In India and Pakistan, a tehsildar is a tax officer accompanied by revenue inspectors. They are in charge of obtaining taxes from a tehsil with regard to land revenue. A tehsildar is also known as an Executive Magistrate of the tehsil concerned.
In the revenue department, the deputy collector (also called Deputy District Collector) is usually a tehsildar who reports to the District Revenue Officer (DRO), who is also called the Additional District Collector and is the overall in-charge of the revenue department for the district. The DRO in turn reports to the District Collector (also called District Commissioner) who is in charge of overall management of the district across all departments. Deputy collectors are hired through State Service Selection Commissions, whereas DRO and District Collectors are usually Centre Civil Services employees appointed to the state cadre.
The immediate subordinate of a tehsildar is known as a Naib Tehsildar. This is akin to an additional deputy commissioner.
The term is assumed to be of Mughal origin, and is perhaps a union of the words "tehsil" and "dar". "Tehsil" is presumably an Arabic word meaning "revenue collection", and "dar" is a Persian word meaning "holder of a position".
During British rule, a tehsildar was most likely a stipendiary officer of the government, employed to raise revenue. The position was called as Mamlatdar in Goa and some parts of Maharashtra. It was subsequently used by Pakistan and India following their independence from the British Empire. Tehsildar is also known as Talukdar in some states of India. In Assam, Bengal, and parts of Jharkhand, a tehsildar is known as a Mouzadar. The 17th-century composer Kancharla Gopanna was the tehsildar of Bhadrachalam. He is said to have used money from the government treasury to build Bhadrachalam Temple, and was imprisoned in a dungeon in Golconda.
Tehsildar are Class 1 gazetted officers in most states of India. In Uttar Pradesh, tehsildar are given powers of assistant collector Grade I. They also are given judicial power. They implement the various policies of the taluka and are subject to the District Collector. Officers holding the post of tehsildar preside over matters related to land, tax, and revenue. Tehsildar were first appointed as Naib Tehsildars after successful completion of a State Service Exam (i.e. UPPSC in Uttar Pradesh, HPAS in Himachal Pradesh, RAS in Rajasthan, MPPCS in Madhya Pradesh, BAS in Bihar, APPSC in Andhra Pradesh, TSPSC in Telangana, or other equivalent exams in other states of India), or promoted from a subordinate post like Kanoongo (also known as Revenue Inspectors). In Uttar Pradesh, tehsildar are promoted from Naib Tehsildar. Later on, they get promoted to the post of sub-divisional magistrate.
Each state is divided into districts. The district's senior civil servant is the District Collector/District Magistrate, who is an officer from the IAS cadre. These districts are further subdivided into Revenue Subdivisions or Prants (West India). Each subdivision is under the charge of an officer designated as a Subdivisional Magistrate (S.D.M.) or Deputy Collector, who is a member of the State Civil Service cadre.