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Sulkadhyaksha – Head Of Tolls In Arthashastra

Sulkadhyaksha is head of the tolls. Sulkadhyaksha is an official mentioned in Arthashastra of Kautilya. Arthashastra describes Sulkadhyaksha as the one responsible for establishing the Customs House and hoisting the flags in the east and north gates of the city. According to Arthashastra, a Sulkadhyaksha should record the identity of the traders, and their merchandise. He should allow them to declare the quality and price of the goods, and should fix it or should do so in auctions.

For fear of duty, if a trader declares the quality of goods and the price to be less than what it is, his goods should be confiscated and deposited with the king. According to Arthashastra, if a trader conceals the value of the precious items by pricing it low, a similar treatment should be given to him. If, out of fear of the competition, a trader manipulates the price, all his profits should go to the king.

Expensive article used in ceremonies connected with marriage, sacrifices, birth, education, worship etc., were duty free. Traders were not allowed to deal with any articles that create a threat for the country, such as weapons and armors. If any trader tried to transfer such goods, he would be fined.

The Sulkadhyaksha should classify the goods coming from different parts of country as countryside goods, urban goods, and goods from foreign lands. The duty fixed should be based on this classification.

He should not allow the goods to be sold at the place of their origin. The sale of all the merchandise should be carried out by weighing, measuring or counting. All the goods should be sealed and stamped.