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British Agrarian Policy
It is a well-known fact that India is primarily an agricultural country. The overwhelming majority of its people depend on agriculture for sustenance. If the crop is good, prosperity prevails otherwise it leads to famine and starvation.
Till the 18th century, there was a strong relation between agriculture and cottage industries in India. India was not only ahead in the field of agriculture than most other countries but it also held a prominent place in the world in the field of handicraft production. The British destroyed handicraft industry in the country while unleashing far-reaching changes in the country's agrarian structure by introducing new systems of land tenures and policies of revenue administration.
India's national income, foreign trade, industrial expansion and almost every other dominion of economic activity, depended on the country's agriculture. The British policies revolved around getting maximum income from land without caring much about Indian interests of the cultivators. They abandoned the age -old system of revenue administration and adopted in their place a ruthless policy of revenue collection.
After their advent, the British principally adopted three types of land tenures. Roughly 19 per cent of the total area under the British rule, i.e., Bengal, Bihar, Banaras, division of the Northern Western Provinces and northern Karnatak, were brought under the
Zamindari System or
the Permanent Settlement. The second revenue system, called the Mahalwari Settlement, was introduced in
about 30 per cent of the total area under British rule i.e., in major parts of
the North Western Provinces, Central Provinces and the Punjab with some
variations. The Ryotwari System
covered about 51 per cent of the area under British rule comprising part of the
Bombay and Madras Presidencies, Assam and certain other parts of British India.
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