Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/506

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IG2 THE BRITISH EMPIRE: — INDIA AND DEPENDENCIES

Vear ended Numbei'of Number of Revenue Revenue Nuinliei of March .SI Miles of Wire Miles of Line Receipts Charges raid Messages Rx. Rx. 1893 126,251 41,030 937,743 875,073 3,98], 411 1894 134,255 42,707 959,096 902,133 4,184,790 1895 138,256 44,648 978,697 807,948 4,391,226 1896 142,926 46.375 1,085,940 897,853 4,736,734 1897 148,136 48,584 1,071,524 946,759 5,077,584

There were 1,563 telegraph offices in India on March 31, 1897.

Money and Credit. The total value of the silver and copper coined in British India from 1863- 64 to 1897-98 inclusive has been Rx. 228,637,721 ; the heaviest coinage in any one year being Rx. 16,328,917, during 1877-78. The standard of the currency since 1835 has been silver. Gold is coined in small quantities, but it is not current as money, and is not legal tender. In the five financial years from 1893-94 to 1897-98, the value (in tens of rupees) of the money coined at the two Indian mints (Calcutta and Bombay) was as follows : —

Year ended March 31 Gold Silver Copper Total 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 Rx. Rx. 4,812,500 94,594 1,045,158 ' 1,965,582 1 5,815,774 1 Rx. 129,508 120,095 82,062 176,901 187,638 Rx. 4,942,008 214,689 1,127,220 2,142,483 6,003,412

1 Includes Rx. 752,445 Rx. 1,392.230 and Rx. 4,830,083 on account of the manufacture of British dollars in the Bombay Mint in pursuance of the terms of an agreement niixde on the 14th December, 1894, between the Secretary of State for India and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and the Chartered Bank of India, Australia, and China. The Dollars were struck for use in Ilong Kong and the Straits Settlements.

In 1892-93, the exchange value of silver fell considerably below Is. Sd. ; and in view of the increasing embarrassment of the finances, and the in- convenience and impediments to trade, caused by the fluctuations in the gold value of silver, a Committee, under the presidency of the Lord Chancellor, was appointed to consider what remedial measures should be adopted. In accordance with the recommendation of this Committee a Bill providing for the closing of the Indian Mints to the unrestricted coinage of silver for the public was introduced in the Legislative Council of the Governor General on June 26, 1893, and passed into law on the same day, as Act VIII. of 1893. Notifications were issued simultaneously providing (1) for the receipt of gold coin and gold bullion at the Mints in exchnngo for rupees at a ratio of Is. id. per rupee ; (2) for the receipt of sovereigns and half-sovereigns of current weight at treasuries in payment of