The Administration in Assam

Assam has one elected legislature which meets in Dispur, a temporary capital region inside the principal city of Guwahati. The elected head of government is called the Chief Minister.

Nominally, the Chief Minister reports to the Governor of Assam who is appointed by the Central Government of India in New Delhi. He is normally not a citizen of Assam, and although unelected has the power to remove the elected Chief Minister from office in certain situations. The chief court for Assam, the High Court is situated in Guwahati. The judges are appointed with the informal requirement that the Chief Justice is from outside the State of Assam.

Assam is divided into three regions each headed by a commissioner. Under each commissioner, there are several administrative units called Districts. These are similar to counties in the USA. Each district has civil and criminal courts with jurisdiction over the matters of the district. Assam had only eight districts till recently: Goalpara, Kamrup, Nagaon, Darrang, Sibsagar, Lakhimpur, Mikir Hills and Cachar. A recent reorganization has resulted in a total of 23 districts. The head of a district's administration, the Deputy Commissioner, in Assam is unelected, appointed to the post by the State Government. The Deputy Commissioner is an officer of the Central Indian Government in New Delhi although he is posted to the state and reports to the state administration in Dispur. Each district has its own police force headed by an appointed District Superintendent of Police. The district police departments across the state are independent units, but they report to the state's appointed Inspector General of Police in Dispur.

A district is composed of several sub-divisions headed by an administrative Sub-Divisional Officer. In each subdivision, there are several Circles. A circle is composed of Mouza, a mouza is composed of villages and towns. A circle is headed by an appointed Circle Officer, a Mouza is headed by an appointed Mouzadar. A village usually has a nominal appointed head called the Gaonbura. Some towns have elected mayors with very limited powers, in others, if there are mayors, they are appointed by the state administration.

In summary, administration in Assam, as in all of India, is very centralized, with mostly appointed administrators below the state level. This has been a cause of concern for a lot of scholars, politicians and others, and may be one of the primary reasons of political turmoil in the border states of India, including Assam.

List of districts obtained from: Natun Axamiya bhucitraawali (New Assamese Atlas) - Published by Assam State Primary Teacher's Association in 1996.