Whenever we get on with a job, we need support in many ways. Quite often, we get the support we require. When I sat down to complete this project, I was not sure if I could have managed to complete even twenty five percent of what I have done now. The truth is- it wouldn’t have been, but for the priceless support I have received during the course of the project work. So it is my privilege to mention them and thank them for their help. I would like to express my gratitude to Mrs. Aparna Jain, the Head of Department for BMS course in S. K. Somaiya, for going through my project several times.
She was present every time to help me out and she solved patiently, all my doubts and queries. I would like to thank Mr. Radhakrishnan Pillai for providing me with a lot of material using which I could complete the project. It might have been impossible for me to carry on, without his help. A special thanks to my family and friends for just being there for me and letting me know that I could count on them every single time. They gave me the will to get on with this project. According to Chanakya, one must start all important works after praying to The Gods. So, straight out of Arthashastra, “Om.
It encompasses of a wide array of ideals and fundamentals that could be put to use in today’s environment. It becomes mandatory for every Indian to learn The Arthashastra because of its all pervasive nature. The Arthashastra had been lost in oblivion since ages before it was finally resurrected for the masses. The Arthashastra is indeed a book that is one of its kinds in the world. Going through his works, one could see that Kautilya, the Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya has guided the Emperor in his pursuit of greatness. He possesses a thorough understanding of economics and all the prevalent economic policies.
Kautilya has given fundamentals of town building and public governance; which, if implemented properly could change the deplorable condition of governance in India. Kautilya has also given valuable insights on trade and commerce. He has even stated the importance of international trade and gave impetus to such trade. The taxation policy and the wages structure of Kautilya can itself be used as a reference book for the government of any country. It gives importance to the happiness and welfare of subjects and not only to the fulfilment of treasury.
Agriculture, co-operatives, banking, etc were all taken care of by The Arthashastra. Human Resources Management and Leadership are the highlights of Arthashastra. Kautilya has indeed given a great sermon on leadership. This project has tried to encompass all the required materials about Arthashastra and put them to use with a modern perspective. It has tried to solve all the modern woes of governance through the eyes of Kautilya. Case studies have been included at the end to give a better grip on the subject matter and make it more practical in approach.
All this has been done keeping in mind that no individual or organisation is hurt or offended with regards to anything written or referred to in this project. I hope that this work will go a long way in understanding the intricacies of the great epic ‘The Arthashastra’ and will pave the way for future research and studies on this less explored subject of management.
OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this project are to: ? Highlight the values in Arthashastra which could have a profound influence on the management tactics used today. ? To arouse interest in wisdom that had been lost for years. To draw parallels and differences between the methods of administration and management during the Mauryan Empire and the present age. METHODOLOGY: The data used in this research work is secondary in nature. This project is more of a compilation of many revered works coupled with inputs from the researcher. Reference material has come in the form of books and websites. Meetings with Arthashastra scholar, Mr. Radhakrishnan Pillai have also helped in collecting secondary data required for this project. Historical data method is mainly employed in collection of data.
Efforts have been taken to ensure the authenticity of the data.
LIMITATIONS: The project work is not without its own set of limitations though care has been taken to ensure that they are at a minimum level. The following limitations have come to the fore during the compilation of this project:
Lack of historical data has been a major problem. The Arthashastra had been in oblivion for ages and much of the manuscripts are said to have been destroyed or lost. It has been difficult to join the broken threads.
- Secondary data is in the form of websites and books.
- Hence, it would be fair enough to say that these may be subject to biasness or prejudices of the respective authors.
- There has been a major shift in the psyche of people since the Mauryan Era to the present age. Hence, reliability of the reproduced works cannot be guaranteed. However, on reading the manuscript, one gets a vivid view of the subject matter and efforts have been taken to provide an unprejudiced and unbiased report based solely on facts.
INTRODUCTION: India has always been a land of great souls. Be it Maharishi Ved Vyasa or Aryabhatta or more recently, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, India has been a nation basking in the glory of being the birth place of intellectuals with no equal. The nation has seen it all; from political turmoil to epochal feats; from relentless struggle for an identity to being one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Some believe India’s success is an effect of Indians having vehemently taken to modernism and the western ideology, while others credit the success with going back to our roots and developing an Indian ideology. Both views make sense as the world is beginning to warm up to Indian ideologies and embrace what is possibly the oldest race in the world.
India traces its history to the formation of Indus Valley civilization, some ten thousand years ago. This was followed by several monarchies and invasions, making this land the envy of many. This period led to the development of the glorious history of India as we know it today. Possibly, the seeds of Indianness were sown by the Aryans who came to India. They started their first colonies and laid down norms and regulations which they had to abide with. They prepared the Vedas which gave rise to the Vedic Period in India’s history. Within the Vedas, were enshrined the doctrines of the Ashrama system.
The Purusharthas followed the Ashrama system of Vedas.
PURUSHARTHAS: Purusharthas could be defined as the aim or objectives of human life. They consisted of the following: ? Dharma: Dharma stands for Righteousness or Dutifulness. Dharma was the corner stone of the entire ethos in the human context. It was the prima doctrina of the ancient Indian values system. ? Kama: Kama stands for desire or passion. It is the drive that motivates a certain course if action. Kama denotes the human attribute of having a soft spot for worldly desires and a strong will to achieve those desires. Moksha: Moksha means Salvation. Moksha aims to let go all worldly ties and relations. It is the stage where a person attains Nirvana or eternal freedom from all senses. Thus, Moksha stands for Renunciation. The fourth Purusharthas was Artha or Wealth. Artha significantly symbolized more than just material pleasures or treasures. It was wealth or power as we know it of today. As days passed by, the importance of Artha grew in the human minds and today, it has become the sole motivator or aim in Human life. .
MEANING OF ARTHA: Artha, as discussed earlier, means Wealth.
However, it is not to be confused as materialistic accumulation or treasures. Artha is wealth in absolute terms. It covers everything from treasures to knowledge to courage. Artha is everything that is valuable for human beings. Indeed, Artha predominantly speaks about economy and not valour or knowledge. However it is a narrow approach of assessing Artha. Thus, Artha is complex in nature. This complexity has propelled many scholars to comprehend the subjectivity of Artha. Many have succeeded while many have failed to solve the intrigues of this concept.
There have been many approaches towards learning the concept of Artha. Some have been purely based on rules or certain set of beliefs like the exhaustive Manusmriti, while many have been practical treatises on Artha. As one studies Artha and its complexities, one could wonder at the realms of possibilities that this subject provides. From the basic economic theory of demand and supply to the ultra modern theory of environmental and social accounting, Artha encompasses all. Even more amazing is the fact that all this was prevalent since the times of the Vedas.
Many scholars have tried to convey the ancient teachings of the sages in the most modern way possible; however one must say, none have succeeded, but for one. .
MEANING OF ARTHASHASTRA: The study of Artha came to be known as Arthashastra. Arthashastra literally means “the science of wealth” or “economics” as we know about it in the modern parlance. However, as one studies Arthashastra, one gets a feeling that it is not meant to throw light just on the topic of dealing with materialistic riches, but also on the wealth that is intangible and cannot be measured.
The meaning of “wealth” takes a completely new paradigm in the words of Arthashastra. To learn about Arthashastra, one needs to learn about the composition of Arthashastra and its author. The Arthashastra contains nearly 6000 sutras divided into 15 books, 150 chapters, and 180 sections. The 15 books contained in the Arthashastra can be classified in the following manner: Book 1 on ‘Fundamentals of Management’, Book 2 dealing with ‘Economics’, Books 3, 4 and 5 on ‘Law’, Books 6, 7 and 8 on Foreign Policies and Books 9 to 14 dealing with ‘war’. Book 15 deals with the methodology and devices used in writing the Arthashastra.
Arthashastra is believed to have been written around 4th Century, B. C. This vast treatise was written by Vishnugupta, who was also known as Chanakya and Kautilya, the advisor to Emperor Chandragupta Maurya. There are many contradictions surrounding this too. Some believe that Vishnugupta was not Kautilya and that Arthashastra, which was originally written by Vishnugupta, was rewritten by Kautilya at a later period. However, we assume that all three were the same person and he was the rightful author of Arthashastra which was written during the reign of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya.
Also, there has been enough evidence about this assumption by reading the manuscripts and comparing the style with other writings of the same period. .
KAUTILYA: Having seen what the Arthashastra composes of, one has to necessarily learn about its author to understand the subtleties in the treatise. Arthashastra, as mentioned earlier, was written by Vishnugupta. Vishnugupta was also known as Kautilya or Chanakya. He got the name “Kautilya” as he was born in the “Kutila Gotra”. The name “Chanakya” derived from the fact that he was born to a person named “Chanaka”.
According to the legend, Kautilya was the principal of The Taxashila University. On a meeting with the erstwhile Emperor, Dhanananda, Kautilya was dishonoured and humiliated. He vowed revenge and dethronement of the Nanda Empire. He took a child named Chandragupta as his disciple and strived hard to make him the Emperor. He succeeded in doing the same and crowned Chandragupta Maurya as the new Emperor and this marked the beginning of the Mauryan Dynasty, a golden age in Indian history. Kautilya was shrewd and cunning. He had a mind which was faster than that of the average human being.
He guided Chandragupta Maurya and used all his experience to carve out one of the greatest emperors, the world has ever seen. He made rules, dictated them and implemented them to the fullest to run a highly skilled administrative set up that was unheard of during those days. All this is compiled by him in a political treatise called “Arthashastra”. Kautilya is also credited with stopping the Greek invasion to conquer the whole world. He was instrumental in the rise of the Mauryan Empire under Chandragupta Maurya and his son, Bindusara, who succeeded him.
As per the legend, Kautilya died of voluntary starvation after Bindusara charged him of sedition. However, Bindusara realised his mistake and apologised to him; but Kautilya was adamant and let go his life at a ripe age. His works were lost near the end of the Gupta dynasty and not rediscovered until 1905. One of the first translations of Arthashastra was done by R. Shamasastry in the year 1915. Thereon, we have seen many translations and depictions of Arthashastra. .
ROLE OF ARTHASHASTRA IN MODERN WORLD: An ancient saying says that wisdom is never bound by time. Thus, Arthashastra has many implications which do not alter much over time.
The various theses in Arthashastra are relevant even today as the world is looking out for a better future. The best quality of Arthashastra is that it has not been written keeping in mind a particular timeframe or a region. Its attribute of all pervasiveness has made it omnipotent. At a time when the world is need of a true leader, Arthashastra does exactly that; carve out excellent world leaders. The role of Arthashastra will be evident as we proceed further.
PUBLIC GOVERNANCE: Public governance implies structures and processes for determining use of available resources for the public good.
Good governance, according to experts, implies the following: Universal protection of human rights; laws that are implemented in a non-discriminatory manner; an efficient, impartial, and quick judicial system; transparent public agencies and official decision-making; accountability for decisions made about public issues and resources by public officials; participation and inclusion of all citizens in debating public policies and choices. It is, of course, possible to add many more aspects to the definition of good governance. Public governance is something that emerged out of a democratic set-up.
However, in India, it is not a new concept. This concept has been put to use very efficiently by the Mauryan Empire under the rule of Chandragupta Maurya or one could say, under the guidance of Kautilya. Kautilya believed that the state had a role in the market as a regulator. He advocated the principle of a mixed economy at a time when India was ruled by autocrats.
THE CONTROL OF THE STATE: Kautilya has suggested control of the State on almost all activities of governance. While the individual merchants were free to continue, they had to comply with the authorities appointed by the state.
Kautilya had appointed superintendents for almost every activity included in governance. They included superintendents for the State, for weights and measures, for trade and commerce, for agriculture, for mining, for prostitutes, for gems and jewels, for animals, for storehouses, for armoury, for weaving, for ships, for slaughter houses, for liquor, for infantry, for passports, etc. Thus, it is very much evident that the State exercised a strong control over the governance. However, it has to be noted that the State did not interfere in the day to day affairs of the public.
In theory, the State had absolute control over economic activities; however in practice, it encouraged all types of private professions too. It was recognized that the wealth of the State was dependent on the wealth of the public. Kautilya did not feel the need to interfere in the planning and decision making aspects of commerce. In the words of Kautilya, “There shall be no restrictions in the sales of those items with a frequent demand; nor shall they be subject to the evils of centralization. ”
ROLES OF THE STATE: According to Kautilya, the State had the following roles to play in an economy: ?
Role as a facilitator. ? Role as a regulator. ? Role as a protector. The State was a facilitator according to the Arthashastra. It was the duty of the State to facilitate transactions. Kautilya stressed for the formation of a Welfare State. A Welfare State is a concept of government where the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life.
The general term may cover a variety of forms of economic and social organization The State also played the role of a regulator. The State formulated laws and practices which had to be complied with. Even though the State did not interfere in the working of any commercial activity, it had to be informed and reported consistently about the functioning of the business. The State also acted as a protector of masses. Kautilya favoured free trade and believed in created mechanisms that would protect the commercial interests of traders and artisans.
According to Kautilya, “those who conspire to lower the quality of the work of the artisans, to hinder their income, or to obstruct their sale or purchase shall be fined. ”
TOWN BUILDING: Kautilya insisted in creation of villages and not on mere formation of them. According to Kautilya, villages had to be created at strategic places. Many such villages were built from scratch during this period. He also laid emphasis on building commercial towns and trade zones. This chapter taken from the Book II of Arthashastra translated by R. Shamasastry explains the formation of villages during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya: “CHAPTER I: FORMATION OF VILLAGES. ” Either by inducing foreigners to immigrate (Paradesapravahanena) or by causing the thickly-populated centres of his own kingdom to send forth the excessive population, the king may construct villages either on new sites or on old ruins (bhutapurvama va).
Villages consisting each of not less than a hundred families and of not more than five-hundred families of agricultural people of sudra caste, with boundaries extending as far as a krosa (2250 yds. or two, and capable of protecting each other shall be formed. Boundaries shall be denoted by a river, a mountain, forests, bulbous plants (grishti), caves, artificial buildings (setubandha), or by trees such as salmali (silk cotton tree), Sami (Acacia Suma), and kshiravriksha (milky trees). There shall be set up a sthaniya (a fortress of that name) in the centre of eight-hundred villages, a dronamukha in the centre of four-hundred villages, a kharvatika in the centre of two-hundred villages and sangrahana in the midst of a collection of ten villages.
There shall be constructed in the extremities of the kingdom forts manned by boundary guards (antapala) whose duty shall be to guard the entrances into the kingdom. The interior of the kingdom shall be watched by trap-keepers (vagurika), archers (sabara), hunters (pulinda), chandalas, and wild tribes (aranyachara). Those who perform sacrifices (ritvik), spiritual guides, priests, and those learned in the Vedas shall be granted Brahmadaya lands yielding sufficient produce and exempted from taxes and fines (adandkarani). Superintendents, Accountants, Gopas, Sthanikas, Veterinary surgeons (Anikastha), physicians, orse-trainers, and messengers shall also be endowed with lands which they shall have no right to alienate by sale or mortgage. Lands prepared for cultivation shall be given to tax-payers (karada) only for life (ekapurushikani). Unprepared lands shall not be taken away from those who are preparing them for cultivation. Lands may be confiscated from those who do not cultivate them; and given to others; or they may be cultivated by village labourers (gramabhritaka) and traders (vaidehaka), lest those owners who do not properly cultivate them might pay less (to the government).
The king shall regard with fatherly kindness those who have passed the period of remission of taxes. He shall carry on mining operations and manufactures, exploit timber and elephant forests, offer facilities for cattle breeding and commerce, construct roads for traffic both by land and water, and set up market towns (panyapattana). He shall also construct reservoirs (setu) filled with water either perennial or drawn from some other source. Or he may provide with sites, roads, timber, and other necessary things those who construct reservoirs of their own accord.
The same was applicable in the construction of places of pilgrimage (punyasthana) and of groves. Whoever stays away from any kind of cooperative construction (sambhuya setubhandhat) shall send his servants and bullocks to carry on his work, shall have a share in the expenditure, but shall have no claim to the profit. The king shall exercise his right of ownership (swam yam) with regard to fishing, ferrying and trading in vegetables (haritapanya) in reservoirs or lakes (setushu). ”
LAW MAKING: Kautilya held great reverence to law and order within the state.
The weights and measures were standardized and all merchants had to comply with the same. Kautilya also laid strict rules on the constitution of a “legal agreement”. For him, the element of transparency was the foremost in an agreement. During this period, oral agreements were valid; however, there had to be a voluntary witness to these agreements. The witness had to be of a sound mind. The witness should not act under provocation, anxiety or intoxication. Also, the witness could not be those who had a criminal record. Kautilya advocated the importance of forming associations.
All contracts within the association were considered legal. He also laid out laws for joint ventures and partnerships. The Arthashastra also gives much importance to arbitrations and trials in courts. An interesting point to be noticed is that Arthashastra had given due importance to passports. Every citizen had to carry a passport and this was applicable to the foreigners as well. Non compliance with this law led to a fine or imprisonment.
UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES: Kautilya stressed on the importance of fair trade practices. He also laid down fines for adulteration and supply of goods of an inferior quality.
Kautilya emphasised the need for guidelines in case of professional services. As per Arthashastra, “Artisans shall, in accordance with their agreement as to time, place, and form of work, fulfil their engagements. Those who postpone their engagements shall, except in troubles and calamities, not only forfeit ? th of their wages, but also be punished with a fine equal to twice the amount of their wages. They shall also make good whatever is thus lost or damaged. Those who carry on their work contrary to orders shall not only forfeit their wages, but also pay a fine equal to twice the amount of their wages. He also established guidelines for medical practitioners. According to Kautilya, “Physicians undertaking medical treatment without intimating (to the government) the dangerous nature of the disease shall, if the patient dies, be punished with the first amercement. If the death of a patient under treatment is due to carelessness in the treatment, the physician shall be punished with the middle-most amercement. Growth of disease due to negligence or indifference (karmavadha) of a physician shall be regarded as assault or violence. He appointed three commissioners to maintain peace in the State. Thus, one can say that law and order was strictly followed in the Mauryan Empire.
CONSUMER PROTECTION: Kautilya realised that the role of the State was to ensure that the consumers were not violated. Standard weights and measuring devices were used. They were made of materials that were not expandable under the influence of heat; nor condensable under wet conditions. Arthashastra prescribed how much to pay the merchants, artisans, craftsmen and goldsmiths. It also listed the wages to be paid for metal workers and builders.
Kautilya even prohibited beggars and other entertainers from moving about during the monsoons. The policy of consumer protection is evident in the Arthashastra. According to it, “The Superintendent of Commerce shall allow the sale or mortgage of any old commodities (purana bhandanam) only when the seller or mortgagor of such articles proves his ownership of the same. With a view to prevent deception, he shall also supervise weights and measures. Difference of half a pala in such measures as are called parimani and drona is no offence. But difference of a pala in them shall be punished with a fine of 12 panas.
Fines for greater differences shall be proportionally increased. ” The Arthashastra also states the following: “When a trader sells or mortgages inferior as superior commodities, articles of some other locality, as the produce of a particular locality, adulterated things, or deceitful mixtures, or when he dexterously substitutes other articles for those just sold (samutparivartimam), he shall not only be punished with a fine of 54 panas but also be compelled to make good the loss” Thus, one can conclude that Kautilya truly believed in the phrase “Consumer is the King”.
MODERN GOVERNANCE: One can see the stark similarities between the governance of the Mauryan State and the governance that we are being promised today. During the time of Kautilya, the villages were built from scratch and not merely formed. In India, we don’ have that kind of a mechanism. There are no towns or cities in India that have been consciously developed with the exception of Jamshedpur to some extent. If one compares the same with global cities like Shanghai or Tokyo, we may find out that we lag behind. This could also be seen in the way our judiciary works.
It is clearly mentioned in the Arthashastra that the court would not allow a person with a criminal background to appear as a witness. However, in India, we see a lot of criminals not only standing as witnesses, but also as governors and diplomats. This indeed raises a question mark over the credibility of our judicial system. The Consumer Protection Act has been enforced in India. However, not many are getting access to the benefits of this act. Unfair trade practices and adulteration is still rampant in India. Speaking about diversity, one can say that the Indian State is one of the most secular states in the world.
We follow the principle of Welfare State which was put to use by the British. However, it is evident that this concept is much older than The Great Britain itself.
TAXATION: Taxation is an important part of governance. Means by which governments finance their expenditure by imposing charges on citizens and corporate entities. Although, principally, taxation should be neutral in its effects on the different sectors of an economy, governments use it to encourage or discourage certain economic decisions. The Kautilyan State had a very adept mechanism for taxation.
Kautilya knew the importance of collecting the right amount of taxes at the right time from the right people.
METHODOLOGY: According to Kautilya, “Taxation should not be a painful process for the people. There should be leniency and caution while deciding the tax structure. Ideally, governments should collect taxes like a honeybee, which sucks just the right amount of honey from the flower so that both can survive. Taxes should be collected in small and not in large proportions”. Kautilya advocated taxation on the basis of the income of the person.
The following taxes were identified by Kautilya: ? Corporate Taxes: These taxes were collected from the guilds of artisans and the merchants. ? Income Taxes: These taxes were collected by farmers and agriculturists as a part of their produce. ? Indirect Taxes: These were levied on liquor, slaughter houses, mining, transportation, etc. ? Land and Property Tax: These included taxes on houses, agricultural or any other material property. ? Customs Duty: All imported goods had to bear customs duty. ? Entertainment Taxes: Gambling, entertainment, etc had to part with a specific amount of taxes. Special Taxes: These were levied during special occasions such as wars, famines, draughts, etc. Kautilya’s method of taxation involved the element of sacrifice by the taxpayers, direct benefits to them, redistribution of income and tax incentives.
AMOUNT OF TAXATION: As discussed earlier, Kautilya believed in collecting minimal taxes. Taxes had to be collected on the excesses left after expenses. The income structure during the Mauryan Empire was as follows: Taxable income has to be calculated on the following: ?
Current Income: It refers to the income which is steady. Normally, 1/6th of the income had to be paid in the form of taxes. ? Transferred Income: This is the income which has been transferred to an individual. For instance, the wealth transferred to the son due to the death of his parents comes under transferred income. 1/4th of this income had to be paid as taxes. ? Miscellaneous Income: This category again had three subdivisions. Which included recovery of previously written off debts, realisable economies made in investment against planned budgets any other value added income.
Every individual had to compulsorily maintain an account book which had to be presented to the superintendent of commerce while paying the taxes. Every transaction had to be recorded on the date of transaction in the account book. Not maintaining such a book was considered fraudulent and was punishable. Also, the accounting system had to be uniform and as prescribed by the superintendent of commerce from time to time.
EXEMPTIONS AND WAIVERS: The Mauryan Empire had a very strict methodology for collection of taxes.
Though the collection amount was minimal, they had a very effective mechanism for collection of taxes and this ensured that the taxes were paid by every person on a timely basis. However, the Mauryan State offered exemptions and waivers on taxation. Some of the exemptions and tax waivers are as follows: ? In case of a widow with children to look after, the transferred income due to the death of her husband is exempt from taxation. ? In case of faulty rainfall or draught, agricultural produce is exempted from taxation. ? Taxes were exempted for soldiers with exemplary record. ? Taxes were also exempted in case of serious medical illness. The family of martyrs in war did not have to pay taxes. These are a few of the cases where taxes were exempted. This is indeed a testimony to the fact that Kautilya respected humanity and acknowledged the efforts and pains of the citizens.
THE MODERN METHODOLOGY OF TAXATION : India has a well developed tax structure with a three-tier federal structure, comprising the Union Government, the State Governments and the Urban/Rural Local Bodies. The power to levy taxes and duties is distributed among the three tiers of Governments, in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Constitution.
The main taxes/duties that the Union Government is empowered to levy are Income Tax (except tax on agricultural income, which the State Governments can levy), Customs duties, Central Excise and Sales Tax and Service Tax. The principal taxes levied by the State Governments are Sales Tax (tax on intra-State sale of goods), Stamp Duty (duty on transfer of property), State Excise (duty on manufacture of alcohol), Land Revenue (levy on land used for agricultural/non-agricultural purposes), Duty on Entertainment and Tax on Professions & Callings.
The Local Bodies are empowered to levy tax on properties (buildings, etc. , Octroi (tax on entry of goods for use/consumption within areas of the Local Bodies), Tax on Markets and Tax/User Charges for utilities like water supply, drainage, etc. Since 1991 tax system in India has under gone a radical change, in line with liberal economic policy and WTO commitments of the country. Some of the changes are: ? Reduction in customs and excise duties. ? Lowering corporate Tax. ? Widening of the tax base and toning up the tax administration. Personal Income Tax: Individual income slabs are 0%, 10%, 20%, 30% for annual incomes up to Rs 50,000, 50,000 – 60,000, 60,000 – 1,50,000 and above 1,50,000 respectively.
Corporate Income Tax: For domestic companies, this is levied @ 35% plus surcharge of 5%, where as for a foreign company (including branch/project offices), it is @ 40% plus surcharge of 5%. An Indian registered company, which is a subsidiary of a foreign company, is also considered an Indian company for this purpose. Thus, one can say that the Mauryan system of taxation has been instrumental in the formation of the modern Indian system of taxation.
TRADE: Kautilya’s policies of trade and commerce were exemplary to say the least. Kautilya was of the opinion that trade was the most important ingredient for a State’s prosperity.
He laid emphasis on foreign trade as well as on domestic trade.
DOMESTIC TRADE: Domestic trade consists of trading within the countries amongst the citizens. After agriculture, trading was considered to be the most important occupation in the Mauryan Empire.
TRADE ROUTES: It was the king’s duty to promote trade and commerce by maintaining trade routes connecting markets and industrial zones. Apart from promoting trade by improving infrastructure, the state was required to keep trade routes free of harassment by courtiers, state officials, thieves and frontier guards.
The law on dealings among private merchants included: (a) Selling on agency basis. (b) Revocation of contracts between traders. (c) Traders traveling together and pooling their goods. B] Safety of goods in transit: It was also enjoined upon the frontier officers to ensure the safe passage of the merchandise and to make good any loss incurred. Responsibility to recompense loss to traders vested with the village headman barring, of course, goods that were stolen or sent away. Further if any property of trader was lost or driven away in an area between villages, the person responsible was the Chief Superintendent of Pastures, (CSP).
FOREIGN TRADE: Kautilya was of the opinion that foreign trade was most necessary for the growth of national economy. He was probably the first person to envisage the concept of a ‘nation’. Kautilya imposed a few restrictions on foreign trade. Foreign traders had to pay a sum of money in order to carry out business in the state. The foreign policy of Kautilya was really one of the distinguishing factors of Arthashastra. Kautilya considered the foreign businessmen as threats to the kingdom. According to him, they should not be given the same status as the local traders.
He gave incentives for local traders exporting their products. He strongly encouraged foreign trade, basing it on the premise that for a successful trade contract to be established, it had to be beneficial to all.
TRADE AND REVENUE: Trade was conducted as a revenue generator in the Kautilyan era. It was mostly carried out by he State and private trade was allowed in areas other than the ones in which the State had a monopoly. The revenues raised through trading went partly to finance the army and to expand the territories. Revenue from foreign trade was divided into three sources: ?
Land Revenue: The land revenue was fixed at 1/6th of the share of the produce from the land. ? Import Duties: Import duties on foreign goods were roughly around 20% of their value. These also constituted revenue to the State. ? Miscellaneous Levies: These consisted of tolls, road cess, ferry charges, etc.
IMPORTS: The sale of imported goods was allowed in as many places as possible so that they were readily available to the people in towns and countryside. Rome was the major trading partner in the Mauryan Empire. Wine, chemicals, high quality pottery, alloys, gold and silver, spices, etc were imported from Rome.
This trade was very favourable for The Mauryan Empire.
Traders were given the following incentives:
Local merchants who brought in foreign goods by caravans or water routes were exempted from taxes so that they could enjoy profits. Thus, entrepreneurship was encouraged during the Mauryan Empire.
Foreign merchants were not allowed to be sued by any parties for a commercial dispute. The local partner was however allowed to be sued. Thus the liability was always on the citizens to ensure fair trade practices. The threshold limit on profit was also indicated. The permissible profit margin on imported goods was 10%.
EXPORTS: Foreign trade was conducted on a barter basis. Exports were carried out by the State Trading Office. It determined the level of expenses for exports. The State also provided for the share of profits payable to the foreign king. All the expenses were calculated and the profitability of the trade was determined. Arthashastra encouraged profitable trading. It was not conducive towards trading which resulted in losses. Kautilya emphasized on the importance of using trade to create alliances with strong nations. Many Indian crops, spices, fabric were exported to Rome and other countries.
In the words of Kautilya, “Having ascertained the value of local produce as compared with that of foreign produce that can be obtained in barter, the superintendent will find out (by calculation) whether there is any margin left for profit after meeting the payments (to the foreign king) such as the toll (sulka), road-cess (vartani), conveyance-cess (ativahika), tax payable at military stations (gulmadeya), ferry-charges (taradeya), subsistence to the merchant and his followers (bhakta), and the portion of merchandise payable to the foreign king (bhaga).
If no profit can be realised by selling the local produce in foreign countries, he has to consider whether any local produce can be profitably bartered for any foreign produce. Then he may send one quarter of his valuable merchandise through safe roads to different markets on land. In view of large profits, he (the deputed merchant) may make friendship with the forest guards, boundary-guards, and officers in charge of cities and of country-parts (of the foreign king).
He shall take care to secure his treasure (sara) and life from danger. If he cannot reach the intended market, he may sell the merchandise (at any market) free from all dues (sarvadeyavisuddham). ”
MODERN TRADE POLICIES: In recent times there has been considerable research about trade liberalization and the numerous ways in which this can be achieved. Kautilya’s views on trade reflected that he grasped among other things a point that is extremely relevant even in the present era of globalized commerce and trade.
That is: There is no autonomous mechanism that will ensure that a nation would benefit from trade in the absence of certain safeguards and policy measures. It is thus seen that the importance of the trader was recognized by Kautilya as also the importance of the rule of law, by making restoration for any loss caused by its failure. At the same time, traders were prevented from oppressing people. This clearly shows that the welfare of the people was uppermost in the mind of the king. The connotations of harassment and obstacles to trade may have changed.
However, the fact that anti-dumping measures exist or that cartelization has to be coped with or adverse terms of trade have to be accounted for in certain sectors underscore that safeguards are essential even in current times and those responsible for managing these measures should be responsible. Furthermore, Kautilya was cognizant of the fact that the terms of trade were not just dependent on the economics but also on other various parameters. The traders had to keep in mind the political or strategic advantages in exporting or importing from a particular country.
The proliferation of free trade agreements in recent times underscores this point because there is a definite political dimension to trade treaties and agreements.
BANKING, CO-OPERATIVES AND RISK MANAGEMENT: Banking and insurance sectors have always been the catalysts of economic development. It was more or less the same during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. Arthashastra indicates that the banking sector was very much developed during the Mauryan Empire. .
RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES: Kautilya was of the opinion that higher levels of risk and uncertainty had to be compensated with higher levels of profits.
This could be seen in the trade policy of Kautilya. He allowed 10% profits on imports while allowing only 5% on local trade. This was because imports not only required a high amount of locked-up capital, but also there was a risk of goods getting stolen or damaged in transit. Kautilya provides for different rates of interest for different sections of the society. According to the Arthashastra, “An interest of a pana and a quarter per month per cent is just. Five panas per month per cent is commercial interest (vyavahariki). Ten panas per month per cent prevails among forests.
Twenty panas per month per cent prevails among sea-traders (samudranam). Persons exceeding, or causing to exceed the above rate of interest shall be punished with the first amercement; and hearers of such transactions shall each pay half of the above fine. ” .
PRIVATE SECTORS VERSUS PUBLIC SECTORS: In case of risk management, Kautilya had a centralized control over all the transactions. Almost all the transactions relating to insurance were taken care of by the state. However, this responsibility was also taken up by landlords. The landlords though had to abide with the interest rates prevalent in the economy.
The private money lenders had to pay a sum of profits on interests to the state. They were also entitled to a limit on the amount of money they lent. The private money lenders could also take up the risk for investments in merchandise. This right to take up money lending was granted only to people with enough income to dispose off and they have to be people of good character. On the other hand, the government treasury also undertook the work of insuring and managing risks. They gave money only to the needy and to people of good character.
Thus, it has to be said that Kautilya managed both, the private and the public sector in risk management ably. .
LOANS AND RATE OF INTEREST: Kautilya distinguished six different kinds of interests: compound interest, periodical interest, stipulated interest, daily interest, and the use of a pledged article. Indeed the idea of expressing interest as a percent originated in India. According to Kautilya, “The nature of the transactions between creditors and debtors, on which the welfare of the kingdom depends, shall always be scrutinized. Interest in grains in seasons of good harvest shall not exceed more than half when valued in money.
Interest on stocks (prakshepa) shall be one-half of the profit and be regularly paid as each year expires. If it is allowed to accumulate owing to the intention or to the absence of the receiver or payer, the amount payable shall be equal to twice the share or principal (mulyadvigunah). A person claiming interest when it is not due, or representing as principal the total amount of his original principal and the interest thereon shall pay a fine of four times the amount under dispute (bandhachaturgunah). ” Kautilya outlined a structure based on the type of loans, factors affecting the rate f interest, methods of calculating interest and circumstances under which interest may not be calculated by the lenders. Interest rates varied from 1. 25% to 2% per month. The rate of interest depended upon the risk involved and the potential productivity of the money borrowed. The highest rate of interest was 20% per month and was charged to those involved in overseas trade as the risk involved in this transaction was the maximum. It can be said that the Kautilyan system of lending was very effective and even modern. .
GUILDS AND INSURANCE: Kautilya also attributes a greater rate of interest to debts taken by a group of individuals.
Since the group would share the burden of interest, it would not be heavy on one individual. Moreover, the group was in a position of to pay high interest since it was involved in larger projects with a greater profit margin. However, the creditors could not charge an interest not approved by the state. According to Kautilya, “Those who can be expected to relieve misery, who can give instructions to artisans, who can be trusted with deposits, who can plan artistic work after their own design, and who can be relied upon by guilds of artisans, may receive the deposits of the guilds.
The guilds (sreni) shall receive their deposits back in time of distress. ” .
PRESENT SCENARIO: Kautilya distinguished six different kinds of interests: compound interest, periodical interest, stipulated interest, daily interest, and the use of a pledged article. Prior to liberalization these two sectors were controlled and regulated by the government. Nationalized banks and insurance companies had a firm grip over the market. Because of liberalization, the banking and insurance industry opened up for private participation. The following are the reforms made in the banking and the insurance sectors respectively in India.
A] Banking Sector: The three major changes in the banking sector after liberalization are:
Step to increase the cash outflow through reduction in the statutory liquidity and cash reserve ratio.
Nationalized banks including SBI were allowed to sell stakes to private sector and private investors were allowed to enter the banking domain. Foreign banks were given greater access to the domestic market, both as subsidiaries and branches, provided the foreign banks maintained a minimum assigned capital and would be governed by the same rules and regulations governing domestic banks. Banks were given greater freedom to leverage the capital markets and determine their asset portfolios. The banks were allowed to provide advances against equity provided as collateral and provide bank guarantees to the broking community.
Insurance sector: The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act 1999 (IRDA Act) allowed the participation of private insurance companies in the insurance sector. The primary role of IRDA was to safeguard the interest of insurance policy holders, to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the insurance industry. Some of the prominent insurance companies are:
However, the Kautilyan ideology of keeping a threshold over the amount of lending is the highlight in this section. It shows that such a system was prevalent in India around 3000 years ago. The government of U. S. A. would have, in all probability, not fallen into the economic depression or the sub-prime crisis, had they read the Arthashastra.
AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT: Agriculture was the most important economic activity. Kautilya was of the view that cultivable land is better than mines because mines fill only the treasury while agricultural production fills both treasury and store houses.
Agriculture has always been the backbone of Indian economy. Agriculture requires irrigation facilities to survive. This has given rise to the irrigation sector. Hence, both go hand in hand.
THE MAIN ACTIVITY OF THE STATE: According to the Arthashastra, agriculture, cattle-rearing and commerce were the three main occupations in the State. In fact, Kautilya was of the opinion that a king must also learn agriculture. Agriculture was the major constituent of the Mauryan economy. Kautilya had appointed a minister to look after the agricultural sector in the economy.
SUPPORTS TO AGRICULTURE: Kautilya insisted in developing villages and creating an agrarian economy. Kautilya supported agriculture at all costs. This is evident from the following extract: “Possessed of the knowledge of the science of agriculture dealing with the plantation of bushes and trees (krishitantragulmavrikshshayurvedajnah), or assisted by those who are trained in such sciences, the superintendent of agriculture shall in time collect the seeds of all kinds of grains, flowers, fruits, vegetables, bulbous roots, roots, fiber producing plants, and cotton.
He shall employ slaves, labourers, and prisoners (dandapratikartri) to sow the seeds on crown-lands which have been often and satisfactorily ploughed. The work of the above men shall not suffer on account of any want in ploughs (karshanayantra) and other necessary instruments or of bullocks. Nor shall there be any delay in procuring to them the assistance of blacksmiths, carpenters, borers (medaka), rope makers, as well as those who catch snakes, and similar persons. ” Thus, one can say that Kautilya indicated that agriculture should receive policy and administrative support from the government officials. .
METEOROLOGY: Weather forecasting was of prime importance in the Mauryan Empire. The forecast or rain was made by observing the planetary motion and the rise and appearance of the Sun. In the Mauryan Era, a good rainy season was when one-third of the annual rainfall occurs in the beginning and at the end of the season and two-thirds in the middle. According to the Arthashastra, “The quantity of rain that falls in the country of jangala is 16 dronas; half as much more in moist countries (anupanam); as to the countries which are fit for agriculture (desavapanam);–13? ronas in the country of asmakas; 23 dronas in avanti; and an immense quantity in western countries (aparantanam), the borders of the Himalayas, and the countries where water channels are made use of in agriculture (kulyavapanam). When one-third of the requisite quantity of rain falls both during the commencement and closing months of the rainy season and two-thirds in the middle, then the rainfall is (considered) very even (sushumarupam).
A forecast of such rainfall can be made by observing the position, motion, and pregnancy (garbhadana) of the Jupiter (Brihaspati), the rise and set and motion of the Venus, and the natural or unnatural aspect of the sun. From the sun, the sprouting of the seeds can be inferred; from (the position of) the Jupiter, the formation of grains (stambakarita) can be inferred; and from the movements of the Venus, rainfall can be inferred. Three are the clouds that continuously rain for seven days; eighty are they that pour minute drops; and sixty are they that appear with the sunshine-this is termed rainfall.
Where rain, free from wind and unmingled with sunshine, falls so as to render three turns of ploughing possible, there, the reaping of good harvest is certain. ” Thus, one ac conclude that there was a very efficient mechanism for meteorology during the Kautilyan Era. Agriculture was solely dependent on weather and one had to maintain an alert forecasting of meteorological conditions.
CROPPING PATTERN: The Arthashastra says, “According as the rainfall is more or less, the superintendent shall sow the seeds which require either more or less water.
Sali (a kind of rice), vrihi (rice), kodrava (Paspalum Scrobiculatum), tila (sesame), priyangu (panic seeds), daraka, and varaka (Phraseolus Trilobus) are to be sown at the commencement (purvavapah) of the rainy season. Mudga (Phraseolus Mungo), masha (Phraseolus Radiatus), and saibya are to be sown in the middle of the season. Kusumbha (safflower), masura (Ervum Hirsute), kuluttha (Dolichos Uniflorus), yava (barley), godhuma (wheat), kalaya (leguminous seeds), atasi (linseed), and sarshapa (mustard) are to be sown last. Or seeds may be sown according to the changes of the season.
Fields that are left unsown (vapatiriktam, i. e. , owing to the inadequacy of hands) may be brought under cultivation by employing those who cultivate for half the share in the produce (ardhasitika); or those who live by their own physical exertion (svaviryopajivinah) may cultivate such fields for ? th or 1/5th of the produce grown; or they may pay (to the king) as much as they can without entailing any hardship upon themselves (anavasitam bhagam), with the exception of their own private lands that are difficult to cultivate. It also states, “The superintendent shall grow wet crops (kedara), winter-crops (haimana), or summer crops (graishmika) according to the supply of workmen and water.
Rice-crops and the like are the best (jyashtha, i. e. , to grow); vegetables (shanda) are of intermediate nature; and sugarcane crops (ikshu) are the worst (pratyavarah, i. e. , very difficult to grow), for they are subject to various evils and require much care and expenditure to reap. Lands that are beaten by foam (phenaghatah, i. e. , banks of rivers, etc. are suitable for growing valliphala (pumpkin, gourd and the like); lands that are frequently over flown by water (parivahanta) for long pepper, grapes (mridvika), and sugarcane; the vicinity of wells for vegetables and roots; low grounds (hariniparyantah) for green crops; and marginal furrows between any two rows of crops are suitable for the plantation of fragrant plants, medicinal herbs, cuscus roots (usinara), hira, beraka, and pindaluka (lac) and the like. Such medicinal herbs as grow in marshy grounds are to be grown not only in grounds suitable for them, but also in pots (sthalyam). Thus, the cropping pattern during the Mauryan Empire has been exhaustively dealt with, in the Arthashastra.
IRRIGATION: Kautilya believed that irrigation was the major supporter for agriculture. He therefore laid stress on the establishment of many irrigation facilities within the State. He also established rules for building tanks and dams. According to the Arthashastra, “Irrigational works (setubandha) are the source of crops; the results of a good shower of rain are ever attained in the case of crops below irrigational works. It also states the following: “Of forts such as a fort on a plain, in the centre of a river, and on a mountain, that which is mentioned later is of more advantage than the one previously mentioned; of irrigational works (setubandha), that which is of perennial water is better than that which is fed wit water drawn from other sources; and of works containing perennial water, that which can irrigate an extensive area is better. ” Any one hiring, leasing or sharing water works could use them with a pledge to keep it clean and safe. They could also give it to others for use by holding a part of the produce.
AGRICULTURAL TAXATION: Kautilya was against excessive taxation. It held nominal taxes like 1/6th, 1/8th or 1/10th of the produce. However, it depended on the annual production and the nature of the produce. According to Arthashastra, “In case of construction of new works such as tanks, lakes, etc; taxes on the lands below such tanks) shall be remitted for five years (Panchavarshikah pariharah). For repairing neglected or ruined works of similar nature, taxes shall be remitted for four years. For improving or extending water-works, taxes shall be remitted for three years.
In the case of acquiring such newly started works by mortgage or purchase, taxes on the lands below such works shall be remitted for two years. If uncultivated tracts are acquired (for cultivation) by mortgage, purchase or in any other way, remission of taxes shall be for two years. Out of crops grown by irrigation by means of wind power or bullocks (vatapravartimanandinibandhayatana) or below tanks, in fields, parks, flower gardens, or in any other way, so much of the produce as would not entail hardship on the cultivators may be given to the Government. Persons, who cultivate the lands below tanks, etc. of others at a stipulated price (prakraya), or for annual rent (avakraya), or for certain number of shares of the crops grown (bhaga) or persons who are permitted to enjoy such lands free of rent of any kind, shall keep the tanks, etc. , in good repair; otherwise they shall be punished with a fine of double the loss. Persons, letting out the water of tanks, etc. , at any other place than their sluice gate (apare), shall pay a fine of 6 panas; and persons who recklessly obstruct the flow of water from the sluice-gate of tanks shall also pay the same fine. ”
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE: According to Kautilya, “The seeds of grains are to be exposed to mist and heat (tusharapayanamushnam cha) for seven nights; the seeds of kosi are treated similarly for three nights; the seeds of sugarcane and the like (kandabijanam) are plastered at the cut end with the mixture of honey, clarified butter, the fat of hogs, and cow dung; the seeds of bulbous roots (kanda) with honey and clarified butter; cotton seeds (asthibija) with cow dung; and water pits at the root of trees are to be burnt and manured with the bones and dung of cows on proper occasions. Apart from being the major income provider, agriculture was also the livelihood of many during the Mauryan Era. Most of the farmers carried out subsistence farming and hence, agriculture was the driving force of the Mauryan Empire. That is why Kautilya laid more emphasis on agriculture than any other occupation.
PRESENT SCENARIO: Government procurement policy, which guarantees a minimum price for rice and wheat crops to farmers, has created a bias in their favor and a distortion of cropping pattern, which is not market determined.
At times, these procurement policies result in such surpluses of food grain that, given inadequate storage facilities for them, the beneficiaries of food subsidies are Indian rats. Professionalizing agriculture, especially for large farms, would be needed with professionally trained managers able to study global movement of prices, modern farming techniques and use of technologies such as satellite farming. Courses on farm management need to be more widespread. Similarly, agriculture is completely out of the purview of the tax regime in India.
The agricultural sector that has been given a priority status for bank lending gets completely de-prioritized for taxation. As against this, the Arthashastra has highlighted the significance of taxes on agriculture and allied activities (though it was one of the sole major sectors contributing to state welfare). The importance of irrigation and providing amenities could be taken up on a priority basis. The agricultural economy that has to compete with the international market continues to be at the mercy of the vagaries of the monsoon.
Although India had the second largest irrigated area in the world, the area under assured irrigation drainage is inadequate. Some land, which was fertile earlier, has become fallow because of inadequacy of fertilizers or the incorrect usage of fertilizers. Emphasis on organic farming, which obviates the need to use chemical fertilizers, is an obvious alternative. Given the fact that India has one of the natural factories for organic manure, one wonders why organic farming has not yet got the attention it deserves.
Furthermore, this would also help to prevent slaughter of cattle because if their manure provides a revenue stream to the farmer, he would be averse to slaughtering them. Systematic cropping pattern and irrigation system followed by the Kautilya Raj is what experts need to recognize. Farmers and consumers would benefit if all agricultural production were produced by ecologically sound and sustainable means. Pricing and marketing of agro products and providing adequate infrastructure to the agricultural sector are crucial.
Evidently, as in other spheres, many of the principles enumerated in the Arthashastra are applicable to the agricultural sector in India.
PUBLIC SECTOR MANAGEMENT: Kautilya believed in strengthening the public sector. He wanted the kingdom to follow the dictates of a strong centralized power. However, Kautilya has warned against the demerits of such centralization. He was of the belief that people should be given rights and responsibilities such that they actively participate in the maintenance of the kingdom. Thus, Kautilya believed in a mixed economy, though the centre vested some important powers. .
THE ROLE OF PUBLIC SECTOR: The main role of the public sector was maintaining the well being of the nation. The public sector was supposed to hold all the important economic posts in the kingdom. The public sector also acted as a regulator of all economic activities in the society. It does not mean that the private sector did not have a role to play. The private sectors were free to carry out their transactions. However, they had to intimate the state before any such activity took place. The state allowed many private sectors to bloom and flourish.
This was done under the surveillance of the public sector which was run by the State. Also, the public sector did not allow all private players to take part in the economy. The private players were given permission only after proper scrutiny of the character and ability of the individual(s).
INDUSTRIES IN PUBLIC SECTOR: As discussed earlier, many sectors were run by the State and hence consisted of the public sector. The following activities or businesses were predominantly under the control of the State: ? Land: All barren and unoccupied lands were controlled by the state.
The ownership of unclaimed land was with the state. The State regularly leased land for peasants and the underprivileged for farming, for setting up businesses or for building settlements. He tenants had to pay a nominal sum of money to the state as fees. ? Mining and Fishing: These were predominantly controlled by the State. However, the State also allowed private sectors to carry out this trade by paying a trade tax to the State. ? Salt Pans: Salt pans worked under the complete authority of the State. A Salt superintendent was also appointed for controlling this activity. Liquor and Gambling: Manufacture and sale of liquor and the business of gambling and betting was the State’s monopoly. Any person involved in this was severely punished ? Animal Husbandry: The State allowed Animal Husbandry to the private sector. However, the State even volunteered to take care of animals and cattle for a sum or a fee. ? Forestry and Mining: Forestry and mining were monopolies of the State. Forest superintendents were appointed by the State who grew and maintained forests. Mining was a major activity of the State. Manufacture: Apart from weapon making and liquor brewing, all other manufacturing activities were handed over to private sectors, though the State regulated and controlled the working of these manufacturing activities.
PUBLIC SECTOR IN INDIA: India is a mixed economy where the public and the private sectors go hand in hand. Public sectors were a monopoly in many activities. However, as an effect of liberalization, the power is divided among the private sectors as well. Integration of Indian economy with global markets has thrown up new opportunities and challenges.
Some of the public sector enterprises with strategic vision are actively exploring new avenues and have increased their activities to go in for mergers, acquisitions, amalgamations, takeovers and for creating new joint ventures. The Navratna CPSEs, which enjoy greater autonomy to incur capital expenditure and enter into joint ventures in India and abroad should avail of these opportunities for rapid growth overseas. Acquisitions, JVs and green field projects in Petroleum Sector have already taken place and are under active consideration in Power, Coal and Mining Sectors.
Another important initiative towards re-structuring of pubic sector enterprises is ‘Disinvestment’ in select CPSEs. The Statement of Industrial Policy of 1991 stated that in the case of selected enterprises, part of Government holdings in the equity share capital of these enterprises will be disinvested in order to provide further market discipline to the performance of public enterprises. Some CPSEs have been such as Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL), Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd. (IPCL), Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL), CMC Ltd. , etc. have been privatized.
In addition, there are CPSEs which have been acquired by other CPSEs by way of disinvestment and open bidding such as acquisition of IBP by Indian Oil Corporation Limited. There are also instances of acquisition of private firms by CPSEs as in the case of MRPL, which was a joint sector company and became a CPSE subsequent to acquisition of its majority shares by ONGC.
HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: One of the most important aspects of Kautilya’s management is his theories on managing Human Resources. Arthashastra boasts of having a well defined Human Resource Management structure written around 2400 years ago.
Human resource is a term used to describe the individuals who comprise the workforce of an organization, although it is also applied in labour economics too; for example, business sectors or even whole nations. In simple terms, an organization’s human resource management strategy should maximize return on investment. Human Resources seeks to achieve this by aligning the supply of skilled and qualified individuals and the capabilities of the current workforce, with the organization’s ongoing and future business plans and requirements to maximize return on investment and secure future survival and success.
In ensuring such objectives are achieved, the human resource function purpose in this context is to implement the organization’s human resource requirements not only effectively but also pragmatically; taking account of legal, ethical and is practical in a manner that retains the support and respect of the workforce. Key functions: Human Resources may set strategies and develop policies, standards, systems, and processes that implement these strategies in a whole range of areas.
The following are typical of a wide range of organizations:
- Recruitment and selection.
- Organizational design and development. Business transformation and change management.
- Performance, conduct and behaviour management.
- Industrial and employee relations.
- Human resources (workforce) analysis and workforce personnel data management.
- Compensation, rewards, and benefits management.
- Training and development (learning management).
Implementation of such policies, processes or standards may be directly managed by the HR function itself, or the function may indirectly supervise the implementation of such activities by managers, other business functions or via third-party external partner organizations.
Applicable legal issues, such as the potential for disparate treatment and disparate impact, are also extremely important to HR managers.
WINNING PEOPLE / LURING PEOPLE: Arthashastra identifies four kinds of people who could be lured; the angry, the timid, the greedy and the proud. Kautilya believes that these are the four basic behaviours which could lead to one’s downfall. The body of an individual is controlled by his mind. It takes many forms like anger, fear, greed and pride. To fulfill its desires, the mind succumbs to illusions and temptations posed by the surroundings.
Thus, these four are the primary vices of the senses which have to be exploited by the King. To exploit these behaviours, the King has to identify these behaviours. The group of the enraged: This group includes the following people:
- The one who is cheated/denied after being promised certain rewards (increment in pay, status etc).
- The one who is in disfavor because of a favorite of his superior.
- The one who is unable to deliver results on account of being challenged to a particular assignment. This will particularly happen in the organizations, which have a focus just on the results and not on the efforts that a person puts.
The one who is distressed after being transferred to a far-flung area, or an area of his dislike. Here one possibility is that a person is willing to take on the transfer but is not remunerated properly, and another possibility is that the person is not willing to take on such a transfer but is forced to do so. ? The one who is on an assignment not by his choice and not of his choice. That is, being put on an assignment without even being motivated for it. It could be something, which is away from the promised career path of an employee – something that definitely adds value to the organization but not to the employee. The one who has not achieved his objective in the organization even after trying hard and giving his best service. This could be because of a fault in the culture of that organization. For example at times we see that even after being trained for a purpose the employee is not able to add enough to his function – the answer could lie with the fact that the employee hasn’t learnt much, his fault. But what concerns us here is that even though willingness is there to perform but the culture hinders that performance.
- The one who is hindered from doing his duty.
- It may be because of paucity of time, or because responsibility given is not complemented with required authority.
- The one whose remuneration (financial and non-financial) is incommensurate with the efforts he puts in.
- The one deserving but deprived of an office he aspires. This could especially happen if there is delayed or no promotion (job enrichment), and/or delayed or no inter-functional or to that extent even intra-functional movement (job enlargement).
- The one held back by his peers or superiors in an organization for their own interests.
- Remember Hawthorne’s bank wiring experiment.
- The one who is reprimanded and/or punished, (whether such reprimand/ punishment is justified or not) after serving the organization loyally.
- The one prevented from indulging in conduct, not in conformance to the organization’s Code of Conduct.
- The one, whose credit of work has been stolen by others.
The group of the frightened: They are because they have the fear of loosing something. The people under this category are as follows:
- The one who has thwarted someone; that is, the one who has pushed himself up by pulling other(s) down. The one who has committed a serious wrong or a deliberate act detrimental to the organization.
- The one who has become known for a wrongful act. This act might be done in a personal capacity and not a professional one. ? The one frightened by the punishment meted out to another for a like offence.
- The one who has seized someone else’s work/credit.
- The one who is subdued by authority.
- The one who has suddenly amassed a lot of wealth at the expense of the organization.
- The one disliked by his superiors.
- The one who entertains hostility towards superiors or the organization itself.
The group of greedy: It is a state of overwhelming desires. The people under this category are as follows:
- The one who is impoverished (for money/respect/opportunities). Such people want to grow really fast in their organizations.
- The one in a calamity. Calamity generated out of one’s own recurring actions.
- The one indulging in vices. Again, this could be both personal and professional.
- The one indulging in rash transactions. Rashness of transactions apparently involves a financial loss or expectation of a great gain.
- Such a fellow will accept challenges rashly – without even thinking whether they are achievable or not, greedy of being noticed.
The group of proud: It relates to arrogance that follows greed. The people under this category are as follows:
- The one who is filled with self-conceit (self-importance, pride, vanity, snobbery, arrogance).
- The one who is desirous of honor.
- The one who is resentful of the honor done to a colleague (who is perceived a competitor or rival).
- The one placed in a low position, but is convinced that he is capable of being at a higher position in the hierarchy. The one fiery in temper.
- The one given to violence (physical, verbal or non verbal in nature).
- The one dissatisfied with his emoluments i. e. the one who thinks that he is getting much less than what he deserves. Now that we have identified such people who can be targeted for the purpose of head hunting, following is the manner prescribed by “Kautilya” to approach them.
To lure the enraged: Reinforce perceptions that such people hold about their organization by telling them, how their organization & managers lack the eye of knowledge, commonsense and also the experience to see what one is worth.
Also explain to them the ‘detrimental effects’ that such a behavior of their organization & managers can have on the organization. Invite them then to join another organization to realize their potential.
To lure the frightened: These people already have a sense of insecurity. Reinforce this sentiment by warning them of a possible ‘harm’ that they stand from their organization due to its own (incorrect) apprehension of being harmed from them. Show them a safer haven where they can grow.
To lure the greedy:
Reinforce their desire by amplifying the fact that their organization rewards those who are devoid of spirit, intelligence, and eloquence, but not those endowed with qualities of the self, reinforce the ‘fact’ that our organization has a culture of acknowledging & rewarding persons of distinction, join us. D] To lure the proud: These people need to get their ego massaged. Approach them by impressing upon them that their organization is fit for and is of benefit to only people with lower qualities and people of little or no intelligence or conviction or abilities; not for people of their standing.
Invite them to join an organization that ‘knows’ how to honor persons of distinction, come to us. Professionals with years of experience can build on the knowledge provided and use it to their good. It however goes without saying that a lot of networking is required to identify such people who display the behaviors described above.
WAGES AND INCENTIVES: Kautilya recommended that the total amount of wages should not exceed 1/4th of the State revenue. He used three criteria for prescribing wages.
He indicated that the wage should be high enough to maintain the loyalty of the officials, to evoke the needed efficiency and to reflect the relative importance of their occupation. He believed in prescribing wages on the basis of skill and efficiency.
The following extracts from the Arthashastra explains the wage policy during the Mauryan Empire:
- “The artisans employed in the office shall do their work as ordered and in time. When they spoil the work, they shall not only forfeit their wages, but also pay a fine of twice the amount of their wages.
- When they postpone work, they shall forfeit one-fourth the amount of their wages and pay a fine of twice the amount of the forfeited wages. Those women who can present themselves at the weaving house shall at dawn be enabled to exchange their spinning for wages (bhandavetanavinimayam). ”
- “Delay in paying the wages shall be punished with the middlemost amercement. The same would be the case when wages are paid for work that is not completed. ”
- “Disputes regarding wages shall be decided on the strength of evidences furnished by witnesses. In the absence of witnesses, the master who has provided his servant with work shall be examined.
- “Failure to pay wages shall be punished with a fine of ten times the amount of wages (dasabandhah), or 6 panas; misappropriation of wages shall be punished with a fine of 12 panas or of five times the amount of the wages (panchabandho va). ”
- “A servant neglecting or unreasonably putting off work for which he has received wages shall be fined 12 panas and be caught-hold of till the work is done. He who is incapable to turn out work, or is engaged to do a mean job, or is suffering from disease, or is involved in calamities shall be shown some concession or allowed to get the work done by a substitute.
- The loss incurred by his master or employer owing to such delay shall be made good by extra work. ”
- “If an employer, having caused his labourer to do a part of work will not cause him to do the rest for which the latter may certainly be ready, then also the unfinished portion of the work has to be regarded as finished. But owing to consideration of changes that have occurred in time and place or owing to bad workmanship of the labourer, the employer may not be pleased with what has already been turned out by the labourer. Also the workman may, if unrestrained, do more than agreed upon and thereby cause loss to the employer.
SELECTION AND TRAINING: Kautilya always believed in training and selecting people with care. Kautilya was very keen in maintaining the level of efficiency and loyalty among the employees. He selected employees with not only expertise, but also exemplary discipline and character. The following are Kautilya’ views on training and selection of people:
TRAINING: Kautilya says, a large number of effete persons are better, inasmuch as they can be employed to do other kinds of works in the camp: to serve the soldiers fighting in battlefields, and to terrify the enemy by its number.
It is also possible to infuse spirit and enthusiasm in the timid by means of discipline and training.
That army which is vast and is composed of various kinds of men and is so enthusiastic as to rise even without provision and wages for plunder when told or untold; that which is capable of applying its own remedies against unfavourable rains; that which can be disbanded and which is invincible for enemies; and that, of which all the men are of the same country, same caste, and same training, is (to be considered as) a compact body of vast power.
Such are the periods of time for recruiting the army.
SELECTION: “Assisted by his prime minister (mantri) and his high priest, the king shall, by offering temptations, examine the character of ministers (amatya) appointed in government departments of ordinary nature.
Of these tried ministers, those whose character has been tested under religious allurements shall be employed in civil and criminal courts (dharmasthaniyakantaka sodhaneshu); those whose purity has been tested under monetary allurements shall be employed in the work of a revenue collector and chamberlain; those who have been tried under love-allurements shall be appointed to superintend the pleasure-grounds (vihara) both external and internal; those who have been tested by allurements under fear shall be appointed to immediate service; and those whose character has been tested under all kinds of allurements shall be employed as prime ministers (mantrinah), while those who are proved impure under one or all of these allurements shall be appointed in mines, timber and elephant forests, and manufactories. ”
“Teachers have decided that in accordance with ascertained purity, the king shall employ in corresponding works those ministers whose character has been tested under the three pursuits of life, religion, wealth and love, and under fear. ”
CURRENT HR POLICIES AND MANAGEMENT: Everybody in the professional life is affected in one way or the other. The economic scenario because of US recession looks very gloomy. The export market is under pressure due to low dollar rate. Industries bogged down by strict Social Compliance/Human Rights implementation strictly enforced by the buyers.
Find lot of retrenchments around the industry at one end and at the other end there is lot of attrition. This is a challenging period of HR people. In the current economic scenario every company is facing the challenge of cost cutting to survive in the market, most of the well known giants have already decided to lay off or retrench their human capital like never before and the people from the companies who don’t have taken this ultimate decision yet, living their days with an anxiety that tomorrow they may get their pink slip, they are frequently meeting the HR manager, if he has any shocked news for them, as a result their performance is suffering. So in that serious economic meltdown situation HR has a crucial role to play.
First, when the company has brought any heart breaking news for its employee because HR has to declare the worst decision to it’s most valuable assets, that means there are so many issues like legal and union (if any) which HR manager has to manage tactfully and compensation part also need to be taken care of.
LEADERSHIP: Arthashastra has been summoned to the King by Kautilya. Therefore, it gives more values on leadership than any other subject. It how a king should behave and how he should not. It teaches a person to become a king.
Primary goal of the leader: The leader’s primary goal according to Arthashastra is to fulfill the philosophy of the organization. In the words of Kautilya, “In the appiness of the subjects lays the happiness of the king and in what is beneficial to the subjects his own benefit. ” Thus the king was a constitutionalist who promoted the people’s welfare at all times, in all places and at all costs.
Leadership values: In order to achieve the primary goal of the organization, Kautilya gives a list of values the leader has to possess which among others include:
- Freedom from vices;
- Long term vision;
Conduct in conformity with the advice of elders. Apart from the above list of values Kautilya also gives reference to the values of the leader throughout his treatise.
- The leader with his senses under control must avoid doing injury to others, sloth, capriciousness, association with harmful persons and any transaction associated with unrighteousness or harm. ”
- “The king should be ever active to carry out the management of material wellbeing, which will in turn lead to spiritual wellbeing and happiness. ”
- “The king should avoid even a big profit that would be injurious to the subjects. ”
- Benefits of a righteous leader: Having given the values of the leader, Kautilya further goes on to enumerate the benefits of a righteous leader.
Personal benefits: According to Kautilya, “a king who adheres to his special duties finds joy in this life”. Further, “the king who protects the subjects according to law earns spiritual merit”.
Social benefits: The righteous leader establishes an administration which leads to social benefits. “Administration when rooted in the self discipline (of the leader) brings security and wellbeing to all living beings. Such an administration endows the subjects with spiritual wellbeing, material wellbeing and happiness”
Management by example: A righteous leader sets an example for other members of the organization. According to Kautilya, “whatever character the king has, that character the constituents come to have, being dependent on him in the matter of energetic activity and remissness”.
Loyalty of dependent members: A righteous leader gains the loyalty and love of dependent members.
According to Kautilya “the subjects’ help the king who behaves justly but suffering from a serious calamity” and “subjects support in every way the weak but just king when attacked”. Further “any king attacking a righteous king is hated by his own people and by others”.
Attraction of right talent and support: A righteous leader not only passes on his qualities to others, but also attracts right talent to further his mission.
Effects of an unrighteous leader: According to Kautilya, an unrighteous leader not only ruins himself but ruins all his constituent elements
Making of a leader: Because a righteous leader is so important, Kautilya gave a lot of emphasis on the training of such a leader.
Some of the methods of value training included:
- Study of scriptures
- Association with elders
- Advice of ministers
- Formal instructions
The main areas of training in values included:
- Self control
- Removal of vices and developing a good character
Specific guidelines regarding the making of a good leader are given throughout the Arthashastra.
“Study of philosophy confers benefit on the people, keeps the mind steady in adversity and prosperity and brings about proficiency in thought, speech and action. ” ? “The prince should have constant association with elders in learning for the sake of improving his training. ” “Control over the senses, which is motivated by training in the sciences, should be secured by giving up the six vices (lust, greed, infatuation, pride, jealousy and foolhardiness). Absence of improper sense indulgence gives such a control. ” ? “The king should set the preceptors or ministers as the bounds of proper conduct for himself, who should restrain him from occasions of harm or when the king is erring in private, should prick him to do his duty. ” ? “The young price should be diverted from all evil and should be instructed in what is conducive to spiritual wellbeing and material wellbeing. ”
Spiritual leader: The final aim of Kautilya was to provide the organization with a leader who was ultimately guided by a spiritual way of life.
Kangle puts this as, “the fact that the king would be brought up to regard the vedic (spiritual) way of life as sacred and the performance of his own duties in accordance with that scheme of life as a means of achieving spiritual ends would serve to make the king behave with moderation”.
CURRENT SCENARIO IN LEADERSHIP: Kurt Lewin and colleagues identified different styles of leadership. They are: A. Autocratic. B. Participative. C. Laissez-Faire. Autocratic or authoritarian style: Under the autocratic leadership style, all decision-making powers are centralized in the leader, as with dictator leaders. They do not entertain any suggestions or initiatives from subordinates. It provides strong motivation to the manager. It permits quick decision-making, as only one person decides for the whole group and keeps each decision to himself until he feels it is needed to be shared with the rest of the group.
Participative or democratic style. The democratic leadership style favours decision-making by the group. They can win the co-operation of their group and can motivate them effectively and positively. The decisions of the democratic leader are not unilateral as with the autocrat because they arise from consultation with the group members and participation by them. C] Laissez-faire or free rein style: A free-rein leader does not lead, but leaves the group entirely to itself. Such a leader allows maximum freedom to subordinates, i. e. , they are given a free hand in deciding their own policies and methods. Different situations call for different leadership styles.
In an emergency when there is little time to converge on an agreement and where a designated authority has significantly more experience or expertise than the rest of the team, an autocratic leadership style may be most effective; however, in a highly motivated and aligned team with a homogeneous level of expertise, a more democratic or laissez-faire style may be more effective. According to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, India requires efficient leaders and not just managers of politicians. He believes that leadership is a tool which could influence the population to act wisely. A great leader is the need of the hour.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: This is a new concept that has emerged in business. It denotes the importance of working for the welfare of the whole society. This concept was already followed by Kautilya. Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to conomic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large. According to Arthashastra, “In the happiness of his subjects lies his happiness; in their welfare his welfare; whatever pleases himself he shall not consider as good, but whatever pleases his subjects he shall consider as good. Hence the king shall ever be active and discharge his duties; the root of wealth is activity, and of evil its reverse. ” Kautilya thus believed that the king has a responsibility towards his subjects. This responsibility had to be fulfilled by the king to ensure that the subjects are happy and prosperous.
According to Kautilya, “All activities proceed from the minister, activities such as the successful accomplishment of the works of the people, security of person and property from internal and external enemies, remedial measures against calamities, colonization and improvement of wild tracts of land, recruiting the army, collection of revenue, and bestowal of favour. Forts, finance, and the army depend upon the people; likewise buildings, trade, agricu1ture, cattle-rearing, bravery, stability, power, and abundance (of things). In countries inhabited by people, there are mountains and islands (as natural forts); in the absence of an expansive country, forts are resorted to. When a country consists purely of cultivators, troubles due to the absence of fortifications (are apparent); while in a country which consists purely of warlike people, troubles that may appear are due to the absence of (an expansive and cultivated) territory. He says, “It is verily the king who attends to the business of appointing ministers, priests, and other servants, including the superintendents of several departments, the application of remedies against the troubles of his people, and of his kingdom, and the adoption of progressive measures; when his ministers fall into troubles, he employs others; he is ever ready to bestow rewards on the worthy and inflict punishments on the wicked; when the king is well off, by his welfare and prosperity, he pleases the people; of what kind the king’s character is, of the same kind will be the character of his people; for their progress or downfall, the people depend upon the king; the king is, as it were, the aggregate of the people. ”
Corporate governance is a term that refers broadly to the rules, processes, or laws by which businesses are operated, regulated, and controlled. The term can refer to internal factors defined by the officers, stockholders or constitution of a corporation, as well as to external forces such as consumer groups, clients, and government regulations. Well-defined and enforced corporate governance provides a structure that, at least in theory, works for the benefit of everyone concerned by ensuring that the enterprise adheres to accepted ethical standards and best practices as well as to formal laws. To that end, organizations have been formed at the regional, national, and global levels.
In recent years, corporate governance has received increased attention because of high-profile scandals involving abuse of corporate power and, in some cases, alleged criminal activity by corporate officers. An integral part of an effective corporate governance regime includes provisions for civil or criminal prosecution of individuals who conduct unethical or illegal acts in the name of the enterprise. It comes as no surprise that corporate governance was first practiced by Kautilya. Attainment of good governance entails that the objectives of the state are fulfilled and realized. This is possible through properly organized and guided administration.
This principle is relevant even today. A government is good, if it is administered well. Kautilya suggests that good governance should avoid extreme decisions and extreme actions. Soft actions (Sam, Dam) and harsh actions (Dand, Bhed) should be taken accordingly. Kautilya opines in a most modern way – ‘Sovereignty is practicable only with the cooperation of others and all administrative measures are to be taken after proper deliberations. ’ The King and ministers were supposed to observe strict discipline. Kautilya recommended a strict code of conduct for himself and his administrators. Kautilya has seriously considered the problem of corruption.
He has listed, in the Arthashastra, about forty ways of embezzling government funds. However, Kautilya is very practical about the problem of corruption. Kautilya feels that it is as difficult to discover the honesty or otherwise of an officer as it is to find out whether or not it was the fish that drank the water. This code of conduct is useful and applicable to modern executives. Even two and a half thousand years ago, Kautilya laid stress on capping at a quarter of the revenue, the salaries of the King and his officials. For good governance, all administrators, including the King, were considered servants of the people. They were paid for the service rendered and not for their ownership of anything.
Compare this to the expenses on salary of Government employees today which constitutes over 50% of the revenue. Kautilya understood the link between the salaries paid to government functionaries and their productivity. One of the core themes of this chapter is that the Arthashastra of Kautilya equates political governance with economic governance. The end is economic governance while political governance is a means. Good governance is basic to the Kautilyan idea of administration. Good governance and stability are inextricably linked. If rulers are responsive, accountable, removable, recallable, there is stability. If not, there is instability.
This is even more relevant in the present democratic set up. Kautilya’s precepts may have been in the context of the monarchical set up. However, present rulers and administrators should be endowed with similar qualities. In countries where they are, the progress has been meteoric He gave emphasis on maintaining relationships between all the parties in a transaction. He says, “The nature of the transactions between creditors and debtors, on which the welfare of the kingdom depends, shall always be scrutinized. ”
THE MODERN ENVIRONMENT: Corporate governance reform in India has focused primarily on the “role and composition of the board of directors. ” (83).
Each of the three sets of recommendations (the CII Code recommendations from 1997, the Kumar Mangalam Birla Committee recommendations from 2000, and the Murthy Committee recommendations from 2003) has advanced a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of corporate governance in this respect. For example, while the CII Code was silent on the financial-literacy levels expected of directors, (84) the Murthy Committee recommended that companies train their “Board members in the business model of the company as well as the risk profile of the business parameters of the company. ” (85) Another notable recommendation of the Murthy Committee was that the Audit Committee be comprised entirely of “financially literate non-executive members with at least one member having accounting or related financial expertise. ” An approach for CSR that is becoming more widely accepted is community-based development approach.
In this approach, corporations work with local communities to better themselves. In Flower Valley they set up an Early Learning Centre to help educate the community’s children as well as develop new skills for the adults. Marks and Spencer is also active in this community through the building of a trade network with the community – guaranteeing regular fair trade purchases. Often activities companies participate in are establishing education facilities for adults and HIV/AIDS education programs. The majority of these CSR projects are established in Africa. JIDF for You is an attempt to promote these activities in India. A more common approach of CSR is philanthropy.
This includes monetary donations and aid given to local organizations and impoverished communities in developing countries. Some organizations do not like this approach as it does not help build on the skills of the local people, whereas community-based development generally leads to more sustainable development. Another approach to CSR is to incorporate the CSR strategy directly into the business strategy of an organization. For instance, procurement of Fair Trade tea and coffee has been adopted by various businesses including KPMG. Its CSR manager commented, “Fair trade fits very strongly into our commitment to our communities. “ Another approach is garnering increasing corporate responsibility interest. This is called Creating Shared Value, or CSV.
The shared value model is based on the idea that corporate success and social welfare are interdependent. A business needs a healthy, educated workforce, sustainable resources and adept government to compete effectively. For society to thrive, profitable and competitive businesses must be developed and supported to create income, wealth, tax revenues, and opportunities for philanthropy.
CSV received global attention in the Harvard Business Review article “Strategy & Society: The Link between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility” by Michael E. Porter, a leading authority on competitive strategy and head of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School; and Mark R. Kramer, Senior Fellow at the Kennedy School at Harvard University and co-founder of FSG Social Impact Advisors. The article provides insights and relevant examples of companies that have developed deep linkages between their business strategies and corporate social responsibility. Many approaches to CSR pit businesses against society, emphasizing the costs and limitations of compliance with externally imposed social and environmental standards.
SUGGESTIONS / RECOMMENDATIONS: As we move towards the end of this project, we would like to know the implications of Arthashastra for the future. Arthashastra offers a wide perspective of seeing things that could still be put to use.
- The issues in Arthashastra are relevant even in the modern world of technology and speed.
- One of the core themes of Arthashastra is that Kautilya equates political governance with economic governance. The end is economic governance while political governance is a means. Good governance and stability are inextricably linked. If rulers are responsive, accountable, removable, recallable, there is stability.
- Unlike in Kautilya’s state where the king was accessible to his people everyday at least for one and a half hours, in India today it takes a long time even to get a “hearing. ”
- In Kautilya’s state, the king could severely punish corrupt officials, however highly they were placed.
- In India, those in political office are rarely convicted even if they are corrupt or proved guilty of committing certain offences.
The policy suggested in Arthashastra attempts to strike a balance between the delicate interests of the parties involved. Kautilya indicates that although the state is in a privileged position of a monopolist, it should co-operate with the private sector for proper utilization of resources. Further, a strong private sector is a source of strength to the State.
It is interesting to note that Kautilya tried to establish guidelines for professional service providers also, including weavers, washer men, boatmen, shipping agents, and even prostitutes. Kautilya recommended an interventionist policy to counter a situation of glut in the market; in this context, he stated that whenever there is an excessive supply of merchandise, the Superintendent shall centralize its sale and prohibit the sale of similar merchandise elsewhere before the centralized supply is disposed of.
Arthashastra’s advocacy to ‘tax the richer farmer maybe something that needs to be done now when the Finance Minister is trying to find ways to increase the tax to GDP ratio.
Kautilya’s views on trade were: There is no autonomous mechanism that will ensure that a nation would benefit from trade in the absence of certain safeguards and policy measures.
However, the fact that anti-dumping measures exist or that cartelization has to be coped with or adverse terms of trade have to be accounted for in certain sectors underscore that safeguards are essential even in current times and those responsible for managing these measures should be responsible. ? The political leaders have to set an example by adhering to high standards of conduct and functioning. In contemporary times there have been frequent reminders that it is not positions which sustain an individual however powerful he/she maybe but the person concerned that has to sustain power conferred not by abusing it but by using it in a constructive manner for the people concerned. Upward mobility in the hierarchy was based on merit, suitability and fulfilling other qualifications laid down for these posts. In a conflict between meritocracy and the political economy of appointments, if the latter continues to be given precedence India’s potential of becoming an economic superpower will remain untapped. Arthashastra thus is very much relevant even today. It’s just a matter of time before one embraces the ancient wisdom of Arthashastra and starts to build a society which is self-sufficient and well developed.
CONCLUSIONS: According to Swami Vivekananda, “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high Where