It is clear that the great majority of the members of the Karachi Municipality – and the same might be said of most Indian municipal bodies – have a strong objection to imposing extra taxation even for the most necessary works. Karachi is more lightly taxed even than Calcutta and Bombay, and, according to Mr. Mehta, one of the few municipal commissioners who are in favour of raising the rates, at least half a crore of rupees is urgently required to bring about the improvements which have become essential owing to the rapid growth and prosperity of the city; yet the municipal body cannot bring itself to take the plunge. At a recent meeting of the Finance Committee, for example, a report recommending an increase was adopted by the casting vote of the chairman, after some of the members had left the meeting. Of the five left one did not vote, and of the four remaining two voted against the report. These interesting facts were related at a subsequent meeting of the Municipality, and at this meeting a very similar fiasco took place, members debating the subject until 7.30, when an adjournment was moved. The motion was lost, but immediately afterwards, we are told, those who had voted in favour of it left the meeting, which had to be adjourned for want of a quorum. And yet half a crore seems a very small sum to make a fuss over nowadays.
DRUNKENNESS AND PROHIBITION
RANGOON, OCT 18
The figures relating to convictions for drunkenness and the number of cases in which drink led to crime bear probably little relation to the facts which are, that drunkenness is very prevalent among the younger generation, and is a fertile sower of crime. The Lieutenant-Governor is aware that the sentiment of the educated classes of the people is strongly against indulgence in alcoholic liquor, but it is difficult to trace by connection between that sentiment and the fact that there is no indication of any decrease in the demand for liquor. The fact is that the sentiment of the mass of people is not the sentiment of the educated classes, and an indication of this may be found in the reluctance of the village headman to assist the excise staff, nor is this surprising.
LONDON, OCT 18
In connection with the Church Congress at Leicester, which closed yesterday, a Christian reunion meeting addressed by Anglicans and Nonconformists, was held last evening at which 3,000 were present. The Bishop of Peterborough, presiding, acknowledged the helpfulness of Nonconformists to the Congress and prayed that the day might soon come when they would be one in spirit. The Christians of this country had wholly changed recently. Instead of the will to differ there was now the will to agree. The Rev. Carnegie Simpson offered the Congress the greetings of Presbyterians, and declared that if some practical step towards reunion were not taken within a reasonable time a reaction might arise in Nonconformist churches.
EUROPEAN MUTINY VETERANS
SIMLA, OCT 18
With the approval of the Secretary of State for India the Government of India have decided that the present limit of Rs 60 a month in respect of pensions granted to European mutiny veterans shall be raised to Rs 90 a month in cases where the increase is considered to be justified. The maximum pension of Rs 90 a month will not be granted as a matter of course, but the amount of the increase will be decided by the Government of India on the merits of each case submitted to them. Applications should be submitted in the first instance to the Local Government or administration concerned, who will submit them to the Government of India with their recommendations.
AUTUMN POLITICAL CAMPAIGN
The return of Mr. Lloyd George from Paris, tonight, marks the opening of the autumn political campaign. The Premier will make an important speech, tomorrow, at the Congress of the International Brotherhood and will proceed later to Wales, where he is expected to outline the Government agricultural programme. Among other prominent politicians, Mr. Asquith has consented to address meetings at Aberystwyth and Birmingham, dealing with the Government’s fiscal policy. The most interesting political change foreshadowed is that Mr. Henderson will succeed Mr. Adamson as leader of the Labour Opposition in Parliament. Mr. Henderson in an interview with a Daily Mail representative attributed the reaction against the Government to the general disappointment that more had not been attempted since the general election.