asked the Secretary of State for India what action, if any, is being taken by his Department or the Government of India to hasten orders for machinery, materials, etc. required for railway and transport service in India of a nature which at present cannot be manufactured in India now that the value of the rupee has more or less stabilised; and whether there are considerable arrears of orders usually placed in this country, due to unstable currency values, during the past two years?
It is the case that, owing to unfavourable financial conditions of which exchange is only one factor, it has been found necessary in recent years to restrict railway expenditure to a lower amount than might otherwise have been deemed desirable, but orders have been, and are being, placed for machinery, etc. up to the limits of the funds allotted for expenditure on the services concerned.
Can the right hon. Gentleman do anything to encourage orders from India in order to give work to men who are unemployed in this country?
I am very anxious to do everything in my power to develop the resources of India. If some arrangement of mutual advantage to both countries can be devised I shall he only too delighted to do everything in my power to facilitate it.
Will the right hon. Gentleman receive a deputation of workers?
I am always at my hon. and gallant Friend's disposal.
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is in a position to make any statement as to the policy of the Government or of the Government of India which will give effect to some of the proposals contained in the Report of the Committee set up to inquire into the position of Indian railways; whether any limit of time has been put to the period of consideration by the Government of India in view of the urgency of some of the recommendations?
I am not yet in a position to make a statement as to the policy arising out of the recommendations of the Indian Railway Committee. I have asked the Government of India for their general views on the Report, and it will be necessary to take the opinion of the Indian Legislature. I do not think it would be reasonable to impose any definite time limit for consideration but I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that I have been, and am now, in constant telegraphic communication with the Government of India on the more urgent matters reported on by the Committee with a view to action as soon as possible.