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Organisational Structure of the Cabinet Secretariat: All You Need To Know

The central secretariat is a collection of a various of ministries and its departments. The cabinet secretariat is a ministry that comprises of more than one department. There is no uniform terminology that describes the segments of the administrative structure of the Union government. A charge of a ministry is alloted to a minister that may include one or more departments. Many large ministries like defence, external affairs, finance and home have more than one department under their charge.

The political head of a department is the minister, whereas the administrative head of the department is the secretary. Chief Secretary is the head of the entire secretariat where as secretary is usually the head of one or two departments. The Secretary is a senior IAS officer, a generalist.

The Internal Hierarchy of The Ministry

The lowest unit of a ministry is the section. It consists of assistants, clerks, ‘daftaries’, typists and peons. Two sections constitute the branch. Branch is is under the charge of an undersecretary who is also known as the branch officer. Two branches form a division that is headed by a deputy secretary.

  1. Department: Secretary/Additional/Special Secretary
  2. Wing: Joint/Additional Secretary
  3. Division: Director/Deputy Secretary
  4. Branch: Under Secretary
  5. Section: Section Officer
  6. Office: Assistant, Clerk, Subordinate

Functions of Secretariat

The secretariat is a staff agency through which it has to advise the executive departments in the implementation of the public policies. The basic function of the secretariat is to assist the minister in the fulfillment of their role. Following are the functions performed by the secretariat.

  1. The secretariat formulates the policies and programmes of the state government.
  2. It coordinates the policies and programmes of the state government.
  3. It prepares the state budget and imposes control on public expenditure.
  4. It frames legislation, rules and regulations.
  5. It supervises the implementation of policies and programmes by the field agencies.
  6. It reviews the results of the execution of public policies.
  7. It maintains contacts with the control and other state governments.
  8. Takes initiative measures to develop greater organisational competence through O&M.
  9. It assists the ministers in discharging their responsibilities to the legislature, like answering the questions asked by the members of the legislative Assembly.
  10. It approves the service rules and their amendments.
  11. It explores the possibilities of improving the financial position of the state.
  12. Serves as think-tank for the state government.
  13. It assists the chief secretary in the proper functioning of the secretariat
  14. It receives the complaints, representations and appeals from the people and solve them.

Chief Secretary

The Chief Secretary is the executive head of the state secretariat. Chief Secretary is the administrative head of the state administration and stands at the apex of the hierarchy of state administration. Chief Secretary controls all the secretariat departments. Chief Secretary is the senior-most civil servant in the state. Chief Secretary receives some of its powers from conventions. Chief Secretary performs the following primary and other functions.

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Primary Functions

  1. Chief Secretary is the advisor to the Chief Minister and explains the administrative implications of the proposals forwarded by the state ministers.
  2. As secretary to the cabinet, chief secretary prepares the agenda for cabinet meetings and keeps all the records of its proceedings.
  3. As the head of civil service, Chief Secretary deals with all cases related to appointment, transfers and promotion of senior state civil servants.
  4. As a chief coordinator, Chief Secretary works towards ensuring inter departmental coordination. He is the chairman of coordination committees set up for resolving the inter-departmental disputes.
  5. As the head of certain departments, Chief Secretary supervises and controls them; and
  6. As crisis administrator, Chief Secretary plays a very significant role in the time of crisis like flood, drought, communal disputes, etc in the state.

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Other Functions

  • The Chief Secretary acts as the residual legatee, ie, he looks after all the matters not included within the purview of other secretaries.
  • Chief Secretary exercises general supervision and control over the entire secretariat.
  • Chief Secretary acts as the secretary, by rotation, of the Zonal Council in which the state concerned is a member.
  • Chief Secretary has administrative control over the secretariat building, staff attached to the ministers, the secretariat library, the conservancy and ward staff of the secretariat departments.
  • Chief Secretary is the principal channel of communication among the state government, the central government and the other state governments.
  • Chief Secretary plays an important role in the administration of law and order and planning.
  • Chief Secretary acts as a spokesman of the state government.
  • Chief Secretary attends the meetings of the National Development Council.
  • Chief Secretary acts as the chief public relations officer of the state government; and
  • Chief Secretary acts as the chief advisor to the governor when president’s rule is imposed in the state under Article 356 of the constitution, when the central advisors are not appointed.

Secretarial Staff

  1. Section Officers

Superintendents are in charge of their respective sections. They are called section officers and are responsible for handling of important and intricate cases. Their supervisory duties in the manual are numbered as: distribution of work among his staff, training, helping and advising the staff, coordination of work in the section, ensuring prompt and efficient disposal or work in the section and adoption of proper methods for progressing of casesetc.

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2. Assistants and Upper Division Clerks:

Assistants work under section officers. Each assistant is allotted a certain number of headings to deal with. His duties as described in the manual are: to examine and put suitable notes and drafts on cases promptly and submit them to his section officer after properly referencing and paging them; to maintain properly the assistant’s diary, standing guard files and other registers; and to keep papers and files it tidy condition.

Central Staffing Scheme

In the year 1957, Government of India announced a Central Staffing Scheme according to which the senior positions from deputy secretary and onwards are filled through implementation in the following six categories in the central secretariat:

  • Officers of the Central Administrative Pool.
  • Officers transferred from the state cadres of the all India services and from other Class I services of the states (other than the state civil service) on tenure deputation.
  • Officers hired on tenure deputation from central services, Class I including officers serving in public industrial undertakings.
  • Officers of the selection grade of the central secretariat service.
  • State civil service officers whose names are included in the select list for appointment to the IAS.
  • Other state civil service officers, in consultation with the Union Public Service Commission.

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