Perhaps it is just as well that the Calcutta Share Market has been closed for the last three days and is likely to remain so for the rest of the week; otherwise the panic that has apparently set in Bombay as the result of the proposed excess profits tax would probably have had its counterpart here. With a little time to think over matters it is probably that the Marwari dealers will realise that, thanks to the fact that share values are nothing like so inflated in Calcutta as they are in Bombay, the jute mills, in spite of the new tax, will, so long as the present era of prosperity continues, be able to pay dividends that will still show a very handsome return on current prices.
This would be the case even if Sir William Meyer proposed to take 50 per cent of the entire profits. But it is clearly indicated that a substantial margin is first of all to be allowed for the “normal expectation” of profits. This allowance must at least be higher than the pre-war figures, and may conceivably be much more. If so, there should be no real ground to anticipate such a heavy slump in share values as has apparently taken place on the other side of India. It is in any case impossible to reconcile with the terms of Sir William Meyer’s announcement Mr. Ironside’s gloomy forecast that “some of the jute mills during the current half year will not be able to pay any dividends at all.”
SPLENDID RECRUITING RETURNS
The Punjab returns show that the provincial recruiting clock will be ahead of time for the first quarter of the current twelve months. We understand that special companies have been sanctioned for the following Ambala classes, viz., Jagirdars, Rors, Kambohs and Hindu Gujars. These are classes who have not hitherto enlisted freely, and the formation of these special companies is a concession on the part of the military authorities with a view to facilitating terr itor ial recruiting.
The recruiting results in the Punjab for August appear again to have been exceptionally good, and there is every probability that the provincial quota will again have been exceeded. As already indicated enrolments in the Ferozepore district will eclipse all previous records for any district in India, over 2,500 men having been obtained from this district in August, while the enlistments in the first week of September are reported to be equally good. Amongst other districts which in August have beaten all their previous records are Jullundur, Sialkote, Lyallpur, Attock and Mianwali. Gurgaon and Gujrat have furnished more than 1,000 men each, while Jullundur’s total is also expected to exceed this total.
SOILED CURRENCY NOTES
The Controller of Currency has instituted measures in certain provinces for the free exchange of soiled notes for clean notes at all treasuries, and for withdrawal from issue of soiled notes. The Accountants-General have been asked to ar range wi th pos t offices that they should keep only clean notes and send to the treasuries dirty notes received by them from the public. The Controller of Currency has also asked banks to co-operate by taking similar action with such notes as are tendered to them and to present these soiled and dilapidated notes to the cur rency of f icers in exchange for clean ones.
The Railway Board has also ordered that “No note should be treated as mutilated merely because it is cut or soiled; they should only be so treated when there is reasonable doubt of the genuineness of a note or when the number cannot be absolutely identified from one number or other in the case of whole notes and from both numbers in the case of cut-notes.”
GLOOMY REPORTS OF ENEMY’S FOOD SITUATION
German Majority Socialists and Trade Unionists have memorialised Count Hertling declaring that the conditions of life of large masses of the population are extremely critical owing to food shortage by which the mortality of children and aged persons has increased and the health of works has been grievously affected. They say the situation is bound to become fatal unless the Government abandon the policy of favouring producers. It is thought in London that the above is probably part of a new German peace offensive with the object of arousing sympathy abroad. It is noteworthy in this connection that the gloomiest accounts of the food situation in Austria continue to be received via Germany.