Possible reasons for creation and evolution of new districts in India

Aaron Keishing *

Manipur district map
Manipur district map

Currently, India is divided into 29 States and 7 Union Territories. The States are sub-divided into 707 districts and further divided into sub-districts. Different States of India use varying names for their sub-districts like Mandal in Andhra Pradesh, Circle in Arunachal Pradesh, Sub-divisions in Manipur, C.D.Block in Bihar, Tehsil in Chhattisgarh, Taluka in Goa, Police Station in Odisha, Commune Panchayat in Puducherry, etc.

Earlier there were only 9 districts in Manipur state, but after final declaration of 7 new districts by the State government led by Shri. O. Ibobi Singh, by a Notification dated 08/12/2016, bearing No. 16/20/2016-R, total numbers of districts in the State comes to 16.

Hence, India as on 08/12/2016 would have 714 districts pending abolitions of recently created 7 new districts in Manipur. There were only 10 districts in Telangana state when it was bifurcated from Andra Pradesh state, later on 17 new districts were added in 2016. Around 242 of the total 714 districts were created between 1991 and 2016.

Out of 9 districts of Manipur, 7 districts have to change their boundaries by Notification dated 08/12/2016. Alteration of district boundaries has many reasons. In India, sometimes districts are split repeatedly. In April 2001, Kumey district in Arunachal Pradesh was carved out of Lower Subansiri district, and another district (Kra Daadi) was created from Kurung Kumey in February 2015.

Likewise, Udalgiri district in Assam was formed in October 2003 from 808 villages of Darrang district and 19 villages of Sonitpur district. Then, on 15th August 2015, Sonitpur district was further divided to form Biswanath district, and so on. Two new districts were created in Delhi in 2012, and the boundaries of 8 out of the 9 existing Delhi districts were also altered.

As of the 2011 Census, 2 districts from Delhi (Central Delhi and New Delhi) were purely urban. After the boundary changes in 2012, these two districts now include a rural component as well (Sources-

Generally, new districts are created for administrative convenience or ease of administration so that the distance between the district headquarters and remote areas are shortened, which, in turn, helps with better implementation and monitoring of government schemes and programmes and also maintaining law and order in remote areas. Districts can be also split or created based on their population size or various socio-cultural factors.

In India, neither average population nor population density are proportionate or even across districts. For example, the most populated district, Thane in Maharashtra had a population of 11.1 million in 2011, whereas the least populated district, Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh had a population of only 8,004 in the same year, with a population density of as low as one person per square kilometer.

On the other hand, in the North-East district in Delhi, as large as 37,346 people lived per square kilometer. The average population density in India in 2011 was 369 persons per square kilometer. Now, Thane district has been split into two districts - Thane and Palghar.

Urbanization and distance from the district headquaters appear to be good factors for creation of new districts, but it seems population density has a limited role in splitting a district or creation of new districts. This means that, if an area is farther away from the district headquarters, it is more likely to be split into a new district.

There are 6 duplicate district names in different states in India - Aurangabad district in Bihar and Maharashtra; Bilaspur district in Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh; Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka; Hamirpur district in Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh; Pratapgarh district in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh; and Balrampur district in Chhatisgarh and Uttar Pradesh.

Similarly, variation in district names can be found in different States, for example, Gauriganj district in Uttar Pradesh had two earlier names: Chhatrapati Sahuji Maharaja Nagar and Amethi.

The other names for YSR district in Andhra Pradesh are Kadapa, Cuddaph, and Y S Reddy, North Cachar Hills in Assam is also called as Dima Hasao, Subarnpur in Odisha is also known as Sonepur, Sonapur, Ganganagar in Rajasthan is also called as Sri Ganganagar by the people, Rupnagar in Punjab is also known as Ropar, Gauriganj district in Uttar Pradesh is also called Shahuji Maharaja Nagar, or Amethi etc. You may check at for detail informations.

Sometimes the name changes for political reasons, while other times it happens because of a popular demand or a districtís history. This Article aims at possible reasons for creation and evolution of new districts in India and the same will be followed on newly created 7 districts in Manipur.

* Aaron Keishing wrote this article for
The writer is an Advocate in Imphal and can be reached at aaronkeishing(AT)yahoo(DOT)in
This article was webcasted on January 05, 2017.

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