BY M. F. GAUNTLETT, I.C.S., Accountant-General of Burma.
T is impossible to deal with the finances of Burma without a brief reference to the relationship between that province and the Government of India in financial matters.
The Government of India, under the control of the Secretary of State in Council, is
the supreme authority in Burma. All revenue collected in Burma belongs primarily to the Government of India and the Secretary of State ; all the expenditure incurred in Burma is spent on their behalf. In this respect Burma occupies the same position to the Government of India as do all the other
* Throughout this article, unless the contrary appears from the context, all sums of money are given in thaimnis of rupees.
provinces. But for decades it has been recognised that the immediate supervision of the collection of revenue and of the incurring of all the expenditure throughout India is a task beyond the powers of any central Government. In each province, therefore, the collection of the revenue is entrusted to the Local Government. Expenditure upon
the Army, the Mint, Telegraphs, and Railways, has always remained directly under the control of the Government of India, and at present the expenditure by the Post Office also is under the Supreme Government. But with regard to all other expenditure incurred in each province the Local Government has been granted large powers which it may exercise in accordance with rules which have been framed by the Government of India
and the Secretary of State. Thus the Local Government collects the revenue in Burma and has to hand on a portion of it to the Government of India. What it is allowed to keep it may spend according to the rules which have been drawn up by the Government of India and the Secretary of State. The duty of seeing that the Government of India obtains from the province all the revenue to which it is entitled and that the Local Government complies in its expenditure with the rules of the Supreme Government is vested in the Accountant-General, who is appointed by the Government of India.
From time to time, settlements have been drawn up by the Government of India, according to which the financial relationship between it and the Provincial Government has been regulated during the course of the settlement. For some time past these settlements have been drawn up for five years, but the one now in existence in Burma, which came into force on April I, 1907, is quasi permanent, i.e., it will not be altered until it is shown that alteration is essential. A detailed examination of the various settlements is unnecessary, but it is desirable to give a brief description of the present one.
The revenue and expenditure are recorded in the accounts under certain main heads. The whole of the revenue under certain heads goes to the Government of India, and under certain other heads to the Local Government, while the remaining are divided in various proportions between the two Governments.
The heads of revenue which are wholly imperial in Burma are opium, salt, customs, railways, post office, telegraphs, tributes, military works, and irrigation major works. The divided heads of revenue are land revenue, stamps, excise, assessed taxes, and forests. The wholly provincial heads of revenue are all comparatively unimportant, among them being registration, irrigation
ACCOUNTANT GENERALaS OFFICE, RANGOON.ACCOUNTANT GENERALa S OFFICE, RANGOON.