Land revenues, schools and literacy: a historical examination of public and private funding of education

Indian Econ Soc Hist Rev. 2010;47(2):179-204. doi: 10.1177/001946461004700202.


Despite the centralised nature of the fiscal system in colonial India, public education expenditures varied dramatically across regions with the western and southern provinces spending three to four times as much as the eastern provinces. A significant portion of the inter-regional difference was due to historical differences in land taxes, an important source of provincial revenues in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The large differences in public spending, however, did not produce comparable differences in enrollment rates or literacy in the colonial period. Nonetheless, public investments influenced the direction of school development and perhaps the long run trajectory of rural literacy.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Colonialism* / history
  • Education* / economics
  • Education* / history
  • Education* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Educational Status*
  • England / ethnology
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • India / ethnology
  • Local Government / history
  • Public Health* / economics
  • Public Health* / education
  • Public Health* / history
  • Public Health* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Reading
  • Rural Population / history
  • Schools / economics
  • Schools / history
  • Schools / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Social Change* / history
  • Social Class / history
  • Social Responsibility*
  • Urban Population / history