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January 22, 2014
LORD CORNWALLIS (A.D. 1786 - A.D. 1793) & His major reforms
LORD CORNWALLIS (A.D. 1786 - A.D. 1793)
Lord Cornwallis became the Governor General of India in 1786. He tried to follow the policy of non-intervention.In 1793, Cornwallis introduced the Permanent Settlement of Bengal. The Zamindars were required to pay a fixed amount in cash on a fixed date as land revenue to the treasury, irrespective of what they could collect. Slowly the Zamindars brought more areas under cultivation and made more money while they paid the same fixed amount to the company. Many Zamindars benefited more than either the company or the peasants.
This system was beneficial to the Zamindars. They were the owners of the lands and they became very loyal to the company. This system secured a fixed and stable income for the company. This settlement avoided the evils of periodical settlements.
1) Zamindars became the masters of the land and were benefited.
2) The worst affected people were the cultivators who were left at the mercy of the zamindars.
3) To meet the increasing expenses the government had to increase the tax in other provinces.
4) The government had no direct contact with the people.
Cornwallis introduced a new administrative civil service system. The civil servants were appointed to administer the British territories effectively in India. He introduced strict regulations, raised their salaries and gave promotions on the basis of merit. The employees were not permitted to carry on private trade. All high posts were reserved only for the English. Indians could only be selected for subordinate posts.
Lord Cornwallis created a permanent police force in India. In 1791 a Commissioner of Police was appointed in Calcutta. The districts were divided into Thanas. Each Thana was headed by a Daroga. As in the civil services in the police department too, the Indians were excluded from the higher posts.
Lord Cornwallis improved the judiciary. The collector was relieved of his judical duties. He was responsible for revenue collection. Civil and Criminal Courts were set up at the district level. Provincial courts of appeal were set up at Dacca, Calcutta, Murshidabad and Patna. Cornwallis increased the salary of the judges to check bribery and corruption. He abolished the court fees. A new code of regulations known as “Cornwallis code” was compiled in 1793 by Sir George Barlow.
He reorganized the Revenue Department. In 1787 the province of Bengal was divided into many areas and each area was placed under a collector. He established the Board of Revenue to supervise the work of the collectors.
Cornwallis revived the old practice of making direct contact with the Indian merchants and improved trade and commerce.