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Modern History / British Administration

Land Revenue System under British Rule in India


    The land revenue system under British rule in India was different in different regions of India. The main land revenue systems that were in force were Zamindari or Permanent Settlement system, Ryotwari system and Mahalwari system.

    Permanent Settlement or Zamindari System

    • In Zamindari system, villages (estates) along with property rights were assigned to Zamindars.
    • In the capacity of ownership, rent was collected by Zamindars from tenants. But the rent was not a fixed one.
    • In the rent, Zamindar's share was 1/11th and Government's share was 10/11th.
    • Initially, it was a decennial settlement (for 10 years) that is for every 10 years, there was renewal. But later it got converted into permanent.
    • In Zamindari system, hereditary rights were also given.

    Ryotwari System

    • In Ryotwari system, Ryots (farmers) were given property rights.
    • Revenue collections were directly collected through revenue department.
    • Every Ryot was a unit of revenue collection.

    Mahalwari System

    • Mahalwari system is a hybrid system integrating both Ryotwari and Zamindari systems.
    • In this system, lands were divided into estates. One estate comprises of one village. If a village is small, two to three villages were combined.
    • Tax was decided for the whole estate. Tax was collected by the Gram Panchayat (Village Committee). The amount was divided among the villagers as per the land holdings.
    • It was somewhat close to Zamindari system. But property rights were enjoyed by peasants (Ryotwari feature).

    Brief Description of Land Revenue System


    Name of the Revenue System Year of Introduction Regions Percentage of Area Officers (who developed) Name of Governor General
    Zamindari or Permanent Settlement 1793 Bihar, Bengal, Odisha, Varanasi 19% of total British India John Shore Lord Cornwallis
    Ryotwari Settlement 1820 Madras, Bombay, Assam, Coorg 52% Thomas Munro and Captain Alexander Read Lord Hastings
    Mahalwari Settlement 1833 Agra, Central Province, Punjab, North West Frontier Province 29% R.M. Bird William Bentinck