Warren Hastings came to India in 1772. He found that the Company, though enjoying the right of Diwani of the rich provinces of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa since 1765, had reached the state of financial bankruptcy and the Dual Government in Bengal had failed completely. Warren Hastings tried to improve the administration and partly succeeded. Therefore, the credit of laying down the foundation of the English administration in India squarely goes to him.
The first two years of his governorship were primarily devoted to internal administration. Then some of his measures were substituted by the Council which was established by the Regulating Act. But after another two years, in 1776, he could assert himself against the wishes of the Council and, thus, got the opportunity of completing his scheme of reforms.
Reforms of Warren Hastings
Abolition of the Dual System
- Hastings abolished the Dual System that had been established by Robert Clive. In the Dual System, the Company had Diwani rights (rights to collect revenue) and the Nizam or Indian chiefs had the administrative authority.
- The Nawab’s annual allowance of Rs 32 lakh was reduced to Rs 16 lakh.
- The annual tribute paid to the Mughal Emperor was also stopped.
- For revenue collection, a Board of Revenue was set up at Calcutta.
- Treasury was moved from Murshidabad to Calcutta. Calcutta became Bengal’s capital in 1772.
- British collectors were appointed for each district and an Accountand General was also appointed.
- Unreasonable fines were done away with and restrictions were placed on the raising of rent.
- The judicial power of the Zamindars were abolished.
- Civil and criminal courts were established. Two appellate courts were established at Calcutta, one for civil (Sadar Diwani Adalat) and one for criminal (Sadar Nizamat Adalat) cases.
- The criminal court was to have an Indian judge.
- Muslims were to be tried according to their law in the Karan and Hindus, according to Hindu laws. A code of Hindu Law, prepared by Hindu Pandits was translated into English.
- He also came down heavily on the dacoits in Bengal.
- Hastings abolished the system of dastaks which were misused by company officials and traders earlier.
- He enforced a uniform tariff of 2.5% for Indian and foreign goods.
- Private trade by company officials was restricted.