In the year of 1896, the monsoons of Western India similarly failed to make any watery impact and the subsequent 1896-97 drought placed three and a half million Indians on famine relief by the end of the year. The famine occurred mainly in Bombay and in segments of western India, parts of Rajputana, central India and the south-east region of Punjab. Relief measures included relief work projects, poor houses and the remission and suspension of land revenue.
Although large-scale relief was offered throughout the famine-stricken regions according to the Provisional Famine Code of 1883, the mortality, both from starvation and accompanying epidemics, was extremely high. Approximately 1 million people were believed to have died as a result of the famine.
In January 1897, the Indian Charitable Relief Fund was established in Calcutta and subsequently received gifts from other parts of India and throughout the world for famine relief. In December of that year, Lord Elgin appointed the Indian Famine Commission with Sir James B. Lyall (1838-1916) as its chairman. The Commission reviewed the existing Famine Codes in terms of the ongoing famine experiences in pan Western India.
In October 1898, the Famine Commission's report affirmed the present Code's practices and updated aspects of the public works relief projects. Additional provisions were recommended for the communities of weavers, forest-tribes and aboriginal hill tribes.
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