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DM - District Magistrate

DM - District Magistrate

District Magistrate (DM) is the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer. He/she acts as the executive magistrate of the district. Hence, the administration of a district is the duty of a DM.

History of District Magistrate

The role of District Magistrate was introduced in India by the Britishers. The District Collector's office was introduced by Warren Hastings in 1772. Since then, he/she is responsible for the administration of the district. In the 1774 judicial plan, the District Magistrate was also named Diwan.

During British Rule, prime duties of the DM were:

  1. To operate the revenue organization.
  2. Monitor registrations and partitions of the holdings.
  3. Settling local disputes.
  4. Managing the indebt estates.
  5. Distributing relief funds and loans to agriculturists.
  6. Supervising the inferior courts and directing the police force.

Additionally, the main purpose of the office of the District Magistrate is to collect revenue and maintain peace by coordinating with local people. Some of the government officers had to report the District Magistrate about the activities of their department. These officers include Superintendent Police (SP), Division Forest Officer (DFO), etc.

Indians were eligible for the District Magistrate position by introducing an open Civil Services Examination; this was not until the late nineteenth century.

After the independence, the powers of the District Magistrate remained almost the same. The judicial powers were separated. The additional responsibilities were provided to the District Magistrate later in 1952. Afterward, the District Magistrates were responsible for the development of the districts through the implementation of various government programs. The district is still considered the administration unit in India.

Role and Power of District Magistrate

In India, the district is the central administration unit. The district magistrate is also known as the collector of the district. A DM has the responsibility to run the administration of the district. The decisions of the district magistrate directly touch and affect the lives of the people at every level. It is the prime responsibility of the district magistrate to implement the programs and run them efficiently with the help of people's support.

District Magistrate directly addresses the problems faced by the people. He/ she is responsible for finding solutions to their problems, usually done on a local level. It is how government directly interacts with the people to solve their problems.

The work of the District Magistrate is fieldwork. The district is believed to be the lowest level in governance. Hence head of the district is appointed as the district magistrate who acts as the direct agency. The maximum work area of the district magistrate is the district assigned to them.

How to become District Magistrate

The basic requirement for the position of DM is to write the UPSC exam and secure rank under the top 100. When a UPSC candidate becomes an IAS officer, it is after a promotion that he can become DM of the district. This promotion is generally offered after six years of joining, including two years of training.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The candidates must appear for the civil services examination (CSE).
  • He/she must fulfil their educational qualification, nationality, and age.
  • The age requirement for the candidate is 21 to 32 years.

Minimum Qualifications

It is necessary to secure a rank in first 100 for becoming an IAS officer in CSE. Another important qualification that a candidate must have is a graduation degree from any recognized university.

DM after 12th

The minimum qualification to write the UPSC examination is the graduation. So, the candidate must have a graduation degree. Therefore, after graduation, a candidate must write the UPSC exam and rank in the top 100. After completing around six years in the IAS office, a candidate is eligible for the DM post.

Overview of UPSC Exam

UPSC exam, also known as the Civil Services Exam, is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. The Civil Services Examination is conducted to appoint candidates for the civil services of the Government of India. It includes the recruitment for Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, and Indian Police Service. All candidates have to take 32 hours of examination, including the three stages, to complete this examination. The first stage is the preliminary examination, after which the main examination takes place, followed by an interview round or personality test.

Process of UPSC Examination

  1. Preliminary Examination: It consists of two papers, General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper-II. These papers are objective type and are well known by the Civil Service Aptitude Test or CSAT.
  2. Main Examination: It consists of nine personal papers in which the candidate is expected to write in essay form. Of these papers, marks of only seven papers are considered, while in the other two, only the qualification is necessary.
  3. Personality Test: This round evaluates the candidate by interviewing and judges whether the candidate is a perfect fit or not.

Eligibility to appear for the UPSC Examination

1. Nationality of the Candidate

  • For the Indian Administrative Services, the candidate must be of Indian nationality.
  • For Services other than mentioned in (1), the candidate must satisfy any of the following criteria:
    1. Indian Citizen
    2. Nepal Citizen or a subject of Bhutan
    3. Permanent Indian settled Tibetan refugee, who settled before January 1, 1962.
    4. Indian origin migrant has migrated to permanently settle in India from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Zambia, Zaire, Myanmar, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi, or Vietnam.

2. Required Educational Qualifications

The candidate must have any one of the educational backgrounds stated below:

  1. A Central, State or Deemed University degree
  2. A correspondence or distant education degree
  3. An open university degree
  4. Any qualification that is considered equivalent to the qualifications stated above, which the Government of India recognizes.

3. Age Criteria

A general category candidate must be of minimum 21 years of age and must be less than the maximum of 32 years of age till August 1 of the year of examination. For other categories, the age criteria are according to the caste reservations.

  1. The upper limit of age for the OBC (Other Backward Castes) candidate is 35 years.
  2. The upper limit of age for the SC (Scheduled Castes) and ST (Scheduled Tribes) category candidate is 37 years.
  3. The limit of 40 years is given to the Defence Services Personnel disabled in operations.
  4. The criteria are different for veterans and commissioned officers who have served military services for five years as of August 1 on the year of examination. The criteria apply to the candidates who are released in the following cases -
    1. Criteria are applicable when candidates are doing assignment completion or those whose assignment will be completed in 1 year from August 1 of the year of examination.
    2. In case of physical disability during a military operation
    3. On invalidation
    Maximum age relaxation of 5 years is provided to those who have completed five years of service and have extended the project. Otherwise, the age limit is 32 years.
  5. Age limit of 37 years is given to the PwD candidates.
  6. Age limit of 32 is provided to the Domiciles of Jammu from January 1, 1980, to December 31, 1989.
  7. The Economically Weaker Section (EWS) candidates are provided standard age limits.

Importance and Classification of Role of the DM

The position of district magistrate is of great importance in the administration of the district. He/she is responsible for maintaining the coordination of the official agencies in any district. The position of the district magistrate is categorized into three prime heads.

The district magistrate must collect revenue from the district, as they are the collector.

Main Responsibilities of the DM

The District Magistrate is the Chief Protocol Officer. Some of the major responsibilities of this role are -

  1. To conduct the census.
  2. To remain an important member in the local institutions.
  3. Monitor proper supply and distribution of the essential goods.
  4. Listen and take appropriate measures to solve the problems of the local people.
  5. To supervise the fresh batch of government officers in the district.

The District Magistrate also has the role of Chief Development Officer. The responsibilities concerning this role are -

  1. To conduct and supervise all the development projects for the district.
  2. Analyze the threats in the projects and make the project successful.
  3. To bring the policy of democratic decentralization into effect.
  4. Take the responsibility as Chief Liaison Officer in the district.
  5. To maintain good contact and closely monitor all the district inhabitants.

During the elections, District Magistrate acts as the running officer, and the responsibilities with this role include -

  1. He/she acts as running officers in the Lok Sabha as well as the State Legislative Assembly.
  2. He/she manage, supervise, and help in the coordination of the district-level election activities.
  3. It is the responsibility of the District Magistrate to gather necessary information and send it to the higher authority. This responsibility comes as the DM is also known as the Chief Information Officer.

Hence, the role of the District Magistrate is crucial. The work and responsibility of the DM have observed rise with the complexity of the government. However, the position is not as admired today as during British rule. Today, the dignity of the District Magistrate position is decreased, and they are no longer considered high-ranking Bureaucrats.

Duties of the DM

The DM is responsible for heavy tasks and is the Executive Magistrate. Within any district, DM is the head of all Magistrates. Another important fact is that District Magistrate Officer is the part of executive body not the judicial body. However, they are given judicial powers by the government as and when it is necessary.

  • It is the duty of District Magistrate to maintain peace and order in the district.
  • He/she is also responsible for supervising the other Magistrate under them.
  • It is the responsibility of the District Magistrate to take required actions under the preventive section of the criminal procedure code. It is necessary because it concerns the protection of citizens and their lives along with public safety.
  • He/she may hear the criminal cases and make decisions with the permission of the State Government. Hence, criminal and civil justice is under his/her jurisdiction.
  • It is also the duty to District Magistrate to monitor the activities of the Police Department. He/she have complete control over the actions of the police department.
  • He/she must submit an annual criminal report to the government.
  • The District Magistrate supervises the subordinate executive magistrates.
  • Every year District Magistrate supervises the police stations. They go through the passport and visa cases and make suggestions accordingly. This activity is usually done once a year.
  • He/she supervise the elections that are conducted in the district. To appoint the public prosecutor is the responsibility of the District Magistrate. Additionally, they are also responsible for giving certificates to the Other Backward Communities, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes.
  • The District Magistrate regulates discipline by appointing the village chowkidar. He can be punished for the breach of discipline.
  • They are also responsible for posting transfers of the gazette officers of the districts. Moreover, their leaves can also be regulated to implement any government orders. To submit budget is their prime duty.

Benefits of Becoming a District Magistrate

Dearness Allowance (DA) -

The salary of the District Magistrate is highly affected by the DA. It is revised on a half-yearly basis and also increases with inflation.

House Rent Allowance (HRA) -

The general house rent allowance is 18 to 24 percent of the general pay of an IAS officer. This allowance differs from city to city.

Medical Allowance -

DM is also given medical allowances, which can be reimbursed after treatment.

Travelling Allowance (TA) -

The DM enjoys the benefit of one or more vehicles. These vehicles are different depending upon the area. In rural areas, they are provided ambassador cars, whereas they are provided luxury cars in cities.

Security -

DMs are provided with bodyguards for them and their families.

Subsidized Bills -

DM get subsidized bills for electricity, water, gas, and phone. Sometimes these services are even free of cost.

Guest House for Vacations -

DM is provided a guest house for work-related or other vacations or trips.

Pension -

DM is provided a pension after retirement along with the other benefits.

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