Economy of Mauryan Period

  • Many valuable information about the social and economic condition of northern and north-western India of that time are known from the Greek accounts left by Arrian, admiral Nearchus, and Megasthenes.
  • They tell us about developed condition of many crafts, existence of a brisk trade with the outside world, and about the general prosperous condition of the country.
  • Primary source of revenue for the state was land revenue.
    • BHAGA: Royal share of produce of agriculture on private land. Amounted to 1/6th of produce. Based on land used by each individual cultivator, not on the village.
    • SITA: Royal share of produce of agriculture on State owned land. Taxation was higher on these lands.
  • Tax was collected both in cash and kind. Rajukka did the measurement of land. Tax free villages were known as Pariharaka, and tax-free land was known as Udwalik or Parihar. There was also a concept of emergency tax known as Pranay tax.
  • The state controlled all economic activities and provided irrigation facilities (Setubandha) and charged water-tax.
  • Punch-marked silver coins, which carry the symbols of the peacock, and the hill and crescent, called pana, formed the imperial currency of the Mauryas.
  • Copper Masika was the token currency and quarter pieces of masika was called kakini.
  • Kautilya refers to state officers in charge of coinage, the suvarnadhyaksa, the laksanadhyaksa and the rupadarsaka.
  • Main imports consisted of horses, gold, glass, linen, etc
  • Tamluk (Tamralipti) on east coast; Broach and Sopara on west coast were most important seaports of India.
  • The state-appointed 27 superintendents (adhyakshas) mostly to regulate the economic activities of the state They controlled and regulated agriculture, trade and commerce, weights and measures, crafts such as weaving and spinning, mining, and so on according to Arthsastra.
  • For the first time, slaves were engaged in agriculture work on a large scale.
FREE UPSC MasterClass
This is default text for notification bar