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Report on the Administration of Bengal


Report on the Administration of Bengal is a record serial on the activities and achievements of the Government of Bengal. The system of an annual report embodying the main events and performances of all the tiers of the administration was introduced since 1786. For the highly centralised east india company government such a system was felt to be absolutely necessary. Every authority in the chain of the administrative hierarchy was required to serve the immediate superior authority with an annual report of its activities and achievements. Starting from the lowest unit of administration, the system of annual reporting proceeded through all administrative tiers culminating in the supreme government at Calcutta. The secretary to the Governor General in Council digested these reports into a Presidential Report for the consideration of the Supreme Government as well as for the court of directors and the board of control. During the company period, the annual administration report was a confidential affair.

But from 1859, the report was made an open document and henceforth the annual report was printed for circulation and preservation. Thus emerged an annual stocktaking printed Report on the Administration of Bengal from 1859, a practice which continued down to the end of the colonial rule. The annual report was laid out mainly in ten sectors of the administration-political, land, magistracy and justice, revenue and finance, vital statistics, medical service, education, press, archaeology, and miscellaneous. Thus the Report on the Administration of Bengal provides extraordinary insight into the state of the colonial governance, its strengths and weaknesses. [Sirajul Islam]