§ MR. O'DONNELL
asked the Secretary of State for India, Whether his attention has been called to the Report of Mr. Lyall, Financial Commissioner, quoted by the Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab, stating that "there is a growing liking among the natives for rum," and complaining of the insufficiency of the supply; whether the Lieutenant Governor approves of Mr. Lyall's proposal to require licensees to keep a full supply of rum, and to sell it at reasonable prices; and, whether the Home Government has approved of this action of the Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab, and whether it is in keeping with general instructions of the Indian authorities?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
Sir, in the Report on Excise Administration in the Punjab in 1880–1, Mr. Lyall says—There is a growing liking among Natives for rum, now that its price is not very different from that of Native liquor, and if the trade were allowed to follow its natural course the consumption would expand rapidly, somewhat to the detriment of the revenue derived from country spirits.His proposal—To require all rum contractors to keep a full supply of rum and to sell it at reasonable prices,742 is simply intended to check the practice of those interested in the sale of country spirits—Who frequently buy up the rum licence, not with the view of making a profit by selling rum, but of limiting or preventing its sale,and who, having thus acquired a practical monopoly, "prefer to sell country liquor at a high price, because it gives them the larger profit." This being the case, the Lieutenant Governor is of opinion that the growing taste for rum, "which is, at least, as wholesome as country spirits," should not be discouraged, and approves Mr. Lyall's proposal. It has not been considered necessary to comment in any way on the order of the Lieutenant Governor on a detail entirely connected with local administration.