Competitive Exams: Local Governance

Development Administration

  • After Independence, with the initiation of development planning, he has become a pivotal figure in the implementation of development programs.

  • In many States, the Collector is designated as the District Development Officer.

  • He is the ex-officio Chairman of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), which was established in each district in 1980 under the Indian Societies Registration Act.

  • The chief role of the Collector in the field of development administration is that of coordination.

  • The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992 and the consequent Panchayati Raj Acts of 1993 and 1994 of various States have reduced the role of the Collector in development administration.

Other Powers and Functions

  • Presides over the District Plan Implementation Committee.
  • Acts as the chief protocol officer in the district. Acts as a kind of a buffer between administration and citizens in the district. Supervises the Municipal administration in the district.
  • Acts as the Public Relations Officer of the Government.
  • Acts as the official representative of the State Government during the ceremonial functions in the district.
  • Acts as the crisis administrator-in-chief during natural calamities and other emergencies. Deals with the personnel matters of the district staff.
  • Is responsible for the civil supplies. Handles work pertaining to the civil defence. Maintains liasion with military authorities and looks after the welfare of both serving and retired members of the Armed forces. Acts as the Returning officer for the elections to the Parliament and the State Assembly. Coordinates the election work at the district level.
  • Acts as the District Census Officer.


Under the provisions of the Land Revenue Act juid the Criminal Procedure Code, a district is territorially divided into a number of units for the purpose of revenue and criminal administration. The Sub-Divisional Officer (JSDO) is either a member of IAS or State Civil Services and is appointed and controlled by the State Government.

  • Like the District Collector, he is a territorial officer, generalist administrator and a multipurpose functionary.
  • He is vested with the Revenue, Magisterial and the Executive powers.
  • As the Chief Executive Officer and the official representative of the State Government, he has to keep in touch with the activities of all the departments of the Government in the sub-division.
  • He acts, on the one hand, as a link between the District Collector and the tehsildar in revenuejnatters and, on the other hand, between the District Magistrate and the station police officers in the matters pertaining to law and order.
  • He is the principal assistant and valuable field aid to the District Collector and is responsible to him for all the aspects of the administration in the sub-division.


  • Each sub-division is further territorially divided into a number of administrative units. A Tehsil is the basic unit for various aspects of administration like land revenue, land records, treasury, magistracy and so on. It is described as a ‘Miniature District’ as the offices of various fieId departments are located within it.
  • The Tehsildar belongs to the State Civil Services and is an officer of Gazetted rank.
  • He is responsible for the collection of revenue and maintenance of law and order in the Tehsil.


  • Each Tehsil is territorially divided into a number of units for the purpose of revenue administration.
  • The Kanungo or the Circle Inspector is regarded as the first-line supervisor in the chain of revenue administration.
  • He supervises revenue administration and land records of all the villages under his charge.
  • He is generally appointed by the District Collector.


  • A Village is the lowest and the ultimate unit for all the administrative and fiscal purposes in all the States.
  • In Tamil Nadu, the most important functionary in a village is called the Village Headman. The functionary equal to him in Maharashtra is called Patel.
  • There is no corresponding functionary in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The ‘PatwarI'in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh maintains the village revenue accounts and the land records. He is called by various other names in other States, for instance, iekhpaL'in Uttar Pradesh.’ KarnaM' (or kanak pillai) in Tamil Nadu and' TalatI'in Maharashtra. He is called as The kingpin of revenue administration in the district.