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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/309

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293
PRINCIPLES OF TAXATION.

the receipts of revenue to the extent of about $30,000,000, and represented an annual deficit to that extent.[1]

The sources of revenue in India are mainly seven, but all of them, using the term in its ordinary signification, can not be characterized as "taxation."

The first and most important of them is the taxation of land, with which the Asiatic people have been familiar from a most remote period, and the justice of which is least questioned by them. In fact, reliance upon land revenue was a feature of the Indian governments long before England had any control over India. The native rulers maintained themselves for centuries by exacting shares of crops and cash contributions from cultivators of the soil. Taxation of land in India has therefore been retained, and not instituted by the present (British) Government. The entire land of India was nationalized centuries ago, and now as formerly (and as is the case in China) the primary; title to all land inheres in the state or Government, and the cultivators of land pay a certain rent in respect to their tenancy.

There are two methods of land assessment in India, which involve a somewhat curious history. A hundred years ago, under the administration of Lord Cornwallis, an arrangement or treaty was made, which then and forever fixed the rate which the tenants of land in the government of Bengal—representing about one fourth of the present area of British India—should pay the state for their occupancy, and which then was regarded as a fair rental; and although since that arrangement was made, the land in question, owing to increased population, new industries, and state expenditures on roads and railroads, has greatly increased in value, and yields to the representatives of the primary lessees threefold or more rental, the British Government has to this day strictly respected its treaty and fulfilled its agreement. The fortunate controllers of the land thus rented—the zemindars, or native capitalists—having, however, improved their opportunities to oppress (rackrent) their subtenants, the Indian Government, since 1885, has undertaken to remedy this evil, and with a considerable degree of success. Land throughout India is divided into provinces, and the provinces themselves are divided and subdivided in such way that taxation in each locality is under the direction of an officer familiar with all the matters that must be taken into consideration in taxing justly. A multiplicity of


  1. "The gross revenue and the gross expenditure of India are very different things from the real revenue and real expenditure. In the gross revenue is included the entire receipts, and in the gross expenditure is included the entire expenditure of the whole railway system of India, the whole of the canal system, and of the irrigation works."—Speech of Mr. H. Fowler, Secretary of State for India, introducing into Parliament thc Budget for India, August 15, 1894.