1THOSE who are possessed of ministerial qualifications shall, in accordance with their individual capacity, be appointed as superintendents of government departments. While engaged in work, they shall be daily examined; for men are naturally fickle-minded and like horses at work exhibit constant change in their temper. Hence the agency and tools which they make use of, the place and time of the work they are engaged in, as well as the precise form of the work, the outlay, and the results shall always be ascertained.
2Without dissension and without any concert among themselves, they shall carry on their work as ordered.
3When in concert, they eat up (the revenue).
4 When in disunion, they mar the work.
5Without bringing to the knowledge of their master (bhartri, the king), they shall undertake nothing except remedial measures against imminent dangers.
6A fine of twice the amount of their daily pay and of the expenditure (incurred by them) shall be fixed for any inadvertence on their part.
7Whoever of the superintendents makes as much as, or more than, the amount of fixed revenue shall be honoured with promotion and rewards.
8(My) teacher holds that that officer who spends too much and brings in little revenue eats it up; while he who proves the revenue (i.e., brings in more than he spends) as well as the officer who brings inasmuch as he spends does not eat up the revenue.
9But Kautilya holds that cases of embezzlement or no embezzlement can be ascertained through spies alone.
10Whoever lessens the revenue eats the king’s wealth. If owing to inadvertence he causes diminution in revenue, he shall be compelled to make good the loss.
11Whoever doubles the revenue eats into the vitality of the country. If he brings in double the amount to the king, he shall, if the offence is small, be warned not to repeat the same; but if the offence be grave he should proportionally be punished.
12Whoever spends the revenue (without bringing in any profit) eats up the labour of workmen. Such an officer shall be punished in proportion to the value of the work done, the number of days taken, the amount of capital spent, and the amount of daily wages paid.
13Hence the chief officer of each department (adhikarana) shall thoroughly scrutinise the real amount of the work done, the receipts realised from, and the expenditure incurred in that departmental work both in detail and in the aggregate.
14He shall also check (pratishedhayet) prodigal, spend-thrift and niggardly persons.
15Whoever unjustly eats up the property left by his father and grandfather is a prodigal person (múlahara).
16Whoever eats all that he earns is a spendthrift (tádátvika).
17Whoever hordes money, entailing hardship both on himself and his servants is niggardly.
18Whoever of these three kinds of persons has the support of a strong party shall not be disturbed; but he who has no such support shall be caught hold of (paryádátavyah).
19Whoever is niggardly in spite of his immense property, hordes, deposits, or sends out—hordes in his own house, deposits with citizens or country people or sends out to foreign countries;—a spy shall find out the advisers, friends, servants, relations, partisans, as well as the income and expenditure of such a niggardly person. Whoever in a foreign country carries out the work of such a niggardly person shall be prevailed upon to give out the secret. When the secret is known, the niggardly person shall be murdered apparently under the orders of (his) avowed enemy.
20Hence the superintendents of all the departments shall carry on their respective works in company with accountants, writers, coin-examiners, the treasurers, and military officers (uttarádhyaksha).
21Those who attend upon military officers and are noted for their honesty and good conduct shall be spies to watch the conduct of accountants and other clerks.
22Each department shall be officered by several temporary heads.
23Just as it is impossible not to taste the honey or the poison that finds itself at the tip of the tongue, so it is impossible for a government servant not to eat up, at least, a bit of the king’s revenue. Just as fish moving under water cannot possibly be found out either as drinking or not drinking water, so government servants employed in the government work cannot be found out (while) taking money (for themselves).
24It is possible to mark the movements of birds flying high up in the sky; but not so is it possible to ascertain the movement of government servants of hidden purpose.
25Government servants shall not only be confiscated of their ill-earned hordes, but also be transferred from one work to another, so that they cannot either misappropriate Government money or vomit what they have eaten up.
26Those who increase the king’s revenue instead of eating it up and are loyally devoted to him shall be made permanent in service.