The District Collector functions as the supervisor and overseer of the District Government machinery. He is the first representative of the State Government who looks after several functions directly and co-ordinates the functioning of many other Departments which do not directly work under him. The District Collector also exercises several magisterial powers derived from several Acts of Law, and is thus also the District Magistrate looking after law and order and related functions. The Collector has the authority to look into any matter of Governance in the District and is the overseer and coordinator for all acts of Governance, though he himself or his office may not be directly responsible for the implementation of many of these activities.
To assist the Collector in discharging his duties, he is represented at each Taluka of the District by elaborate administrative machinery consisting of the Prant Officers and Mamlatdars. These officers directly carry out the functions of the collector at the taluka level and are administrative heads of their own blocks reporting to the District Collector. This primary Government machinery is for historical reasons still closely linked with the revenue department, since its primary task once was the collection of revenue from agriculture.
The activities and services for which the Collector is responsible are described below. It may be observed that the activities of the District Collector are vast, unrelated and many a times not well defined by law and procedure. Thus the Collectorate’s task is not as neatly laid out as say a Municipal Corporation or a corporate body’s, since, in the latter case, the functions lend themselves to application of modern management techniques. In the Collector’s case, very often, he has to act in his best judgement through grey areas. Secondly these are bodies that have the powers to raise and spend their own resources, albeit within the given regulatory framework. In case of the Collector, he/she functions on a budget handed down from the top. This imposes serious limitations on what can be accomplished, since often the present outlay for expenditure is outdated and out of tune with local needs and leaves little scope for doing anything extra. This is probably one of the most trying constraints.