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Economy of Gupta and Vakataka Age

Filed under: History Ancient History Gupta Empire on 2021-07-25 12:43:49
# In the Gupta period, there was a rise in land taxes but a depreciation in trade and commerce taxes (shulka or tolls).
        -The land grants to the Brahmanas led to the conversion of vast areas of virgin land into cultivable land.
        -The king collected taxes varying from 1/4th to 1/6th of the produce.
        -According to the Gupta inscriptions, two taxes appeared in this period – uparikara (probably it was a tax on temporary tenants) and udranga (probably water tax or some police tax).
        -There is also mention of vata-bhuta tax, which presumably refers to cesses for maintenance of rites performed for wind and spirits, and halirakara tax (probably plough tax).
        -In central and western India, the villagers were subjected to forced labour called vishti for serving the royal army and officials.  
        -Vakataka inscriptions mention klipta (purchase tax or sales tax) and upaklipta (additional minor tax).

# The Gupta and post-Gupta period witnessed a decline in the country’s trade and commerce.
        -Till 550 CE, India carried out its trade with the Eastern Roman Empire, exporting silk and spices.
        -Around the sixth century, the people of the Eastern Roman Empire learnt the art of making silk from the Chinese. This adversely affected the export trade of India.
        -The Mandsor inscription mentions that a guild of silk weavers left their original home at Lata in western India (Gujarat) and migrated to Mandsor, where they gave up their original occupation and took to other professions.
        -The disturbance of the north-western trade route by the Hunas was another factor responsible for the diminishing trade in the country.
        -This directly affected the inflow of gold into the country which is indicated by a general paucity of gold coins after the Guptas.
        -There is frequent mention of artisans, merchants and guilds in different inscriptions and seals of both Guptas and Vakatakas which point towards flourishing urban crafts and trade. There is also mention of philanthropic activities of guilds.
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