Divisional commissioner (India)

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Divisional commissioner, also known as commissioner of division, is the administrative head of a division of a state in India, the office-bearer is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of high seniority. The post is referred to as regional commissioner in Karnataka and as revenue divisional commissioner in Odisha.[1] Office-bearers are generally either of the ranks of Secretary to the state government (equivalent to joint secretary to the Government of India), or principal secretary to the state government (equivalent to additional secretary to Government of India).

The role of a divisional commissioner's office is to act as the supervisory head of all the state government Offices situated in the division. A divisional commissioner is given the direct responsibility of supervising the revenue and development administration of a division. He/she also presides over Local government institutions in the division. Officers are transferred to and from the post by the state government. This post exists in many states of India. divisional commissioners are responsible for administration and planned development of the districts under his control and also act as appeal adalat for revenue cases.

History of divisional commissioner

The division as an administrative level came into being in 1829 by the East India Company to facilitate the administration of far flung districts as a result of an increase in the scope of operations corresponding to the expansion of British territories. Each division was put under the charge of a divisional commissioner.[2][3][4][5] The post was created by then the Bengal government.[2][3][4][5] The institution of divisional commissioner was created by Lord William Bentinck.[3][4][5]

The appointment of commissioners in the subsequently acquired provinces of Punjab, Burma, Oudh and the Central Provinces followed in due course.[3][4][5]

The Royal Commission for Decentralisation, 1907 recommended its retention. The issue, however, continued to crop up again and again, particularly at the time of constitutional reforms of 1919, 1935, and 1947. After independence, the state governments merely tinkered with traditional revenue set-up and the states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Gujarat abolished the posts of divisional commissioners but later revived them except in Gujarat.[3][4][5][6][7][8]


A division generally covers three to five districts each headed by a district magistrate and collector or deputy commissioner and district magistrate (depending on the state), the number varying from state to state and from division to division within a state itself.

Powers of divisional commissioner

While the powers and roles of a divisional commissioner vary from state to state they generally involve-

Role of divisional commissioner


The roles and powers of commissioners vary from state to state but there is a general precedent.

The divisional commissioner performs a variety of roles in regional administration. Today, district magistrates 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 Indian Civil Service was normally appointed a collector of the district in his twelfth year of service. Today a member of the IAS becomes a district collector after putting in five or six 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 commissioners 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.

  1. A channel of communication between the districts and state government
  2. Regional coordinating authority for technical departments
  3. Provides help, guide and assistance to deputy commissioners
  4. Provides expert advice to headquarters

A divisional commissioner is assisted by some officers for carrying out day-to-day work in various fields:-

  1. Additional commissioner(s) for judicial, revenue and administration.
  2. IAS or state civil services officers at district and divisional level report only when ordered so by divisional commissioner.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Power & Functions of Regional Commissioner". Office of the Regional Commissioner, Belagum. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Second Administrative Reforms Commission - Fifteenth Report - State and District Administration" (PDF). Second Administrative Reform Commission, Government of India. April 2009. p. 43. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Maheshwari, S.R. (2000). Indian Administration (6th Edition). New Delhi: Orient Blackswan Private Ltd. pp. 563–572. ISBN 9788125019886.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Singh, G.P. (1993). Revenue administration in India: A case study of Bihar. Delhi: Mittal Publications. pp. 26–129. ISBN 978-8170993810.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Laxmikanth, M. (2014). Governance in India (2nd Edition). Noida: McGraw Hill Education. pp. 5.1–5.2. ISBN 978-9339204785.
  6. ^ "THE RAJASTHAN DIVISIONAL COMMISSIONER (OFFICE ABOLITION) ACT, 1962 (Raj Act No. 8 of 1962)" (PDF). Department of Revenue, Government of Rajasthan. 1962. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  7. ^ "Collectorate". Department of Revenue, Government of Gujarat. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Role and Functions of Divisional Commissioner". Your Article Library. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "CONSTITUTIONAL SETUP". Government of Uttar Pradesh. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Organizational Structure". Office of the Divisional Commissioner, Ujjain. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Divisional Commissioner's Office". Gurgaon District. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Administration". Agra District website. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "GENERAL ADMINISTRATION". Ghaziabad District. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Commissioner's Role". Office of the Divisional Commissioner, Jalandhar. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  16. ^ "About us - Role of the Commissioner". Office of the Divisional Commissioner, Jabalpur. Retrieved August 15, 2017.


  • Singh, G.P. (1993). Revenue administration in India: A case study of Bihar. Delhi: Mittal Publications. ISBN 978-8170993810.
  • Maheshwari, S.R. (2000). Indian Administration (6th Edition). New Delhi: Orient Blackswan Private Ltd. ISBN 9788125019886.
  • Laxmikanth, M. (2014). Governance in India (2nd Edition). Noida: McGraw Hill Education. ISBN 978-9339204785.
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