From the earlier times, the economy of India was purely based on the Agriculture, thus the land revenue was the prominent and pivotal source of state income. The first land settlement operation was introduced in 16th century by the then ruler of Delhi Sher Shah Suri. He innovated the ideas, and later on his vision was further streamlined, during the reign of Akbar when his prominent Minister, Todar Mal re-organized the entire land revenue system. This system was such progressive that the Britishers also inherited and continued it, but made certain changes for betterment. The permanent settlement was conducted by Lord Cornwallis in Bengal in 1793 AD. The changes made during the British rule, developed two major types of land revenue systems.
a). In Bengal and its adjacent areas, permanent settlement was introduced. The private landlords were created, to have the private property rights of land. These landlords were the intermediaries between the Govt and the actual cultivators. This system is commonly known as Zamindari system.
b). In large parts of Maharashtra and Madras, a different land revenue system was adopted with temporary settlements. Here the Govt directly dealt with the cultivators. This system generated a name of Ryotwari system.
After the attainment of independence, the Govt of India aimed to bring the peasants and the state into direct contact. Where Zamindari system, prevailed, it was abolished and where Ryotwari system prevailed, the laws were formed for the protection of the tenants to give the rights to the tillers of the land. The changes made in the land record system necessitated the maintenance of village registers with full details of land. A regular system of revenue administration was established and the maintenance of land record registers was made obligatory.
After the consolidation of many small states and the formation of present state of J&K, the first temporary arrangement called ‘Sarsari-Bandobast’ was made by Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1870 AD followed by another ‘Sarsari-Bandobast’ by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1896 AD and in 1916 AD in Jammu Division.
The first regular settlement was conducted in J&K, in between 1887 to 1905 AD, during the reign of Maharaja Pratap Singh. This regular settlement called “Bandobast Qanooni” was held under the superintendence of Mr. Vingate, a Britisher in 1887 in Kashmir valley. He completed two paraganas out of the 28 namely “Paragana Lal & Phak”. Mr. Vingate left the state after two years and the most renowned & legendary personality. Mr.Walter R. Lawrence stepped in 1889. Mr. Lawrence created immortality to his name in the history of Kashmir. It took him around four years to complete the job of settlement in Kashmir valley. It was due to his strenuous efforts, that by 1893, 10,709 village cadastral maps were prepared.