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7 new districts in West Bengal — how and why are districts created or abolished in India?

  • Published
    2nd Aug, 2022

The West Bengal cabinet has approved the creation of seven new districts in the state.

  • 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).

Why have these districts been created?

  • Generally the idea behind creation of smaller units is that it makes governance easier.
  • It 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.
  • Decentralisation and smaller administrative units bring better and more transparent governance, and smoother and more effective delivery of welfare.

The decision on creating or scrapping districts, or changing their boundaries:

  • The power to create districts or to change boundaries lies with the state governments.
  • The state government 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.

Creation of new districts:

  • 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.
  • The number of districts in a state is not always a function of the area of the state, or of its population.
  • For example, West Bengal, has 42 Lok Sabha MPs but only 30 districts even after the addition of the 7 new districts
  • 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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