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          The history of Land Administration dates back to the olden days of kings and Kingdoms. The Land Revenue was the major source of revenue for the kings. The present system of preparing and maintaining land records originated from the Moghul period and it reached its scientific form during the British rule.

During the British times the Revenue Department was the pivot of Administration. The Board of Revenue that wielded extraordinary powers administered it. The Collector was the virtual monarch at the District.


          In Andhra area the Board of Revenue was established in Madras State in1786 with the sanction of the Court of Directors of East India Company. The Board subject to the control of Governor had to superintend the whole administration, collect revenue and control subordinates. It marked the beginning of departmentalizing the functions of Government.

The Revenue Regulation in 1803 de linked administration of Civil Justice from Board. It gave statutory foundation to the Board and spelled out its main duties like Collection of Revenue, recommending sources for augmenting the income of the Government and punishing the subordinate.

In 1849 decentralization was introduced. The Board of Revenue Act 1883 dispensed with the Collective nature of the Board. Each member was assigned some subjects and his orders were treated as those of the board. In 1894 the Board received operational freedom when the condition that all the orders given by Board need Government approval to be effective was dispensed. Senior members of ICS were selected as members.

The Board seems to have received a setback from 1916 to 1926 when its jurisdiction shrank. Separate Departments were constituted and certain sources of Revenue were transferred to Center. However from 1937 it regained its importance. Further in the wake of Independence it was asked to coordinate Food Production, Community Development and National Extension Service.


          With the formation of separate Andhra State the Andhra Board of Revenue was formed in 1953. It was a replica of Madras board. But it has only 2 members where as Madras Board has 5 members drawn from ICS. It was the link between the Government and the Districts. The first member was senior even to the then Chief Secretary to Government.


          The Prime Minister of Hyderabad, Sir Salar Jung, constituted a board of revenue for the first time in 1864.In 1885 it was abolished and Inspector General at State Level was appointed. In 1893, the assistant Minister of revenue, Vkar-ul-Umra, was appointed as the Prime Minister and to fill this gap a Revenue Board was created for the third time. It was abolished in 1901 and the post of Revenue Secretary was revived. He was also designated as Director General of Revenue in 1928. Thus the Secretariat and executive functions were combined. This arrangement continued till 1945 when the Board of Revenue was created for the fourth time purely as an appellate body. Its life ended by 1949.Meanwhile Hyderabad merged with the Union of India.

Then for the fifth time the board of Revenue in erstwhile State of Hyderabad was established under a Regulation issued in 1949. (Regulation LX of 1358 Fasli). The Hyderabad board as it existed in 1956 was by and large modeled on Madras pattern. However it had four members who were Secretaries to Government whereas in Madras they were seniors to Secretaries though next to Chief Secretary. The Senior Member of the Telangana Board functioned also as the Development Commissioner and was designated as ex officio Secretary to Government.


          The integrated Board of Andhra Pradesh, constituted on Madras pattern enjoyed some of the powers of Hyderabad Board also. It administered through the Board Standing Orders that form the basis of administration even till today. It consisted of five members. In 1957 National savings Scheme was put under its charge. It lost its control over minor irrigation in 1962 and Endowments in 1964.The Panchayat Raj was withdrawn in 1970. But Tribal Welfare and PWD were added under its control as a coordinating agency.

Gradually the Board lost its position as the highest Revenue Court. In some matters Board Standing orders were altered by statutory amendments. Again Special Secretaries to Government were created in1961 and Board lost its distinction as the only administrative body with senior most officers though Chief Secretaries were drawn from the Board Members.

In the Revenue Department, Commissioner of Revenue assisted the Board of Revenue in its functioning. Secretary, Board’s Land revenue and irrigation Branch, in turn assisted the Commissioner. At the District Level District Collectors, District Revenue Officers performed the revenue and administrative functions. Revenue Divisional Officers and Sub Collectors at the Sub-Divisional Level, Tahsildars and Deputy Tahsildars at the Tahsil Level, Revenue Inspectors and Girdwars at the Firka/ Circle Level, and Village Officers and Village Servants at the Village Level assisted the Collector.


          The Board of Revenue was abolished by the A .P. Board of Revenue Replacement by Commissioners Act, 1977.As per this new Act Commissioners were appointed in place of Members. The Commissioner of Land Revenue, Commissioner of Survey and Settlement, commissioner of Excise, Commissioner of Commercial Taxes and Commissioner Land Reforms and Urban Land Ceiling exercised the powers of Members.


          In 1999 the posts of Commissioners, Survey Settlement & Land Records and Land reforms & Urban land Ceiling were abolished. The post of Commissioner of Land Revenue was re designated as Chief Commissioner of Land Administration. Commissioner Appeals in a Cadre post of I.A.S and Commissioner Legal affairs in the cadre of District and Sessions judge were also created to assist the Chief Commissioner of Land administration.


          In the organization of Revenue Department the apex body of administration is the head office of Chief Commissioner of Land Administration at State Level. But the core administration is carried out at Districts that have direct interface with public. For administrative convenience the District is divided into Sub Divisions, which are further divided into Mandals that have jurisdiction over a few villages. The present set up of revenue administration consists of the following hierarchy of Officials.

  • Chief Commissionerate at State Level
  • Collectorates at District Level.
  • Divisional Officers at Revenue Divisional Level.
  • Tahsildars at Mandal Level.
  • Village Revenue Officer at Village Level.
At the Mandal level the Mandal Development Officer (MDO) takes care of the development activities.

           Consequent on the abolition of the erstwhile Board of Revenue, the functional Commissioners of Survey, Settlement & Land Records and Commissioner of Land Reforms & Urban Land Ceiling were created. Subsequently they were replaced. In their place, the post of Chief Commissioner of Land Administration was created in GO MS No: 59 Revenue (DA) Dated 21.01.1999.

The Chief Commissioner of Land Administration (CCLA) is the chief controlling authority for the revenue administration  consisting of Revenue, Survey, Settlement & Land Records and Urban Land Ceiling Departments. He exercises statutory functions and general superintendence over all his subordinates. In the case of Survey, Settlement & Land Records and Urban Land Ceiling Departments he has a supervisory and statutory role. The concerned Commissioner and the Special Officer deal the routine administration respectively. He is the link between the Government and the administration. He monitors and guides the District Collectors and advises the Government in all the policy matters.

The post of Commissioner Appeals is created to share some of the responsibilities of Chief Commissioner of Land Administration. Further one judicial officer in the rank of Commissioner Legal Affairs has been newly created to give his legal advice wherever necessary.

In carrying out the different functions 3 Principal Officers in I.A.S Cadre .ie Secretary to CCLA, Joint Secretary to CCLA, AND Project Director (CMRO) Project, assist the Chief Commissioner of land Administration. In the year 2003 another Officer in the cadre of IAS, designated as Special Commissioner was appointed to assist the Chief Commissioner of Land Administration. So the subjects are divided among these 4 Officers. Further 8 Assistant Secretaries in the Cadre of Special Grade Deputy Collectors/ Orinary Grade Deputy Collectors and 8 Additional Assistant Commissioners drawn from Commissionerate services to assist them. The Assistant Secretaries are in charge of different subjects as per their work distribution. Each Assistant Secretary/ Additional Assistant Secretary looks after 3 to 5 sections. A Superintendent heads each section. 4 to 6 Assistants and a typist assist him.


          The Collectorates play a pivotal role in the District administration. There are 23 Collectorates in the State. A Collector in the Cadre of I.A.S heads the District. He acts as the District Magistrate for maintaining Law and Order in his jurisdiction. He deals mainly with planning and development, law and order, scheduled areas/agency areas, general elections, arms licensing etc.

The Joint Collector who also belongs to the I.A.S Cadre runs the Revenue administration under various enactments in the District. He is also designated as Additional District Magistrate. He mainly deals with civil supplies, land matters, mines and minerals, village officers etc.

The District Revenue Officer (DRO) in the Cadre of Special Grade Deputy Collectors assists the Collector and Joint Collector in discharging their duties. The District Revenue Officer looks after all the branches of the Collectorate. He deals mainly with general administration and is vested with supervision of day-to-day functions of the Collectorate.

The administrative Officer in the rank of a Tahsildar is the general assistant to the Collector. He directly supervises all the sections in the Collectorate and most of the files are routed through him.

The Collectorate is divided into 8 sections as per the administrative reforms taken up by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. An alphabet letter is given to each section for easy reference.

  • Section A: Deals with Establishment and Office Procedures.
  • Section B: Deals with Accounts and audit.
  • Section C: Deals with Magisterial (Court/Legal) matters.
  • Section D: Deals with Land Revenue and relief.
  • Section E: Deals with Land Administration.
  • Section F: Deals with Land Reforms.
  • Section G: Deals with Land Acquisition.
  • Section H: Deals with Protocol, Elections and Residuary work.

          Each District is divided into Sub divisions for administrative convenience. A Sub division is headed by a Revenue Divisional Officer in the rank of a Deputy Collector or a Sub – Collector in Cadre of IAS. He is the Sub Divisional Magistrate having jurisdiction over his division. An administrative Officer in the Cadre of a Tahsildar assists in administration. The Sub divisional Offices are a replica of Collectorate in the matter of number of sections and they act as intermediary in the administrative setup. There are 91 divisions in Andhra Pradesh. Each division consists of a few Mandals whose performance is constantly monitored by the concerned Divisional Office.


          There are 1128 Mandals in the state, each Mandal having population ranging from 35,000 to 50,000 people. The Mandals have been formed in Andhra Pradesh to bring administration to the doorsteps of Citizens and make all the public services easily available to them. Earlier the Taluks had huge jurisdiction and were divided into Firkas. This 5 tier district administrative system was unviable for delivering speedy Citizen Services. So against 305 Taluks and 1084 Firkas, 1106 Mandals were formed in 1985. Subsequently 20 more Mandals were added at different intervals of time. So at present we have a 4 tier district administrative set up with the Mandal playing an important role in administration at the grass root level.

A gazetted Tahsildar heads the Mandals. The Tahsildar is vested with the same powers and functions of Tahsildars of erstwhile Taluks including magisterial powers. Tahsildar heads the Tahsildar office. Tahsildar provides the interface between the government and public within his jurisdiction. He initiates welfare measures within his jurisdiction. The Tahsildar assists the higher authorities in collecting information and conducting inquiries. He provides feedback to the district administration that helps in decision-making at higher levels of administration.

The Deputy Tahsildar/ Superintendent, Mandal Revenue Inspector, Superintendent, Mandal Surveyor, Assistant Statistical Officer and Other Ministerial Staff.

The Deputy Tahsildar/ Superintendent supervises the day today functions of Tahsildar’s office and deals mainly with general administration. Most of the files are routed through him. He monitors all the sections in the Tahsildar’s office.

The (Mandal Revenue Inspector) MRI assists the Tahsildar in conducting inquiries and inspections. He supervises the Village Secretaries. He inspects crop fields (Azmoish), writes Sharas (field inspection details) in Pahani, collects land revenue, non-agricultural land assessment and other dues and keeps close watch on the villages within his jurisdiction to maintain law and order,

The Assistant Statistical Officer (ASO), who is under the overall control of Chief Planning Officer at the District and Directorate of Economics and Statistics at the State Level, maintains data related to rainfall, crops and population. He conducts crop estimate tests. He inspects crops to submit crop condition details. He prepares periodical reports on births and deaths and assists the Tahsildar in conduct of livestock census, population census and other surveys taken up by the government from time to time. Tahsildar sends reports on above items to the District collector. Later these are sent to the department of economics and statistics and planning department at government level.

The Mandal Surveyor, who belongs to the Survey Settlement and Land Records Department, assists the Tahsildar in survey operations. Chain Man assists Mandal Surveyor in his duties.

As per the administrative reforms the various sections in the Tahsildar Office are:

  • Section A: Office procedure and financial activities,
  • Section B: Land Related activities,
  • Section C: Civil Supplies, Pension Schemes etc.
  • Section D: Establishment, Natural Calamities,
  • Section E: Issue of Caste, income, nativity etc; certificates.

          Earlier Patwaries/ Karanams ran the Village Level administration up to 1981 and later Village administrative Officers who was a part time functionary looked after revenue functions. He was responsible to revenue hierarchy. But in 2001 as a part of strengthening Local bodies Panchayat Secretaries were created combining the revenue and Panchayat functions. There are 21943 Panchayats in Andhra Pradesh. They are under the administrative control of Gram Panchayats but are also responsible to Revenue Department for revenue functions. Kamadars or Village Revenue Assistants assists the Village Revenue Officers. The number of Village Revenue Assistants varies depending upon the area, population and irrigation sources of the village. The entire village is divided among the Village Revenue Assistants for convenient administration. Village Revenue Assistants provide complete information about their areas in all aspects.

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