CHAPTER XI

REVENUE ADMINISTRATION

v     Land Revenue Assessment and Management

v     Collection of Revenue

v     Income from Land Revenue and Special Cesses

v     Other Sources of Revenue, State and Central

 

(i) Land Revenue Assessment and Management

The history of land revenue of the Patiala District is a bit complicated, as it contains the areas falling in the erstwhile princely States of Patiala, Nabha and Kalsia and a part of the British territory. Each of these princely States had a different system of land revenue also different from that prevailing in the British territory. Prior to the formation of princely States, the land revenue was imposed and collected as per orders of the Mughal emperors who reigned India from time to time.

Land Revenue System in the former Patiala State areas

The revenue of the Patiala State from Akbar to the times of Ala Singh and his successors was being collected in kind known as Kham (collection in kind) upto 1862. This arrangement was occasionally replaced by cash assessments made for a period of one or two years, but these rare and irregular assessments or contracts were not based on any fixed rule or established principles, for whenever there was a good crop and the Diwan expected to realize more by collection in kind than by adhering to a fixed cash assessment, he at once cancelled the agreement without the slightest scruple and did not wait for its term to expire. As a consequence of this short-sighted policy, the zamindar (tiller) never put his heart into his work and no waste lands were ever brought under cultivation.

The share of the produce taken by the State differed in different parganas; it was mostly one-third but one-fourth to two-fifths was also taken, and there was a large number of extra dues called abwab. A cash rate per bigha, called zabti, was charged abwab. A cash rate per bigha, called zabti, was charged on crops that could not be easily divided. The State’s share of grain was realized either by actually dividing the produce (batai or bhavali) or by appraisement, Kankut, kan, or Kachh. Batai was with rare exceptions, usually resorted to in the rabi and appraisement was a rule in the Kharif. The officials who made the batai was called Batawas and those who made the appraisements were known as Kachhus.

At each harvest, the Tahsildar divided the parganas into a number of suitable circles and the land was measured by horse pacing, and two Kachhus. or measures and two Batawas were appointed for each circle, two Muharris called Likharis were also sent with them. One out of each pair of Kachhus, Batawas and Likharis was the Tahsildar’s nominee and the other called ‘sarkari’ was appointed by the Diwan.

When the crop was ready for the sickle, one or two Muhassals or watchmen were appointed in the village to watch the crop and the grain before division.The zamindar himself was not allowed to touch his crop or take a single handful of grain for this cattle.  The Muhassal used to get 1½ annas a day, of which an anna was paid by the village and half-an-anna by the State. This establishment was temporary. But Kachhu was all in all making Khasra enteries pakka in the name of zamindar which was known as nawan pakana. It could not be changed later on and to change it was considered a serious crime. In a similar way, the Batawas got the produce weighted by the village banian called the dharwahi, deducted 15 per cent as kamin’s dues, divided the rest at the pargana rate of batai, and recorded in the same way (nawan pakana) the amount due from each man against his name in the khasra.

Owing to the negligence or dishonesty on the part of the Batawa, the delay in effecting the batai often caused great damage to the grain when its price, full or half, as the case may be, was realized from the zamindars. This was the system of Kham collection that prevailed upto 1862.

In 1861-62,  the first contract settlement on a cash basis was effected in all districts of the Patiala State. An estimate was made of the average value of the actual realization in cash or in kind, during the previous twenty one years, and the assessment arrived at was announced for one year.

A regular settlement of the whole Patiala State was commenced in 1901 and completed in 1908. The revenue assessment for the whole State was Rs. 41,48,155.

In the areas falling in the then Nabha princely State, the ancient system of lavying the revenue in kind remained in force up to 1860. However, since 1860 the system of cash assessment was introduced in the princely State. After the summary assessment, a regular settlement was initiated in 1948 Sampat (A D 1891) and completed in 1959 (A D 1902). This assessment was conducted on the lines of the British Revenue Law of 1884, the lines was measured and the record of rights prepared as in the British district.

(ii) Collection of Revenue

Prior to 1861, the collection of land revenue in the erstwhile Patiala State was collected by Lambardars. in the supervision of Kachhus, Batawas and Muharris under the Kham system. Being a defective system, it was abolished by Maharaja Narinder Singh. Since the regular settlement commenced in 1901.Lambardari cess of 5 per cent was levied and a small sum panchai or pachotra began to be paid to the Lambardars out of the State revenues. In the areas of erstwhile Nabha State, now parts of Patiala District. Land revenue was collected by Lambardars. Zaildari system was prevalent in the Patiala and Nabha states. The post of Zaildar was abolished in 1947 recreated after 1948 and re-abolished in 1964 leaving the Lambardars alone for the collection of land revenue.

Lambardar is responsible for the collection of land revenue from the right holders. For discharging this function, he is assisted by a Chowkidar another village worker and the Patwari a Government official. The Lambardar also collects abiana in the district for which he is paid 3 per cent as collection charges.

(iii) Income from Land Revenue and Special Cesses

Land Revenue.—The last regular settlements relating to Patiala District (erstwhile Patiala State) took place in 1901-1908 (Patiala) and in 1892-1903 (Nabha).

Land revenue fixed under these settlements is being collected by adding other cesses, etc., imposed by the State Government from time to time. The land revenue is realised for Kharif crops in the month of January and for rabi crops in the month of June every year.

In 1961, the Punjab Land Revenue (Thur, Sem, Chos and Sand) Remission and Supervision Rules, 1961, were enforced under which land revenue of all lands, rendered unculturable on account of thur, and sem is remitted. Land revenue in respect of entire holdings, within 16 km belt alongwith the international border with Pakistan has also been exempted in the State, with effect from the kharif crop of agricultural year 1972-73 under the Punjab Land Revenue (Amendment) Act, 1973.

Land revenue on individual holding (on owners’ total holding in the State) upto 5 standard acres was abolished from rabi of agricultural year, 1966-67 under the Punjab Land Revenue (Amendment) Act, 1968. A landowner is eligible for this concession as and when he falls into this category.

Additional Land Revenue.—The additional land revenue has been imposed under the Punjab Land Revenue (Amendment) Act 1974-75, with effect from kharif crop of the agricultural year 1974-75 and is payable by all landowners, paying land revenue exceeding Rs 20 per year. The liability of additional land revenue increases progressively with land revenue payable.

 

The following statement gives the details of income from additional land revenue in the Patiala District, during 1981-82 to 1988-89 :-

Year              Income

                      (Rs)

1981-82                    1,74,772

1981-83                    1,65,738

1981-84                    6,276

1981-85                    16,589

1981-86                    1,53,442

1981-87                    1,46,236

1981-88                    2,18,393

1981-89                    1,41,342

(Source : Deputy Commissioner, Patiala)

Cess on Commercial Crops.—A cess under the Punjab Commercial Crops Act, 1974, has been imposed on commercial crops, namely, chillies, cotton (desi and American), mustard seeds, potatoes, taramira and toria, sugarcane, tomato and orchards including vine yards at the rate of Rs 6 per acre in case of irrigated land and Rs 3 per acre in the case of unirrigated land under these crops. The cess was levied with effect from the kharif crops of the agricultural year 1974-75 up to the rabi harvest of the agricultural year 1978-79. The tenure of this Act was extended for another five years,-vide Punjab Commerical Crops Cess (Amendment) Act, 1979. The cess has been extended for another five years beginning from rabi harvest of agricultural year 1984-85.

The cess is applicable to and is payable by the landowners growing commercial crops on their land irrespective of the fact whether they are assignees of land revenue or not. The following statement shows the collection of Commercial cess (tahsil-wise) in the Patiala District, during 1980-81 to 1988-89:-

Special Cesses

Village Officers’s Cess

The Village officers’ cess was included in the patwar cess. In the erstwhile Patiala princely State, since the regular settlement commenced in 1901, the cesses levied in the State included patwar cess at the rate of 2½ per cent. After the formation of PEPSU and with the abolition of zaildari and Sufedposhi agencies in 1948, only pachotra is being charged as a Village Officers’ Cess.

Local Rate

It was usual in early settlements to levy on extra cess or local rate cess on land revenue to maintain schools, hospitals and roads, etc. In the erstwhile Patiala State, it was levied at the rate of 4 per cent (1 per cent road cess, 1 per cent school cess, 1 per cent hospital cess and 1 per cent postal cess).

The local rate in princely states was raised from time to time. At the time of independence, local rate in the princely States was different not only in the States, but the rates varied from chak to chak even in one State. In most of the chaks of Patiala State, it was levied at the rate of 11 per cent. But in some chaks, it was levied at the rate of 13 per cent too. Similarly in the Nabha State, it was levied at the rate of 7 per cent, 10 per cent and 18 per cent. Later on, on the merger of PEPSU in Punjab in 1956, the local rate in the whole district was brought at par with the Punjab State. Local rate is now levied Under Section 61 of the Punjab  Panchayat Samitis and Zila Parishads Act, 1961, at the rate of 50 per cent of the land revenue. The following table shows the collection of local rate in the district during 1981-82 to 1988-89 :-

Year              Income from local rate

                      (Rs)

1981-82                    5,77,650

1981-83                    5,74,558

1981-84                    5,62,393

1981-85                    5,60,500

1981-86                    5,60,200

1981-87                    5,57,744

1981-88                    5,05,045

1981-89                    5,58,622

(Source : Deputy Commissioner, Patiala)

Abiana

The abaina or water rate is charged on the area irrigated by canals. The income from this source in the Patiala District, during 1981-82 to 1988-89 is given below :

Year              Income from abiana

(Rs)

1981-82

1982-83

1982-84

1982-85

1982-86

1982-87

1982-88

1982-89

(Source : Deputy Commissioner, Patiala)

(b) Land  Reforms

Prior to the introduction of land reforms, the tenants had no hereditary cultivating rights, they cultivated at the will of the owners, who could eject them whenever they chose, after a harvest, unless they were admitted to the maurusis. In some areas, the cultivators had hereditary cultivating rights, and were called muzarian-i-maurusi. They were not deemed to hold any proprietary rights, but paid a fixed rent in cash or grain as malikana to the owner. The owner had the further advantage that he used to obtain possession of the land of his hereditary cultivator in the event of his death without male issue or next of kin within three generations. Most of the tenants were suffering from the non-conferment of ownership rights. They did not take serious interest in cultivation. They were fed up with exploitation by the land owners.

Since time immermorial, attempts have been to solve the problem of small cultivators who were constantly harassed by the big land-lords and Zamindars and were deprived of their due share and ownership right in agricultural land.

The major step taken in the direction of land reforms was the abolition of intermediaries like zamindars, jagirs, inams, etc. Consequently, tenants of former intermediaries have come into direct relationship with the State and have become owners of their holdings. To better the lot of tenants, the PEPSU Government controlling the entire area of the present Patiala District, and the Punjab Government passed a number of laws which are given as under :

1                  The East Punjab Utilization of Lands Act, 1949

2                  The PEPSU Abolition of Ala Malikiyat Rights Act, 1954

3                  The PEPSU Occupancy Tenants (Vesting of Pripretary Rights) Act, 1954

4                  The PEPSU Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1955

5                  The Punjab Bhudan Yagna Act, 1955

6                  The Punjab Resumption of Jagirs Act, 1957

7                  The Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961

8                  The Punjab Land Reforms Act, 1972

Under the East Punjab Utilization of Lands Act, 1949, which has been applicable to the area in this district from 1956, the Collector can take into possession and lease out any land which can be cultivated, but has not been cultivated for the last six harvests. Under the PEPSU Abolition of Ala Malikiyat Rights Act, 1954, the superior landowners were abolished and the inferior landowners were upgraded and for this the superior landowners were given five times the amount of rent they got from the inferior landowners. Under the PEPSu Occupany Tenants (Vesting of Proprietary Rights) Act, 1954, tenants were made fullfledged landowners liable to Government for paying land revenue, while the landowners were compensated  for this loss. This measure not only ended an anachronism by eliminating an out-moded class but the actual tiller, and brought him in direct relationship with Government. Besides the classes of cultivators mentioned above, a large area was cultivated by the tenants-at-will who were at the mercy of landlord and they had not security of tenancy. The amount of rent was not fixed and they had no remedy to seek in case of distress. To better their lot, PEPSU Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1955 was enacted, which not only gave security of tenancy to the tenants but also laid down the maximum  amount of rent that could be charged from them and prescribed certain grounds on which alone could tenants be ejected and not otherwise. Besides, the maximum area that could be cultivated by a landlord himself was prescribed. Thus a large area was released for the tenants. However, it was later on considered necessary that these provisions should be further modified and on the basis of national guidelines, the Punjab Land Reforms Act, 1972, was drafted and passed on 14 December 1972.

In order the carry out the objectives of the Act, the Punjab Land Reforms Rules, 1973, were framed under the Act. A scheme, viz. The Punjab Utilization of Surplus Areas Scheme, 1973, was also introduced under the provisions of the Act for utilization of surplus areas.

In order to implement the land reforms programme in the State, an advisory committee at the State level and similar committees at the district level were constituted. Surplus land is being distributed to landless agricultural workers, members of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, and tenants who own no land or have an area less than two hectares of the first quality land.

The distribution of land among various classes of cultivators/landlords in the district during 1983-84 to 1988-89, is given in the following statement:-

Security of Land Tenures.—The PEPSU Tenancy and of land tenure. According to the provisions of the Act, no tenant can be ejected from his cultivated holdings except in cases of default of payment of rent, or the tenant does not cultivate land, in the manner and to the extent customary in the locality in which the land is situated, or the tenant is using such land or part thereof in a manner which is likely to render the land unfit for the purpose for which it was leased to him, or the tenant on demand in writing by the landowner, has refused to execute a kabuiyat agreeing to pay a rent in respect of his tenancy.

The main objectives of the Act are : to provide a ceiling on individual land holdings, to give certain security of tenure to tenants, to provide for resettlement of tenants lawfully evicted, and to give a right to certain tenants to purchase land of their tenancy. By 31 March 1989, 6463 cases of surplus area had been decided and 15,705 acres of land was declared surplus in the district. By the same date, 1,658 eligible tenants were resettled on 4,493 acres of surplus area and on 1,471 acres of surplus land proprietary rights were given to the tenants.

Utilization of Land.—The East Punjab Utilization of Lands Act, 1949 was made applicable to the Patiala and East Punjab States Union in 1956 when it was merged in the Punjab State. Prior to its enforcement there were some areas in the district which were not brought, under cultivation. In pursuance of Government  policy to utilize every inch of available culturable land for growing more food and other essential crops, the above Act has been enforced. Under this Act, a notice is served on every landowner who allowed his land to remain uncultivated for six or more consecutive harvests and the land thus taken over is leased out to some other person for a term ranging from 7 to 20 years, priority being given to Harijans.

Consolidation of Holdings.—Prior to the formation of PEPSU, the conslidation of holdings was started in the villages of the district, relating mainly to the erstwhile princely State of Nabha, by the Co-operative Department. At that time, it was taken up in old villages at the request of the people. The consent of each land holder was necessary before any scheme of redistribution could be implemented in the village. The progress was consequently slow. The Government of Patiala and East Punjab States Union, therefore, passed the Patiala and East Punjab States Union Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Act, 2007 (BK) (A D 1950). The Act provides for the consolidation of agricultural holdings and for preventing the fragmentation of agricultural holdings in the State of Patiala and East Punjab States Union.

The Act provides, with the object of consolidation of holdings in any estate or group of estates or any part thereof for the purpose of better cultivation of lands therein, the Government may of its own motion or on application made in this behalf, declare by notification and by publication in the prescribed manner in the estate or estates concerned its intention to make scheme for the consolidation of holdings in such estate or estates or part thereof as may be specified. On such publication in the estate concerned, the Government may appoint a Consolidation Officer who shall after obtaining in the prescribed manner the shall after obtaining in the prescribed manner the advice of the landowners of the estates concerned, prepare a scheme for the consolidation of holdings in such estate or estates or part thereof as the case may be.

The Act further provides, that the transfer or partition of any land contrary to the provisions of the Act shall be void. No land in any notified area shall be transferred  or partitioned so as to create a fragment. No owner of fragment who intends to sell it can do so without the prior approval of the Collector concerned. The owner shall in the first instance offer the fragment for sale to the owners of contiguous survey numbers or recognised subdivisions of survey numbers, and in case of their refusal to purchase, the owner may transfer it to the Government on payment. The Act provides compensation to any owner who is allotted a holding of less market value than that of his original holding.

After the merger of PEPSU in the Punjab, the consolidation of holdings of the district is undertaken under the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Preventation of Fragmentation) Act, 1948.

By 31 March 1989, land measuring 11,33,116 acreas was consolidated in the district.

Rural Wages and Condition of Agricultural Labour ;The daily wages paid to agriucultural and skilled workers (men) in a selected village, viz. Kakrala in the Nabha Tehsil, during 1981-82 to 1989 are given in the next following statement

 

(c) Other Sources of Revenue, State and Central

(i)               Other Source of State Revenue

In addition to the land, the other sources from which State derives its revenue are described below :

Stamp Duty.—In the Patiala princely State, until 1856, all deeds were executed on plain paper. But in that year, Maharaja Narinder Singh introduced the use of stamped paper and entrusted the State seal to special officer. The State Stamp Act was introduced in special officer. The State Stamp Act was introduced in 1867 by Diwan Lala Kulwant Rai. Process-fees (dastakana) were introduced in 1872 at the rate of 2 per cent. Up to that time the parties produced their own witnesses. A special stamp was used to realize arrears of land revenue. The Tahsildar gave a stamped authority to a chaprasi (Peon), who then proceeded to the defaulter’s house and realized the arrears plus the value of the stamp. In 1901, the last year of the old stamp system, the income from stamps was nearly Rs. 1,50,000, wile the expenditure on establishment and contingencies was slightly over Rs 6,000. In 1902 the Stamp Department was transferred to the Accountant General on deputation, who reorganized the system of issue. The new rules provided for supply of stamps to be kept in the charge of the Treasury Officer, who issued them to nizamat treasuries on receipt of quarterly indents. Stamps could only be sold by licensed stamp vendors, of whom there were 25 in the State. The Patiala Stamp Act dealt with stamps and court-fees. Prior to independence, the Patiala Stamp Act was in force in the State. It was introduced in 1868.

In the Nabha princely State, impressed non-judicial sheets of foolscap size were issued by the State. The value of sheets being annas 1,2,4 and 8 and Rs. 1,2,5, 10, 50, 100 and 500.

Stamp revenue (duty) is derived from the sale of non-judicial stamps or revenue stamps.

The judicial or court fee stamps are sold under the Court Fee Act, 1870. This Act requires the Collecter (Deputy Commissioner) to ensure that the documents are properly stamped according to the schedule.

Registration Fee.—Registration is compulsory of all documents pertaining to immovable property under the Indian Registration Act, 1908. However, registration is optional in the case of other documents. The main items of receipts collected by the Registration Department are in respect of registration of documents, making or granting of copies, searching of registers power of attorney, etc.

The following statement shows the number of registered documents, value of property transferred and receipts in the district from 1981-82 to 1988-89 :-

Excise Tax.—The State and Central Excise Acts enforced in the Punjab are : The Punjab Excise Act, 1914; The Punjab Local Option Act, 1923; The Dangerous Drugs Act, ‘930; The Punjab Molasses Control Act, 1948; The Indian Power Alcohal Act, 1948 and the Medicinal and Toilet Preparations (Excise Duties) Act, 1955.

General Sales Tax.—It is levied under the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948 which replaced the Punjab General Sales Tax Act of 1941. As a source of income of State exchquer, it occupies a distinct position in tax structure. It is levied on the sale or purchase of moveable goods.

Passengers and Goods Tax.—This tax is levied under the Punjab Passengers and Goods Tax Act 1952, which came into force on 1 August 1952. Under the Provisions of the Act, Passengers and Goods Tax is levied on all fares and freights in respect of passengers carried and goods transported in motor vehicles in the State. The rate of tax has been increased from time to time. According to Punjab Government Notification No. 3-Leg/86, dated 1 April 1986, it was 45 per cent of the fare/freight. In the year 1978, it was 45 per cent of the fare/freight. In the year 1978 the annual rate of tax per truck was Rs 1,050 in the plains and Rs. 155 per annum in the hilly areas in the Punjab. The Notification No. GSR 34/P. A. 16(52) Ss. And 4/Amd. (16) 82, dated 21 June 1982 effective from 1 July 1982 raised the annual rate of tax per truck in the plains from Rs 1,050 to 1,100.

Entertainments Tax.—It is levied under the Punjab Entertainment Rax (Cinematograph Shows) Act, 1954, for every show on the number of occupied seats of a cinema. According to Punjab Government Notification No. S.O/P.A. 8/54/S.3/78, dated 3 May 1978, the tax shall not exceed Rs 150 per show in any case and shall be charged proportionately for a fraction of 100 seats.

Entertainments Duty.—It is levied under the Punjab Entertainments Duty Act, 1955, which repealed the Punjab Entertainments Duty Act, 1936. The rates of duty change from time to time. According to Punjab Government, Excise & Taxation Department Notification No. S. O. 23/P.A. 16/55/S.3/78, dated 3 May 1978, the rate of entertainment duty including that on complimentary tickets, shall be 125 per cent of the payment for admission (except 40 percent of the total number of seats in the cinema hall nearer the screen which are subject to duty @ 100 per cent) to any entertainment to which persons are ordinarily admitted on payment.

Central Sales Tax.—The Central Sales Tax Act, 1956 came into force in January 1957, enabling the State Government to tax interstate sales of goods. The States have been authorized to administer this tax on behalf of the Government of India, the entire collection being appropriated by the States.

Electricity Duty.—It is levied under the Punjab Electricity (Duty) Act, 1958, to meet the additional financial burden undertaken by the State and on account of introduction of free education and provincialization of local body schools. The duty is levied on the energy supplied by the Punjab State Electricity Board to a consumer or a licence and it is collected by the Board alongwith the bills for the energy thus supplied.

Copying Fee.—It is charged under the Punjab Copying Fee Act, 1936 for copies of orders, etc. supplied to the Public. The charges vary for supplying copies on ordinary and urgent basis.

The collections from the above mentioned taxes, in the Patiala District, during 1982-83 to 1988-89 are given in the following statement:-

(ii)              Central Source of Revenue

Central Excise Duties.—The Assistant Collector, Central Excise Division, Patiala is the overall incharge of the Patiala Division which comprises the districts of Faridkot, Firozpur, Sangrur, Patiala and Bathinda. He is assisted by 13 Superintendents, Central Excise in the performance of his duties.

The main sources of Central Excise Duty in the Patiala District are automobile parts, skimmed milk powder, detergent, horlicks, insulated winding wire of copper, biscuits, vegetable ghee, iron and steel (billets and flats, etc.) cotton yarn, Motor spirit, diesel oil, kerosene oil, etc.

Income Tax.—It is levied under the Income Tax Act, 1961, which replaced the Indian Income Tax Act, 1922, on 1 April 1962. The rate of income tax varies from year to year in accordance with the Finance Act passed by the Parliament every year.

Estate Duty.—It is levied under the Estate Duty Act, 1953. It is leviable on the estates of persons dying after this date. The Assistant Controller of Estate Duty, Patiala is responsible for the levy and collection of this duty in the district.

 

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