Land Tenure Systems in India
Tenure refers to the system of land ownership and management. The features that
distinguish a land tenure system from the others relate to the following:
Who owns the land ;
cultivates the land;
Who is responsible for paying the land revenue to
these questions, three different types of land tenure existed in India before
Independence. They were Zamindari system, Mahalwari system and Ryotwari system.
was created by the British East India Company, when in 1793, Lord Cornwallis
introduced ‘Permanent Settlement Act’. Under this system the landlords or the
Zamindars were declared as the owners of the land and they were responsible to
pay the land revenue to the government. The share of the government in total
rent collected was fixed at 10/11th, the balance going to the Zamindars as
of this system, it was later extended to Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. The
ownership of the land was maintained by the collective body usually the
villagers which served as a unit of management. They distributed land among the
peasants and collected revenue from them and pay it to the state.
system was initially introduced in Tamil Nadu and later extended to
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Assam, Coorg, East Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. Under this
system the ownership rights of use and control of land were held by the tiller
himself. There was the direct relationship between owners. This system was the
least oppressive system before Independence.