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    Abstract

    IN an article on Lord Inchcape's task in the Sunday Times of October 22, a former finance member of the Government of India, Lord Meston, makes an alarming suggestion. Speaking of things “useful, but not essential,” he says “many of the research institutes and the like will come under the shears.” The illiberal spirit which inspired our domestic wielders of the axe may thus be carried by one of them to India-a country which, more than any other, perhaps, has benefited by the application of science to “useful” purposes. The plant breeders there, alone, have literally added millions to the country's wealth; new wheats and cottons yielding 20 to 30 per cent more than the indigenous varieties have already been successfully introduced. It must not be forgotten that, in India, the prosperity of agriculture is a fundamental element of the solvency of the Government, for there, the State, as owner of the soil, takes one half of the rental value of the land. The sum thus raised approaches a moiety of the whole taxation of the country. It is to be hoped that such a suicidal policy as that indicated by Lord Meston will not be advocated by Lord Inchcape, though as a quondam member of the Geddes Committee he may be inclined to repeat its mistakes.

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