Telangana’s new districts: politically astute move, but little else

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 16, 2018

The creation of new districts augurs well for the political fortunes of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s TRS. - G RAMAKRISHNA

How they will help improve economy, administrative efficiency remains to be seen

After being carved out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, Telangana is all set to go ahead with another administrative — and admittedly political — reorganisation of its districts. India’s 29th State, which was born with 10 districts, soon have 31. The official declaration is expected on Dasara.

Chief Minister K Chadrasekhar Rao, who has always been keen on the move, says the main objective is to improve administrative efficiency.

Arriving at a final number of districts had become a tight-rope walk for the State government in view of demands from the public and agitations in different districts.

Though 27 districts excluding Hyderabad were notified last month, the Chief Minister, bowing to public pressure, has hinted at adding another four .

Netas, bureaucrats gain

The mammoth exercise will, of course, have many implications. As per government estimates, 3,252 new posts will be created to administer the new districts, and a majority of them will be in the revenue and police departments. Some of them will be filled in by promotions.

The House Rent Allowance component for State employees will go up as more district headquarters come into being.

The cost of governance will surely go up, though clear data is yet unavailable.

Politicians, however, will surely be the biggest gainers. A plethora of nominated posts will be up for grabs and members of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) stand to gain.

Though there were expectations from the cement industry that construction might get a boost, a different view is emerging. “Not many big buildings will be required to house the new district offices. Unless and until economic development percolates to bottom of the pyramid, we can’t expect any big push in construction,” the Managing Director of a leading cement company told Business Line.

Challenges ahead

The promised improvement in administration and local development that comes with decentralisation may not be as easy. Some imbalances exist in key regions.

For example, the proposed district of Bhupalapalli may fare poorly in economic development in comparison with the two districts of Warangal Urban and Warangal Rural. Reservations have also been expressed over the trifurcation of Nalgonda into Nalgonda, Yadadri and Suryapet.

The real challenge will lie in de-congesting Hyderabad and attracting more investments to tier-II locations.

Officers in short supply

Achieving greater administrative efficiency too will be a tough task given the shortage of district officials in the State. For the last six months, the Chief Minister has been requesting the Centre for allocation of more All Indian Service (AIS) officers There are 138 officers of the IAS and 92 of the IPS in the State.

However, excluding those who have gone on deputation to the Central services, the State is left with only 110 IAS, 80 IPS and 49 IFS officers. In May, the Centre allotted 45 new IAS officers to Telangana, but the State government wants at least 60 more, official sources say.

And while the creation of the new districts augurs well for the political fortunes of TRS, it remains to be seen how the rejig will boost the Gross State Domestic Product in the years to come.

Published on October 06, 2016

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