What were the advantages of the Permanent Settlement ? What were its demerits ? Why a different pattern followed by the British in respect of land settlement in other areas?
Though the demerits of the Permanent Settlement far outweighed its merits yet it is quite possible to discuss some benefits which followed.
One of the aims of the Permanent Settlement was to stabilize the income of the government. And in this respect the Permanent Settlement was successful.
The governmental income was not only stabilized but it was also sure of the amount of its yearly income. On the basis of the income the government could prepare the yearly budget.
It may be said that the Permanent Settlement did not benefit any one of those for whom it was devised. In the first place, in ultimate analysis the Permanent Settlement adversely affected the interests of the government. As the settlement was made on a permanent basis there was no scope for revision of the amount of revenue by the government.
Secondly, in return for a fixed government demand the zamindars were deprived of many powers ani privileges enjoyed by them previously. Thirdly, the Permanent Settlement required the payment of the yearly revenue by the’ zamindar on or before the sun-set of a particular day.
Failure to pay the money deprived the zamindar of his estates. Owing to the stringent sun-set laws many of the traditional zamindars lost their estates within a very short time of the operation of the Permanent Settlement. Fourthly , the Permanent Settlement totally ignored the interests of the ryots or tenants.
Since the zamindars now became the owners of land oppression of the ryots by zamindars increased manifold. A large section of ryots (tenants) were dispossessed of their land to become landless labourers.
Its Adverse Effects:
Realizing the disadvantages of the Permanent Settlement as also due to administrative difficulties the East India Company introduced settlements in other parts of India which were quite different from the line adopted in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
In the Deccan, for example, new land settlement was introduced which came to be known as the Ryotwari Settlement. In this system settlement of land was directly made between the government and the ryot, i.e. the cultivators or tenants. Moreover, in the ryohvciri settlement the revenue was fixed for a period of thirty years and not on a Permanent basis as was in the case of Permanent Settlement.