He adopted a vigorous forward policy and waged wars extensively. His aggressive and imperialist policies paved the way for the general expansion of the British Empire. He further expanded British power in India.
War against the Gurkhas (1814): Nepal emerged as a powerful Gurkha state in 1768. In 1801, the British acquired the districts of Gorakhpur and Basti from the Nawab of Oudh. This move brought the boundary of Nepal to touch the British frontier. The aggressions of the Gurkhas into the British territories culminated in a war. In March 1816, the Treaty of Sagauli was concluded. The Gurkhas gave up their claim over the Terai region and ceded the areas of Kumaon and Garhwal to the British. The Gurkhas had to withdraw from Sikkim and they also agreed to keep a British Resident at Kathmandu. It was also agreed that the kingdom of Nepal would not employ any other foreigner in its services other than the English.
Suppression of the Pindaris: The first reference about them is during the Mughal invasion of Maharashtra. They used to serve the army without any payment but instead were allowed to plunder. In 1812, the Pindaris plundered the districts of Mirzapur and Shahabad and in 1815 they raided the Nizam’s dominions. Lord Hastings, determined to suppress the Pindaris, raised a large army and in 1824 the menace of the Pindaris came to an end.
Downfall of the Maratha Confederacy: Another major achievement of Lord Hastings was against the Marathas.
He approved the Ryotwari system of land revenue introduced in the Madras Presidency by Sir Thomas Munroe.
The Ryotwari System, introduced by Thomas Munro, in 1820 was a land revenue system in British India that allowed the government to deal directly with the cultivator (‘ryot’) for revenue collection and gave the peasants freedom to acquire new land for cultivation.
The peasants or cultivators were considered the landowners under this system. They had ownership rights to the land and could sell, mortgage, or gift it. The government collected taxes directly from the peasants. This was done in the Madras and Bombay areas.
However, Overestimation of revenue was a major issue. The fixed land revenue was frequently greater than the land’s capacity and the collection method was rigid, frequently involving torture to extract tax. Hence though the State eliminated the intermediary, the State itself became a Zamindar.
In the sphere of judiciary, the Cornwallis Code was improved. The Police system of Bengal was extended to other regions. The importance of Indian Munsiffs had increased during his administration. But the separation of judicial and revenue departments was not rigidly followed. Instead, the District Collector acted as Magistrate.