(Last Updated on : 29-11-2010)
Superintendent of Agriculture who posses the knowledge of science of agriculture dealing with plantation, types of bushes and trees and assisted by the experts who are in trained in such sciences ,shall be in charge of collection of all agricultural products like grains, flowers, fruits, vegetables, bulbous roots, roots, fibre producing plants etc.
Chapter XXIV of Book II in Arthashastra
enables the Superintendent of Agriculture to employ slaves, labourers and prisoners to sow the seeds in the crown land which has been often satisfactorily ploughed. With required assistance Arthashstra makes provision for re employment of these groups of people who had been outcasted from the community for thei5r personal records.
Superintendent of agriculture like the superintendent of weavers shall be responsible to make assessment of the amount of taxes which can be levied on the agricultural products according to rainfall. On the basis of the rainfall and location of planets, the Superintendent of agriculture shall provide permission for sowing seeds. Seeds like different types of rice, pulses, til and some water based seeds can be sown in the rainy season. While Moong, Masha, Saibya etc can be sown in the middle of the seasons; seeds like wheat, kulluttha, yava, masura, godhuma, kalayaatasi, mustard and sunflower can be sown in the last months of a year. The seeds to be sowed can be rotated according to the season.
Superintendent of agriculture will then select the land for cultivation. He can make use of all those areas which has not been cultivated till now. Due to inadequacy of men the superintendent can bring those areas under cultivation with such employees who can cultivate for half of the share; or those who live by their own physical exertion may cultivate till 1/4th to 1/5th of the produce grown and shall pay to the king as much as they can without causing hamper to themselves. The superintendent is further supposed to make assessments regarding the irrigation procedure through manual labour and accordingly grow wet crops, winter crops as well as summer crops according to the availability of men and water. While rice crops are the best in jeshtha season, vegetables in the intermediate season and sugarcane crops are the worse as they are most difficult to grow as they are subject to various kinds of evils and require a lot of care at the time of reap. Arthashastra further mentions that the land which is beaten by foam can be used to grow pumpkin and can be used for medicinal crops. Medicinal seeds can also be provided from the herbs at the marsh lands
Superintendent of agriculture the makes provision for the use of and preservation of these seeds for various purposes. Provisions shall also be provided by him to supply watchmen, labourers and slaves to work on these fields and they shall be paid panna and a quarter per mensem; artisans too will be provided with the wages and provisions in proportion to the amount of work done by them. Superintendent of agriculture will then be in charge of distribution of the produce which shall be initially distributed for the sacrifice purposes and then among the wise people along with the king while the rest of it will be contributed to the treasury.
Thus, superintendent of agriculture shall keep complete knowledge regarding the sowing and harvesting of crops, taxes collected from them, their time of sowing as well as their distribution. In order to have a proper and equal distribution of work Arthashastra divides the respective fields among different superintendents.