Before the establishment of the Zilla Parishad, local autonomy was enjoyed in different degrees at the district, taluka and village levels The progress of the district local boards and village panchayats was in three spheres. Firstly, from fully or partially nominated bodies, they have now become entirely elective. Secondly, their franchise has gone on widening and has now reached the widest possible limit, viz.. universal adult franchise. Every person who (a) is a citizen of India. (b) has attained the age of 21 years, and (c) has the requisite residency, business premises or taxation qualification, is now entitled to be enrolled as a voter. Thirdly, wider and wider powers have been gradually conferred upon local bodies for the administration of areas, under their charge, of which the powers conferred upon the Zilla Parishad are the sufficient testimony thereof.

With the advent of Independence, the principle of planned economy. for the realisation of a welfare state was accepted and the community projects and national extension service schemes were introduced to realise that objective. However, the experience showed that the progress of rural development was not commensurate with the expectations of the Government and it was found that non-participation of rural people in the implementation of various schemes was the sole cause behind this state of affairs. In order to investigate into this state of affairs the Government appointed a committee, viz., the Balwantrai Mehta Committee.

The Committee undertook the study of the situation by visiting developmental activities and by interviewing officials and non-officials. Among other findings the committee pointed out the failure of the Government in appealing and attracting the leadership of the masses in participating in the community and national development schemes. To remedy the matter, it recommended decentralisation of power as also putting responsibility at the lower levels of the socio-economic-stratum. The Committee, therefore, suggested that the responsibility for such regional and local development should be assigned to such local institutions at the district level with the Government playing the role of guiding and supervising from a higher level by making available the required finance and so on.

Thus keeping in view the recommendations of the committee the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act of 1961 was passed to assign local government functions and to entrust the execution of certain works and development schemes to such bodies and to provide for decentralisation of powers and functions and to provide development of democratic institutions for securing a greater measure of participation by the people in the plans and in local government affairs.

The Ahmadnagar Zilla Parishad came into existence in 1962. It consists of sixty elected councillors including two women councillors, six chairmen of Panchayat Samitis and five associated members of co-operative bodies. The powers and functions of the various functionaries of the Zilla Parishad are described below:

President: The President shall―

(a) convene, preside over and conduct meetings of the Zilla Parishad;

(b) watch over the financial and executive administration of the Zilla Parishad; and

(c) exercise administrative supervision and control over the Chief Executive Officer for securing implementation of resolutions or decisions of the Zilla Parishad or of any Panchayat Samiti.

The President may, in cases of emergency, direct the execution or suspension of any work or the doing of any act which requires the sanction of the Zilla Parishad or any authority thereof, necessary for the service or safety of the public, and may direct that the expenses of executing such work or doing such an act shall be paid from the District Fund.

Vice-President: The Vice-President shall―

(a) in the absence of the President, preside at the meetings of the Zilla Parishad; and

(b) exercise such of the powers and perform such of the duties of the President as the President from time to time may delegate to him by an order in writing.

Chairman of Standing Committee or Subjects Committee : The Chairman of the Standing Committee or a Subjects Committee shall―

(i) convene, preside over and conduct meetings of the Committee and

(ii) have access to the records of the Committee.

Chief Executive Officer : The Chief Executive Officer―

(1) lays down the duties of all the officers and servants under Zilla Parishad:

(2) is entitled to call for any information, return, statement, account from any officer or servant of the Zilla Parishad; and

(3) supervises and controls the execution of all the activities of the Zilla Parishad.

The Deputy Chief Executive Officer is the Secretary ex-officio of the Zilla Parishad as well as the Standing Committee.

Block Development Officer: The Block Development Officer―

(1) has the custody of all papers and documents connected with, the proceedings of meetings of the Panchayat Samiti.

(2) is the Secretary, ex-officio, of the Panchayat Samiti: and

(3) in relation to the works and development schemes to be undertaken from the block grants, exercises such powers of sanctioning acquisition of property, sale or transfer thereof as are specified by the State Government.

Head of Department:

(i) Every head of department of the Zilla Parishad in respect of works and development schemes pertaining to his department accords technical sanction thereto.

(ii) The head of the department specified in this behalf, is the secretary, ex-officio, of such subjects committees as the Zilla Parishad may direct.

General Administration : The General Administration Department deals with non-technical matters such as establishment, revenue, panchayat and social welfare and planning. The department is controlled and directed by the standing committee of the Zilla Parishad. The Deputy Chief Executive Officer who is its head and secretary, is assisted by the Administrative Officer, a Planning Officer a Revenue Officer and a Social Welfare Officer. The social welfare section of the department is in charge of the Social Welfare Officer. He is entrusted with the work of implementation of various schemes for the uplift and welfare of the backward classes. The amelioration of the backward classes is sought by granting them various financial and educational concessions through cultural activities. In 1966-67 the Zilla Parishad spent an amount of Rs. 8,91,000 on Social Welfare Schemes. Chapter 17 gives detailed information of the social welfare activities undertaken by the department.

Finance : The finance department of the Zilla Parishad is divided into four branches. viz., audit, budget, compilation and works The department is headed by the Chief Accounts and Finance Officer who is assisted in his work by the Accounts Officer. The department is controlled by the Finance Committee of the Parishad with the Chief Accounts and Finance Officer as its secretary.

The estimated budget for the year 1962-63 was Rs. 1,71,25,941 of which grants amounted lo Rs. 1,46,50,541. During the same period the estimated expenditure was put at Rs. 1,82,39,579 of which education claimed Rs. 87,55,632. the highest amount. In 1966-67 the income side showed an amount of Rs. 7,91,89,000 including Rs. 2,92,10,000 as Government grants as against expenditure which amounted to Rs. 7,91,89,000. In the year 1971-72 the total revenue receipts amounted to Rs. 7,41,27,000 including Government grant of Rs. 6,97,74,000. The revenue expenditure during the same period was Rs. 7,45,51,000.

Agriculture : The Agriculture Department of the Zilla Parishad is headed by the Agricultural Development Officer who has to supervise all agricultural activities in the district. He also supervises the work of the District Agricultural Officer, Campaign Officer and other staff working under the Panchayat Samitis. He is responsible for technical matters to the Director of Agriculture, Pune and for administrative purposes, to the Chief Executive Officer.

In 1968-69 there were 16 Agricultural Officers and 32 Agricultural Supervisors working under the Zilla Parishad. Every Panchayat Samiti is allotted an Agricultural Officer, two Agricultural Supervisors and 15 to 20 Agricultural Assistants.

In 1966-67, 2,14,885 quintals of fertilisers were distributed whereas the quantity of improved seeds distributed amongst the farmers was to the tune of 11,330 quintals. During the same period, 111 new wells were constructed for irrigation purpose. During 1971-72 the expenditure on agriculture was put at Rs. 14,24,000.

Animal Husbandry : The animal husbandry section is controlled by the District Animal Husbandry Officer who is entrusted with the work of vaccination, treatment of sick animals and breeding of quality animals in the district. The receipts from animal husbandry during 1966-67 were Rs. 12,000 as against an expenditure of Rs. 4,48,000. The receipts and expenditure in 1971-72 were Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 6,80,000, respectively.

The following veterinary institutions were working in the district during 1969-70:―

Veterinary dispensaries


Branch veterinary dispensaries


Veterinary Aid Centres


Artificial Insemination Centres


Supplementary Cattle Breeding Centres


Cattle Breeding Centre


The following work was done during the year 1969-70:―

Number of animals treated at head-quarters


Number of animals treated on tour


Number of castrations performed


Number of cases supplied with medicines


Number of animals vaccinated


Number of animals slaughtered


Number of animals inseminated


In all, 110 premium bulls were located on maintenance charges under the District Premium Bull Scheme and in all 3,822 services were rendered by them. This scheme was implemented in Akola, Ahmadnagar, Parner and Shrigonda talukas during the year 1969-70 Besides, twenty bulls and 197 cows were located under Supplemental Cattle Breeding Scheme in the district. 543 services were rendered by the breeding bulls. Eight bulls and 31 premium cows of Khilar breed were supplied to the cultivators during the year 1969-70 under the scheme for cattle development.

Co-operation and Industries: The department is controlled by the Co-operation Committee of the Zilla Parishad with the Co-operation and Industries Officer as its Secretary.

The following schemes have been transferred to and implemented by the Co-operation and Industries Department:―

Plan Schemes: (a) Financial assistance to industrial co-operatives for purchase of tools and equipment, for construction of godowns. and subsidy for managerial expenses.

(b) Financial assistance to regular artisans under the State Aid to Industries Rules, 1961, for development of cottage industries and small-scale industries.

Non-Plan Schemes: (a) Subsidy for management expenses to industrial co-operatives.

(b) Financial assistance to affected goldsmiths under the State Aid to Industries Rules, 1961, for collage industries and small-scale industries.

In addition to granting of loans to individual artisans and goldsmiths, training-cum-production centres are run by the Panchayat, Samitis from the funds allotted to rural arts, crafts and industries or from the self-raised funds of the Panchayat Samitis. The following three training-cum-production centres are run in the district:―

(1) Tailoring School at Kharda, taluka Jamkhed.

(2) Tailoring School at Ghodegaon, taluka Nevasa.

(3) Carpentry School at Rahuri, taluka Rahuri.

There are thirteen Extension Officers, Industries, who are working at Panchayat Samiti level and the work of promotion and development of cottage and village industries is carried out by them.

As regards co-operation wing of the department there is one Co-operation and Industries Officer who is assisted by two Extension Officers (Co-operation). There are sixteen Extension Officers (Cooperation) working under Panchayat Samitis in the district. There are 1,543 co-operative societies of different types in the district, out or which 1,087 are primary agricultural societies. The receipts from industries and cottage industries during 1966-67 amounted to Rs. 15,000 whereas the expenditure amounted to Rs. 22,000 and Rs. 45,000, respectively for co-operation and industries. The expenditure on co-operation and industries amounted to Rs. 1,02,000 as against receipts of Rs. 12,000 during 1971-72.

Education : The Education Officer heads this department and also works as the Secretary to the Education Committee of the Zilla Parishad which directs and controls the department.

In 1970 there were 213 non-Government secondary schools in the district. Out of these, 167 schools were upto std. XI, 22 upto std. X. 8 upto std. IX and 16 upto std. VIII. Out of these 213 secondary schools, 200 were aided schools. The total expenditure incurred on grants, paid to 190 secondary schools during 1969-70, was Rs. 10,09,661. Besides this, there were seven multi-purpose schools in the district.

During the same period there were 2,011 primary schools in the district, out of which 34 primary schools were for girls. Of these, 1,704 primary schools were run by the Zilla Parishad and the remaining schools were private-aided and un-aided primary schools. 3,07,409 pupils were taking education in Zilla Parishad primary schools, out of whom 1,91,156 were boys and 1,16,253 were girls. There were 2,054 primary schools in this district during 1973-74. which imparted education to 3,57,610 students including 2,17,718 boys and 1,39,892 girls.

There were 363 craft primary schools of which 262 were spinning and weaving schools, 79 were agricultural schools and 22 wood-work and card-board modelling schools during 1969-70.

Health: The Public Health Officer who is the Secretary of the Health Committee of the Zilla Parishad heads the department. He is responsible for effecting measures to control epidemics with a view to maintaining sanitation in the district. There were in the district 17 primary health centres, ten allopathic dispensaries and three ayurvedic dispensaries.

There were four urban family planning centres in the district at the following places:-

(i) Civil Hospital, Ahmadnagar.

(ii) B.D.C.D., Hospital, Ahmadnagar.

(iii) Cottage Hospital, Kopargaon.

(iv) Municipal Hospital, Shrirampur.

Besides these, the number of rural family welfare planning centres was 29. The Medical Officers of the concerned institutions looked after the family planning centres.

The estimated annual expenditure of the department for the year 1970-71 was Rs. 11,68,341, of which provision of Rs. 7,00,000 was made for primary health centres and health units. The expenditure on public health activities during 1971-72 was Rs. 23,97,000.