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India (Finances)

Volume 400: debated on Tuesday 13 June 1944

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer approximately what amount of money was owing to this country by the Government of India previous to the outbreak of war; and what amount is now owing by this country to India.

The sterling public debt of India was approximately £350 millions at the end of March, 1939, and approximately £26 millions at the end of May, 1944. The sterling assets of the Reserve Bank of India, the bulk of which are held as reserve against the Indian note issue, have increased from about £55½millions on 31st March, 1939, to about £745 millions at the end of May, 1944, largely as the result of payments in sterling to the Reserve Bank of India against rupee payments in India on account of expenditure incurred by the Government of India on behalf of H.M. Government. There was also£7½millions held in the Silver Redemption Reserve on both dates.

Is there any kind of Lend-Lease arrangement with India; and is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the present financial agreements with India are satisfactory and have been of assistance during the war?

Will the Chancellor give an assurance that there will be no attempt to prejudice the Indian position in regard to credit balances by any attempt to manipulate the balances such as is suggested in the City columns of some newspapers, and, presumably, as might be inferred from the Question?

I cannot possibly deal with these matters by way of question and answer.