Explained: 7 new districts in West Bengal — how and why are … – The Indian Express

The West Bengal cabinet has approved the creation of seven new districts in the state, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday (August 1). This will take the number of districts in West Bengal to 30 from the existing 23.
The Chief Minister told a press conference that a new Sundarban district will be carved out of South 24-Parganas district; two new districts will be created out of North 24-Parganas district — Ichhamati in Bongaon subdivision and a yet unnamed district in Basirhat; Ranaghat, a city and municipality in Nadia district, will become the fourth new district; a new district of Bishnupur will be carved out of the existing Bankura district; and two new districts of Baharampur and Jangipur will be created out of Murshidabad district.
Hon’ble Chief Minister @MamataOfficial announces the creation of 7 new districts in Bengal for greater administrative efficiency.
The 7 new districts include – Sundarban, Ichamati, Ranaghat, Bishnupur, Jangipur, Berhampore and one more in Basirhat, to be announced soon. pic.twitter.com/1f9nqvIejr
— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) August 1, 2022
Why have these districts been created?
States keep creating new districts from time to time. The idea everywhere is, generally, that smaller units would make governance easier and would benefit the people by bringing the government and the administration closer to them, and making them more accessible. Sometimes, the decision to create a new district is driven by local demands.
In April this year, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy virtually inaugurated 13 new districts in his state, fulfilling a promise that he had made during his Assembly election campaign in 2019. Reddy had long maintained that decentralisation and smaller administrative units bring better and more transparent governance, and smoother and more effective delivery of welfare.
These same reasons would be applicable to West Bengal too. As per Census 2011 figures, almost 4 million people lived in each of West Bengal’s 23 districts on average — among the highest in the country.
By contrast, before Reddy doubled the number of districts to 26, Andhra Pradesh had only 13 districts, with about 2 million people — half the number in West Bengal — living in each on average, as per the 2011 Census. In West Bengal, South 24-Parganas district sprawls over almost 10,000 sq km; North 24-Parganas is about 4,000 sq km in area — with populations of more than 8 million and more than 10 million each (2011).
Who decides on creating or scrapping districts, or changing their boundaries?
This power lies with the state governments, who can pass a law in the Assembly or simply issue an order and notify it in the gazette. The Centre does not have a say in the matter.
The central government does play a role, however, when a change of name of a district or railway station is contemplated. The request of the state government in this regard is sent to several central government departments before a no-objection certificate is issued.
Have Indian states been creating a lot of new districts?
Yes, the number of districts around the country has been going up steadily over the years. The 2001 Census recorded 593 districts, which went up to 640 in 2011. India currently has more than 775 districts.
Uttar Pradesh has the most districts (75) in the country, followed by Madhya Pradesh (52). Goa, by contrast, has only 2 districts. However, the number of districts in a state is not always a function of the area of the state, or of its population.
West Bengal, for example, has 42 Lok Sabha MPs but only 30 districts even after the addition of the 7 new districts, and Andhra Pradesh, even after the recent doubling of the number of districts to 26, has only one more district than the number of Lok Sabha seats. Tamil Nadu, which has 39 MPs in Lok Sabha — after only Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, and West Bengal — has one fewer district.
In general, the largest districts in India by area cover sparsely populated areas — for example, Kachchh in Gujarat, and Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Barmer, and Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
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