Sher Shah’s land revenue reforms, based on wise and humane principles, have unique importance in the administrative history of India; for they served as the model for future agrarian systems.
MERITS OF LAND REVENUE SYSTEM
- Shershah is known to have made a systematic survey and measurement of the entire cultivable land of his empire using a unit called Sikandari Gaj.
- After a careful and proper survey of the lands, he settled the land revenue directly with the cultivators, the State demand being fixed at one-fourth or one-third of the average produce, payable in kind or cash.
- Shershah had also established the per Bigha land (Rai) for the lands under continuous cultivation (Polaj) and the lands which kept out of cultivation temporarily (Parauti). Rai was average of three rates representing good, middle and low yields. This rai system was later adopted by Akbar.
- For actual collection of revenue, the government utilized the services of the officers like the Amins, the Maqadam, theShiqdars, the Qanungos and the Patwaris.
- Punctual and full payment of the revenue was insisted.
- Sher Shah instructed the revenue officials to show leniency at the time of assessment and to be strict at the time of collection of revenues.
- The rights of the tenants were duly recognized and the liabilities of each were clearly defined in theKabuliyat (deed of agreement), which the State took from him, and the patta (title-deed), which it gave him in return.
- He also placed a survey charge of 2.5% called Jaribana and collection charge of 5% called Muhasilans.
- Remissions of rents were made, and probably loans were advanced to the tenants in case of damage of crops, caused by the encampment of soldiers, or the insufficiency of rain.
- These revenue reforms increased the resources of the state and at the same time conduced to the interest of the people.
DEFECTS OF LAND REVENUE SYSTEM
- The share of the Government was fixed at one-third of the average produce of the three kinds of land, viz., good, middling and bad. The result was that the bad land was over-charged and the good land was undercharged.
- Moreover, the share of the Government was rather high.
- As the settlement was made for one year only, a lot of inconvenience must have been caused to the cultivators.
- The corruption among the officials of the Revenue Department must have added to the troubles of the people.
- He could not completely root out the Jagirdari system which had taken deep roots in the Afghan society.
- The settlement of the cash value of the share of the Government depended on correct information, proper enquiry and prompt report to and instruction from the Central Government. Such a procedure was dilatory and not quite dependable. It was likely to hold up the worked of collection and thereby cause great inconvenience, annoyance and disadvantage to the revenue collectors and cultivators.