Indigenous Business and Financial Practices

Kshama V. Kaushik and Kaushik Dutta

in India Means Business

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780198072614
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081592 | DOI:
Indigenous Business and Financial Practices

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This chapter describes various indigenous financial and business practices. A unique social innovation developed in ancient India, a merchant guild or sreni or nigama was akin to a corporate self-governing entity with its own regulations which were duly recognized and even registered by the local authorities. Some other practices prevalent in ancient India were hundis, which were part of a sophisticated financial system for safe transfer of funds to carry out business transactions; loan deed forms called rnpatra or rnlekhya; nidhis or chit funds which were designed to cultivate the habit of thrift and savings amongst its members, and the bahi-khata and parta systems of bookkeeping and management. The authors suggest that rather than dismissing these ancient practices as outmoded, Indian businesses may gain from modifying them to suit modern commerce.

Keywords: financial practices; business practices; India; srenis; hundi; rnpatra; bahi-khata; parta system; nidhi; modern commerce

Chapter.  8018 words. 

Subjects: Economic History

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