UPSC GS Study Notes


Office of District Magistrate

  • 10 Jul,2023
  • Team ExamGuru


GS-II Role of Civil Services in a Democracy Civil Services

Office of District Magistrate

The position of District Collector was created by Warren Hastings in 1772.

Powers, Duties and Responsibilities District Magistrate/Collector

The District Magistrate or the Collector is the chief executive and chief administrative and revenue officer of a district. He makes necessary co-ordination of the official agencies functioning within the district. The functions and responsibilities of the District Magistrate Collector may be broadly classified as follows: Collector, District Magistrate, Deputy Commissioner, Chief Protocol Officer, Chief Development Officer and Returning Officer.

As a Collector

  • Land assessment
  • Land acquisition
  • Collection of land revenue, maintenance of land records, land reforms, consolidation of holdings etc
  • Collection of income tax dues, excise duties, irrigation dues etc.
  • Distribution of agricultural loans
  • Disaster management during natural calamities such as floods, famines or epidemics
  • Crisis management during riots or external aggression
  • Chairman of the District Bankers CoordinationCommittee.
  • Head of the District Industries Centre

As a District Magistrate

  • Maintenance of law and order
  • Supervision of the police and jails
  • Supervision of subordinate Executive magistracy
  • Hearing cases under the preventive section of the Criminal Procedure Code
  • Supervision of jails and certification of execution of capital sentences
  • To submit the annual criminal report to the government

As a Deputy Commissioner

  • Report to divisional commissioner on all matters
  • Act as ex-officio chairman of the District Development Authority in absence of divisional commissioner

As a Chief Protocol Officer

  • Conducts the census work
  • Look after the supply and proper distribution of daily necessity good
  • Hears and takes adequate steps to redress the grievances of the local people
  • Supervises the activities of the young government officers in the district and arrange for their training etc.

As a Chief Development Officer

  • Conduct all the development plans and projects of the district
  • Put into effect the policy of democratic decentralization
  • Act as the chief liaison officer of the state government within the district.

As a Returning Officer

  • Conduct and supervise all the election works in the district.

Changing Role of Secretary

Conventional Role of Secretary

Secretaries to the Government of India broadly played the following roles:

  • Administrative Head of the Ministry.
  • Policy Adviser to the Minister.
  • Engaging with the Cabinet Secretariat.
  • Engaging with the Prime Minister’s Office.
  • Representing the Ministry before Parliamentary Committees.

But, in the present day circumstances, it has evolved well beyond the conventional and became complex and multidimensional.

Multi-Dimensional Role for the Secretary in the Present Era

  • Behavioural Change
    • Certain aspects require behavioural change; it involves nudging the States and District Administration to achieve the targets.
    • More and more interaction is required in the field so as to bring behavioural change.
  • Technology
    • Virtual classrooms can become the focal points.
    • The District level functionaries, field functionaries can be trained with virtual classrooms.
    • With apps, we can monitor the progress on a daily basis.
    • Leveraging technology is essential to achieve the final goal.
  • Convergence among the Ministries
    • For the delivery of various flagship programmes, there is a need for Convergence.
    • For example, if we take Swachh Bharat, it requires convergence among the Ministries of School Education, Health, Women and Child Development as well as Rural Development.
    • If the secretaries work in silos, it is not possible to achieve the end goal.
  • Communication
    • The Secretary should communicate to the outside World in clearer terms.
    • The traditional role of a Secretary was previously to remain faceless and anonymous, but, Secretary needs to play a proactive role now.
    • Since the training and inclination of most civil servants is to remain anonymous, specialised communication is the need of the hour for Secretaries.