Shukracharya’s treatise on political economy has been referred to in many ancient Indian texts such as Arthashastra, Buddhacharitam and Mahabharata. However, that treatise has been lost. A text titled Shukranitisara was brought to light in the nineteenth century. Written no later than the early part of the
nineteenth century, the text has been written at the cusp of decline of the Indian kingdoms and entry of the colonial powers. The text is unique in that it seems to synthesize ancient Sanskrit writings as well as early regulations of East India Company. While a Sanskrit to English translation of the document exits and a few
have also written about this text from the perspective of political science, nothing has been written from the perspective of economic policies. This is an effort to capture the economic aspects of the treatise. Among the four purusharthas or the life objectives, while Arthashastra had given primacy to artha or material wealth, Shukranitisara considers dharmic or ethical conduct as foremost for the economic decisions of the state and the householder. Among other things, the treatise addresses issues of governance, breadth of vocations and sciences, public finance, prices, markets, contracts, labour relations, and advice to a householder. If some of
the policies mentioned in Shukranitisara are detailed and unique as compared to Arthashastra, some other are similar to the early regulations of the East India Company. Some of the policy advices from the text remain relevant even for today.