Cabinet Secretariat – Organization – Role and Functions – Cabinet Secretary

Cabinet Secretariat UPSC


The Constitution of India provides for a parliamentary system of government in which the cabinet has the real executive status. The cabinet headed by the Prime Minister is responsible for the entire administration of the Government of India. The Cabinet Secretary is there to assist the Cabinet in this work. Hence the Cabinet Secretariat is the staff agency of the Union Cabinet. It works under the guidance and leadership of the Prime Minister of India. It has an important role in the high level policy making process in the central government.

The Cabinet Secretariat enjoys the status of a Department in the Government of India under the Division of Business Rules, 1961. Its political head is the Prime Minister and the administrative head is the Cabinet Secretary. The Cabinet Secretariat came into existence in the year 1947 in place of the Governor General’s Executive Council.


The Cabinet Secretariat has three wings: the Civil Wing, the Military Wing and the Intelligence Wing. The Civil Wing is the main wing which provides advice and assistance to the Union Cabinet. The Military Wing of this department provides secretarial assistance to the Defense Minister’s Committee on Military Affairs, the Military Affairs Committee, the Defense Services Chiefs’ Committee, the National Security Council and other committees. The Intelligence Wing deals with the matters relating to the Joint Intelligence Committee of the Union Cabinet.

The Directorate of Public Grievances was formed in the year 1988 as a part of the Central Secretariat. This Directorate was headed by an officer of the rank of Secretary to the Government of India. The work of Public Grievances related to the following organizations of the Central Government is looked after by this is Directorate.

(1) Department of Railways, Telecommunications and Posts.

(2) Ministry of Surface Transport, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Urban Development.

(3) Insurance and Banking Division of the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.

(4) Directorate General of Shipping and Port Trust, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Indian Airlines and Air India.

There are several secretaries under the Cabinet Secretary (Cabinet Secretary) to assist him in disposing of his functions and responsibilities. These are officers ranging from secretary to under secretary level. It also has advisors on different subjects to advise the Prime Minister in the Additional Cabinet Secretariat.

Role and Functions

The following functions are performed by the Cabinet Secretariat

(i) To prepare the agenda for the meeting of the Cabinet and to provide necessary information and materials for the same.

(ii) To keep records of the decisions taken by the Cabinet and Cabinet Committees and circulate them to all concerned Ministries.

(iii) Secretariat to cabinet committees such as: Committee on Political Affairs (also known as Super Cabinet), Committee on Economic Affairs, Committee on Appointment Affairs (the Prime Minister headed all three committees) and Parliamentary Affairs Committee headed by the Home Minister. to provide assistance

(iv) To keep the President, Vice President and all the Union Ministers informed about the main activities of the Central Government.

(v) To prepare, finalize the rules related to government business and with the approval of the President, to distribute the work among the Ministries/Departments of the Central Government.

(vi) The Cabinet Secretariat acts as the main coordinating agency in the central government and settles disputes between ministries.

(vii) The Cabinet Secretariat oversees the implementation of the decisions of the Cabinet by the concerned Ministries/Departments and other executive agencies.

(viii) The Cabinet Secretariat also deals with matters relating to the appointment and resignation of ministers, matters relating to the allocation of portfolios to ministers and the works relating to the formation and reorganization of ministries.

Cabinet Secretary

This post and office in India was first formed in the year 1950. N. R. Pillai was the first cabinet secretary. The Cabinet Secretary is the head of the Cabinet Secretariat. Before the creation of this post, there was the post of Secretary in the Executive Council of the Governor General.

The Cabinet Secretary has the highest status among the civil servants, that is, he is the senior most civil servant of India. This status to the Cabinet Secretary was recommended in the Gopalaswami Iyengar Committee Report (1949) relating to the reorganization of the government machinery. The tenure of the Cabinet Secretary is not fixed. The details of the functions and roles of the Cabinet Secretary and the powers vested in him are as follows.

1. The Cabinet Secretary is the Chief Coordinator of the Central Administration but is not entitled to supervise the work of the Ministries/Departments.

2. The Cabinet Secretary is the Chairman of the Senior Selection Board. Which selects officers for the post of Joint Secretary in the Central Secretariat.

3. The Cabinet Secretary himself selects the officers for the post of Secretary and Additional Secretary in the Central Secretariat.

4. The Cabinet Secretary is the chairman of the ‘Committee of Secretaries on Administrative Affairs’ constituted to settle inter-ministerial disputes.

5. The Cabinet Secretary presides over the Conference of Chief Secretaries to be held annually.

6. The Cabinet Secretary acts as the Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister in respect of all aspects relating to administration and policy matters. Ramesh. Of. Arora and Rajni Goyal believe in this context that- “The Cabinet Secretary has to play a special role like the Prime Minister though the Prime Minister has his own Secretary and Secretariat; the Cabinet Secretary, from the point of view of his own position, is more important.” Is.

7. Before any minister can file a defamation suit against the publisher or editor of a newspaper, the approval of the cabinet has to be taken. The Cabinet Secretary is up to the Prime Minister to take a decision in this context.

8. The Cabinet Secretary has to play the role of a confidant when considered necessary and called upon by the Prime Minister.

9. The Cabinet Secretary acts as an advisor to all the public servants and to keep their state of mind awake. He provides them with advice and guidance regarding interdepartmental difficulties. Ramesh K. Arora and Rajni Goel believe in this regard that “As the head of the civil service, the cabinet secretary ensures that the spirit of morality remains high in the civil service. The cabinet secretary acts as a barrier between the politicians and the civil servants and between the two.” Protects the interests of public servants in case of conflict.

10. Between the Cabinet Secretary and the Prime Minister’s Office and various administrative agencies and the Civil Services and

Acts as a thread between the political system. Former cabinet secretary S. S. In his book The Central Executive, Khera has written in relation to the role of the Cabinet Secretary that “The Cabinet Secretary is very helpful in keeping the Prime Minister involved in the process of working of the Central Government. But he is an observer or sentry on behalf of the Prime Minister… His work is very general and staff related and not related to ministries. That is, the work of Cabinet Secretary is limited. His job is to help and not to supervise.’ The Administrative Reforms Commission’s Report on Government machinery and its working (1968) made the following recommendations regarding the role and status of the Cabinet Secretary:

1. The cabinet secretary should act as the general coordinator of the central administration but his role should not be limited to the coordinator.

2. The Cabinet Secretary should also act as the Principal Staff Adviser to the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and its committees on important policy matters.

3. The advice given by the Cabinet Secretary on policy matters should be conveyed to the concerned officer at his own level, not to his subordinates but should leave.

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