Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/312

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

ment. The remainder is sold, monthly by auction to merchants, who export it; and on this exportation a duty is levied, from which the imperial revenue from this source mainly accrues. Opium produced in the native states of India pays the export duties when it passes into British territory. The Government prescribes rules for the cultivation of the poppy, and the manufacture, possession, transport, import (from native states) or export, and sale of opium; and any contravention of such rules is subject to stringent penalties. The product of the poppy illegally cultivated and opium made the subject of an offense against the law are liable to confiscation, together with the vessels and packages in which it is found and the animals and conveyances used in transporting it. Notwithstanding all these precautions, the price of opium consumed in the country—about one eleventh part of the whole—is more or less influenced by illicit supplies; so that the Government monopoly of this article is fully effective only in respect to the export trade. But even under such conditions, opium is the most valuable of all the native exports of India; and the annual value of the poppy crop, including the poppy seeds and the poppy oil produced from them (neither of which yield opium), or the annual money return, apart from the Government revenue, that the people of India get out of the crop, is estimated at about $70,000,000.

The fourth source in order of importance of the Indian revenue is from the so-called excise, which embraces licenses and distillery fees, licenses for the sale of liquors and drugs, and rent of "Toddy" trees—364,624 Hx. ($1,722,120) in 1894; duty on opium consumed in India—732,200 Rx. ($3,601,000) in 1894; fines, confiscations, and miscellaneous; total excise revenue for 1894, 5,388,573 Rx. ($26,942,805). The incidence of this form of taxation falls mainly upon Europeans and "Eurasians" (a modern name given to persons of mixed European and Indian blood). In this connection, the Imperial Secretary for India, in his budget speech (1894), stated that, "whereas in England there was a licensed shop to sell intoxicating liquors to every 106 of the population, in India there was only one for selling liquor and opium to every 3,148 of the population."

Fifth. The stamp system of taxation in India yielded a revenue in 1894 of 4,509,355 Rx., or $22,546,665. Although somewhat heavy in the aggregate, the system is not unpopular, for the reason that it is practically unknown to the mass of the people; the largest items of collection being returned, in 1894, under the heads of "court fee stamps" ($15,317,315) and "commercial and other stamps" ($5,841,995).

Sixth. "Provincial rates." Under this title are included a variety of levies, differing in name, character, and rate in differ-