Land Revenue System During British

Land Revenue System During British

Land Revenue System During British

  • Land Revenue was one of the major sources of income for Britishers in India. There were broadly three types of Land Revenue Systems in existence during the British rule in India.
  • Before independence, there were three major types of land revenue systems prevailing in the country:
    • The Zamindari System
    • The Mahalwari System
    • The Ryotwari System
  • The basic difference in these systems was regarding the mode of payment of land revenue.

The Zamindari System

  • The Zamindari system was introduced by¬†Lord Cornwallis in 1793¬†through¬†Permanent Settlement¬†which fixed the land rights of the members¬†in perpetuity¬†without any provision for fixed rent or occupancy rights for actual cultivators.
  • Under the Zamindari system, the¬†land revenue was collected from the farmers by the intermediaries¬†known as¬†Zamindars.
  • The share of the government in the total land revenue collected by the zamindars was kept at¬†10/11th,¬†and the remainder went to zamindars.
  • The system was most prevalent in¬†West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, UP, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

The Ryotwari System

  • In the British territories in southern India, there was a move away from the idea of Permanent Settlement.
  • A system that came to be known as the¬†Ryotwari System,¬†was devised by¬†Captain Alexander Read and Sir Thomas Munro¬†at the end of the 18th¬†century and introduced by the latter when he was¬†governor of Madras Presidency (1819‚Äď26).
  • Under the Ryotwari system, the land revenue was paid by the farmers directly to the state.
  • In this system, the Individual cultivator called¬†Ryot¬†had full rights regarding the sale, transfer, and leasing of the land.
  • The ryots could not be evicted from their land as long as they paid the rent.
  • It was prevalent in most of southern India, first introduced in Tamil Nadu. It was later extended to Maharashtra, Berar, East Punjab, Coorg, and Assam.
  • The advantage of this system was the elimination of middlemen, who often oppressed villagers.

The Mahalwari System

  • By the early 19th¬†century, the Company officials were convinced that the system of revenue had to be changed again.
  • The revenues cannot be fixed permanently at such a time when the Company needs more money to meet its expenses of administration and trade.
  • In 1822, Englishman¬†Holt Mackenzie¬†devised a new system known as the Mahalwari System in the¬†North Western Provinces of the Bengal Presidency¬†(most of this area is now in Uttar Pradesh).
  • Under the Mahalwari system, the¬†land revenue was collected from the farmers by the village headmen¬†on behalf of the whole village (and not the zamindar).
  • The entire village was converted into one bigger unit called¬†‚ÄėMahal‚Äô¬†and was treated as one unit for the payment of land revenue.
  • The revenue under the Mahalwari system was to be revised periodically and not fixed permanently.
  • The system was popularised by¬†Lord William Bentick in Agra and Awadh¬†and was later extended to¬†Madhya Pradesh and Punjab.

Related Links:

Charter Act 1833Regulating Act of 1773
Pitt’s India Act 1784Government of India Act 1858
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