The Mauryan Administration

Central Government

The central government was under the direct control of the Emperor. Though he was an absolute ruler, he was accessible to his subjects. He was the supreme head of the army. He was chief justice of the country. He was assisted by the Yuvaraja, the crown prince and the mantrins or a council of ministers. There were officials like the Mahamatras. They looked after the day today work of the administration.

Provincal Government

The Empire was divided into province, districts and villages. A prince or any other member of the royal family looked after the provinces. Officials called pradeshikas or Sthanikas were in charge of districts. The Gramanis acted as heads of the villages.

Administration of Pataliputra

Pataliputra was the Capital of the Mauryan Empire. Six boards or departments looked after the Municipal administration of the city of Pataliputra. Every board had five members. These boards looked after’ the subjects like Industries, Census, Trade, Manufactures and their sale, Collection of taxes and Welfare of foreigners living in the city


The Mauryans had a huge army. They had six divisions the Infantry, the Cavalry, Elephants, Chariots, Navy and the sixth section which looked after the movement of goods and weapons for the soldiers and the animals.
Spy System: The Mauryan kings had spies in all parts of the empire. These spies secretly brought news about officials, ministers and people to the king. So the king would always get news about the mood and attitudes of the people. Women were also appointed as spies.


The principal revenue of the state was the land revenue, faxes from traders, artisans and professional taxes were also collected. The revenue was spent for the welfare of the people.


The officers of the Government received their salaries in cash. The coins were made of silver. They were called punch coins because tiny symbols or designs were stamped or punched on them. These coins were also called Karshapanas.

Administration of Justice

The king’s court at Pataliputra was the highest court of Justice. Judicial courts were set up in all parts of the country. Petty cases were decided by the village panchayats. Punishments were severe. The judicial officers were known as rajukas.


Most parts of the Mauryan Empire were linked by roads. There was one route to Nepal via Visali. Another road linked Pataliputra with Kalinga in Orissa. Traders, travelers, spies and soldiers used these roads. Men and goods were transported by river boats also.

Relation with the Extreme South

The Mauryan Empire included almost the whole of India except the extreme South. (Present day Kerala and Tamil nadu) Asoka’s inscriptions refer to the Cheras as Keralaputras. The Mauryans traded with the Southern Kingdoms.




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