District collector (India)
A district collector, often abbreviated to collector, is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer in charge of revenue collection and administration of a district in India. Since district collectors are senior-most executive magistrate in the district, the post is also referred to as the district magistrate, and as the office-bearer works under the supervision of a divisional commissioner, the post is also known as deputy commissioner.
District administration in India is a legacy of the British Raj. District collectors were members of the Indian Civil Service and were charged with supervising general administration in the district.
Warren Hastings introduced the office of the district collector in 1772. Sir George Campbell, lieutenant-governor of Bengal from 1871-1874, intended "to render the heads of districts no longer the drudges of many departments and masters of none, but in fact the general controlling authority over all departments in each district."
The office of a collector during the British Raj held multiple responsibilities – as collector, he was the head of the revenue organization, charged with registration, alteration, and partition of holdings; the settlement of disputes; the management of indebted estates; loans to agriculturists, and famine relief. As district magistrate, he exercised general supervision over the inferior courts and in particular, directed the police work. The office was meant to achieve the "peculiar purpose" of collecting revenue and of keeping the peace. The superintendent of police (SP), inspector general of jails, the surgeon general, the divisional forest officer (DFO) and the chief engineer (CE) had to inform the collector of every activity in their departments.
Until the later part of the nineteenth century, no native was eligible to become a district collector. But with the introduction of open competitive examinations for the Indian Civil Service, the office was opened to natives. Anandaram Baruah, an eminent scholar of Sanskrit and the sixth Indian and the first Assamese ICS officer, became the third Indian to be appointed a district magistrate, the first two being Romesh Chandra Dutt and Sripad Babaji Thakur respectively.
The district continued to be the unit of administration after India gained independence in 1947. The role of the district collector remained largely unchanged, except for the separation of most judicial powers to judicial officers of the district. Later, with the promulgation of the National Extension Services and Community Development Programme by the Nehru government in 1952, the district collector was entrusted with the additional responsibility of implementing the Government of India's development programs in the district.
They are posted by the state government, from among the pool of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers, who either are on Level 11 or Level 12 of the Pay Matrix, in the state. The members of the IAS are either directly recruited by the Union Public Service Commission or promoted from Provincial Civil Service (PCS). The direct recruits are posted as collectors after five to six years of service, whereas the promoted members from state civil services generally occupy this post after promotion to the IAS, which generally happens after two decades of service. A district magistrate and collector is transferred to and from the post by the state government.
The office bearer is generally of the rank of joint secretary to the state government (equivalent to deputy secretary in Government of India).
Functions and responsibilities
The responsibilities assigned to a district magistrate vary from state to state, but generally, district collectors are entrusted with a wide range of duties in the jurisdiction of the district, generally involving the following:
- As district magistrate
- Conducts criminal court of executive magistrate.
- Maintenance of law and order.
- Supervision of the police and jails.
- Supervision of subordinate executive magistracy and conduct magisterial inquiries.
- Hearing cases under the preventive section of the Criminal Procedure Code.
- Supervision of jails and certification of execution of capital sentences.
- Arbitrator of land acquisition.
- Disaster management during natural calamities such as floods, famines or epidemics.
- Crisis management during riots or external aggression.
- As collector
- Conducts revenue court.
- Land assessment
- Land acquisition
- Collection of income tax dues, excise duties, irrigation dues etc.
- Distribution of agricultural loans
- Chairman of the district bankers' coordination committee
- Head of the district industries centre
- As deputy commissioner/district commissioner
- Reports to divisional commissioner on all matters.
- As district election officer
- Conducts elections in the district, be it general, assembly or municipal.
- Acts as the returning officer for the Lok Sabha constituency in the district.
A district magistrate is assisted by some IAS and PCS for carrying out day-to-day work in various fields:--
- Chief Development officer (CDO) or district Development officer (DDO)
- Chief revenue officer (CRO) or district revenue officer (DRO)
- Additional district magistrate(s) (ADM) (North, West, East, South, E (executive), F/R (Finance and Revenue), City, Judicial).
- City magistrate (CM) and additional city magistrates (ACM) (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X).
- Sub-divisional magistrates (SDM) or deputy collector(s) (DC) and other executive magistrates.
- Other officers from other departments at the district level also report to him/her.
- Maheshwari, S.R. (2000). Indian Administration (6th Edition). New Delhi: Orient Blackswan Private Ltd. pp. 573–597. ISBN 9788125019886.
- Singh, G.P. (1993). Revenue administration in India: A case study of Bihar. Delhi: Mittal Publications. pp. 50–124. ISBN 978-8170993810.
- Laxmikanth, M. (2014). Governance in India (2nd Edition). Noida: McGraw Hill Education. pp. 6.1–6.6. ISBN 978-9339204785.
- Report of the Indian Statutory Commission Volume 1 - Survey. Presented by the Secretary of State for the Home Department to Parliament by Command of His Majesty. May, 1930 AND Volume 2 - Recommendations Presented to the Secretary of State for the Home Department to Parliament by Command of His Majesty. May 1930. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. 1930. p. 255.
- "Report of the 7th Central Pay Commission of India" (PDF). Department of Economic Affairs, Government of India. Seventh Central Pay Commission of India. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
- Arora, Ramesh K. (2011). Indian Public Administration: Institutions and Issues. New Age. ISBN 978-8122434460.
- "Powers Of District Magistrate in India". Important India. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
- "CONSTITUTIONAL SETUP". Government of Uttar Pradesh. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
- "Administration". Muzaffarnagar District. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
- "GENERAL ADMINISTRATION". Ghaziabad District. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
- "About Deputy Commissioner & District Magistrate's Office". Dakshin Kannada District. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
- "Power & Functions of Deputy Commissioner". Office of Regional Commissioner, Belagum. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
- "Administration". Agra District website. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
- Singh, G.P. (1993). Revenue administration in India: A case study of Bihar. Delhi: Mittal Publications. ISBN 978-8170993810.
- Maheshwari, S.R. (2000). Indian Administration (6th Edition). New Delhi: Orient Blackswan Private Ltd. ISBN 9788125019886.
- Laxmikanth, M. (2014). Governance in India (2nd Edition). Noida: McGraw Hill Education. ISBN 978-9339204785.
- Arora, Ramesh K. (2011). Indian Public Administration: Institutions and Issues. New Delhi: New Age International. ISBN 978-8122434460.