Prior to the formation of Maharashtra on 1 May 1960, Nagpur district was a part of Central Provinces and Berar province with Nagpur city enjoying the status of capital city from 1947 to 1956. The need for planned development of the city was felt at that time, as the existing Municipal Committee was not equipped to undertake such a gigantic task nor did it have the ability to generate the necessary funds. With this view. The Nagpur Improvement Trust was formed by enacting Nagpur Improvement Trust Act, 1936. Actual functioning of Nagpur Improvement Trust started in the year 1937. The goal set before the Nagpur Improvement Trust was, to develop new areas within the city of Nagpur to cater to the needs of the growing population.
Nagpur city is administered by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) which is a democratically elected civic governing body. Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) works with NMC and carries out works like development of the civic infrastructure and new urban areas on behalf of NMC. The city is divided in 10 zones which are in turn divided into 145 wards. Each ward is represented by a corporator, majority of whom are elected in local elections.
Smaller Urban areas in the district are governed by Municipal councils. There are 10 Municipal Councils in Nagpur district. Viz. Kamptee, Umred, Katol, Narkhed, Kalmeshwar, Ramtek, Khapa, Mohpa and Mowad.
The district has been divided into fourteen tahsils for the purpose of administrative conveyance namely Nagpur Urban, Nagpur Rural, Hingna, Kamptee, Katol, Narkhed, Saoner, Kalmeshwar, Ramtek, Parseoni, Mauda, Umred, Bhiwapur, and Kuhi with thirteen Panchayat samities.
For rural areas Nagpur Zilla Parishad is a local government body at the district level.. It looks after the administration of the rural area of the district and its office is located at the district headquarters. There are 13 Panchayat Samities in Nagpur district that act as link between Gram Panchayat and Zilla Parishad. There are 776 Gram panchayats in the district which are the foundation of the Panchayat System.
Nagpur is headquarters of national level scientific and governmental establishments like the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), the Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR), the National Research Centre for Citrus, the National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Aluminum Research and Development Centre, and the Petroleum And Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) (formerly known as Department of Explosives).
Nagpur is also the home of National Academy of Direct Taxes (N.A.D.T.) where officers of Revenue Services are trained and National Academy of Defense Production (N.A.D.P), where officers of ordnance factories are trained.
Nagpur is an important city for the Indian armed forces. Sitabuldi fort is home to Indian Army's 118th infantry battalion. The city is the headquarters of Maintenance Command of Indian Air Force. The Indian Army's ordnance factory and staff college are located in the western part of the city. Nagpur's suburb Kamptee has cantonment of Regimental center of Indian Army's Brigade made up of National Cadet Corps' Officers' Training School, Institute of Military Law and other establishments. Nagpur's National Civil Defense College provides civil defence and disaster management training to pupils from all over India and abroad. Indian Air Force's giant IL-76 transport planes nicknamed "Gajraj" are also based in Nagpur.