By S.T. Ravikumar
The post of Regional Commissioner (formerly Divisional Commissioner) is all set to be relegated to the pages of history in the wake of the State Government seriously considering abolition of this post and the closure of the offices including the one in Mysuru on Hunsur Road near Jaladarshini Guest House.
The Karnataka Administrative Reforms Commission-2 (KARC), headed by former Chief Secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar, has recently submitted a report to the Government recommending the abolition of posts of Regional Commissioners (RCs) and also the closure of RC offices in four Divisional Headquarters.
It had favoured vesting powers in the State-level Commissionerate of Revenue in Bengaluru instead of having offices in four Divisional Headquarters. Based on the report, the process of closure of the RC’s Office in Mysuru has been set in motion.
There are four Divisional Headquarters in Karnataka — Bengaluru, Mysuru, Belagavi and Kalaburagi. The KARC has recommended the abolition of RC’s posts to reduce unnecessary expenses and redeploy staff to various vacant posts.
Roles and responsibilities
A RC is given the direct responsibility of supervising the revenue and development administration of a division. The officer also presides over local Government institutions in the division. Officers are transferred to and from the post by the State Government. They are responsible for general administration of the Division and planned development of the districts under his control and also act as appeal adalat for revenue cases.
The RC office is a platform for general supervision over Departments at the regional level and the office receives public grievances and hears appeals against lower-level officers. The RC is the Chairman of several Committees that are monitored by the Supreme Court of India.
It may be recalled here that in May this year when there were differences between Deputy Commissioners of Mysuru and Chamarajanagar over deaths due to lack of oxygen in Chamarajanagar and certain issues that were raised thereafter, the Government had entrusted the present Mysuru RC Dr. G.C. Prakash with certain intervention and investigation responsibilities.
Need for an agile system
Vijay Bhaskar, who was himself a Regional Commissioner of Mysuru, has argued that increased use of technology and e-governance tools and appointment of in-charge Secretaries and in-charge Ministers had reduced the need for supervisory officers. “Things have changed and we need a more agile system with lesser levels of governance,” he has mentioned in his report.
Vijay Bhaskar has mentioned that during his visits as KARC Chairman, he found that in a north eastern district, there were only seven Shirastedars in the DC Office who were overworked but the RC office had 20 such officers who had little or no work. The DC Office can be strengthened and the divisional staff can be redeployed there, his recommendation stated.
Some of the other responsibilities of RC include, maintenance of Revenue Department staff, development, training, preparation of seniority list of divisional-level employees and periodic promotion, working as authority to give job on compassionate grounds, revenue and land reforms auditing, supervision of Muzrai Department offices and conducting the elections of the Legislative Council, City Corporation, Mayor, Standing Committee, ZP President and Vice-President.
From 1957 to 2021
From November 1, 1957 till December 14, 2005, 36 Divisional Commissioners have worked in Mysuru. Subsequently, when the post was rechristened as Regional Commissioner, 17 IAS officers occupied the post. After Independence, the Divisional Commissioner’s Office was established in 1956 and G.N. Nagarajarao served as the first Divisional Commissioner in Mysuru. Others are:
K. Seshagirirao (from 23.2.1957 to 23.12.1957)
Shafidharashaha (24.12.1957 to 20.5.1959)
M. Vasudevarao (21.5.1959 to 4.12.1960)
B. Beerappa (5.12.1960 to 6.3.1963)
R. Srinivasan (16.3.1963 to 22.3.1965)
C. Narasimhamurthy (23.3.1965 to 4.8.1966)
M.S. Swaminathan (11.8.1966 to 30.3.1968)
R. Srinivasan (29.4.1968 to 28.2.1969)
K. Balasubramaniam (1.3.1969 to 1.6.1971)
M. Subramaniam (2.6.1971 to 3.12.1971)
G.S. Srinivasan (27.12.1971 to 4.09.1972)
D.J. Balaraj (4.9.1972 to 31.5.1973)
R. Sampath Kumaran (31.5.1973 to 12.1.1974)
MAS Rajan (24.1.1974 to 29.5.1974)
R. Sampath Kumaran (29.5.1974 to 12.6.1974)
Samuel Appaji (12.6.1974 to 30.4.1977)
Jayakumar Anagol (30.4.1977 to 1.2.1980)
B.R. Prabhakar (24.3.1980 to 10.5.1981)
M.B. Prakash (11.5.1981 to 27.4.1983)
P.G. Puranik (27.4.1983 to 18.6.1984)
C. Muniswamy (18.6.1984 to 21.5.1986)
B.C. Thaosen (21.5.1986 to 9.5.1988)
C.K. Neelakantarao (9.5.1988 to 17.5.1989)
K.L. Negi (5.6.1989 to 19.4.1990)
Shanthakumari (9.5.1990 to 16.6.1992)
Siddaiah (16.6.1992 to 15.4.1993)
PSV Rao (15.4.1993 to 8.8.1994)
T.M. Vijay Bhaskar (8.8.1994 to 17.8.1994)
C.K. Neelakantarao (17.8.1994 to 2.7.1996)
G. Raju Premkumar (3.7.1996 to 27.10.1999)
G.K. Lokare (28.10.1999 to 25.10.2000)
Dr. H. Bhaskar (25.10.2000 to 18.12.2001)
B. Basavaraju (18.12.2001 to 31.12.2001)
G.V. Ramachandra (1.1.2002 to 1.1.2002)
B. Basavaraj (2.1.2002 to 12.7.2002)
G. Kumara Naik (12.7.2002 to 14.12.2005)
Since 2005, following IAS officers have served as Regional Commissioners (RCs):
S. Selvakumar (15.12.2005 to 28.6.2006. Subsequently, A.S. Srikanth, G.M. Dhananjaya, M.V. Jayanthi, V. Rashmi, A.M. Kunjappa, S.S. Pattanashetty, C. Shikha, Shivayogi C. Kalasad, P. Hemalatha, B.B. Cauvery, Kapil Mohan, V. Yashwanth, T.K. Anilkumar and N. Jayaram.
Presently, Dr. G.C. Prakash has been serving since June 15, 2020.