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Government Printing

Volume 148: debated on Tuesday 8 November 1921

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11.

asked the Secretary of State for India how much money is each year spent by the Government of India and by the Provincial Governments upon printing; whether, if the habit of having each and every memorandum, minute, order, telegram, or other document printed was reduced, not only would a considerable financial saving be effected, but the secrecy and confidential character of official documents might be proportionately respected: whether a committee has been inquiring into the organisation and system of Government Departments in India; and whether this matter may be specially considered?

The recent Government of India Secretariat Procedure Committee, while recognising that Indian conditions necessitate official printing on a larger scale than in England, made certain recommendations for economy, which the Government of India have endorsed. Special steps are taken to secure secrecy for confidential documents. The total expenditure on Government presses in India in the current estimates is roughly 75 lakhs, this figure including cost of staff, material, and stores. I would point out that the estimates of the Government of India and the several Provinces are now subjected to close scrutiny by the respective legislatures.

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that no documents printed in India can be regarded as absolutely secret and that the only way in which documents can be kept secret is by having them type written?