Sunday, November 29, 2009


REVENUE The Mughals effected considerable improve­ment in the system of revenue administration. Akbar revived the system followed by Sher Shah and also intro­duced a number of reforms in it. He appointed Todar Mal as his finance minister (diwan-i-ashraf) in 1582. With this, a new era of economic reforms began. Until then, the practice had been to fix the assessment every year on the basis of the yield of the soil and current prices. The state's demand thus varied from year to year, causing great inconvenience especially when the empire increased in size. To obviate this difficulty Todar Mal set up a regulation or standard system known as the zabti system.

According to it, lands were accurately surveyed and for this purpose a stiff pole was substituted for the loose rope whose length fluctuated with the change of seasons. Lands were classified into four classes: (i) polaj or land which was not allowed to remain fallow and was annually cultivated; (ii) parauti or land occasionally left fallow to let it recuperate its productive strength; (iii) chachar or land left fallow for three or four years; (iv) banjar or land remaining uncultivated for five years or more. The first two classes were subdivided into three grades according to their fertility, and the average produce was calculated from the mean of the three grades.

The demand of the state was fixed at one-third of the average produce. The cash rates varied according to crops and were fixed on the average of ten years' actuals, that is, from the past experience of ten years (dahsala). The settlement under this system was made directly with the cultivator. It was applied to northern India. Gujarat and parts of the Deccan.

Besides the zabti, there were two other systems, namely, the ghallabaksh based upon the sharing of crop and the nasaq or arbitrary group assessment somewhat resembling the zamindari settlement. The former prevailed in Sind, Kabul and Kashmir and the latter in Bengal.

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