OCCASIONAL NOTE

The general experience, gained during the war, of official control of trade has tended to destroy any faith that may have existed in the nationalisation of industries. The report on the Ministry of Shipping by the Select Committee on Expenditure tends still in the same direction. The Ministry, it is true, did very efficient work. To meet war conditions official control was indispensable, and for any waste of expenditure or other mistakes there is sufficient excuse in the emergencies that had to be met. What is inevitable in war time, however, may be quite impracticable in the normal circumstances of peace, and this is the case with shipping as with other branches of industry. The committee finds that the Ministry of Shipping has done wisely by selling its national shipyards, the loss on which has been very heavy; and evidently the committee recognises the wisdom of the policy adopted by the Controller of restoring shipping as rapidly as possible to normal commercial conditions. It may be argued that war conditions afforded no fair test of official management, but, on the other hand, those conditions invested the controllers with exceptional powers. The fact remains that the mainspring of industry is found in private enterprise, and this has been demonstrated more clearly than ever.

KESHAB CHANDRA SEN

A public meeting organised by the Hon. Mr. Justice Das and others to commemorate the 36th anniversary of the death of Keshab Chandra Sen, the well-known Bengali reformer, was held last evening in the Patna College Hall and was very largely attended. Mr. Justice Das, Mr. Hasan Imam and others addressed the assembly, dwelling on the various social and religious reforms introduced by Keshab Chandra Sen and the debt which Indians owed to him. His Honour Sir Edward Gait who presided brought the proceedings to a close with the speech. Keshab Chandra Sen was admittedly one of the greatest religious and social reformers of recent times, and his name was far better known in England, and I might say throughout the civilised world, than that of any of his Indian contemporaries.

SPECULATING IN GRAIN CROPS

According to a Mysore Government communiqué, reports received by the Government show that attempts are being made to buy up the newly harvested crops with a view to export them as soon as the embargo on the export is removed, that prices have been rising everywhere, and that the markets are not adequately supplied. The Government will maintain control over the crop recently harvested and have no intention at present of withdrawing the restrictions on the export of paddy, rice, ragi and gola. Until normal conditions are restored not only will exports by rail be controlled by priority certificate, but the Frontier Police staffs will be continued wherever necessary. It is now reported that stocks are being held back from the market, and that prices are being forced up

LAND GRANTS FOR WAR SERVICES

LAHORE, JAN10

An area of 1,71,500 acres has been reserved in the Lower Bari Doab Colony for distribution to Indian officers, noncommissioned officers and soldiers who have rendered distinguished service in the great war. The distribution is being made under orders of the Commanderin-Chief through the agency of the Indian Soldiers’ Board on the recommendation of officers commanding the units, who some months ago were informed of a number of reward grants allocated to their units and requested to submit lists of names as soon as possible. These lists when received are forwarded to the colonisation officer for scrutiny with a view to the substitution of cash annuities for land grants in cases where the nominees do not conform to the conditions for which the Punjab Government stipulated in reserving the land.

ALTERNATIVE PENSIONS FOR OFFICERS WIDOWS

DELHI, JAN 10

A widow who can show that she was married to the officer before the commencement of the war or of his military service, whichever be later, and that the pension granted her together with children’s allowances, if any, amounts to less than two-thirds of the alternative retired pay which would have been granted to her husband had he lived and been incapable of earning anything, may be granted a pension not exceeding two-thirds of the alternative retired pay. Alternative pension depends on the officer’s pre war earnings. Husband’s earnings pound 300 a year or less. In this case the officer’s alternative retired pay, if he is unable to earn, is his full pre-war earnings, and the widow’s pension is therefore two-thirds of those earnings.