Merits & Demerits of Permanent Settlement of Bengal

Merits & Demerits of Permanent Settlement of Bengal 


 (1) The state was assured of a certain amount of land revenue from the people. It was not to depend upon the results of annual bidding. If a zamindar did not pay the land revenue, the same could be realized by settling a portion of his land.

(2) The landlords knew that they had to pay a specific amount of money as land revenue to the Government. If they put more labour and capital in the land and got more profit out of it, they stood to gain because Government share was not to increase proportionately. It was absolutely fixed whether the landlord cultivated their lands more or less. At the time of the settlement, many parts of the land were covered with jungles and the same were cleared after the settlement.

(3) Cornwallis thought that the permanent settlement of Bengal would play the same part in creating a loyal class which the establishment of the Bank of England had played in the case of William III and Mary. The zamindars who were made the owners of land could be counted upon to defend the rule of the English Company against their rivals and opponents. It was found that these very zamindars were loyal to the British Government during the days of the Mutiny. No wonder, Setton Carr observes that the political benefits of the settlement balanced its economic defects.

(4) The Permanent settlement gave popularity and stability to the British Government and thus helped to make the province the healthiest and most flourishing in India.

(5) The Permanent settlement set free the ablest servants of the Company for judicial work. Formerly, they had to waste a lot of their time every year in offering the collection of revenue to the highest bidder ad realizing the same amount.

(6) The permanent settlement avoided the evils of periodical settlements which, in spite of long intervals, produced economic dislocation, evasion, concealment of worth and the deliberate throwing of land out of cultivation.

(7) it is true that the Government could not increase the land revenue in the future  but it gained in an indirect manner. As the people became richer, the Government got money by taxing them in various ways.

(1) The immediate effect of the permanent settlement on the zamindars was disastrous. Many of them could not realize the land revenue from their tenants and consequently could not pay the money to the Government in time. The result was that their lands were sold.

(2) Contrary to the expectations, the landlords did not take much interest in the development of their lands. They became merely absentee landlords living in Calcutta or at the district towns on the income derived from the tenants. It has rightly been pointed out that although Cornwallis intended to create a class of English landlords in Bengal, what he actually created was a class of Irish landlords.

(3) The permanent settlement ignored the rights of the tenants. They were left absolutely at the mercy of the landlords who could oust them at any time. The landlords could charge any amount of money from the tenants he pleased. It is true that Cornwallis had lain down that “the zamindar should keep a register of his tenants and grant them Pattahs or leases, specifying the rents they were to pay, and that in case of any infringement of these rules, the rot was to seek a remedy in an action against him in the civil court,” but unfortunately the registers were not kept and the Pattahs were rarely given. The remedy of the civil court was a very expensive one and the poor tenants felt that they could not take advantage of it. This state of affairs continued till the Government came to the rescue of the tenants and safeguarded their interests by passing tenancy legislation.

(4) The Government lost forever a share of the unearned increment. The deficit was estimated at Rs. 4.5 crore.

(5) Bengal did not possess cadastral records till 1893 and consequently there was expensive litigation between the tenants and the landlords.

SETTON CARR sums up his criticism thus :  “The permanent settlement somewhat securd the interests of the zamindars, postponed those of the tenants and permanently sacrificed those of the State,”

According to P.E. Roberts, “Had the permanent settlement been postponed for another 10 to 20 years, the capacities of the land would have been better ascertained. Many mistakes and anomalies would have been avoided, and the reforms brought about by Cornwallis himself in the civil service would have trained up a class of officials far more competent to deal with so vast subject.”

Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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