The state government’s decision to form five new districts has gone well among the public and the ruling party politicians, but officials aware of the state’s financial crisis fear that the formation of new revenue districts will eat into the cash-starved state exchequer.
“To start with, a collectorate and other buildings will require at least Rs 100 crores for every district. Then salaries will be running into several crores for the newly recruited staff, but the revenue collections will be same,” explained a government official who has served in the revenue department.
The state’s financial burden is around 4 lakh crore debt and the new announcements means that for the formation of a district headed by Collector there is a need for the formation of other district offices to handle education, health, agriculture, animal husbandry, police, law department, environment and forests, accounts and finance and the revenue departments comprising district revenue officers and revenue divisional officers.
Besides the buildings, the operational cost ranging from vehicles, logistics, maintenance and electricity will scale up to several crores, the informed official said. “It’s a political decision which will burden the state financially,” the official who is now part of the district formation works added.
“There are pros and cons in the formation of a district collectorate, but I don’t believe in the general idea that the formation of the district will help the public and the administration,” opined retired IAS officer M G Devasagayam.
Earlier, the work of the collector was all about generating revenue through tax and maintaining law and order, but now the nature of the job has expanded in every sector. Panchayats and local bodies have come, ecology should be protected, industries and agriculture should be monitored, this is another aspect of forming a new district collectorate. “So before forming a district, the State should do a study on what the already created districts have done. Parameters like human index, capital investment, health and education factors should be studied in already formed districts. In the case of proposed regions, a requirement study should be done to ascertain whether the region requires the formation of a new district,” Sagayam opined.
“The public are happy, and the residents can get the government certificates and the state sponsored schemes without much delay. The formation of a district for Kallakurichi has been a long pending demand,” said Kallakurichi legislator A Prabhu.
“The objective of the elected government is always to focus on public welfare and not to worry about the fiscal expenditure. Formation of new districts will decentralise power and help better facilities for the local public,” said former AIADMK MLA K Srinivasan.
In simple words, the aggrieved public need not travel long to pour their grievances. If the new collectors are effective the administration will certainly improve benefitting the local public, he added.