Land Revenue System in British India

Land revenue system

Zamindari System (Permanent Settlement) in Bengal

  • Introduced in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and districts of Banaras & Northern districts of Madras by Lord Cornwallis in 1793.
  • Declared Zamindars as the owners of the land.
  • Hence, they could keep 1/11th of the revenue collected to themselves while the British got a fixed share of 10/11th of the revenue collected.
  • Secure of their ownership, many Zamindars stayed in towns (absentee landlord ism) & exploited their tenants.
  • Regulation Act of 1793 without using the court could seize movable property in case of default.

Ryotwari System

  • Introduced in Bombay, Madras and Assam by Lord Munro & Charles Read.
  • Direct settlement was made between the govt & the ryot (farmer).
  • Under this system every registered holder of land is recognised as the proprietor of the land & is held responsible for direct payment of land revenue to the state.
  • Revenue was fixed for a period not exceeding 30 years, on the basis of the quality of the soil and the nature of the crop. It was based on the scientific rent theory of Ricardo.
  • Position of the cultivator became more secure but the rigid system of revenue collection often forced him into the clutches of the money lender.

Accountable Situations:

(a) It was believed that Ryotwari System was the original system.

(b) Maximization of revenue necessitated negation of intermediaries & direct collection.

(c) With Permanent Settlement there was a loss of revenue in the future.

Mahalwari System

  • It was developed by Holt Mackenzie.
  • Modified version of Zamindari settlement introduced in the Ganges valley, NWFR parts of Central India & Punjab.
  • It was to be made by village or estate with landlords.
  • In Western UR a settlement was made with the village communities, which maintained a form of common ownership known as Bhaichara, or with Mahals, which were groups of villages.
  • Revenue was periodically revised.
  • Under this system the taluqdars & zamindars were originally appointed by the state.
  • But the real owner of villages was zamindars who lived in them or constituted the village community.
  • Government officials should record all the rights of cultivators, zamindars & others, & also fix the amounts payable from every piece of land, demand of land revenue village by village or mahal by mahal.
  • Collected through village headman or lambardar.
  • The system broke down because of the excessive state demand & harshness in its working & collection of land revenue.


One thought on “Land Revenue System in British India

  • April 3, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Sir I think mahalwari nd ryotwari settlement introducer are inter change… Ryotwari settlement introduced by THOMAS MUNROE

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