Who among the following was the First Finance Member of the Viceroy’s executive Council in India?

Answer: [D] James Wilkins

The transfer of authority to the Crown in 1858 brought with it essential changes in Indian finance. The Final responsibility of Finance was now vested in the secretary of state in council, and in lieu of the haphazard control by the governor-general in council over the rest of India, a finance member of council became responsible in 1859 for the preparation of an orderly financial system. The First Finance Member was James Wilkins, who joined in 1859 and died in harness only 9 months. The principles of the English budget system were adapted as far as possible to India, the first budget presented being that for 1860-1, the year ending on March 31st as in England. Sound steps were taken was largely due to the debt of £42,000,000 added by the Mutiny, making the total debt ‘£98,000,000, while the year 1859-60 showed a deficit of ‘£7,250,000. James Wilson increased taxation by imposing an income tax and drastically reduced civil and military expenditure, so that in 1864 the deficit was a thing of the past.

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