The Ryotwari system was a land revenue system in British India, introduced in 1820 by Thomas Munro on the basis of a system run by Captain Alexander Reid in the Baramahal district. It allowed the government to deal directly with the farmer (‘riot’) for revenue collection and gave 1 farmer the freedom to give up or acquire new land for cultivation. The farmer was assessed only for the land on which he was cultivating. The policy was a direct collection of land revenue from each farmer by government agents. To this end, all holding crop potentials and actual cultivation were measured and evaluated accordingly. The advantages of this system were the elimination of middlemen, who often persecuted the villagers and the assessment of taxes on land which was not a mere occupation. In the ryotwari territories, where the feudal class was abolished during the British conquest, land ownership was vested in different classes: communal heirs and Patti Davis with full rights (mostly raiyats) to the communist tenants, including the imperialist upper echelons. Collected rent, tenants of newly cultivated land, and a few artisans and servants. Ryotwari was in stark contrast to the land-tax system with the determination of land rights in different classes.
The name of this system comes from the word riot, the Arabic word yah is finger-pointing by the British in India, which means farmer or peasant. Farmers or peasants of the ryotwari system were considered as the owners of the land. They had ownership rights, could sell land, mortgage, or give gifts. In the ryotwari system, the ownership was transferred to the peasants. The British government collected taxes directly from the farmers. There was no mediator in the zamindari system. However, since higher taxes had to be paid only in cash (there is no alternative to paying the same kind as the British) the problem of moneylenders came to the fore. They burden the farmers with heavier interests. The revenue rate of the ryotwari system was 50% where the land was dry and 60% was irrigated land. Critics asserted that in reality, the need for cash was a loss to the farmer and that he faced the demands of moneylenders as an alternative to his land and starvation if the crop failed. The British borrowed the word from them and continued to use it for the purpose of earning in Anglican form. The word has gone into various Indian languages, but the Hindi word Kisan is commonly used in northern India.