Punjab Chief Minister declared Malerkotla the 23rd district of the State by provisions in the Punjab Land Revenue Act, 1887.
GS-II: Polity and Governance (Federalism, Government Interventions, Territory of India)
Dimensions of the Article:
- How are new districts carved?
- What is the objective of creating new districts?
- Understanding the Districts in India and the trends
How are new districts carved?
- The power to create new districts or alter or abolish existing districts rests with the State governments.
- This can either be done through an executive order or by passing a law in the State Assembly.
- Many States prefer the executive route by simply issuing a notification in the official gazette.
Does the Central government have a role to play here?
- The Centre has NO role to play in the alteration of districts or creation of new districts. States are free to decide.
- The Union Home Ministry comes into the picture when a State wants to change the name of a district or a railway station. The State government’s request is sent to other departments and agencies such as the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Intelligence Bureau, Department of Posts, Geographical Survey of India Sciences and the Railway Ministry seeking clearance. A no-objection certificate may be issued after examining their replies.
What is the objective of creating new districts?
- States argue that smaller districts lead to better administration and governance.
- If the area of administration is vast, it will cause delays in implementing welfare schemes and projects.
- The population, human settlements, commercial establishments and industries continue to grow in modern times – hence public offices will stop being able to cater to the increasing population effectively and the people may not get the benefits of the welfare schemes etc., in time.
- The purpose of delimitation of districts is ensuring that the people have easy access to the administration and enjoy the benefits of government schemes.
- A new district will have a new Collectorate and will encourage employment opportunities and the creation of new commercial establishments and industries.
Understanding the Districts in India and the trends
- The larger states predicatbly have a higher number of districts, with Uttar Pradesh (75) leading the count, followed by Madhya Pradesh (52), while the smallest state, Goa (2), has the lowest number.
- However, the number of districts in a state is not always a function of the area of the state, or of its population. For example, Andhra Pradesh is the seventh largest state by area but has among the smallest counts of districts at 13. Another example: Tripura being a small state, has 8 districts which gives it a very high number of districts per unit area (An average Andhra Pradesh district is more than nine times the size of an average Tripura district).
- According to the 2011 Census, there were 593 districts in the country. The Census results showed that between 2001-2011, as many as 46 districts were created by States.
- Though the 2021 Census is yet to happen, Know India, a website run by the Government of India, says currently there are 718 districts in the country.
- The surge in number is also due to bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into A.P and Telangana in 2014. Telangana at present has 33 districts and A.P has 13 districts.
-Source: The Hindu