Write a critical note on Akbar's land revenue system. To what extent a shift from annual system of assessment to Dahsala system helped the royal exchequer or the peasants. Discuss.

Model Answer:
A proper land revenue system was founded by Akbar with the help of Raja Todarmal; an experience under former master Shershah Suri, who later carried out most reforms under Akbar. However, the main work includes the change from annual system of revenue collection to dahsala system. Under the Annual system was another name of uncertainty in assessment and appointment of Karoris was disastrous for the peasants. The Karoris turned rapacious and system of paying previous years taxes in current years led the peasants to sell their wives and children. The uncertainty and confusion regarding taxation rendered cultivation without any incentives. To overcome the problem Raja Todarmal, the able finance minister of Akbar, introduced the Dahsala system, the peasants were relieved from the uncertainty of the taxes they would be paying. Since amount due from the peasant to government treasury was fixed, the farmers had hope to enjoy some greater profits if they improve or extend their cultivation. Apart from this, we can also examine Akbar’s land revenue system vis-a-vis ancient system. In ancient India, the share of the government was 1/6th, however, by the time of Akbar, this share had gone up to 1/3rd as land revenue.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Write a critical note on Akbar’s land revenue system. To what extent a shift from annual system of assessment to Dahsala system helped the royal exchequer or the peasants. Discuss.

Published: February 6, 2016 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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