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Public Sector Reforms in India

Public Sector Reforms in India
New Role of the District Officer

First Edition
  • Chandan Sinha - Project Director Dept of Heath and Family Welfare, Govt of West Bengal

November 2007 | 332 pages | SAGE India
The public sector in India has evolved over the past two centuries to adapt to contextual changes like political framework, economic conditions, and people's expectations. Certain systemic and institutional changes reflect the ongoing transformation within the sector. One such change has been in the role of the District Officer (DO). Beginning as an area administrator-with the agenda of revenue collection and representation of colonial authority-in the 18th century, the office has today evolved into a multi-faceted functionary at the centre of district administration. Unfortunately, this process of evolution and response to the deepening of democracy has often been mistaken for a diminution of the office.


This book brings into perspective the processes and impact of public sector reforms that have gone virtually unnoticed by studying developments that have quietly, but irreversibly, altered the way the Indian State provides goods and services to its citizen-customers. It calls upon the State to support the new, evolving and transformational role of the DO in the context of rapid changes. This book also identifies gaps in current research in this area.

A comprehensive study, this book would appeal to a wide audience—including students, civil servants, NGOs, and candidates for the civil services.

The District and District Administration
District Administration: Structure and Functions
Evolving Role of the District Officer
Public Sector Reforms: Impact at the District Level
New Imperatives and Refurbished Responsibilities
The Archetypal Administrator
The Administrator - Leader
Coordinator: Multi-agency Operations
Facilitator: Collaboration at the Cutting Edge
Looking Ahead...

The book…provides an exhaustive overview of the role of the District Officer including institutional evolution and focusing on opportunities and challenges for the future….The suggestions of the author are ideal and quite good…This book will be immensely useful to the new generation of administrators, practitioners, to imbibe good practices, to be responsive to the requirements of the people and become ideal administrators.

Journal of Rural Development

A comprehensive study, this book would appeal to a wide audience-including students, civil servants, NGOs and candidates for the civil services.

Free Press Journal

This book takes a comprehensive look and suggests ways and means for developing micro-level leadership that would be capable of delivering the goods.

The Tribune

Citizens prefer speedy service to sympathy, says the author. Idealism, after all, is best expressed in action, not words. Therefore, a fundamental need is to recast state action in terms of products and services and its ‘beneficiaries’ as citizen customers, and to reorient individuals in the government machinery to perceive themselves as professional service providers.

Business Line

This is a book that is long overdue. The central irony which underpins Chandan`s book is that, in a rapidly changing economic and social environment, the role of the District Officer has, in fact, expanded, which flies in the face of conventional wisdom and experience in other countries.

Bhatendra Singh Baswan
Director,Indian Institute of Public Administration

This book provides an exhaustive review of the role of the District Officer, how it has evolved over time and the opportunitites and challenges it faces today. The author makes a cogent case for the reorientation of this role to that of a leader facilitator, a shift towards a more inclusive world view.

Deep Joshi
Executive Director, PRADAN

One of the first source books on this subject, this work analyzes the impact of major processes of reform at the district level and suggests reforms towards institutionalizing the new role of the District Officer.

Naresh Saxena
Member of the National Advisory Council

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ISBN: 9780761936398