Administration in AgraAgra is one of the ancient cities of India that had been a thriving, rich and economically busy centre of Mughal administration during its heyday. In 1959 the Agra Nagar Nigam came under the UP government’s Nagar Pallika Adhiniyam or the Municipality Act and was declared an independent municipal corporation. Ever since then the ANN has dedicated itself to the provision of essential services to the 16,86,976 strong population (as per the 2010 Census). The administration has well defined wings to take care of specific issues and concerns that are of singular and primary importance to the people. The main two wings are the health and engineering wings that ensure that everything is taken care of smoothly and efficiently. The health department comprises 2299 personnel of which 90 per cent are involved with the provision of efficient sanitary services to the large population that is living in its various localities that number over 300.
The Agra Nagar Nigam (ANN) is one of the oldest and largest municipal authorities in the country today. There is a marked commitment to the provision of services to the people. The administration is also having two major tourist spots that need special treatment in terms of management and arrangements. These two world famous tourist spots are the Taj Mahal and Sikandra.
Administrative Divisions of AgraFor purposes of facilitation of management the entire Agra region has been segregated into sever separate administrative divisions. These are namely Sadar, Agra, Bah, Kirawli, Etmadpur, Kheragarh and Fatehabad. These are divided into subdivisions and tehsils of the same names which are administered by the sub divisional magistrates with an additional sub divisional magistrate being operational for main Agra subdivision because of the large range of administrative functioning being operational there. To take care of the large influx of domestic and international tourists who visit Agra for savoring the splendor of the pristine Taj Mahal. There are several tourists who opt to even stay in Agra for various reasons to have their fill of the Taj and other nearby places. This makes for extra vigilance and dedication on the part of the administration to ensure that the guests have hassle free, highly-facilitated experiences so that they are encouraged to visit repeatedly as well as invite others as well thus increasing the footfall of tourists and escalating tourists based trade in the city.
To facilitate the overall administration of the region it has been divided into fifteen blocks which are namely: Etmadpur, Fatehpur Sikri, Shamshabad, Fatehabad, Khandauli, Jagner, Sainya, Achanera, Akola, Keragarh, Pinahat, Barauli Ahir, Bah, Jaitpur Kalan and Bichopuri.
These fifteen blocks are in turn under the management of the Block Development Officers (BDOs) who are responsible for looking after the administrative arrangements for all the areas that fall within these earmarked blocks. All departments that are functional at the district level are also found to have branches that have percolated to the block level especially the agriculture, forests, horticulture, animal husbandry and even cooperatives.
District Administration in AgraThe final responsibility of all decision-making regarding all the programmes and arrangements rests with the district magistrate or the collector. He or she is totally vested all powers for the maintenance of law and order and peace and justice. This is the highest seat of authority in the city and above this there is only the ministerial control of the government. The District Collector is the final authority over the police and all the administrative wings of the district and has the full jurisdiction of taking the best decisions for maintaining the smooth running of all services in the region.
The services extended by the Agra Administration are also the mundane everyday routine affairs of maintenance of land records, collection of land revenue and other sundry dues of the government, land acquisitions as also the settlement of refugees, levying taxes and collecting them. It is the duty of the District Magistrate to ensure that all accounts of payments and receipts are maintained meticulously and duly paid into the district treasury under the diligent care of the District Treasury Officer. The latter is also given the duty of reporting all these to the Central Government.
It is the sole responsibility of the District Magistrate to make all arrangements for the safety of the citizens during the occurrence of catastrophes and calamities emanating from natural causes like floods, earthquakes and droughts. Besides ensuring the safety of all citizens during peace times the District Magistrate takes care of the law and order in the region by stringently exercising his command over the police and traffic control services during normal days and special occasions.
The Public Distribution System through pre-designated fair price shops and the maintenance of all programmes at the behest of the government are carried out under the jurisdiction of the District Magistrate or Collector. Responsibility of carrying out fair and well managed elections is also that of the Collector. The District Magistrate is the Chairman of the District Sainik Board and with this ex officio proviso also becomes directly responsible for the welfare of all the army personnel residing in that area.
Being a district election officer he conducts elections peacefully. Being a Chairman of the District Sainik Welfare board he is also directly associated with the welfare and upkeep of the army personnel. As can be seen that being the head of such a vast administrative set up is no mean task the District Magistrate is helped by his associated the Additional District Magistrates who look after each of the areas of administration: finance and revenue, land acquisition, ceiling, protocol and civil supply.
Health and Engineering Services Provision in AgraThe healthcare provision services are largely responsible for the management of the sanitary and health care delivery in the Agra jurisdiction. The head of the health department is the Chief Medical Officer or the CMO. The Engineering Department is responsible for the smooth operations of the water and power supply in the region besides the maintenance of infrastructures. It has a tremendous responsibility and has the provision of vital services to the two tourist sports also on its hands. The PWD (B& R) is also a wing that is responsible for the construction of new infrastructures, their maintenance and the laying of roads and their repair as well as maintenance. Thus, there have been several levels of works that are laid down and taken care of at the behest of the block level and district level infrastructural levels. Then there are certain schemes and programmes that have been.
All arrangements pertaining to the tourists spots, the provision of essential services like adequate and affordable transportation and communication besides accommodation for both the domestic and the foreign tourists with all the comforts of security and easy living which are an essential part of the tourism delights provided by most of the advanced nations and are expected by almost all of the international tourists.
Other Administrative Departments in AgraThe District Administration is helped in its work by many of the other departs that all have several significant roles to play in the day to day activities of the district. These other departments have large scale public involvement like the education department on the one hand and on the other there are departments like forest department that have very little public involvement except for areas where social forestry or community forestry may be practiced in the area. Some of the other departments are agriculture department, the animal husbandry department, the industries and the cooperatives departments besides the horticulture and the iInformation departments.
Along with these local government departments there are some central government departments also like the Income Tax Department and the Custom and Central Excise Department; the National Savings Department and the Posts and Telegraph Departments along with the National Informatics Centre.
Thus, the administration of Agra is wide and diversified with a variety of functions that are tailor made to the needs of the population and some of the special requirements of the region being a tourism intensive area where there is tremendous annual footfall of domestic and international tourism.
There are special measures required for a country like India where there are existent diverse religions, cultures and ideologies which are distinctively recognizable for their differences yet they continue to co-exist homogenously. The administration has the added responsibility of making sure that the status quo is maintained at all times and there is no excuse of the flaring up of tempers and fundamentalist thinking which may well endanger the peaceful co-existence of the several diversities together – which they have been doing for centuries.
Therefore, the administration of Agra is a sensitive and very responsible one where there is the capacity and the capability to shoulder tremendous burdens of decision making and simultaneously maintaining the populations’ total satisfaction.
What makes Agra an enjoyable tourist’s paradise with its quaint old world charm and myriad artifacts a coveted destination is because of the tremendous efforts put in by the administration of the Agra Nagar Nigam. They are always vigilant in ensuring that the ancient city is inviting and hospitable to all visitors and there are no deep seated or surface level aberrations palpable to distract the tourist from his mission of enjoying the delightful Taj Mahal – a world heritage building or the several other attractions of this small town big city.