Daily Current Affairs – 14th October, 2016DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
Telangana- Small administrative units for better administration?
In news: Telangana now has 31 districts from previously 10 districts. But the important question arises is if smaller units can actually help in better administration or not.
- During 2014 elections, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti had promised creation of 14 new districts.
- After it came to power, the Chief Minister initially agreed for issuance of notification for 17 new districts. Ultimately, due to protests, agitations and demand for new districts, four more were added.
- New additions in state
- 21 new districts
- 25 additional revenue divisions
- 125 new mandals
- 4 new police Commissionerates
- 23 new police subdivisions
- 28 new circles
- 91 more police stations
Picture Credit: http://images.indianexpress.com/2016/10/telangana-division.jpg
What is being done?
- The Telangana Planning Department officials are assigning unique numerical code to all the districts, mandals and villages afresh.
- The Telangana State Remote Sensing Application Centre (TRAC) earlier prepared maps for all the districts, a prerequisite for giving the district code pending release of standard maps by the Survey of India.
- The unique numerical code for districts and mandals is important because of the financial implications and required for Central programmes like NREGA where funds would be directly released into accounts of beneficiaries based on authenticated code.
- Planning Department officials said unlike in the past where the focus was on data collection, now the focus would be on resource mapping in each mandal and accordingly the mandal-level officers were re-designated as Mandal Planning and Statistical Officers.
Small units = Better administration
- Facilitate better monitoring of beneficiaries of various government schemes like housing schemes, pensions, education and others.
- Provides more even distribution of resources. The population division on various criteria is known and thus funds are dispersed as per requirement.
- Local inputs into framing of development work. A bottom-up approach to development that allows local stakeholders greater say in decision-making on issues directly affecting their lives.
- The emerging small units will help police in improving relationship with people. Small units make police accessible to people easily.
- As per the CM of Telangana, adopting the model of small districts will boost development and take administration closer to the people.
The idea was to break down the existing districts into smaller ones – each with a population of not more than four lakh. This way, the district collectors, who manage the district administration, will be able to serve the people better.
Small units = Better administration is not true
- Increased costs due of creation of additional administrative infrastructure, transfer of personnel, and replication of paperwork.
- Initially, existing staff is redeployed and existing buildings are utilised for administrative purposes which creates pressure on human resources as well as assets.
- Telangana government has sanctioned Rs. 1 crore for each district for initial arrangements, which will hardly suffice.
- Increasing bureaucratic work at the village level will not automatically lead to better governance outcomes.
Thus, not all are buying the reasoning of better administration for creation of such small districts in Telangana. It is said that the formation of districts is more of political decision than administrative one. The agitation in Jangaon, Sircilla and Gadwal areas of Telangana changed the existing decision of creating 17 new districts to 21 new districts.
- Small districts, like small states, can certainly prove to be good models of governance, but without proper planning and preparation, this new experiment stands exposed to vulnerabilities.
- The role of district collectors, police, judiciary and their efficiency will be known as they have smaller areas to govern. How fast the state government can appoint these government functionaries to begin administration of district remains to be seen.
- A new case study will be available on the subject of ‘Smaller Units as medium to better governance- Reality or Myth’ in a while which will provide a first-hand insight into a larger consideration of increasing more states in India for improved administration and political satisfactions.
Connecting the dots:
- Large states give political mileage but becomes administrative nightmare at times. Do you agree that larger states with small administrative units (districts) will solve multiple governance problems? Critically evaluate
- India has small states like Goa and Sikkim and large states like UP and Maharashtra. What according to you are pros and cons of large and small states? Examine.
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