Government Agent (Sri Lanka)

A Government Agent (GA) or a District Secretary is a Sri Lankan civil servant of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service appointed by the central government to govern a certain district of the country.[1] The GA is the administrative head of public services in the District. As Sri Lanka has 25 districts,[2] there are 25 governments agents at any given time.

History Edit

The origins of the role of Government Agent, can be traced back to the appointment of Madrassi Revenue Collectors, whose office became known as a Kachcheri. Following the annexation of the Kingdom of Kandy, the British Governor appointed Resident Agents and Assistant Agents to different parts of the island to overlook revenue collection and maintain government control. The administrative reforms carried out following the Colebrooke–Cameron Commission of Inquiry, the administration of the coastal provinces and the provinces of the former Kingdom of Kandy were merged into a central system which divided the island into five provinces on 1 October 1833. Each province would be headed by a Government Agent (GA) appointed by the Governor and with Assistant Government Agents (AGA) in charge of outlying districts answerable to the GA of the province. With these reforms the Ceylon Civil Service was established and GAs and AGAs were exclusively appointed from the Ceylon Civil Service.[3] Each GA had has his office the local Kachcheri, which was the Revenue Collector's Office dating back from the Dutch period.

GA and AGA appointments were made from the Ceylon Civil Service (CCS) which was formed in 1833. CCS was initially made up of British, Ceylonese were first admitted to the CCS in 1870. However it was only in the 1920s did the first Ceylonese GA appointed. The role of the GA during the colonial administration, was primary collection of revenue, administration of law and order, allocation of crown land, and supervision of irrigation. Till 1956, there were nine Provincial Kachcheries, headed by a GA who administered their own district and exercised nominal authority over thirteen District Kachcheries, headed by AGAs. In 1956, the heads of all twenty-two districts were now designated GAs, who were all from the CCS and came under the preview of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The GA functioned as the reprehensive of the government in the district. The original responsibility to maintain law and order, soon transferred to the police and Judiciary; GA retained residual control over the police, and excided during times of crisis.[4]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ Kruse, Claus (March 2007). "State Structure in Sri Lanka" (PDF). Ilankai Tamil Sangam. Ilankai Tamil Sangam, USA, Inc. p. 9. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  2. ^ Rodrigo, Asiri; McQuillin, Andrew; Pimm, Jonathan (May 2009). "Effect of the 2004 tsunami on suicide rates in Sri Lanka". Psychiatric Bulletin. 33 (5): 179–180. doi:10.1192/pb.bp.108.020743.
  3. ^ Casinader, Niranjan; De Silva Wijeyaratne, Roshan; Godden, Lee. "From Sovereignty to Modernity: Revisiting the Colebrooke-Cameron Reforms Ceylon" (PDF). Westminster Research. University of Westminster. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  4. ^ Devendra, Tissa (2010). Memories of a Penpusher, Kachcheries and Commissions (First ed.). Sri Lanka: Vijitha Yapa Publications. pp. 3–17. ISBN 978-955-665-111-9.