In his book, Kautilya fully described the duties of a ruler. According to him a ruler should not keep the applicants waiting at his doorstep. If the king won't directly interact with his people and put the responsibility of handling common men on middlemen, it would create distance between government and common men. Common people will feel abandoned and helpless, and the enemies of state can take advantage of this situation. Therefore, the ruler should try to meet his people personally and make every possible effort to resolve their issues.

On public servants

For public servants, Kautilya advises the ruler that government servants who are honest, sincere and efficient in their job should be given permanent posts. However, they should be transferred from one place to another if required. Those who are found involved in corruption should not only be punished but their property and wealth should also be confiscated. Only honest servants should be promoted because they contribute to the progress of the state.

On embezzlement

Commenting on embezzlement, he writes that servants, who fail to deposit the taxes in the state treasury or embezzle the funds reserved for the public welfare, should be punished on the charges of embezzlement and they must be asked to pay more fine than the amount they embezzled.

On the superintendent of trade

Writing on the superintendent of trade, Kautilya says that trade superintendent should keep a strict eye on the commodities which are being imported either by road or by river routes. He is also responsible for keeping track of the appropriate time for buying and selling of goods.

Extracts from Arthashastra
(Translated by R. Shamasastry)

The duty of a city superintendent

• Like the collector-general, the officer in charge of the capital city (Nágaraka) shall look to the affairs of the capital.

• A Gopa shall keep the accounts of 10 households, 20 households, or 40 households. He shall not only know the caste, gotra, the name, and occupation of both men and women in those households, but also ascertain their income and expenditure.

• Likewise, the officer, known as Sthánika, shall attend to the accounts of the four quarters of the capital.

• Managers of charitable institutions shall send information (to Gopa or Sthánika) as to any heretics (Páshanda) and travellers arriving to reside therein. They shall allow ascetics and men learned in the Vedas to reside in such places only when those persons are known to be of reliable character.

• Masters of houses shall make a report of strangers arriving at, or departing from their houses; otherwise they shall be guilty of the offence (theft, etc.) committed during that night. Even during safe nights (i.e., nights when no theft, etc., seems to have been committed), they shall be fined three panas (for not making such a report).

• Whoever throws dirt on the street shall be punished with a fine of 1/8th of a pana; whoever causes mire or water to collect in the street shall be fined ¼th of a pana; whoever commits the above offences on the king's road (rájamárga) shall be punished with double the above fines.

• Whoever is arrested in suspicious places or as the perpetrator of a criminal act shall be examined.

• When the officer in charge of the city (nágaraka) does not make a report (to the king) of whatever nocturnal nuisance of animate or inanimate nature (chetanâchetana) has occurred, or when he shows carelessness (in the discharge of his duty), he shall be punished in proportion to the gravity of his crime.

• On the days to which the birth star of the king is assigned, as well as on full moon days, such prisoners as are young, old, diseased or helpless (anátha) shall be let out from the jail (bandhanâgâra); or those who are of charitable disposition or who have made any agreement with the prisoners may liberate them by paying an adequate ransom.

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