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A New System of Revenue Collection

A new system of revenue collection was introduced by the Company. This was necessary as the Company needed more revenue for trading.
  • Holt Mackenzie, an Englishman devised the new system to collect revenue which came into effect in 1822.

  • This was first implemented in the Northwest Provinces of the Bengal Presidency.

Now let us study the new system.

  • Holt Mackenzie understood the importance of a village in the social set-up of India.

  • Collectors were asked to visit villages and gather all the details about the land, customs and rights of the people of that village.

  • These details were recorded and the revenue for each plot of land was estimated.

  • These records helped to calculate the revenue that the entire village had to pay.

  • This revenue was to be periodically revised according to the prevailing conditions and was not fixed permanently as in the Permanent Settlement Act.

  • The charge of collecting the revenue and paying it to the Company was given to the village headman and not to the zamindar.

  • This system was known as the mahalwari settlement as a village was known as a ‘mahal’

The Munro System

The British territories in the southern regions also wanted to shift away from the Permanent Settlement Act, to increase their revenue collection.

The new system that was introduced was called the ‘ryotwar’ or ‘ryotwari’.

Let us look closely at this system of revenue collection.

  • The new system of revenue collection was introduced by Captain Alexander Read.
  • This system was further developed by Thomas Munroe.
  • According to the new system the revenue was to be collected directly from the farmers or ryots.
  • This seemed necessary as the zamindari system was not prevalent in the southern regions.
  • The lands of each farmer were separately assessed and the revenue was fixed accordingly.
  • This system was also known as the Munro System.

Statue of Sir Thomas Munro in Mount Road, Chennai

The darker side of the ‘Munro system’.

  • The revenue fixed by the British officials was too high for the farmers.
  • Unable to pay the revenue the farmers left the farms.
  • Villages were deserted in many regions.
  • As the British faced many problems in collecting revenue from the Indian farmers they turned to other ways of amassing wealth.

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