Lord Cornwallis is remembered by the Indians primarily for the significant reforms affected by him in the field of land and land- revenue. None of the systems introduced by Warren Hastings was found suitable. Further, under the prevalent system peasants were ill-treated and oppressed, also the cultivation suffered most.
Cornwallis with a view to doing away with the evils of the prevalent system introduced his famous Permanent Settlement. Under the new system the revenue-collector of an estate became its owner as well. ‘Zamindar’ as he was called also gained hereditary rights over the land and could sell the estates if necessary.
But the zamindar was required to pay a fixed amount of money to the government on a stipulated date before the sun-set. Failure to pay the money would deprive the zamindar of his rights on land which would be put to fresh auction. The Permanent Settlement was first introduced in Bengal and Bihar in 1793.