§ MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether his attention has been drawn to the announcement that it is in contemplation to establish 52 out-stills for the manufacture of spirits in the Hugli District of Bengal; whether one such out-still was opened at Bhastarah, on the 1st of April last, with the effect of disturbing the peace of the village; and, whether he will communicate with the Government of India, with a view to suppress these provocations to intemperance?
§ THE UNDER SECTERARY OF STATE (Sir JOHN GORST) (Chatham)
The statements implied in this Question would come under the notice of the Government of India in the ordinary course. The Secretary of State has no information about them, and he does not think it necessary to send a despatch on the subject. This Question, and others recently put by the hon. Member, seem to suggest that our policy in India is to encourage intemperance for the sake of revenue. I am informed that the precise contrary is the fact. The consumption of spirits is checked by a repressively high duty; and since 1872, in consequence of improvements in the Abkari Administration, the number of liquor shops has steadily and appreciably decreased, notwithstanding the increase of the population during that period.