Q. “Kautilya was not only the foremost politico-administrative thinker of ancient India but he was an advo¬cate and preacher of moral values too.” Comment.
Ans: The study of administration in India starts with the work of Kautilya. He finally blended the administrative studies with moral values.
His work, the Arthashastra contains Kautilya’s philosophy of state administration. Promotion of public security and welfare was considered as important aspects of the state policy and the king was responsible for the ‘security’ and ‘welfare’ of the subjects. This has the great relevance to the contemporary Indian administration. Not only the law confers on the king the responsibility of protecting the citizens, but also made the king personally responsible for the restoration of the stolen property or its value to the owner.
Another point of relevance was the existence of a comprehensive programme of state relief against providential calamities. Another striking feature of the state administration was its policy of promotion of public health. This being looked after by Public Health Schemes in the contemporary administration. Another trait of administration was illustrated by the measures for protecting the public against the dishonest dealings of artisans and traders – crime prevention.
In the field of politico-administrative studies he laid out a well-planned structure of administration. He provided the monarchy as system of governance. Further, he gave seven organs of state viz, territory, capital, ruler, minister, treasury, allies and army.
He also gave certain principles for the smooth functioning of administration. He gave the principle of unity of command i.e. all the directions came from one centre i.e. king only. He gave the principle of coordination among all the organs of the State.
He also provided for the division of labour among all the officials for the smooth functioning of administration. The king himself has to act as the chief coordinator in the administrative set up.
Apart from politico-administrative studies, the moral values and teachings also formed an essential part of the work of Kautilya. He put moral restrain upon King to prevent him from becoming absolute. His system was essentially a benevolent monarchy. He provided duties to King to protect its citizens from outside danger. His concept of state was totally based upon the welfare of subjects.
To sum up, the Kautilya’s work is a great starting point in the administrative studies in India.