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Amini Commission 1776


Amini Commission 1776 a revenue commission of inquiry instituted by Governor General warren hastings to make an evaluation of India's land resources so that the next revenue settlement could be made fairly. The Quinquennial Settlement (1772-1776), which was based on nilam or auction bids among revenue farmers, proved to be a disastrous failure. A new settlement was due from 1777. Warren Hastings instituted a revenue commission to survey (hence the term 'amini') the resource situation and recommend a fair assessment of land revenue for the next settlement. It consisted of two covenanted officers and one native diwan. The two covenanted officers were David Anderson and George Bogle. They worked as commissioners and the native diwan Gangagovind Singh served on the commission as peshkar. The Governor General in Council concurred that a reliable valuation should take place in the revenues, that some diminution should be made, and that the coming settlement should be permanent. The commission was asked to give their concrete recommendations as to how these objects could be achieved.

The Amini Commission made the following observations about its survey: (i) zamindars had propensity to rack-renting which was not likely to end with the reduction of revenue demand; (ii) abolition of one tax was likely to create another and, therefore, raiyats were not likely to benefit from any reduction or abolition of tax; (iii) claims for reduction of revenue were made on the ground of river encroachments, new hats and bazaars, usurpation by a neighbouring zamindar but information would not be supplied by the complainants; (iv) taking advantage of government ignorance of the state of the affairs, the zamindars were alienating land on a much larger scale than imagined; and (v) the revenue was definitely declining ever since the assumption of diwani by the Company.

The Amini Commission report, which was fiercely debated among the members of the Council, persuaded the government to collect further information before a durable settlement was made. Until then, temporary settlement for one to three years was recommended to the Court of Directors for consideration. A copy of the report was sent to the Court of Directors with the Governor General's support of the recommendations of the Amini Commission. The Court directed the Calcutta Government to come to a settlement with the zamindars for a term ranging between one and three years. [Sirajul Islam]