New-look Gujarat a few months away

During Chief Minister Narendra Modi's Swami Vivekanand Yuva Vikas Yatra in the run-up to the assembly elections last year, a district or a taluka was born in the state almost every week. And, as announced earlier, all the seven new districts and 17 talukas were given in-principle approval on January 26, taking the number districts to 33 and talukas to 243.

Demarcation of the new administrative divisions is expected to take another couple of months as it would be done after a cabinet sub-committee gives its go-ahead following a thorough review of the ground situation.

The cabinet sub-committee is currently considering aspects like grievances and objections from various areas. "Fine details like deciding boundaries of talukas, which will be carved out of old districts for formation of new ones, is one of the major aspects taken into consideration," said an official.

The General Administration Department (GAD) is also gearing up to provide the additional machineries required to run the new divisions. "The department is prepared to meet the challenge of providing human resources from the IAS-level officers to the lower-level staff," said a GAD official, adding, "But this will be required once we get nod from the cabinet sub-committee."

The central government, which recently approved the state's plan to increase its IAS cadre quota from from 260 to 297, has reduced the burden of the general administration.

Among the new districts are Chhota Udepur, carved out of Vadodara district; Mahisagar, carved out of central Gujarat districts of Kheda and the Panchmahals; Aravali, comprising parts of Sabarkantha and Banaskantha districts; and Botad, carved out of Bhavnagar district.

In the coastal belt, Gir-Somnath in Junagadh has been declared a new district while Dwarka in Jamnagar has been made a district.

Morbi, a hub of ceramic and electronic industries in Rajkot district, has also been declared a separate district.

The last time when the state witnessed formation of new districts at such a large scale was in 1997-98 under Shankersinh Vaghela when Porbandar, Kheda, Patan, Valsad and Navsari were declared as districts. In 2007, ahead of the assembly elections, the Modi government had announced formation of a new district — Tapi — carved out of Surat district.

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