How more districts in Telangana can facilitate effective Governance?
More number of districts in Telangana can more or less can solve the problem of Effective Governance!
In India, the district has always been the pivot of the structure of administration. With the acceptance of 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 the IAS. Collector 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. In a district with geographically bigger area and with population over and above 15 lakh, it may not be possible for the Collector to concentrate on certain areas and subjects.
In Telangana, where the government initiated a number of programmes like Mission Kakatiya, Drinking Water Project, Housing for All, Grama Jyoti, Harita Haram, land purchase and allotment to Dalits, a variety of welfare measures and so on, it requires a smaller unit as district compared to the present size. The Telangana State government has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary and assigned it the task of collection of data, specific features, etc., for creation of new districts is in the process.
Once the process is over, the number of districts may go up, and if TRS election manifesto is any indication, it would be 24 districts. On an average, each district will have a population of 15 lakh as per 2011 census. As per the current data, there are 681 districts in all the 29 states and no uniform guidelines or criteria seem to have been followed in dividing a particular state into a number of districts for administrative convenience. Not only regarding the 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 among population, number of districts, number of Lok Sabha and Assembly segments. Population of states varies between 20 crore in Uttar Pradesh (16.49% of country’s population) to mere 6 lakh in Sikkim (0.05%) 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, whereas 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,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 NorthEast States, the ratio varies from 1:5 in UP to 1:14 in Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir. In 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 the number of districts in different states as compared to Telangana, Himachal Pradesh with a population of 68 lakh has 12 districts and sends 4 MPs and 68 MLAs. Uttarakhand has one crore population in 13 districts with 5 MPs and 70 MLAs. Jammu & Kashmir has 1.25 crore population with 22 districts, 6 MPs and 89 MLAs. Haryana has 2.53 crores population, 21 districts, 10 MPs and 90 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. The number of districts and number of Lok Sabha and Assembly segments is less when compared to the states listed above. Even smaller states like Arunachal Pradesh which has just 14 lakh population has as many as 19 districts, Nagaland has 11 districts with 20 lakh population and Meghalaya has 11 districts with 29 lakh 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 30 districts for 28 Lok Sabha segments, Gujarat 33 districts for 26 Lok Sabha segments, UP 75 districts for 80 Lok Sabha segments and Bihar 38 districts for 40 Lok Sabha segments. Maharashtra has 36 districts for 48 Lok Sabha segments, West Bengal 20 districts for 42 Lok Sabha segments, Tamil Nadu 32 districts for 39 Lok Sabha segments, Andhra Pradesh 13 districts for 25 Lok Sabha segments, and Kerala 14 districts for 20 Lok Sabha segments. Telangana with 10 districts for 17 Lok Sabha segments does not match proportionately.
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 the number of districts increased in Telangana that one more election promise would have been fulfilled.
Source: THE HANS INDIA ( The writer is a CPRO to CMO Telangana,written by Vanam Jwala Narsimha Rao.)