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the statistics, accounts, and practical working, with free opportunities provided to all who have specific complaints to make before the Board. Some boards maintain an overgrown supervising agency, drawn from the same class as the tax-collecting clerks. They forget the maxim, "the greater the supervision, the greater the collusion." They are gradually abolishing octroi in the Bombay Province. It would be a good thing if it could be abolished altogether. In spite of an elaborate and carefully worked out system of supervision, checks by means of standards of consumption, refunds, and exemptions, it probably takes more from the pockets of the people than actually goes into the coffers of the municipalities. Its chief merit as an indirect tax paid on commodities, and not directly levied from the citizens, is neutralized by many delays and petty malpractices, and it is a fruitful source of harassment to the poor and uneducated classes who enter towns with even a small amount of belongings-the very classes who require most protection. The question of abolition, however, is not yet within the region of practical politics in Upper India, and it is all the more necessary for civic patriotism to be directed towards insuring its proper administration.

Apart from octroi the most important sources of municipal taxation are a tax on houses and lands, which is sometimes levied in addition to octroi, but which occupies the chief place where octroi does not enter into the scheme; a waterrate in large towns with waterworks; and a conservancyrate, which is usually for public conservancy only. The system of private conservancy is still peculiar in most of the smaller towns. The mechanical appliances for sanitary conservancy have scarcely taken root even in the Presidency towns; in the Mofassil they do not exist. A caste of hereditary scavengers, who look upon the goodwill of their business as a marketable and heritable asset, claim the monopoly of service in private houses. The payments to them are not systematic, but are based on a set of elastic customary rights. The consequence is that private con

THIRD SERIES. VOL. XXI.

Q

servancy is the weakest feature in town life. Any radical reform evokes opposition, not only from the scavenging class with vested interests, but even from the citizens them selves, who are apt to forget the inefficiency of the present system in concentrating their attention upon its cheapness. Taxes of minor importance are: taxes on animals and vehicles; taxes on professions and trades; tolls on roads and ferries; and a lighting-rate, though the cost of lighting the town is usually defrayed from the general income of the municipal fund.

The incidence per head of the population of the amounts raised or (what is equivalent to it) spent by the municipalities varies greatly in the different Provinces, and the different kinds of municipalities. The Presidency towns are, of course, more expensive than the Mofassil towns, and among them Bombay leads the way as easily first. From rates and taxes Bombay raises 12s. 7d. per head, and from all sources, including loans, 14s. 7d. per head. The figures for Calcutta are 8s. 11d. and 10s. 8d. respectively; and those for Madras only 2s. 11d. and 4s. 3d. respectively. Rangoon is almost as expensive as Bombay, the incidence of taxation being 8s. 8d. per head, and of all municipal revenue 14s. 6d. per head. But Rangoon, as a municipal town, has a shorter career behind it than the Presidency towns, and its borrowings must necessarily be on a liberal scale to keep pace with the phenomenal rate at which the town is growing-in size, population, and commercial importance. These figures are comparable to the incidence of the rates levied in England for the use of the Poor Law authorities, which average to about 6s. or 7s. per head of population. The incidence of municipal expenditure in English boroughs furnishes no fair basis of comparison; first, because the scales of people's incomes are so different in England and India, and secondly, because the English municipalities undertake, on the whole, more duties, and are more in touch with popular sentiment than are the Indian municipalities. The incidence of municipal taxation

per head of population in the borough of St. Albans, in which I reside, is about 15s.

The figures of the Mofassil municipalities are, as might be expected, lower than those of the Presidency towns. The Province of Madras is again the cheapest, with an incidence of Is. 6d. for rates and taxes, and 2s. 5d. for total income in district municipalities. Burma is the most expensive, with 2s. 3d. and 5s. 1d. respectively. The variation in the figures for the district municipalities is small, and the incidence per head may ordinarily be taken to be about 2s. for rates and taxes, and about 3s. for total income.

An analysis of the main heads under which the expenditure falls may be of some value. From the figures in the statistical abstract already quoted I have prepared the following table showing the percentages:

Interest, debt (repayment), sinking fund,

Percentage to total expenditure.

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It will be noticed that the debt charges absorb more than half the total amount spent by the municipalities, and exceed by a long way any other single item. Under the head of public health and convenience, which accounts for about 36 per cent. of the annual expenditure, are included a large number of items. Not only is the annual expenditure on water-supply and drainage debited to this account, but also the capital outlay under these heads. This amounts to a very considerable item, and when the public works expenditure is added to it (ie. the outlay on roads, bridges, public works establishments, and stores) the amount left for conservancy is not very large, and is

certainly quite inadequate in most cases for the needs of the overcrowded plague spots which are called Indian towns. Markets and slaughter-houses are also debited to this head, but the outlay is small, and is ordinarily more than counterbalanced by the tolls and dues levied in them. The municipal expenditure on hospitals, dispensaries, and vaccination is not large, and is a mere supplement to the funds contributed from private, district board, or Govern

ment sources.

The expenditure on services of public safety is insignificant, being only 4 per cent. of the whole. Very few of the municipal boards maintain fire brigades. Systems of fire insurance are unknown in the Mofassil, as indeed might be expected, considering that the majority of the proletariat live in mud huts with thatched roofs, and a man's personalty in many cases amounts scarcely to anything more than what he might carry as personal luggage on a railway journey. The police charges, which are included in the statistics, are no longer paid by municipalities in the United Provinces, where the stability of municipal finance under the stress of plague expenditure was threatened, and relief from the police charges was one of the liberal concessions made from provincial funds by the Government of Sir James La Touche. In the matter of lighting there is little satisfactory result in the Indian towns. Kerosene oil, often of the poorest description, is the illuminant used. In the Civil stations a respectable attempt is made to light the roads, but even there the magnificent distances which separate one house from another preclude the struggling street lamp's misty light from performing any other office. than that of rendering the darkness more visible. The magnificent distances also render any thorough schemes of street paving or well-constructed drainage so expensive as to be prohibitive. The best roads consist of a strip of metal 9 or 12 feet wide, with broad alleys on either side of a depth of 2 or 3 inches of dust or mud, according to the moods of Jupiter Pluvius.

The charges of general administration and collection of taxes amount to nearly 7 per cent. of the expenditure. This is the average. In many municipalities the proportion is higher. Considering that the majority of the servants paid out of the salary bill are entertained primarily for purposes of tax collection the proportion is high, and might with advantage be scrutinized and reduced wherever possible. The salary bill in many of the English municipalities bears a much smaller proportion to the total expenditure. In the borough of St. Albans it is about 5 per cent. It is an invidious task, especially where the servants happen to be nominees or protégés of the members, to cut down salaries or reduce establishments, and Indian civic dignitaries are as generous in voting money-other people's-as any in Christendom. What they ought to remember is that public money is not other people's money, but their own. Indeed, the standard of care and economy to be expected in regard to public money ought to be very much higher than that which people are accustomed to exercise in their own private affairs. If a man mismanages his own affairs he only hurts himself, and the ordinary promptings of human nature should in most cases deter him from persistently erring in that direction. But when he fails to exercise the utmost diligence in his power in the administration of public funds committed to his care as a sacred trust, he is a traitor to the interests of hundreds of poor taxpayers who have bestowed upon him the honour of being their representative because they trusted him. Such betrayal, if there were an active civic conscience, would be considered deserving of far more reprobation than any individual lapses in private life.

Economy, however, is not to be confounded with niggardliness. Economy makes for efficiency, while niggardliness is only a form of mismanagement. Now there are objects on which municipal boards might spend far more funds than they actually do. Such an object is education. Under this head the total sum spent by the municipalities

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