Lahore, Sunday, February 27, 1921

Financial Control

THE greater part of Sir John Maynard’s statement in introducing the provincial Budget for 1921-22 was naturally devoted to explaining the financial powers and responsibility of the local legislature under the Government of India Act. Apart from the provision for the Administration of transferred subjects by ministers selected from among the elected members of the Legislative Council and responsible to the Council, there is no part of the Act which is officially claimed to be more important or more real than that which relates to the power of financial control now vested in the legislature, and it was only to be expected that in introducing the first budget under the new Constitution, the spokesman of the local Government should have dwelt at some length upon both the extent as well as the limitations of this power. Regarding both these points, we shall presently have something to say. Sir John Maynard’s statement on this occasion had much less to do with figures than speeches introducing financial statements usually have, but so far as it had to do with them, it was undoubtedly interesting. Turning to the exposition itself, the only fault we are disposed to find with it is one which is perfectly natural in an official member of the Government, a tendency to magnify what is given to the Council and to minimise what is withheld. Thus, after referring to the very comprehensive charges, proposals in respect of which need not under the Act be submitted for approval to the legislature, Sir John says:- “Leaving these limited exceptions, this Council has full authority to omit or reduce any item in the budgeted expenditure for the coming year. This is equally applicable to reserved and to transferred subjects, to Land Revenue and Police and Irrigation, and to Education and Public Works.” 

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