Revenue figures collected in the eastern Tarai during the closing years of the nineteenth century are, of course, not available.
Same idea of the amount of revenue may be obtained from the fact that in 1900 the chiefs of the revenue offices of Rautahat-Sarlahi, Mahottari, Saptari-Siraha, and Hanumannagar were ordered to transmit a total sum of Rs 1.2 million to the Tejarathi Adda.8 Jagir Land Assignments According to figures available for 1852-53, the total value of jagir land assignments in that year was Rs 1,928,600, almost wholly in Kathmandu Valley and the rest of the hill region.
On the other hand, the government collected only Rs 19,750 from land taxes in these regions.9 The districts of Udayapur, Ilam, Doti, Bajhang, Jajarkot, Accham, Thalahara Contd… 67 Dullu-Dailekh, and Jumla did not contribute a single reupee as land tax to the government in that year, while the whole of Kathmandu Valley contributed only about Rs 5,006.
Birta lands in the region contributed more revenue through the Pota tax, approximately 44,000.10 In 1883, the Rana government abolished all jagir land grants in the Tarai region.
That decision was promoted by the realization that ”because lands in the Tarai have granted to civil and military officials, the amount of revenue deposited in the treasury is meager”.11 In other words, the Rana government made an attempt to regulate the assignment of economic resources to ascriptive groups in order to maximize its own receipts of ”free floating mobile” resources. Tax on Birta and Jagir Incomes The Rana government’s efforts to locate new resources of revenue to finance the Nepal-Tibet war revealed the taxable potential of birta and jagir incomes.
In 1856, a special levy was imposed amounting to one-third of incomes from birta, guthi, and kipat and, as well as incomes of jagirdards whose assignments exceeded 700 muris of rice-lands of homestead tax revenue amounting to Rs 80 a year, ar a consolidated cash salary exceeding Rs 400 year.12.
The levy was imposed on a one-time basis only.
Collections during that year in the eastern and western Tarai districts amounted to approximately Rs 300,000, or nearly one-eighth of the revenue collected from all sources throughout the Kingdom. Table 313 Revenue from Trikhandi Levy, 1856 Moragn Rs 19,312 Saptari Rs 51,511 Mahottari and Sarlahi Rs 112,627 Rautahat Rs 20,436 Bara Rs 66,985 Parsa Rs 22,561 — The foundations of commercial law were laid in Nepal with the enactment of the first legal code of the Kingdom in early 1854.
The code contained a number of provisions relating to property, inheritance and contract, and insolvency. In case any one has borrowed money from the government, or from any indivicual, with a without a bond, he shall repay the loan from his wealth, if has any, or else (through the sale of) his houses, lands, cattle, and other property.
If he has no such property, he shall sign a bond stipulating repayment of the loan in installments.10 151 Any amount outstanding in the course of business transactions, for which no bond has been signed shall be settled on the basis of the accounts maintained by the two parties.11 Any dispute between two merchants in the course of business transactions shall be settled on the basis of the documents in the possession of both, if they are still alive.
If they are dead, and any person makes claim against their sons, it shall be settled on the basis of the accounts and records maintained by both parties, as well as the evidence of people who had knowledge of their business transactions.
If no evidence or witnesses are available, the claim shall be dismissed.12 The legal code of 1854 thus marks the transition from a legal system dominated by considerations of a lord and peasant economy to one which took into account the intricacies of commercial relationships.
A single instance may be sufficient to illustrate the nature of the charge.
Ever since the time of King Rama Shah (1606-36) the Gorkhali rulers had set 10 percent as the maximum annual interest that a creditor could charge from his debtor on money loans.
In cases of default, he was entitled to collect no more than twice the amount of the principal in settlement of his claim.13 Such a regulation was perhaps justified in an agrarian society where the borrower was usually a poor peasant who needed the loan for consumption and the period of repayment was determined by the process of the slow-moving cycle of agricultural production.
However, the regulation did not take into account the credit needs of a faster-moving mercantile economy in which both profits and risks operated at a much higher level than in agriculture.
The 1854 legal code resolved this conflict of interests between the needs of subsistence agriculture and commerce in an ingenious way through a distinction between interest and profits.
Whereas it fixed the maximum rates of interest on all categories of money loans at the traditional figure of 10 percent yearly, it set no limit to the amount of profits that a creditor could claim on commercial loans:14 In case any person engages in trade with capital borrowed from a creditor stipulating in writing the payment of a stipulated share of the profits, he may recover the principal amount and profits as stipulated.
But if he has stipulated payment of interest, not of profits, he shall be liable to pay only 10 percent as interest. It is not possible on the basis of available information to determine how effectively these measures were actually enforced.
Nevertheless, there seems little doubt that such legislation at least establishment norms of commercial hehaviors which made possible recources to the courts. 152 Notes 1.
John Hicks, A Theory of Economic History, London: Oxford University Press, 1869, p. 68. 2.
Francis (Buchanan) Hamilton, An Account of the District of Purnea in 1809-10, Patna: Bihar and Orissa Research Society, 1928, p. 576. 3.
P. 36. — amali or thari – R. 1 Total Rs 10 170 ”If any discrepancy is subsequently detected, the local amali or thari shall report the matter.
In no circumstances shall (the birtaowner) be allowed to use land in excess of the area within the prescription boundaries.” Regmi Research Collection, vol. 24, pp. 42-43. 9.
Ban on Export of Wax On Magh Badi 9, 1856, a royal order was sent to local authorities, functionaries and landowners (amali, subba, dware, ijaradar, umra, talab, bitalab-holders, mohoriyars) in the region east of the Dhobikhola river up to theKanka and the Tista not to permot the export of even a single tol of wax to the South (madhes).
The order added, ”Employee of the Main bhansari (ie the individual responsibe for the procurement of wax on a compulsory basis) have been sent there.
Supply them with wax at current rates against immediate payment in cash.
Any person who wants to export wax to the South shall first bring his supplies to Nepal (ie Kathmandu Valley).
If, however, the exports wax directly to the South, or if anybody permits him to do so, appropriate punishment shall be inflicted.” A similar order was issued on the same date for the region west of the Bishnumati river up to the Bheri river. Regmi Research Collection, vol. 24, pp. 29-70. 10.
Receipt of Revenues On Poush Sudi 5, 1856, the following revenues were credited to the Central Treasury (Tosakhana):- 1.
Partial payment of amount due under ijara for the districts of Bara, Parsat and Rautahat for the Vikrama year 1856 by Subba Gaja Singh Khatri — Rs 5,079-3¼ 2. do. — Rs 11,975-0½ 3.
For the district of Morang
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