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Samaharta – Chief Revenue Collector Of The Mauryan Empire


Samaharta was the chief revenue collector of the Mauryan period. Samaharta was a very responsible post in the administration of the Mauryan government of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya.

The key task of the collection of revenue from various parts of the kingdom was the prime responsibility of a samaharta.

As per Arthashastra, the revenue was collected from forts, mines, gardens, cities, forests, roads, tolls, licenses, fines, land, precious stones, cattle, manufactured products, building sites, merchandise, and handicrafts besides others.

The samaharta was also in charge of income and expenditure that included looking after collection of receipts, keeping an account of the net balance, as well as supervising the daily activities and the auditing of revenue.

The salary of the samaharta like other officers was paid from the royal treasury and consisted of about 24,000 panas and was at par with that of the treasurer. However, sources are unclear as to whether this was a monthly or yearly sum.

Arthashastra mentions a fine system of checks and balances, and all responsibility was jointly shared between officers, also suggesting a good level of hierarchy in administration. Thus the samaharta had a large number of officials working under him.

These included the accountant general who submitted accounts of not only the kingdom but the royal household as well; the pradesta or pradesikas how were provincial officers in charge of the administration of a district; and the sthanika who primarily assisted the pradeshika in the collection of tax from a group of villagers.

Source - Some of the above notes taken from Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume IX (IHRF). (page 114)