District Administration

  1. India is a Parliamentary Democracy with a federal structure. Both the Union Government and the State Governments are run by elected representatives. The framework within which the government is run is laid down in a written Constitution. The country has a well established administrative set up both in the States and in the Central Government. The country’s day-to-day administration centres around the District Collector (also known asthe District Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner in some States) who heads the administrative organiation in a District. The country is divided into Districts of varying sizes each headed by a District Collector. In some States a number of Districts are grouped together to form Divisions headed by Divisional Commissioners. The head of the State’s) administrative set up is the Chief Secretary.What is District Administration?

* District Administration means the management of the task of government so far as it lies within an area legally recognized as a district. According to Khera, “District administration is the total management of public affairs within this unit.” The district is kept under the charge of a district officer-called either Deputy Commissioner or District Collector who acts as the eyes, ears and arms of the State Government. As such D. C’s task is of pivotal nature. This task is of five kinds viz., Revenue, Magisterial, Judicial, Executive and Development. The District Administration is the focal point for field level organizations and implementation of all government contingency plans related to disaster management. The District Administration is required to prepare in advance a contingency district disaster management plan depending on the type of disasters likely in the district. Contingency Plans are required to keep into account the type of preparedness and the relief material required to be mobilized.
District Functionaries:
# Deputy Commissioner or District Officer is the linchpin of district administration. He is the head of the district. He is designated as Collector in some of the states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and Deputy Commissioner in states like Haryana and Punjab.
# In some other states, where judicial powers are still vested with the Deputy Commissioner, he is termed as the District Magistrate as well. However, Deputy Commissioner is overall responsible for efficient administration of the District.
The District Officer:
The Deputy Commissioner (the D.C. or Collector is designated as District Officer because he plays a pivotal role in the administrative set up of the district and exercises varying degrees of supervision over the heads of other departments functioning in the district. He is appointed either through competitive examination for I.A.S. services held through U.P.S. C., or he is promoted from ‘state) civil services. Quota for provincial services is reserved for promotion to IAS .His principal duty, today, as it has always been, is the maintenance of law and order in the district. Prompt collection of revenue is his another duty of significance.
The direction and fulfilment of development plans is also one of his function of paramount importance. To act as a buffer between citizens and administration is another important assignment of the D. C.
Hence his functions are multifarious and can be described as under:
As a Collector
As the Chief Executive of the District
As a Judicial Officer: Supervision of the Local
Development Function
As Returning Officer Bodies
District Officer in Post-Independence


With the ushering in of independence era in India there has occurred a marked change in the position of the D.C. The halo of glamour which surrounded him in the British days has almost vanished. He is no longer the ‘ mai bap’ of the people. The inception of parliamentary form of govenment has transferred the D.C. from being an agent of a paternalistic alien rule into a subservient tool of a popularly elected government’ As such he is required to be persuasive and not coercive in his approach to the people whom he is supposed to serve. Besides he is conscious of his limitations. He is less adequately equipped for his job than his counterpart in British era.
Until the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution, the governance structure of India was two-tiered comprising the Union Government and the State Governments. At the district level, apart from discharging the responsibilities cast by specific enactments, the Collectors performed such administrative tasks as were assigned to them by the State governments. After independence, the single greatest accretion to the responsibilities of the district administrator came through expansion of rural development programmes. As the number of activities, institutions and departments involved in rural development increased, the coordinating and synthesizing role of the Collector in the development efforts of the government assumed greater importance.
Other Functionaries of the District:
A brief account of the functions of the functionaries in the district will not be out of place. District and sessions judge, Superintendent of police, Civil surgeon or chief medical officer of health, Executive engineer, S. D.O. and tehsildar, District inspector of schools, Employment exchange officer, District supply officer are some of the important heads of the departments functioning in the districts.


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