The Central Secretariat

�The National Democratic Alliance government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as guided by the mantra �minimum government maximum governance� wants every public servant on his/her toes: leisure has struck; work has increased officers with their juniors work on a five day week schedule, most of them working on Saturdays; files are a cleared in three days; outcomes are reported immediately; rare travels, and no late night club meetings at Delhi Gymkhana clubs.�The Central Secretariat is a collection of the offices of the various ministries/departments. A ministry/department works out the job of formulation of the policy relating to that ministry/ department and helps in the execution of those policies. �The ministry/department reviews its policies. Each ministry/ department is divided into such groups: Ministry is headed by Secretary/Additional/Special Secretary; below it is the wing which a headed by Additional/Joint Secretary; below it is the Division headed by the Deputy Secretary; below the division is the Branch headed by Under Secretary and below the branch is the Section headed by the Section Officer. �The section deals with the work relating to the subject allotted to it. It is also referred to as the office. Two sections make the branch which is also known as the branch officer. Two branches ordinarily constitute a division.

When the volume of work in a ministry exceeds the manageable charge of a secretary, one or more wings are established with a joint secretary in charge of each wing. At the top comes the department which is headed by the secretary himself or in some cases by an additional/special secretary. In some cases, a department may be as autonomous as a ministry or may be equivalent to it in rank. A ministry is under minister�s charge while the department, under secretary�s charge. A ministry may not have a department or may have more than one departments. A ministry may have two or even more secretaries, each in charge of a specified segment of the Ministry, or may have a department in it.

Although all of them are secretaries, the former are subordinate to the latter who, in addition to their own work, coordinate the work of these secretaries of departments/segments within the ministry. �The three grades such as Secretary, Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary constitute the �top� management while the Deputy Secretary and Under Secretary are referred to as the �middle� management. �The Secretary is the administrative head of the ministry/department and the principal adviser to the Minister. He represents his ministry/department before the committees of Parliament. He keeps himself informed of the work of his ministry/department by demanding weekly summaries on the nature of cases disposed of by the lower levels. Where the charge of a Secretary is too large, he may be assisted by a joint or additional secretary who formally functions as Secretary in relation to the subject allotted to him in the ministry/ department.

�The functions of the Central Secretariat are

  • providing data about policies and making them available to the ministers who formulate policies;
  • assisting the ministers in their legislative work too, preparing legislative drafts to be introduced in the legislature;
  • helping in the collection of relevant information for answering parliamentary questions, and, for various parliamentary committees;
  • carrying out a detailed scrutiny of a problem bringing an overall comprehensive viewpoint on it, getting approval, if required, of the other related agencies like the Ministry of Law and the Ministry of Finance; and also, consulting, other organizations on a particular matter;
  • functioning as the main channel of communication between the Government and other concerned agencies like the Planning Commission, Finance Commission, etc.;
  • ensuring that field offices execute, with efficiency and economy, the policies and decisions of the Government;
  • making the sectoral planning and programmae formulation; and
  • doing the miscellaneous jobs such as the following:

(a) Budgeting and controlling expenditure;

(b) Securing administrative and financial approval to the operational programmes;

(c) Supervising and controlling the execution of policies by the executive departments or semi-autonomous field agencies;

(d) Initiating steps to develop greater organisational competence; and

(e) Assisting in increasing coordination at the central level.

Each secretary is being asked by the cabinet secretary of the Modi government to answer specified by

  1. what had been the undisputable achievents of the ministry,
  2. in what other manners the remaining achievments would have been attained
  3. the targets which could not be fulfilled, and
  4. the goals as desired by the ministers.

�There is a network of administrative or executive agencies which are meant to execute policies as decided in the Secretariat. �These include, among others,

  • attached offices,
  • subordinate offices,
  • departmental undertakings,
  • companies as registered under the Companies Act;
  • corporations or boards set up under the Act of the Parliament (such as ONGC, Tea Board),
  • societies as registered under the Societies Act (i.e. the Institute of Foreign Trade).

�These executive agencies mainly do the job of execution in the implementation of polices. Over the years, the executive agencies have increased in number. In consequence, this has led to the strained relations between the secretariat and the executive agencies leading at times to the duplication and delay in the work.

Written by princy

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