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Indian Famine—Provision For Orphans

Volume 91: debated on Friday 15 March 1901

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I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that, owing to the mortality in the Bombay Presidency from famine and disease, numbers of orphans have been left entirely dependent upon charity; and whether he will state what has been done to provide for these children, and what public funds have been allotted to the support of public and private orphanages.

Unhappily, orphans are left after every serious Indian famine. After the 1897 famine about six lakhs of rupees were set apart for the maintenance of orphans. Volumes I. and II. of the Charitable Relief Fund Report describe at more length what was done. Briefly, it may be said that a yearly sum was provided from Government or charitable funds for the support of every really destitute orphan, whether the child was in the keeping of co-religionists or of mission orphanages. I have no doubt similar arrangements will be made by the Government this year. But I have not received and have not asked for a special report upon the subject.