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Unearned Land Increments In India

Volume 180: debated on Wednesday 14 August 1907

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To ask the Secretary of State for India whether such increases in assessment as are from time to time, and in exceptional localities, made in India, in due proportion with increases in land values, not resulting from the action of the landholders, provide revenue for public purposes by intercepting the unearned increments; and whether, if that be the case, he will resist proposals for relinquishing the power to raise assessments, the retention of which is so greatly to the interest of the poorer masses of the Indian peoples. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Morley.) The revenue derived from the land assessment is unquestionably a most important item in Indian finance, and any proposals for depriving the Government of its prescriptive right to revise from time to time the assessments in temporarily settled tracts would need to be supported by very strong considerations. No such proposals are before me. The question of securing equitable and moderate assessments, especially when, as is often the case, the revenue payers are in humble circumstances, stands on a different footing.