Which among the following economic regulations were introduced during the reign of Alauddin Khilji?
1. Introduction of a silver tanka and copper Jital
2. Fixation of prices of select commodities by state
3. Prevention of hoarding of grains by farmers
4. Establishment of dedicated markets for select commodities
Choose the correct option from the codes given below:

Answer: [B] Only 2, 3 & 4

Market Controls by Alauddin Khilji

In this question, first statement is not correct because these coins were introduced by Iltutmish.

The market control system and the economic regulations issued to that effect, were the most revolutionary and remarkable reforms made by Alauddin Khilji. According to Barani the basic objective of these reforms was to maintain a large and efficient army for keeping the Mongols in check. Such a large army could not be maintained and kept content out of the normal revenues of the state, unless the prices of commodities were reduced. Thus, according to Barani, the economic regulations were primarily a military measure. Barani’s view does not however seem very convincing because several commodities, for which the prices had been fixed, were of little or no use to the soldiers. Besides, merely for the military needs such extensive economic reforms were not needed. Therefore, the view of Amir Khusrau, who was a contemporary of Alauddin Khalji, seems to be more reasonable that the sultan introduced these reforms for the general welfare of the people and these were intended to ensure the supply of important commodities for the benefit of common people as also collect food grains for the royal treasury at prescribed rates to combat famines. The economic regulations issued by the sultan for controlling the markets were as under :

  • Zawabit or detailed regulations were made to control the prices of various commodities, from food grains to horses, cattle and slaves, which were fixed by the state. No change was permitted in the price of the commodities without the state’s permission. He tried to control prices along with its availability and distribution. The KARWANIS OR Banjaras carried formed a guild where they became guarantors for each other.
  • The cultivators were not allowed to hoard. Only 10 man of grain, the rest was to be supplied to the market.
  • Four separate markets were established for various commodities central grain market, market for manufactured goods, market for general merchandise and market for horses, cattle and slaves.
  • Each market was put under the charge of a Shuhna or controller of market, and all merchants were to be registered with the state. The sultan received daily reports for the markets from the three independent sources – Shuhna, barids (intelligence officers) and munshis (secret spies).
  • Very strict punishment were prescribed for cheating and under-weighning. Shehna-i-mandi was appointed to keep a strict vigil.
  • To reduce the prices of the costly or imported commodities, the state used to subsidize their costs. But such subsidized items were sold on a permit issued by the permit officer (Parwana Rais), appointed by the state.
  • There was also provision for rationing during famine, drought or scarcity of food drains.
  • Sarai-i-adl was the market for clothes, which was setup near the royal palace at Badayun gate.
  • Horse trade was monopoly of the Afghans and Multanis. The middlemen and dalas sold them in the market. Alauddin did away with the intermediaries and asked the merchants to sell the horses directly to the Diwan-i-arz.

The economic regulations of Alauddin were the greatest administrative achievement of the Sultanate period. Ferishta, writing in the reign of Jahangir (1607), remarks : To the end of Alauddin’s reign these prices remained steady and there was no change in them owing to lack of rain or other causes. It was a unique and remarkable achievement. The success of these economic measures was largerly due to the genius and personal attention of the sultan. These measures failed to survive his death, for they operated against economic laws.

This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module