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Question

Volume 203: debated on Monday 11 July 1870

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said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether he is aware that the Khedive of Egypt, on the suggestion of the Silk Supply Association, has determined to promote the production of Silk in Egypt on an extensive scale, and has appointed Mr. Ankatel to superintend an establishment for that purpose; and what steps have been taken by the Government of India to encourage and increase the production of Silk, thereby-reviving an ancient industry over a large portion of India where the mulberry tree is indigenous, and affording employment for the people?

In reply, Sir, to the Question of my hon. Friend, I have to say that, on the formation of the Silk Supply Association in the spring of last year, the Secretary of State in Council forwarded the proceedings of the association and the correspondence with it to the Governor General and the Governors of Madras and Bombay. The Government of India replied, begging the Secretary of State—

"To inform the association that they fully appreciated the importance of the objects for which it had been established, and that they should al ways be happy to render all the aid in their power to promote the success of those objects."
They then circulated a copy of the despatch from the Secretary of State and its enclosures to the several local Governments, and published the whole correspondence with the association in the official Gazette. The substance of this reply was sent to the association on the 14th of June. Neither the Madras Government nor that of Bombay has replied directly to the Duke of Argyll's despatch; but they appear to have taken steps to make known the objects of the association. I find various notices of silk cultivation in papers recently received from India. For example, in the proceedings of the Government of India for October, 1869, it appears that, on the recommendation of the First Assistant to the Resident at Hyderabad, the Governor General in Council sanctioned an outlay of £500 from the provincial revenues of Berar for an experiment in the cultivation of mulberry trees for the propagation of the silkworm, and something in the same direction is being done in Khandeish. I have every reason to believe that the authorities, both in this country and in India, are very anxious to promote the growth of the mulberry, and that, in common with all other valuable Indian products, silk will obtain more and more attention from the Government.