Ala-ud-Din’s economic policy was guided by the following considerations:
1. To raise as much finance as possible so as to maintain a well- equipped strong and large army.
2. To reduce the wealth of the nobles and other sections of the society as Ala-ud-Din believed that too much of wealth with them was the most importance cause of the revolts.
3. To provide essential commodities of daily use so that the soldiers could enjoy a reasonable standard of living in their pay.
4. To fix up price of the essential commodities and for this to control the market through a well-regulated system and machinery.
In the words of Dr. P. Saran, “The problem of maintaining the huge army in a good state of equipment and efficiency with limited resources of the kingdom was the sole motive which prompted control of all necessities of life so as to make them cheap enough for the soldiery to maintain themselves on the low salaries which they were to be paid.”
Assessment of the Economic Policy of Ala-ud-Din:
In general it is admitted by most of the historians that Ala-ud-Din succeeded in fulfilling his objectives by his economic policy. His primary objects were to increase the income of the state for the maintenance of the army and rooting out the possibilities of revolts. He achieved both.
However opinions differ regarding the impact of his policy on the peasantry and the common man. The revenue policy of Ala-ud-Din imposed a heavy burden on the peasantry. Probably, in some cases, the peasants had to pay 75 per cent to 80 per cent of their income to the state as taxes. In the words of Dr. Tara Chand, “The policy was suicidal for it killed the goose that laid the golden egg. It left no incentive for increasing the produce or improving the method of cultivation.”
Dr. U.N. Dey has commended favourably. He states, “The peasants do not seem to have materially affected much.” Dr. Ifran Habib has stated, “Ala-ud-Din consciously utilised the conflict between the two rural ‘classes’ by standing forth as the protector of the ‘weak’ against “strong’ in these villages and was perfectly reasonable.”
Dr. R.S. Tripathi justifies Ala-ud-Din’s policy of confiscating land grants, “He took up this measure to assert the right of the monarch to deal with all classes of lands, cancelled all such grants which he did not approve and bestowed others on his own terms.”
Merits of Ala-ud-Din’s Economic Policy:
1. With the abolition of land grants, the state treasury’s revenue increased.
2. By reducing the wealth of the nobles, the chances of internal revolts were minimized.
3. Stern measures adopted to check the malpractices of the revenue officials provided some relief to the peasants and at the same time provided more revenue to the government.
4. Control over price of essential commodities enabled the soldiers to lead reasonable standard of life.
5. The system of rationing enabled the people to get relief from natural calamities.
6. Fixing of weights and measures proved very helpful to consumers.
7. By collecting sufficient revenue it became possible for Ala-ud-Din to maintain a strong army.
Demerits of the Economic policy of Ala-ud-Din:
1. The peasants had to pay high taxes which sometimes were as high as 80 per cent of the produce of their land. This had an adverse affect on them.
2. The profit margin of the traders was reduced on account of market control. This reduced their incentive.
3. Economic policy had an adverse affect on agricultural production. The peasants were required to sell their produce at a fixed price which was not quite remunerative to them, Their motivation for increased production received some setback.