What was meant by the Permanent Settlement? What was the motive of British behind its introduction? How the peasantry was adversely affected?
The term Permanent Settlement means that the land settlement has been made on a permanent basis.
That is to say, the demand of revenue from the zamindar was fixed permanently by the British government.
Various motives impelled the British to introduce the Permanent Settlement.
It was felt that in order to procure the maximum revenue it was also necessary to increase the yield of the soil.
This could not be ensured unless an interest in the land was created. This could be done only if an arrangement was made with the zamindars on a permanent basis.
Another motive behind the introduction of the Permanent Settlement was that by fixing revenue on a permanent basis the British government got an opportunity to prepare the yearly budget estimate.
Impact on the peasantry:
Though introduced for the benefit of the government, zamindars and ryots (tenants), the success of the Permanent Settlement was partial.
The new settlement though stabilized the income of the government, deprived it from the benefit of increasing the income from land. The system also did not work well for the zamindars and ryots.
Owing to stringent laws regarding the payment of revenue, many of the traditional zamindars lost their estates within a very short time. The Permanent Settlement totally ignored the interests of the ryots.
Since the zamindars became the owners of land, oppression of the ryots by the zamindars increased manifold. A large section of tenants were dispossessed of their land to become landless labourers.