Andhra Pradesh got a new administrative map on Monday, with the creation of 13 new districts that doubled their number to 26, in a massive overhaul that the state government said will improve governance and delivery of services.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy launched the new districts at a virtual ceremony in the morning, following an “auspicious muhurat” time set by Vedic priests.
The creation of more districts is meant to be a step in the decentralised development of all regions, he said.
The decentralisation of the government has been among the top-billed priorities of the YSR Congress government which had announced the creation of village secretariats as well.
Mr Reddy, while campaigning for the 2019 assembly elections, had promised that his party, if voted to power, would make each of the 25 Lok Sabha constituencies a district.
Each of the districts is now the same as the parliamentary constituencies except Araku that is going to be split into two districts as the Chief Minister reportedly wants a higher focus on the backward tribal areas.
“With the formation of smaller districts – distance from the district centre to remote and border villages will be reduced… District administration will come closer to the people… Increased accountability as the Government comes closer to people,” the government said in a statement.
“District Police Officer and all the other Government Departments including their camp offices will be in the same premises, thus doing away with the hassle of people travelling miles together for their work in different Government offices,” it added.
With the formal notification for the new districts issued on Sunday evening, the YSR Congress government had also reshuffled IAS and IPS officers and appointed collectors and Superintendents of Police to the newly created districts.
The draft for the notification was released in January, following which it said it received over 17,000 suggestions.
The Andhra Pradesh council of ministers is set to meet at 11 am on Thursday and is expected to take more decisions to revamp the administration following over two years in power.
Mr Reddy had said, half way through his term, he would introduce a new team to give a chance to more MLAs to serve as ministers. That was to happen in December 2021 but was pushed back because of the pandemic and other reasons.
On Thursday, at the cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister is expected to conduct a review of the performance of the ministers and announce decision to go for a new team.
A majority of the ministers are expected to be replaced. Their popularity, earned as ministers, would be used to appoint them as coordinators in the districts, in the run-up to 2024 elections.
The party hopes it will help beat anti-incumbency against specific ministers and giving a chance to a fresh set of MLAs would help correct some of the missteps from the first 20 months of the YSR Congrress rule.