Given an account of the reforms of Warren Hastings

Given an account of the reforms of Warren Hastings.

When Warren Hastings assumed the administration of Bengal in 1772, he found it utter, chaos. The financial position of the company became worse and the difficulties were intensified by famine. Therefore, Warren Hastings realized the immediate need for introducing reforms.

Abolition of the Dual System:
The East India Company decided to act as Diwan and to undertake the collection of revenue by it own agents. Hence, the Dual System introduced by Robert Clive was abolished. As a measure to improve the finance of the Company. Warren Hastings reduced the Nawab’s allowance of 32 lakhs of Rupees to half that amount. He also stopped the annual payment of 26 lakhs given to the Mughal Emperor.

Revenue Reforms:
After the abolition of the Dual system, the responsibility of collecting the revenue fell on the shoulder of the company. For that purpose, a board of Revenue was established at Calcutta to supervise the collection of revenue. English collectors were appointed in each district. The treasury was removed from Murshidabad to Calcutta and an Accountant General was appointed. Calcutta thus became the Capital of Bengal in 1772 and shortly after a British India.

The Bobrd of Revenue formed out the lands by auction for a period of five years instead of one year in order to findout their real value. The Zamindars were given priority in the auction. However, the certain good measure were taken to safeguards the interests of the peasants. Arbitrary cesses and unreasonable fine were abolished. Besides, restrictions were imposed on the enhancement of
rent. Yet; the system was a failure. Many Zamindars defaulted and the arrears of revenue accumulated.

Reorganisation of the Judicial system:
The Judicial system at the time of Warren Hasting’s ascendancy was a store-house of abuses. The Nawab who was hither to the Chief Administrator of justice, misused his powers. Often, his judgements were careless. The Zamindars who acted as judges at lower levels within their own areas were highly corrupt and prejudiced on the whole, the judicial institutions suffered from extreme corruption. Warren Hastings felt the necessity of reorganizing the judicial system. Each district was provided with a civil court under the collector and a criminal court under an Indian Judge. To hear appeals from the district courts two appellate courts, one for civil cases and another for criminal cases, were established at Calcutta. The highest civil court of appeal was called Sadar Diwari Adalat, which was to be presided over by the Governor and two judges recruited from among the members of his council. Similarly, the highest appellate criminal court was known as Sadare Niazmat Adalat which was to function under an Indian Judge appointed by the Governor-in-Council. Experts in Hindu and Muslim laws were provided to assist the judges. A digest of Hindu law was prepared in Sanskrit by learned pandits and it was translated into Persian. An English translation of it Code of Hindu laws - was prepared by Halhed.

Trade Regulations and other Reforms:
Warren Hastings abolished the system of dastaks or free passes and regulated the internal trade. He reduced the number of custom houses and enforced a uniform tariff of 2.5 percent for Indian and non- Indian goods. Private trade by the Company’s servants continued but within enforceable limits. Weavers were given better treatment and facilities were made to improve their condition. He also introduced a uniform system of pre-paid postage system. A bank was started in Calcutta. He improved the police in Calcutta and the dacoits were severely dealt with.