provided changes the amount of tax on the water, this ranging from one-fifth
to one-third. The same must undoubtedly have been the case with land tax,
but with possibly a smaller degree of variation, one-fourth of the produce is
more than the normal amount suggested by most Indian texts, which is one-
sixth. The Arthasastra advises that in a period of emergency, the tax may be
raised to one-third or one-fourth, but only in fertile areas having irrigation
facilities. Admittedly one-fourth as a regular tax was high, but the later
centuries saw even one-third as the regular amount in tax.
The Rummindei inscription is the only Asokan inscription which makes a
precise reference to taxation. We are told that because the village of Lumbini
was the birthplace of the Buddha, the king exempted it from taxes, and it was
asked to pay only one-eighth share of the produce.
It is clear that in the Mauryan period the state officials such as the
revenue collectors made a direct assessment of the land under cultivation.
The assessment was based not on the combined lands of the village as a
whole, but considered the details regarding each cultivator and member of the
village. The first step in the process of assessment was the subdivision of the
lands of the village into categories of high, middle and low quality. The
village was then listed under one of the following heads: villages that were
exempted from taxation (pariharaka), those that supplied soldiers (ayudhiya);
those that paid their taxes in the form of grain, cattle, gold or raw material
(kupya), and those that supplied free services and dairy produce in lieu of
taxes. It is thus amply clear that the administration took into consideration all
local features before any assessment was made.
Extension and Intensification of Agriculture Mauryan state made serious
efforts to establish new agricultural settlements. There is reference in the
Arthasastra to deportation of large bodies of Sudras from overpopulated
areas to new settlements. Reference is also made in the Asokan edicts to
deportation of 1.5 lakh prisoners of war from Kalinga to clear wasteland and
establish new settlements. The State made provision of irrigation facilities by
constructing and maintaining reservoirs, tanks, canals and wells.
1. Metallurgy There was a growing knowledge of mining of various