ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Overhaul of District Administration in Andhra-Panchayati Raj Downgraded

Panchayati Raj Downgraded?
C V H Rao THE ANDHRA GOVERNMENT is considering measures to streamline the administrative machinery at the district and lower levels to speed up agricultural development in particular and economic growth in general. The object is to make the district collector the centre of developmental work in the district and to make him responsible for the formulation of district plans for agricultural and industrial development. The collector is to be invested with the status and powers of a district head of department for agriculture, industries, co-operation, animal husbandry and minor irrigation, and the present departmental heads are to be placed under his supervision and control. The collector will be chairman of the District Development Board, the only other member of which will be the chairman of the zilla parishad. The zilla parishad secretary is to be secretary of the Board. As development programmes will occupy most of the collector's time, he will be assisted by a senior IAS officer in revenue administration and in [his responsibilities in civil supplies. At the same time, a State Development Board is to be constituted, with the Chief Secretary as its chairman and all heads of economic departments and secretaries to Government as members. The Board will receive regular reports about the progress of district development schemes and issue directions to the collectors and the District Development Boards, More Powers for Collector The Government has taken care to explain that the changes in the administrative structure and in the status of the collector will be limited to development programmes, particularly in agriculture, and that the sphere of the zilla parishads and the panchayat samitis and gram pan- chayats, as defined under the Andhra Pradesh Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act of 1959 and the Gram Panchayat Act of 1964, will not be affected by the reorganisation. Thus the zilla parishads will continue to have control over secondary education, district roads, coordination of the plans and functions of the panchayat samitis, while the samitis will exercise control over primary education, execution of minor irrigation works up to a specified size, management of primary health centres, social welfare schemes for women, backward classes and scheduled castes, and promotion of rural industries. Schemes under these heads, drawn up by the samitis. will not fall within the purview of the District Development Boards though in the process of implementation they will be co-ordinated with programmes in associated spheres drawn up by the Board. It is in the sphere of execution, therefore, that the single line of command will operate, extending from the collector to the village panchayat through the samiti and the block development officer who is the executive agency at the samiti level. The district plan, incorporating the sectoral plans for agriculture, industries, co-operative credit, utilisation of the irrigation facilities and securing supplies of fertiliser, seeds and other services for the farmers, and the plans drawn up by the samitis for subjects under their jurisdiction, will be placed for approval before the zilla parishad and finalised only after such approval has been secured.

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