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more they are all but completed. In one district a rate for roads was imposed, and successfully collected in the past year, and in fourteen more districts rates have been imposed for the year commencing 1st October 1873, making fifteen districts in all in which the cess is now levied. All this has been done without difficulty, resistance, or serious complaint.
In one district—Burdwan—the cess has been postponed for a year on account of the fever prevailing there.
The valuations have been effected with an ease and absence of friction for which we could hardly have hoped. Neither the Lieutenant-Governor nor Mr. Schalch, the experienced Member of the Board of Revenue, who superintended the operations, and to whose tact and judgment very much of the success of the measure is due, had any idea that in this country of complicated tenures and litigious spirits the returns would have been rendered and the rent-rolls completed without far more trouble and difficulty than has in fact occurred. Bitterly as the landlord class opposed the Act, still, since it has become law and received the approval of Her Majesty's Government in England, it must be admitted that they have accepted it in a good spirit, and that there has been wonderfully little of the passive resistance wliich might have much embarassed us. The officers employed have been very carefully selected and very well supervised, and the returns have been obtained quite as soon as could be expected. The whole operation has been concluded in a way which has caused little bad feeling or dispute.
When we consider the enormous complications of the tenures and sub-tenures of Bengal, and the very large number of gradations of sub-infeudations, even to the sixth and eighth degree; considering also that the measures employed were not of a stringent character, and that the time allowed for rendering returns in each successive grade was very indulgent, it is an achievement far beyond what most people had thought possible to have effected the valuation of these districts in the space of two years. It has not been sought, on this first occasion of the imposition of the cess, to push the valuation very strictly down to the very ground in every case; advantage has been taken to a considerable extent of the provision of the Act which enables officers summarily to estimate (so long as the parties do not object to the valuation) small estates and tenures paying less than Rs. 100 per annum. But over the greater part of the whole area assessed we have returns of the holding of every ryot. On the one hand a return under the truth was very dangerous as disabling the landholder to sue for a rent higher than that rendered, and on the other a return too high involved additional taxation. There seems reason to think that the returns as a whole are a fair approximation to the truth, and that the process of valuation has altogether been a remarkable success. There has cropped up in more than one place the somewhat unexpected result that the ryots, who have hitherto suffered from the entire absence of public record or account, and have in consequence been very much at the mercy of their landlords, look on the system, by which in the valuation their rents are recorded and the zemindar is pledged to a definite demand, as one of value to them, so much so as to make it not unpopular in spite of the small burden which it involves. It is certain that in the road cess districts we have acquired a knowledge of the land tenures of Bengal such as we have never had before.
There has not yet been time to set in order and tabulate the information obtained, but measures have been taken to do so, and we shall before long be in possession of the results.
Meantime, the following very general results of the valuation of the landed property of the road cess districts may be here given.
The number of tenures of all sorts valued up to latest returns in nineteen districts, of which the registration is complete in sixteen, including sub-tenures but excluding ryots' holdings, is as follows:—
Holdings paying above Rs. 100 per annum .. 37,170
The valuation and assessments are as follows:—
Total assessed value of fifteen rated districts . . 4,08,96,156
Amount of road cess for 1873-74 . . . . 8,00,655
The cess is at various rates in different districts, varying from £ anna to £ anna per rupee; it averages as nearly as possible 2 per cent, on the assessed rental.
With respect to the valuations thus obtained, we must remember that, as has been said, we have not sought to press the screw as tight as might be possible on this the first valuation. We have been content to get a good approximation to a full valuation, trusting to the second valuation five years hence to render the result more exactly complete. In addition to the general disposition to understate rather than over-state values, and to the possible under-valuation of small estates summarily assessed, it must be understood that, actual rents only being rendered, all persons classed as ryots who hold at fixed rates, have occupancy rights, or otherwise are in any degree privileged, or beneficial tenants, are assessed only on the rent they pay; not on the rack value. So far then as any ryots pay short of rack rents, the valuation is below the outside valuation.
Taking all things into consideration, we may say that probably the land which has given an assessable rent-roll of something more than three times the land revenue is probably worth four or five times the revenue, especially if we take permanently settled districts only. Three of the fifteen districts are npt permanently settled, and pay a higher revenue in proportion than the others.
It may be said that there are no mines, quarries, &c, worthy of mention in the districts in which the Act has been introduced. The railways cannot be assessed without the consent of the Government of India, and that consent has not been given. Consequently the remaining immovable property liable to assessment, in addition to land, consists of houses and shops. Of these again, in the country all houses of agriculturalists and landholders who pay on the land are exempt, and all towns, with municipal constitutions, are exempt, the expectation having been that they would be taxed for their own roads under the Municipal Bill. All houses below a certain value are further exempt. The taxable house property is therefore comparatively very small, and it has not been attempted on this first occasion to assess it in a hard or strict way; rather the assessment has been indulgently confined to small towns and large villages not municipalities, but which contain a considerable number of non-agricultural houses. It has not been thought worth while or remunerative to hunt for one or two scattered houses liable to the tax in 1he most purely agricultural villages.
The account of the Road Cess operations in Chapter XXII explains the machinery by which the rate is assessed and administered.
Every effort has been made to make the people thoroughly acquainted with their obligations and rights, and to ensure that the money shall be fairly spent in the various localities for the common good by fair representatives of the people themselves. Judging by the absence of complaint or excitement, we may hope that the objects of the Act have been understood and appreciated.
Chapter XXIII gives carefully and fully the results of
the attempts of the Bengal Go
Vital Statistics. . \ , , . v \_i
vernment to obtain more reliable Vital Statistics, and furnishes especially interesting particulrs of the experiment of obtaining, as accurately as possible, the deaths and births in selected areas of town and country in every district.
Chapter XXIV deals with Emigration both to the Emi ration Colonies and to the Tea Districts.
The former has been very active in the past year, and there lias been a considerable new emigration to the Dutch Colonv of Surinam. The LieutenantGovernor has been very anxious to promote free emigration to the tea districts, and he has embarked on a plan of roads leading direct from the thickly peopled districts of the West, through the districts of Bengal north of the Ganges (where there is always a demand for labour) to the sparsely populated countries of the East. Since this scheme of roads was designed a new importance has been given to the whole subject of emigration by the failure of the crops, and by the strong light in which the apprehension of scarcity places the advantage of relieving districts where the census shows the population to be excessive, and facilitating the movement of the people to places where their labour is more valuable. Plans for effecting this object are now engaging particular attention. It has been mentioned that the new Act for regulating emigration to the tea districts has been passed. It permits and facilitates free emigration either without contract or under ordinary service contracts for periods not exceeding one year.
In Chapter XXV, Sanitation, we unfortunately cannot sanitation great conquests made
in that science throughout the country generally, though we believe that a really great success has been achieved in Calcutta, as shown in the Chapter on Vital Statistics. The Sanitation chapter is then principally devoted to a notice of the epidemic and other scourges from which we have chiefly suffered, and of the efforts made to combat them. An account of the Burdwan fever during the past year is given in some detail. All that was in the _ „ , , power of the Government has
The Buniwan fever, i , T, . , , ,.
been done. It is hoped that the fever is wearing itself out and subsiding in the tract most affected, but it is also, it is feared, marching onwards south
into Midnapore, aswell asinto the northern parts of Beerbhoom. The causes of this fever are still a mystery, but renewed efforts are being made to investigate them.
Chapter XXVI, 'Medical Relief,' gives an account of the „ , working of the various hospitals
Medical rehet. , ,V c ,1
and other institutions tor the relief of disease, both in Calcutta and throughout the country. Much attention has been paid to the subject, and it is hoped that several improvements have been effected and much good has been done.
Chapter XXVII shows very successful progress in Vac„ . „ cination throughout large portions
Vaccination. „ .° or
01 these provinces. The existing system of Education is described in the Education Statistical Summary under
"System of Public Instruction," and Chap XXVIII of the Annual Report gives the educational history of the past year. The new system of Primary Education, _,. „ which was not fully developed
New system of Primary Education. ,, . * , r
in the previous year, has now been started with\very great success, as testified by a singular unanimity of opinion. The basis of the new system is a very old one, viz. the indigenous popular education of the country. The wish of the present Lieutenant-Governor was to aid, promote, and improve this indigenous system, and to educate the people through it instead of attempting to supersede it. And it has been found that this can be done at so cheap a rate that funds which would go but a very little way under any other system will suffice for the wide spread of a useful and practical instruction. The Indian branch of the Aryan family are a literature-loving people. The Hindoos of old times were undoubtedly an educated race, and education has not altogether lost its hold among them. The villiige schoolmaster seems to have been a universal institution in former days. That education formerly prevailed more than at present, may be gathered from the fact that there is now more education in the secluded, primitive, and more purely Hindoo parts of the country than in those over which the waves of conquest and so-called modern civilisation have rolled. In isolated Orissa, and in secluded parts of the Himalayas, village schools are very common, and most of the people can read and write. But in the more open and populous plains of Hindoostan (of which Behar is a part) and Bengal, which have been the seat of great empires, education has much