Permanent Settlement Concluded by the Cornwallis administration in 1793, Permanent Settlement was a grand contract between the east india company government and the Bengal landholders (zamindars and independent talukdars of all denominations). Under the contract, the landholders or zamindars were admitted into the colonial state system as the absolute proprietors of landed property. Besides being turned into proprietors of land, the zamindars were endowed with the privilege of holding their proprietary right at a rate which was to continue unchanged for ever. Under the contract the government was barred from enhancing its revenue demand on the zamindars.
Objectives and effects of Permanent Settlement The conclusion of the permanent settlement with zamindars had some immediate objectives in view. These may be classified as:
- placing revenue paying on a definite footing and making revenue collection sure and certain;
- ensuring a minimum revenue;
- relieving officials of revenue matter and engaging them to other spheres of administration; and finally,
- forging an alliance between the zamindar class and the colonial rulers.
Though not entirely but largely, government succeeded in achieving these short-term goals. The revenue-paying agency was put on a definite footing in the person of zamindar. The government now knew how much was to be its annual inflow from land and the zamindars also knew for certain their contractual obligation to government. Formerly, neither the government nor the revenue payers knew exactly where did they stand as regards revenue collection and payment.