Make a comparative account of Zamindari, Mahalwari and Ryotwari system.

Model Answer:
The Zamindari system underwent many changes from Mughal to British period. While during Mughal period Zamindars were not the owner of the land, but were petty land holders. After the permanent settlement in Bengal, Bihar and Odisha, the Zamindars were recognized as proprietors of the land on condition that they would pay the government rent on a fix date. The Zamindars were made hereditary owners of the land under their possession. The peasants had no proprietary rights and were subject to ejection from the land unless they purchased it by paying the zamindar a special additional fee and price.
The Ryotwari System was initially introduced by Shershah Suri. But, in the East India Company territories, the Ryotwari system was introduced by Thomas Munroe and Captain Reed first in Madras presidency. It was later extended to Bombay, Parts of Bengal, Assam, and Coorg etc. Under this system the settlement was made by the government directly with the cultivator (ryot) who thus was the proprietor, but only for a period of time. This time was fixed for thirty years after which it was subject to re-assessment and re-settlement on new terms. The government share was fixed at 55% of the produce, which was highest ever share. Though the cultivator got security of tenure but was subject to a very heavy duty, thus leaving no motivation for cultivation.
The Mahalwari system was introduced in Agra, Awadh (Oudh), Central parts of India, Punjab, parts of Gangetic valley etc during regime of Lord Hastings. The term Mahal referred to the fiscal unit / revenue division into which the whole land was divided by Akbar. In Mahalwari system, all the proprieties of a Mahal were jointly and severally responsible, in their persons and property, for the sum assessed by the government on that Mahal. The cultivation was to be done individually, but for the payment of the land revenue, the peasants were jointly responsible.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Make a comparative account of Zamindari, Mahalwari and Ryotwari system.

Published: February 7, 2016 | Modified:June 27, 2019