District is the Principal Administrative unit below the state level. It is a unit of
administration covering most of the departments of Government. In the words ofthe study team on district administration
constituted by the Administrative Reforms commission :
The district is the most convenient
geographical unit where the total apparatus of public administration can be concentrated,
and where it comes into direct contact with the people. Most departments of the state
Government out-side the secretariat, have external services which are located in the
district. The sum total of the activities of these departments and some others, which may
also be connected with the affairs of the Central Government, together constitute the
administrative machinery in the district.
The block and village level
bodies are generally executive in nature, while the district level body mostly has a
co-ordinating and supervisory role.
Present Day District
Administration can perhaps be traced to the Mauryan Era. In those days of slow and
difficult communications, an unwieldy empire had to be split up into smaller and more
manageable administrative units and placed in charge of imperial agents. The agent, who
roughly corresponds to the present day collector(D.C.), was called the Rajjukkara. Though
essentially a Revenue officer, the Rajjukkara also exercised judicial powers and was
charged with the responsibility of maintaining roads in the proper state of repairs,
promotion of trade, Commerce and industry, to carry out public works like construction of
new roads, Irrigation schemes etc.
being the head of the district administration, is perhaps the only officer who exercises
powers under the largest number of laws both state and central.
The functions of the
district administration can be summarised as follows :
1.Law and order
and magisterial matters: The first group of functions relates to public safety
and tranquility. Maintenance of Law and order is the joint responsibility of the
Superintendent of Police, who head the Police force in the district, and the District
Magistrate. The Deputy Commissioner of the District is also the District Magistrate.
Though there is a separate department for the administration of jails, the district
Magistrate exercises general supervision over the Jails in his district.
2.Land Revenue : The
second group of functions relates to revenue administration. While the most important
component of this group is land administration including maintenance ofland records, it also includes the assessment and collectionof land revenue and also collection of the other
public dues which are collected as arrears of
land revenue. The Deputy Commissioner is a designated Revenue officer in various laws
governing the land to deal with disputes arising out of land records and management of
public lands and properties. The other revenue officers, namely, the Assistant
Commissioners, the Tahsildars and the Deputy Tahsildars also perform functions of dealing
with land disputes under the overall supervision and control of the Deputy
3.Development Activities: These include Public Health, Education, Social Welfare, welfare
of Backward Classes and communities. Each of
these functions is looked after by separate department, headed by a specialist officers in
the district. The various special economic programmes like
Samgra Grameena Rozgar Yojana (SGRY), Swarnajayanthi Grama Swarozgar Yojana, etc.and the poor
people's housing scheme Indira Awas Yojana, Pradanamantri Grameena Awas Yojana, Ashraya
Housing Scheme, Dr. Ambedkar Housing, Navagram Hosing are implemented by the Zilla
Panchayat, Which is headed by Chief Executive Officer of Zilla Panchayat. The Deputy
Commissioner does not get a direct role in these schemes. However, since these programmes
call for an integrated effort by various field departments at the district level, Public
Works Department and Minor Irrigation, Forest etc., the role of D.C. in co-coordinating
and guiding their activities is of prime importance for successful implementation of these
programmes. Social Security measures like Old age Pension, Widows Pension, Maternity
allowance to expectant mothers and stipends to physically Handicapped persons,
Workmens compensations matters, rehabilitation of displaced persons under various
projects Aids for Religious (Muzrai Schemes) and charitable Institutions and Endowments
are also carried out.
(i)control, regulation and distribution of Food and Civil supplies and
and Prohibition matters.
(iii)All matters relating to
Stamps and Registration, Societies registration Act, 1960, Registration of firms under the
Indian Partnership Act, 1932.
(iv)Matters relating to Urban
land (ceiling and regulation), vacant lands in urban areas(prohibition of alienation Act,
Citizenship Matters: This relates to holding of elections of Parliament, State
Legislature and Local Bodies. The Deputy Commissioner is responsible for the proper
observance of process of elections from the registration of voters to the declaration of
results of elections.
6.Municipal Administration Matters :The DC is generally responsible for the
supervision and proper functioning of the urban local bodies. The implementation of
various developmental and anti-poverty measures for the urban poor is monitored by the
Deputy Commissioner. The most important of these programmes are the Swarnajayanthi Shahari
Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY), Urban Ashraya (Housing), Eleventh Finance Commission development
grants and the Integrated Small and Medium Towns Development (IDSMT) Programmes.
7.Emergency Relief : In situations like floods, famines, accidental fires,
earthquakes and other natural calamities, the entire district administration is geared to
meet the threat and the DC assumes charge to co-ordinate the activities of the various
departments and takes proper steps to alleviate sufferings of the people.
8.Land Acquisition matters and Land Reforms
of land for public purposes like construction of development projects, industries etc. is
carried out by the Land Acquisition Officers under the control of the Deputy Commissioner.
9.Residuary functions: There are a number of executive functions of
Government which have not been precisely defined and there is no separate representative
of the Government to carry out such duties in the district. It is the DC, in his capacity
as the chief representative of Government in the district, who has to deal with all
residuary matters. This group of activities includes miscellaneous functions like
collections under the small savings schemes, contributions to public loans, implementation
of family planning programme etc..
10.Public Grievances: The DC is the District Public Grievances
officer, in consequence of which he maintains the overall responsibility to ensure proper
functioning of all departments in the district.
The Assistant Commissioners actually working in the
Revenue Department Man the following categories of posts:
1.Headquarters Assistants to Deputy Commissioners
3.Special Land acquisition Officers
4.Special Assistant Commissioners for Land Reforms.
sub-Divisional Officers(S.D.O) are placed in charge of specific taluks in a district andthey supervise both revenue and Development
Departments. They are also Sub-Divisional Magistrates. In regard to revenue matters the
Tahsildars are subject to the control and supervision of the sub-divisional officers. The
Assistant Commissioners in charge of the sub-divisions have been vested with powers of the
D.C. under many of the Sections of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 and also other
state laws. The AC is the first appellate authority in respect of revenue matters handled
by his sub-ordinates and he is also the lowest level at which powers of revision under
section 56 of Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 are vested.The SDO normally handles the land acquisitionwork relating to his sub-division and is also the chairman of the Tribunals
constituted under Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961 for the Taluks in his sub-division.
Special Land Acquisition Officers are to be handled by the SDO along with his normal work.
The SDO is also the returning officer for one or more of the Assembly constituencies in
Taluks, more or less in
their presentform, were in existence in the
areas governed by Tippu Sultan and the Peshwas.
In a Taluk, The
Tahsildar is the most important Government functionary. He is for his charge what the DC
is for the District and is immediately sub-ordinate to the Sub-divisional officer.
Tahsildar is responsible for the collection of land revenue and seeingthat the village Accountants and Revenue
inspectors in his charge work efficiently and keep the village records up-to-date. By
virtue of his office, the Tahsildar is an executive Magistrate under the Criminal
Procedure code. He is the Electoral Registration Officer for his Taluk and also the
Assistant Returning Officer for the Assembly Constituencies covering his taluk. He is also
the secretary of the Tribunals constituted under the Land Reforms Act.
Shirastedars have been appointed in each
talukto assist the Tahsildar. Under Rules 43
and 67 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Rules, 1966, Shirastedar or any officer of Revenue
Department equal or superior in rank to him can hear and pass orders in disputed cases
arising out at the stage of preparation of record of Rights and also at the maintenance
The Revenue Inspector is appointed for a circle.Depending on the size of the circle, a Revenue Inspector heads 10 to 20 VillageAccountants.His main function is to supervise the work of Village Accountants working under
him, and furnish information, reports etc., to the Tahsildar as and when called for.The various registers and forms thathe is required to maintain are given in a separate
chapter entitled Office Procedure.
Revenue Inspector is a vital link between the Village Accountant and the Tahsildar.He is required to be in constant touch with the
Village Accountants and the Tahsildar.He is
required to perform all the duties prescribed under the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964
and Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961 & in or under any other law for the time being in
Though he is a Revenue Functionary and his main function is to collect revenue, he
is increasingly called upon to perform a host of other functions related to general
administration and of departments like Development, Health, Forest, Election, Census etc.
The Village Accountant is appointed for a Village or a group of Villages and he
performs all the duties prescribed in or under the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 or in
under any other law for the time being in force.He
has to keep all such registers and other records as are prescribed by Government.(Details of Registers and forms to be maintained
by Village Accountant are given separately in the chapter on Office Procedure).Whenever called upon by any Superior Revenue
Officer of the Taluk or District, he prepares all records connected with the affairs of
the Village.The Records may be notices,
depositions, Mahajars or reports required by the State or the Public.
The Village Account is directlyunder
the supervision and control of the Revenue Inspector.The Village Accountant being an important functionary of Revenue Administration at
the Village level, should reside in a central village of his circle to be available to the
villagers.The Headquarters of the Village
Accountant is fixed by the Deputy Commissioners, non-residence in the Headquarters by the
Village Accountant would attract disciplinary proceedings against him.
The Village Accountant has therefore, a dual role to play.On the one hand, he is under the administrative
control of the Tahsildar and is responsible for all matters of Revenue administration at
this level.He collects revenue, makes crop
entries, draws Mahazars, issued notices and carries out functions that his superiors
direct him to perform.On the other hand he
attends to the Panchayat and Development Administration of the Village and functions under
the control and supervision of the Chief Executive Officer of the Taluk Development Board.
The activities of the Revenue Department have increased over the years.Although collection of revenue continues to be one
of the most important tasks of the village accountant he is playing an important role in
the identification of the beneficiaries under the several programmes launched by the
Government for the amelioration of the conditions of the rural population in general and
the Weaker Sections in particular.