For administrative purposes, Sri Lanka is divided into nine provinces and twenty-five districts.
There have been provinces in Sri Lanka since the 19th century, but they had no legal status until 1987 when the 13th Amendment to the 1978 constitution established provincial councils after several decades of increasing demand for a decentralization of the Government of Sri Lanka. Each provincial council is an autonomous body not under the authority of any Ministry. Some of its functions had been undertaken by central government ministries, departments, corporations, and statutory authorities, but authority over land and police is not as a rule given to provincial councils. Between 1989 and 2006, the Northern and Eastern provinces were temporarily merged to form the North-East Province. Prior to 1987, all administrative tasks for the provinces were handled by a district-based civil service which had been in place since colonial times. Now each province is administered by a directly elected provincial council:
|Administrative Divisions of Sri Lanka|
Districts and local authorities Sri Lanka is also divided into 25 districts. Each district is administered under a District Secretariat. The districts are further subdivided into 256 divisional secretariats, and these, in turn, to approximately 14,008 Grama Niladhari divisions. The Districts are known in Sinhala as Disa and in Tamil as Māwaddam. Originally, a Disa (usually rendered into English as Dissavony) was a duchy, notably Matale and Uva. A government agent, who is known as District Secretary, administers a district.
There are three other types of local authorities: Municipal Councils (18), Urban councils (13) and Pradeshiya Sabha, also called Pradesha Sabhai (256). Local authorities were originally based on feudal counties named korale and rata, and were formerly known as ‘D.R.O. divisions’ after the ‘Divisional Revenue Officer’. Later the D.R.O.s became ‘Assistant Government Agents’ and the divisions were known as ‘A.G.A. divisions’. These Divisional Secretariats are currently administered by a ‘Divisional Secretary’
|Electoral District||Province||Area KM|