AP New Districts: Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy issued draft notification for creating 13 new districts. Already 13 districts exist in Andhra Pradesh and creation of the new district will take the total to 26 districts. This much anticipated and needed creation of districts has now turned into a debatable topic. While critics are alleging that the CM has divided the districts according to his party convenience while others blame that the district headquarters for many have been named wrongly.
Whatever be the reason, people have many things to point out at this new order of the state government. Yet another debatable topic has been does the state have the authority to create new districts? Will centre interfere in the issue? Will the state government have to seek permission before taking a decision? Here’s basic explanation about creating new districts in states.
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.
States argue that smaller districts lead to better administration and governance. For example, in 2016, the Assam government issued a notification to upgrade the Majuli sub-division to Majuli district for “administrative expediency”.
The state government has been vested with unfettered powers under Section 5 of the Punjab Land Revenue Act, 1887 to create new districts, says KBS Siddhu, former financial commissioner (revenue) of Punjab. “This power is generally held temporarily in abeyance only during active census operations or during the delimitation exercise of LokSabha/VidhanSabha constituencies,“Sidhu said.
The Union government has no role to play in the alteration of districts or creation of new ones. States are free to decide. The 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.
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 731 districts in the country. The surge in number is also due to bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into AP and Telangana in 2014. Telangana at present has 33 districts and AP has 26 districts.
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