Notes on Ryotwari and Mahalwari Settlement as introduced by the British


What was the Ryotwari Settlement ? What was the Mahalwari Settlement ? What was the impact of the new revenue policy introduced by the British ?

a. Ryotwari Settlement:

Realizing the disadvantages of the Permanent Settlement was also due to administrative difficulties the East India Company introduced settlement 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 ryotwari settlement the revenue was fixed for a period of thirty years, and not on a permanent basis as was in the case of the Permanent Settlement.

b. Mahalwari Settlement:


In some parts of northern India yet another type of settlement called Mahahvari system was introduced by the Company.

Under the system settlement was made with a group of villages called mahals.

That is to say, instead of individual ryot or zamindar the government entered into settlement with mahals, under the subordination of the landlords called taluqdars.

c.The Impact:


The new revenue system introduced by the English affected the socio-economic structure of the Indian society in various ways.

First, recognition of the individual ownership on land created two types of land-owning classes, namely, the zamindars and the peasant-proprietors.

Second, the inequality of wealth between these two classes resulted in growing poverty in the society.

Third, under all the new settlements, be it ryotwari or mahahvari, it was the peasants who were the worst sufferers.


Fourth, since land had become a saleable property land-holders were often compelled to dispose of their property to meet the revenue demand of the government.

Fifth, it may be mentioned that the new revenue policy gave rise to new land-owners who became the collaborators of the British administration in India.

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