25 MARCH 1899, Page 1

The Indian Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir James West- land,

closes his term of office amidst a blaze of glory. He produced his Budget on March 20th, and showed that while- there was a deficit for 1897.98 amounting to Rx. 5,630;000. there was in 1898.99 a surplus of Rx. 4,760,000, and there will be, it is calculated, another in 1899.1900 of . Rx. 3,930,000. Theirestalt is Ana ta an improvement_i eichapi; tile average having been is. 4d. the rupee, and to an increase in almost

every branch of the Revenue. There is to be no decrease of taxation, as the Indian Government, like every other great financial concern, wishes to form a reserve fund, and as large operations may still be necessary in connection with currency reform. We note with sadness that the military expenditure has increased since 1882-83 by Rx. 7,456,000, and do not follow Sir James Westland when he says the increase in England has been still greater. What has that to do with the matter ? Railway extension still goes on, 1,451 miles of new line having been opened during the year, and 1,570 further miles carried on, so that they will this year be finished. The total railway mileage in India will then be 24,220 miles. That is excellent progress, but Indian lines ought to pay much better than they do. No hint is given as to the line which currency reform will take,' the idea being to await the Report of the Commission now inquiring into the subject, and also to leave the hands of the new Chancellor, Mr. Dawkins, quite free.