etc.), pearls, diamonds, cotton textiles, ivory works, conch shells, skins,
blankets, etc. The main imports consisted of horses, gold, glass, linen, etc.
Balance of trade was very much in favour of India.
Transport and Communications Internal trade routes followed the main
highways and navigable rivers. External trade routes were mainly along the
coasts and land routes. Frequent mention is made of the port of
Bharukachchha (Broach in Gujarat). Special attention was given by the
Mauryas to the laying and maintenance of roads through special officers,
called agranomoi by Megasthenes. Kalinga had great importance, because of
its strategic location, connecting north and south during those days.
Important internal trade routes were (I) South-West Route (from Sravasti
to Pratishthana); (2) South-East Route (from Sravasti to Rajagriha); (3) East-
West Route (from Taxila to Pataliputra, following the river course of the
Ganga and the Yamuna).
However, the most important route was the royal highway from the north-
west (in the region of Taxila) to Pataliputra. It has continued to be important
through the centuries as the Grand Trunk Road. There was an extension
eastwards which is said to have reached as far as Tamluk or even farther to
the mouth of the Ganges. Before the development of sea trade it was the chief
trade route with the West, Taxila being the point of exchange. Even for
inland trade it was frequently used since there was considerable exchange of
goods between the Ganges region and the north-west.
State Regulation of Trade The State taxed all manufactured goods as well
as imported goods. Trade tax was one-fifth of the total value of the
commodity. Severe punishments were awarded for tax evasion. There was
strict supervision of the sale of all merchandise and fixation of the percentage
of profit (5% on local goods and 10% on imported goods) to the merchant by
Money Economy and Currency Large scale agriculture, besides providing
the fiscal base of the empire, also provided surplus for capital formation,
which in turn was facilitated by the large scale use of metallic currency in the
form of punch-marked silver and copper coins.
Usury or Moneylending Megasthenes’ view of the absence of usury in
India is not true. For Buddhist literature as well as Arthasastra provide