(Last Updated on : 03-01-2011)
Divisional Commissioner is in charge of Regional Administration and is one of the most important among the Regional Officers. The Divisional Commissioner represents the State Government in his region. The institution of Divisional Commissioners exists in all the States except Tamil Nadu
, Andhra Pradesh
Origin of Office of District Collector
This institution dates back to the year 1829, when the Government of Lord William Bentick appointed Commissioners of Revenue to supervise the work of collectors, judge-magistrates and district magistrates. Although most of the States today have Divisional Commissioners, this office has had a chequered history. In a number of States it has seen a succession of abolitions and revivals, reductions in powers and reinstatements. Madhya Pradesh
(in 1948) and (old) Bombay (in 1950) had abolished Divisional Commissionerships but revived them in 1956 and 1958 respectively.
The Divisional Commissionership came under a cloud immediately after Independence. It was called a costly and unnecessary link between the district and the State Government. An Enquiry Committee which was set up to look into this institution found little use of the post. A couple of years earlier, the Rowlands Committee (Bengal Administration Enquiry Committee) also favoured the abolition of the post of the Divisional Commissioner.
The utility of this institution has, however, been gradually realised and today, most serious administrators appear to be unanimous that there is a need for Divisional Commissioners.
Role of Divisional Commissioner
The Divisional Commisioner performs a variety of roles in regional administration. Today, District Collectors are quite junior officers, needing the guidance and supervision of a seasoned administrator like the Divisional Commissioner. During the British period a member of the ICS was normally appointed a Collector of the district in his twelfth year. Today a member of the Indian Administrative Services becomes a District Collector after putting in only 5 or 6 years of service. With his insufficient administrative experience, a District Collector of today necessarily needs guidance. The Divisional Commissioners, therefore, are a necessary part of the governmental machinery.
Apart from giving expert advice, the Divisional Commisioners also provide direct communication with a large number of heads of districts. The Commissioner is a regional coordinator. Posted at the divisional level, he coordinates the work of various departments in his division in a way that no other administrative ingenuity can. The Divisional Commissioners are instruments of decentralized coordination, The activities of different departments of the Government, especially those .engaged in development programmes, though varying in nature, are interlinked and there are often a number of common problems which need immediate attention and resolution. At the regional level, this coordination is brought about by the Commissioners. It is only an officer who is intimately aware of the problems of the region and the day-to-day working of different governmental departments at the regional and district levels that can effectively coordinate their working and find agreeable solutions to inter-departmental problems.
The Commissioner is the effective agency to supervise and inspect the work of district offices, both police and revenue, to enforce efficiency. The Commissioner is a necessary intermediate link between the Government and the district administration, shielding one against the other.