The Land Tenure Systems in India
Land 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:
a) Who owns the land ;
b) Who cultivates the land;
c) Who is responsible for paying the land revenue to the government.
Basedon these questions, three different types of land tenure existed in India before Independence. They were Zamindari system, Mahalwari system and Ryotwari system.
This 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 remuneration.
After introduction 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.
This 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.