Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Creation of Additional Districts in Telangana : Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao

Creation of Additional Districts in Telangana
Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao


The Hans India (05-11-2015)
In India the district has always been the pivot of the structure of administration. With the acceptance of a Welfare State as the objective the emphasis in district administration has come to be placed overwhelmingly on development activities. District as the basic unit of field administration has been in existence through the ages. Independence and adoption of welfare state necessitated a complete reorientation of the concept of District Administration including its size. The District administration is headed by the Collector and District Magistrate drawn from IAS and is responsible among others for the general control and direction of the police which is headed by the Superintendent of Police. Basically, the DC has three major functions namely revenue, magisterial and developmental. A district with geographically bigger area and with population over and above 15 Lakhs, it may not be possible for the Collector to concentrate more on certain areas and subjects. In Telangana where the Government initiated number of programs like Mission Kakatiya, Drinking Water Project, Housing for all, Grama Jyoti, Harita Haram, Land Purchase and allotment to Dalits, variety of welfare measures and so on, it requires a smaller unit as district compared to the present size.

Telangana State Government has constituted a committee under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary and the basic work of collection of data, specific features, etc. for creation of new districts in addition to the present 10 is in the process. When once the process is over number of districts may go up and if TRS election manifesto is any indication on the number it would be 24 districts and on an average each district will have a population of 15 lakhs as per 2011 census. As per the current data there are 681 districts in all the 29 states and no uniform guidelines or criteria seems to have been followed in dividing a particular state in to number of districts for administrative convenience. Not only regarding number of districts but also in case of number of Lok Sabha or Assembly segments there seems to be no criteria. There is gross inconsistency in the ratio between population, number of districts, number of Lok Sabha and Assembly segments.

Population of states varies between 20 Crores of Uttar Pradesh (16.49% of Country’s) to mere 6 lakhs of Sikkim (0.05% of Country’s) as well as 80 Lok Sabha members from UP to just one from Sikkim. Surprisingly for 80 MPs of UP there are 404 Assembly Segments where as for just one MP there are 32 Assembly segments in Sikkim. What has been the criterion is not known. Similarly ratio between Lok Sabha and Assembly segments in different states vary from 1:5 (UP) to 1:60 (Nagaland). While there are 404 Assembly segments for 80 Lok Sabha segments in UP for all the North East States put together the Assembly segments are as many as 412 as against a mere 13 Lok Sabha segments. How is this justified is also not known. Other than North East States the ratio varies from 1:5 in UP to 1:14 in Uttara Khand and Jammu & Kashmir. Majority of states the ratio between Lok Sabha and Assembly segments is 1:7. Whether the formation of districts or segmentation of Lok Sabha and Assembly has any uniform criterion and real representative is disputable. 

Coming to number of districts in different states compared to Telangana, Himachal Pradesh with a population of 68 Lakhs has 12 districts and sends 4 MPs and 68 MLAs. Uttara Khand has one Crore population in 13 districts with 5 MPs and 70 MLAS. Jammu & Kashmir has 1.25 Crores population, 22 districts, 6 MPs and 89 MLAs. Haryana has 2.53 Crores population, 21 districts, 10 MPs and 90 MLAs. Chhattisgarh has 2.55 Crore population, 27 districts, 11 MPs and 91 MLAs. Punjab has 2.77 Crore population 22 districts, 13 MPs and 117 MLAs. Assam has 3.12 Crore population, 32 districts, 14 MPs and 126 MLAs. Jharkhand has 3.29 Crore population 24 districts, 14 MPs and 81 MLAs. Against this even though Telangana State has 3.53 Crore population it has only just 10 districts, 17 MPs and 119 MLAs. Number of districts and number of Lok Sabha and Assembly segments are lesser when compared to the 8 states listed above. Even smaller states like Arunachal Pradesh which has just 14 Lakhs population has as many as 19 districts, Nagaland 11 with 20 Lakhs population and Meghalaya has 11 districts with 29 Lakhs population.

As far as other states are concerned Madhya Pradesh has 51 districts against 28 Lok Sabha segments, Odisha has 30 districts against 21 Lok Sabha segments, Rajasthan has 33 districts for 25 Lok Sabha segments, Karnataka has 30 districts for 28 Lok Sabha segments, Gujarat has 33 districts for 26 Lok Sabha segments. UP with 75 districts for 80 Lok Sabha segments and Bihar with 38 districts for 40 Lok Sabha segments have almost equal number of districts and Lok Sabha segments. However Maharashtra with 36 districts for 48 Lok Sabha segments, West Bengal 20 districts for 42 Lok Sabha segments, Tamil Nadu with 32 districts for 39 Lok Sabha segments, Andhra Pradesh with 13 districts for 25 Lok Sabha segments, Kerala with 14 districts for 20 Lok Sabha segments and Telangana with 10 districts for 17 Lok Sabha segments are the six states with lesser districts un-matching with Lok Sabha segments and population.

It is not only the number of districts but also that of Lok Sabha and Assembly segments needs to be enhanced to a reasonable level in Telangana. When this is done and when number of districts is increased in Telangana then one more election promise would be fulfilled. End


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