Ryotwari system Upsc

What is ryotwari system?

Ryotwari System is a land revenue system that existed in British Raj. It was introduced by Thomas Munro in 1820. It was based on the land revenue system administered by Captain Alexander Read in the Baramahal district.

This system allowed the British Government to deal directly with the peasants called ‘Ryot” for the collection of revenue. This system gave the peasants the freedom to cede or acquire new land for cultivation. This method of collecting revenue was in operation for nearly 5 years.

It has some features of the Mughals revenue system. It was one of the three mainland revenue systems that existed in British India. The land revenue was directly imposed on the ryots. Ryots were individual peasants/cultivators who worked on the land. This system of assessment is called Ryotwari.

The previous system that existed was the Zamindari system where the land revenue was imposed indirectly.

Thomas Munro Statue in Chennai
Thomas Munro Statue in Chennai By Ravichandar84 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16626990

Main features of the Ryotwari system

Every land hold / Ryot who is registered land hold is recognized as its owner. He pays revenue directly to the government.

The ryot has the freedom to sublet his land or transfer it to another person as a gift or sell or mortgage. He cannot be ejected by the government as long as he pays the fixed assessment (revenue).

He has the option of increasing or diminishing or entirely abandoning his landholding annually. Remission of revenue is granted in case of a poor season or less output. The revenue or assessment is fixed in money and does not change from year to year.


  1. Ryotwari system was introduced by?

The Ryotwari system was devised by Capt. Alexander Read and later by Sir Thomas Munro at end of the 18th century. Then-Governor of Madras Sir Thomas Munro during 1820-27 introduced the Ryotwari system to its full effect.

This was the main revenue system in South India that including Madras, Bombay, Coorg and also in parts of Assam.

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* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.
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