The Prime Minister�s Office

�The Prime Minister�s office (PMO), known also as the Prime Minister�s Secretariat until 1977, provides for the secretarial assistance to the Prime Minister. It is headed by the Prime Minister, and administratively, by Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. �The PMO is a link between the Prime Minister and his ministers, the President, the Governors, the chief ministers and foreign dignitaries; it is related to the party matters, personal correspondence, complaints from the public. An extra- constitutional body, the PMO plays an important role in the decision-making process while providing crucial advice to the Prime Minister. �The PMO is led by the Principal Secretary. �The office consists of one or two additional secretaries, three to five joint secretaries and a good number of directors/deputy secretaries and under-secretaries.

�The other officers, include private secretaries, officers on special duty, special secretary and the junior staff, all around 400 people under its roof. Over the years, the PMO has emerged as a center of power, threatening the role and authority of the Cabinet Secretariat. �This is why the PMO has been described by the critics sometimes as �super-cabinet� and sometimes as �super-secretariat�, �the mini Government of India�. �The role of the PMO has changed from one prime minister to another prime-minister. Nehru, was dependent on the ICS level secretaries, but gave restricted significance to his officials. During the times of Lal Bahadur Shastri, the PMO became a powerful body. Smt. Indira Gandhi gave the PMO greater stature. �The non-Congress and the Janata Party rule made the PMO into the PM secretariat again. But with Indira Gandhi again in the postition of the prime minister and Rajiv Gandhi, the PMO attained real prominence.

�The PMO has, at present, retained its importance, even attained a position of power. �The PMO controls the entire administration, despite the existence of numerous officials of ministers. It issues directives and instructions to the numerous secretaries. �The Prime Minister himself remains in touch with top officials. �The PMO watches the activities of the ministers and keeps an eye on them. It asks all officials be punctual at work, Numerous announcements come directly from the Prime Minister�s office: the PMO has become the control room of the whole administration at the national level, centralising all the powers unto itself.

�The Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister has functions which include

  • dealing with all the office work,
  • putting before the Prime Minister all relevant papers for orders and instructions,
  • preparing of notes to be discussed with important dignitaries by the Prime Minister;
  • supervising the work of different ministries under the prime minister,
  • giving advice to the Prime Minister on matters sought by him.

�The functions of PMO are numerous such as:

  • assisting the Prime Minister in his over-all responsibilities;
  • helping the Prime Minister as the chairman of the Planning Commission and the National Development Council;
  • keeping public relations intact with media as well as general public;
  • maintaining liaison with the President, the Governors, the Chief Ministers, the other ministers as well as other foreign dignitaries;
  • acting as the think-tank.

Written by princy

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