Activity of Revenue administrator

Having addressed the saMnidhAta in the last post, cANakya moves on to describing the activity of setting up the ledger of income and expenditure by the revenue administrator.

Seven ‘Income’ accounts are:
1. durgam – Income from fortified city: Custom duties, fines, duty on liquor, gambling, market yards, service taxes from sculptors, actors, singers, fees for passports and other export and import duties at the gates form the income from the CITY.

2. rAshTram – Income from the land (or territory): Sixth portion of agriculture produce, water cess, taxes on traders dealing across the territory, transport based on water ways, catching of thieves constitute the income from territory.

3. Gold, Silver, Gemstones and everything that is derived by digging the land is called khani – Income from mines.

4. sEtu – Income from gardens / irrigation constituted by flower and fruit gardens, roots etc.,

5. vanaM – income from forests – Income from beasts, deers, elephants etc.,

6. vRjaM – Income from herds – constitutes cows, buffaloes, goats and sheep, donkeys and camels, horses and mules etc.,

7. vaNikpathaM – toll from land and water transport systems.

Above seven are the limbs of the Aya i.e income. Income is generated by selling the product/service for a price (mUlam), sharing, manufacturing charges, fixed tax, surcharge and other taxes.


1. Worship of devas (God) and pitRs (manes), for dAna (charity), gifts for sAnti and pushTi vachanas (elders/well-wishers)
2. Maintenance of anthapura – household and kitchen
for dUtas,
3. expenditure of kOsTAgara (stores mentioned in last post)
4. maintenance of AyudhAgAra (weapons / military equipment)
5. maintenance of market yard, maintenance of forest produce storage
6. maintenance of agriculture
7. salaries to the servants, soldiers
8. maintenance of horses, chariots, elephants and acquiring new ones of these
9. costs of cows, goats etc., and growing them
10. maintenance of zoo with wild animals and birds
11. expenditure on fuel
12. expenditure on fodder

All the above are primary expenditure accounts called vi+Aya or vyava.

It is very important to log the “time” while carrying out accounting. The year, month, tithi (day), weekday, details of the party (person or unit) involved in the transaction along with the amount involved in the transaction.

karaNiyam – the expected income from each village, sthAnIyam etc (budgeted income)
siddham – which has been in the King’s kOSa, what King has promised to give to someone either by written SAsana or word of mouth etc.,
SEsham – that which requires too much effort to recover, even after recovery it is not worth (in modern language we may say this as non-performing-assets)
Aya and vyava are income and expenditure explained above and
nIvi – the balance brought forward or taken forward

An “accountant” or revenue administrator should have a good view of the six types of amounts for any given period. (probably the OLAP of slicing and dicing has been done from all dimensions at the time of cANakya!)

Further to this the Aya is of three types – vartamAna (of present period), paryushita (of a past period recovered in this period) and anyajAta (unexpected income by fines or other means) and the vyaya is of four types – nitya (regular operational expenditure) nityOtpAdika ( op ex overrun which is recognized at the end of the period) lAbha (salaries that need to be given at the end of the month or a fortnight etc) lAbhOtpAdika ( additional money like bonuses etc)

एवं कुर्यात्समुदयं वृद्धिं चायस्य दर्शयेत् ।
ह्रासं व्ययस्य च प्राज्ञः साधयेच्च विपर्ययम् ॥

Thus the wise (samAharta) should fix the revenue and show an increase in income (vRddhim ca Ayasya darSayEt) , decrease in expenditure (hrsvam vyayasya ca) and should remedy the opposite! (sAdhayEt ca viparyayaM)

With this 28th post on this blog, we reach the end of sixth chapter of second book of artha SAstra…..


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