlement report, which records, as in a Domesday Book, the entire mass of agricultural statistics concerning the district.

Lower Bengal and a few adjoining districts of the United Provinces and of Madras have a permanent settlement, i.e. the land revenue has been fixed in perpetuity. When the Company obtained the diwdni or financial administration of Bengal in 1765, the theory of a settlement, as described above, was unknown. The existing Mahommedan system was adopted in its entirety. Engagements, sometimes yearly, sometimes for a term of years, were entered into with the zamindars to pay a lump sum for the area over which they exercised control.

If the offer of the zamindar was not deemed satisfactory, another contractor was substituted in his place. But no steps were taken, and perhaps no steps were possible, to ascertain in detail the amount which the country could afford to pay. For more than twenty years these temporary engagements continued, and received the sanction of Warren Hastings, the first titular governor-general of India. Hasting's great rival, Francis, was among those who urged the superior advantages of a permanent assessment. At last, in 1789, a more accurate investigation into the agricultural resources of Bengal was commenced, and the settlement based upon this investigation was declared perpetual by Lord Cornwallis in 1793. The zamindars of that time were raised to the status of landlords, with rights of transfer and inheritance, subject always to the payment in perpetuity of a rent-charge. In default of due payment, their lands were liable to be sold to the highest bidder. The aggregate assessment was fixed at sikkd Rs. 26,800,989, equivalent to Co.'s Rs. 28,587,722, or say 24 millions sterling. While the claim of Government against the zamindars was thus fixed for ever, it was intended that the rights of the zamindars over their own tenants should be equally restricted.

But no detailed record of tenant-right was inserted in the settlement papers, and, as a matter of fact, the cultivators lost rather than gained in security of tenure. The same English prejudice which made a landlord of the zamindar could recognize nothing but a tenantat-will in the ryot. By two stringent regulations of 1799 and 1812 the tenant was practically put at the mercy of a rackrenting landlord. If he failed to pay his rent, however excessive, his property was rendered liable to distraint and his person to imprisonment. At the same time the operation of the revenue sale law had introduced a new race of zamindars, who were bound to their tenants by no traditions of hereditary sympathy, but whose sole object was to make a profit out of their newly purchased property. The rack-rented peasantry found no protection in the law courts until 1859, when an act was passed which restricted the landlord's powers of enhancement in certain specified cases. Later the Bengal Tenancy Act of 1885, since amended by an act of 1898, created various classes of privileged tenants, including one class known as " settled ryots," in which the qualifying condition is holding land, not necessarily the same land, for twelve years continuously in one village. Outside the privileged classes of tenants the act gives valuable protection to tenants-at-will.

The progress in the acquisition of occupancy rights by tenants may be judged from the fact that, whereas in 1877 it was stated of the Champaran district that the cultivator had hardly acquired any permanent interest in the soil, the settlement officer in 1900 reported that 87% of the occupied area was in the possession of tenants with occupancy rights or holding at fixed rates. It is believed that the ryots will eventually be able to secure, and to hold against all corners, the strong legal position which the Bengal Tenancy Act has given them. The permanent settlement was confined to the three provinces of Bengal, Behar and Orissa, according to their boundaries at that time. Orissa proper, which was conquered from the Mahrattas in 1803, is subject to a temporary settlement, which expired in 1897 and a re-settlement was made in 1900. The enhancement in the revenue amounted to 52% of the previous demand; but in estates in which the increase was specially large it was decided to introduce the new rates gradually.

The prevailing system throughout the Madras presidency is the ryotwari, which takes the cultivator or peasant proprietor as its rent-paying unit, somewhat as the Bengal system takes the zamindar. This system cannot be called indigenous to the country, more than the zaminsThe ystem. ri g Y? any system. dari of Bengal. If any system deserves that name, it is that of village assessment, which still lingers in the memories of the people in the south. When the British declared themselves heir to the nawab of the Carnatic at the opening of the 19th century, they had no adequate experience of revenue management. The authorities in England favoured the zamindars system already at work in Bengal, which appeared at least calculated to secure punctual payment. The Madras Government was accordingly instructed to enter into permanent engagements with zamindars, and, where no zamindars could be found, to create substitutes out of enterprising contractors. The attempt resulted in failure in every case, except where the zamindars happened to be the representatives of ancient lines of powerful chiefs. Several of such chiefs exist in the extreme south and in the north of the presidency.

Their estates have been guaranteed to them on payment of a peshkash or permanent tribute, and are saved by the custom of primogeniture from the usual fate of subdivision. Throughout the rest of Madras there are no zamindars either in name or fact. The influence of Sir Thomas Munro afterwards led to the adoption of the ryotwari system, which will always be associated with his name. According to this system, an assessment is made with the cultivating proprietor upon the land taken up for cultivation year by year. Neither zamindar nor village officer intervenes between the cultivator and the state, which takes directly upon its own shoulders all a landlord's responsibility. The early ryotwari settlements in Madras were based upon insufficient experience. They were preceded by no survey, but adopted the crude estimates of native officials. Since 1858 a department of revenue survey has been organized, and the old assessments have been everywhere revised.

Nothing can be more complete in theory and more difficult of exposition than a Madras ryotwari settlement. First, the entire area of the district, whether cultivated or uncultivated, and of each field within the district is accurately measured. The next step is to calculate the estimated produce of each field, having regard to every kind of both natural and artificial advantage. Lastly, a rate is fixed upon every field, which may be regarded as roughly equal to one-third of the gross and one-half of the net produce. The elaborate nature of these inquiries and calculations may be inferred from the fact that as many as thirty-five different rates are sometimes struck for a single district, ranging from 6d. to i, 4s. per acre. The rates thus ascertained are fixed for a term of thirty years; but during that period the aggregate rent-roll of a district is liable to be affected by several considerations. New land may be taken up for cultivation, or old land may be abandoned; and occasional remissions are permitted under no less than eighteen specified heads. Such matters are discussed and decided by the collector at the jamabandi or court held every year for definitely ascertaining the amount of revenue to be paid by each ryot for the current season. This annual inquiry has sometimes been mistaken by careless passers-by for an annual reassessment of each ryot's holding. It is not, however, a change in the rates for the land which he already holds, but an inquiry into and record of the changes in his former holding or of any new land which he may wish to take up.

In the early days of British rule no system whatever prevailed throughout the Bombay presidency; and even at the present time there are tracts where something of the old confusion survives. The modern " survey tenure," as it is called, dates from 1838, when it was first introduced into one of the tdlukas of Poona district, and it has since been gradually extended over the greater part of the presidency. As its name implies, the settlement is preceded by survey. Each field is measured, and an assessment placed upon it according to the quality of the soil without any attempt to fix the actual average produce. This assessment holds good, without any possibility of modification, for a term of thirty years. The Famine Commission of 1901 suggested the following measures with a view to improving the position of the Bombay ryot: (1) A tenancy law to protect expropriated ryots, (2) a bankruptcy law, (3) the limitation of the right of transfer, in the interests of ryots who are still in possession of their land.

In the other provinces variations of the zamindari and ryotwari systems are found. In the United Provinces and the Punjab the ascertainment of the actual rents paid is the Pro The other necessary preliminary to the land revenue demand. vinces. In the Central Provinces, where the landlords (Onalguzars) derive their title from the revenue settlements made under British rule, the rents are actually fixed by the settlement officer for varying periods. In addition nearly every province has its own laws regulating the subject of tenancy; the tenancy laws of the United Provinces and of the Central Provinces were revised and amended during the decade 1891-1901. The principles of the land revenue settlement and administration were reviewed by the government of India in a resolution presented to parliament in 1902, in which its policy is summarised as follows: " In the review of their land revenue policy which has now been brought to a close, the Government of India claim to have established the following propositions, which, for convenience' sake, it may be desirable to summarize before concluding this Resolution: (i) That a Permanent Settlement, whether in Bengal or elsewhere, is no protection against the incidence and consequences of famine.

(2) That in areas where the State receives its land revenue from landlords, progressive moderation is the key-note of the policy of Government, and that the standard of 50% of the assets is one which is almost uniformly observed in practice, and is more often departed from on the side of deficiency than of excess. That in the same areas the State has not objected, and does not hesitate, to interfere by legislation to protect the interests of the tenants against oppression at the hands of the landlord. That in areas where the State takes the land revenue from the cultivators, the proposal to fix the assessment at one-fifth of the gross produce would result in the imposition of a greatly increased burden upon the people.

That the policy of long term settlements is gradually being extended, the exceptions being justified by conditions of local development. (6) That a simplification and cheapening of the proceedings connected with new settlements and an avoidance of the harassing invasion of an army of subordinate officials, are a part of the deliberate policy of Government. That the principle of exempting or allowing for improvements is one of general acceptance, but may be capable of further extension. That assessments have ceased to be made upon prospective assets.

That local taxation as a whole, though susceptible of some redistribution, is neither immoderate nor burdensome. (to) That over-assessment is not, as alleged, a general or wide spread source of poverty and indebtedness in India, and that it cannot fairly be regarded as a contributory cause of famine. The Government of India have further laid down liberal principles for future guidance and will be prepared, where the necessity is established, to make further advance in respect of: (11) The progressive and graduated imposition of large enhancements. (12) Greater elasticity in the revenue collection, facilitating its adjustment to the variations of the seasons, and the circumstances of the people.

COMMERCE AND INDUSTRIES

(13) A more general resort to reduction of assessments in cases of local deterioration, where such reduction cannot be claimed under the terms of settlement." In1900-1901the total land revenue realized from territory under British administration in India amounted to X17,325,000, the rate per cultivated acre varying from 3s. id. in Madras to 10d. in the Central Provinces. The general conclusion of the Famine Commission of 1901 was that " except in Bombay, where it is full, the incidence of land revenue is low to moderate in ordinary years, and it should in no way per se be the cause of indebtedness." Prior to the successive reductions of the salt duty in 1903, 1905 and 1907, next to land, salt contributed the largest share to the Indian revenue; and, where salt is locally manu factured, its supervision becomes an important part of salt Admini- administrative duty. Up to within quite recent times stration. the tax levied upon salt varied extremely in different parts of the country, and a strong preventive staff was required to be stationed along a continuous barrier hedge, which almost cut the peninsula into two fiscal sections. The reform of Sir J. Strachey in 1878, by which the higher rates were reduced and the lower rates raised, with a view to their ultimate equalization over the whole country, effectually abolished this old engine of oppression. Communication is now free; and it has been found that prices are absolutely lowered by thus bringing the consumer nearer to his market, even though the rate of taxation be increased. Broadly speaking the salt consumed in India is derived from four sources:

(1) importation by sea, chiefly from England and the Red Sea and Aden;

(2) solar evaporation in shallow tanks along the seaboard;

(3) the salt lakes in Rajputana;

(4) quarrying in the salt hills of the northern Punjab.

The salt lakes in Rajputana have been leased by the government of India from the rulers of the native states in which they lie, and the huge salt deposits of the Salt Range Land mines are worked under government control, as also are the brine works on the Runn of Cutch. At the Kohat mines, and in the salt evaporation works on the sea-coast, with the exception of a few of the Madras factories, the government does not come between the manufacturer and the merchant, except in so far as is necessary in order to levy the duty from the salt as it issues from the factory. The salt administration is in the hands of (1) the Northern India Salt Department, which is directly under the government of India, and controls the salt resources of Rajputana and the Punjab, and (2) the salt revenue authorities of Madras and Bombay.

The consumption of salt per head in India varies from 7 lb in Rajputana to 16.02 lb in Madras. The salt duty, which stood in 1888 at Rs. 22 per maund, was reduced in 1903 to Rs. 2, in 1905 to Rs. 12 and in 1907 to R. 1 per maund, the rate being uniform all over India. In1907-1908the gross yield of the salt duty was 3,339,000, of which more than one-fourth was derived from imported salt.

The heading Opium in the finance accounts represents the duty on the export of the drug. The duty on local consumption, which is included under excise, yielded £981,000 in 1907-1908. The opium revenue proper is derived from two sources: (1) a monopoly of production in the valley of the Ganges, and (2) a transit duty levied on opium grown in the native states of western India, known as Malwa opium. Throughout British territory the growth of the poppy is almost universally prohibited, except in a certain tract of Bengal and the United Provinces, where it is grown with the help of advances from government and under strict supervision. The opium, known as " provision opium," is manufactured in government factories at Patna and Ghazipur, and sold by auction at Calcutta for export to China.

The net opium revenue represents the difference between the sum realized at these sales and the cost of production. Malwa opium is exported from Bombay, the duty having previously been levied on its passage into British territory. In1907-1908the net opium revenue from both sources amounted to £3,576,000. The Chinese government having issued an edict that the growth and consumption of opium in China should be entirely suppressed within ten years, the government ÿf India accordingly agreed in 1908 that the export of opum from India should be reduced year by year, so that the opium revenue would henceforth rapidly decline and might be expected to cease altogether. In 1908 an international commission that met at Shanghai passed resolutions inviting all the states there represented to take measures for the gradual suppression of the manufacture, sale and distribution of opium, except for medicinal purposes.

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