assessors. The present policy of the Government is to lessen the a thathameda a and to increase land revenue as each district is brought under settlement. Government servants, the old and infirm, and religious mendicants are exempt from this tax.
The petroleum tax is levied on the oil extracted from the oil-fields, which spread over large areas in the districts of Magwe, Myingyan, and Pakokku, the three chief centres being Yenangyaung, Singu, and Yenangyat respectively. There are also less lucrative oil-fields in Arakan. Royalty is paid at the rate of 8 annas for 40 gallons.
Other sub-heads of land revenue of more interest than financial importance are tax on birdsa nests (levied on the edible birdsa nests consumed by the Chinese), receipts from the Burma Ruby Mines, which own in Mogok the chief source of rubies in the world, and royalties levied on jade and amber, which are found in the wild areas in the extreme north of the province beyond Myitkyina, the amber mines being in the unadministrated tracts inhabited by the Kachins.
The administration of the customs and forest departments is dealt with elsewhere. One feature which is common to both may be noticed here, and that is the variability of the revenue under these heads. The following figures illustrate this fact :a
Year. Customs. Forests.
I900-I 92,20 80,54
I901-2 97,52 58,74
1902-3 1,30,06 67,39
1903-4 1,31,65 82,68
1904-5' 1,46,58 89,60
1905-6 1,29,21 1,03,30
1906-7 1,23,83 98,12
I907-8 i,354A 87,80
1908-9 1,24,07 92,48
The main cause of the fluctuation under customs is the export duty levied on rice exported outside India. Receipts under this head must vary according to the demand in India for Burma rice. Formerly this was small, as there was a prejudice against it. But jute competes more and more with rice for the land in Bengal, and the area under rice has decreased. Bad seasons, too, have resulted in scarcity, and Bengal has had to put up with Burma rice. With use the prejudice seems to be dying away, and there are indications that in future a considerable portion of Burma rice will be diverted permanently to India. The figures for 1904-5, which was a year of plenty in India, and of
1906-7, when the conditions were reversed, illustrate the working of this clause. The general commercial prosperity of the country
also has a considerable influence on customs receipts, as may be seen from the figures for
In the case of forests the main factor in causing variations from year to year is the nature of the floating season.^ The great majority of the timber is moved by water. Floods wash the logs all over the flooded area and leave many stranded, as the water falls, to remain until another flood comes to carry them away. On the other hand, a sufficient height of water is necessary in the smaller streams to carry, the logs past natural obstacles.
Over a term of years the main factor in determining receipts is the establishment employed. Up to a year or two ago the establishment in Burma was undoubtedly
inadequate. Large increases have been sanctioned, but it takes time to recruit and, train men. The extraordinary increase in the revenue between 1 901-2 and 1905-6 raised hopes as to the possibility of expansion of the revenue which have not been realised. It is now seen that the receipts in 1905-6 were exceptionally good, due mainly to the favourable floating season, and that there is little likelihood of those figures being reached again until the new establishment is in good
The cultivation of opium is prohibited in Burma, but a little is grown in the Shan States for local consumption. The Government opium policy is based on the theory that the use of the drug is harmful to
Burmese. Non-Burmese are allowed to have in their possession not more than three tolas at a time. In Upper Burma no Burman may possess opium, but in Lower Burma this rule is qualified by permitting possession to those Burmese who are registered as having been opium consumers prior to 1894. Opium is imported and sold in bulk by Government alone. It is sold to licensees in Lower Burma at the rate of Rs.60 a aseer.a* The high price and the severe restrictions upon the sale of opium renders smuggling extremely profitable and therefore prevalent, and as a consequence the expenditure under excise is unduly high compared with other provinces in India. In 1907-8 the total revenue from opium was 45,05. Of this 5,37, representing the cost price, is shown under
opium, and the balance, i.e., the profit on the sale, under excise. The excise policy of Upper Burma is to keep liquor as far as possible from the Burman. But to quote the *a Provincial Gazetteer,a a the policy of prohibition meets with universal approval but no active co-operation from the people of the country.a a Tari,a the fermented juice of the toddy-palm is the only intoxicating liquor which may be sold without penalty to an Upper Burman. Spirits and fermented liquor may not be manufactured or sold except under licence, and these licences are sold annually by auction. In 1907-8, 15,25 was realised under country spirits, 11,21 under foreign liquors, and 5,83 from atari.a
*The Indian measure of weight, slightly more than 2 lb.*The Indian measure of weight, slightly more than 2 lb.