§ 19. Mr. Sloan
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he will make a further statement respecting the food situation in India; whether the prices of primary foods are still 10 and more times their pre-war level; whether rice is in substantially greater supply; and what further steps have been taken to meet the shortage of foodstuffs?
§ Mr. Amery
The latest reports from India are that the wheat just reaped is a bumper crop, and the other spring crops are good. The crop is moving slowly to the market and prices are still high. The rice situation still causes anxiety and must continue to do so so long as the Burma crop is lost to us. The chief concern at present is for Bengal and especially Calcutta, where the price of rice is shown as more than eight times pre-war, though this is not true of India generally. The Government of India have taken into their own charge the adjustment of supplies between surplus and deficiency areas throughout the country, divided into six regions, each under a Central Government Commissioner, and each comprising several "food provinces."