HISTORY OF REVENUE DEPARTMENT
The history of Land Administration dates back to the olden days of kings and kingdoms. The Land revenue was the major source of revenue in those days. The present system of preparing and maintaining land records originated from the Moguls period and it reached its scientific form during the British Rule.
During the British Rule, the Revenue Department was the pivot of Administration. The Revenue Board, that wielded extraordinary powers administered it. The Collector was the virtual monarch at the District.
The Revenue Board was established in Madras State in 1786, with the sanction of the Court of Directors of East India Company. The Board under the control of Governor, has to superintend the whole administration, revenue collection and subordinates control. It marked the beginning of departmentalization of functions of Government.
In 1803, the Revue Regulation, de-linked administration of Civil Justice from Board. It gave statutory foundation to the Board and spelled out its main duties like Collection of Revenue, recommending sources for augmenting the income of the Government and punishing the subordinates.
In 1849 decentralization was introduced. The Board of Revenue ACT 1883 dispensed with the Collective nature of the Board. Each member was assigned some subjects and his orders were treated as those of the board. In 1894 the Board received operational freedom. Senior members of the ICS were selected as board members.
The Board seems to have received a setback from 1915 to 1926 when its jurisdiction shrank. Separate Departments were constituted and certain sources of Revenue were transferred to Center. However from 1937 it regained its importance. Further in the wake of Independence it was asked to coordinate Food Production, Community Development and National Extension Service.
ANDHRA BOARD OF REVENUE:
With the formation of separate Andhra State, the Andhra Board of Revenue was formed in 1953. It was a replica of Madras Board (pre-independence). But it has 2 members, where as Madras Board has 5 members drawn from ICS. It was the link between the Government and the Districts. The first member was senior even to the then Chief Secretary to Government.
BOARD OF REVENUE IN ANDHRA PRADESH:
The integrated Board of Andhra Pradesh (Madras Board & Hyderabad Board), constituted on Madras Board pattern, enjoyed some of the powers of Hyderabad Board also. It was administered through the Board Standing Orders, that form the basis of administration even today, and had 5 members on board.
In 1957 National Savings Scheme was put under its charge.
Gradually the Board lost its position as the highest Body of Revenue. In some matters Board Standing Orders were altered by statutory amendments. Again special Secretaries to Government were created in 1961 and Board lost its distinction as the only administrative body with senior most officers, though Chief Secretaries were drawn from the Board Members.
It lost its control over minor irrigation in 1962 and Endowments in 1964. The Panchayat Raj was withdrawn in 1970. But Tribal Welfare and PWD were added.
In the Revenue Department, Commissioner of Revenue assisted the Board in its functioning. Secretary, Board’s Land revenue and Irrigation Branch, in turn will assisted the Commissioner.
At District Level District Collectors, District Revenue Officers performed the revenue and administrative functions. Revenue Divisional Officers and Sub Collectors at Divisional Level, Tahsildars and Deputy Tahsildars at Tahsil Level, Revenue Inspectors and Girrwars at the Firka/ Circle Level and Village Officers/ Village Servants at the Village Level assisted the Collector.
COMMISSIONERS ACT 1977:
The Board of Revenue was abolished by the “AP Board of Revenue replacement by Commissioners Act 1977”. Commissioners were appointed in place of Board Members. The Commissioner of Land Revenue, Commissioner of Survey & Settlement, Commissioner of Excise, Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and Commissioner of Land Reforms & Urban Land Ceiling exercised the powers of Members.
In 1999 the posts of Commissioners – Survey Settlement & Land Records and Land Reforms & Urban Land Ceiling were abolished. The post of Commissioner Land revenue was re-designated as Chief Commissioner of Land Administration (CCLA). Commissioner of Appeals in a Cadre post of IAS and Commissioner of Legal Affairs in the cadre of District & Sessions Judge were created to assist the CCLA.