Ministry, Department, Boards and Commissions
The main policy making institution in the Union government is the central secretariat which comprises all the ministries and departments which in turn characterized by certain patterns of structural arrangements and functional specifications.
Ministry of Central Government has a three tier structure consisting of
1. Political Head, who is a cabinet minister assisted by minister of state and deputy minister. Sometimes a minister of State may also be a political head of a ministry/department holding an independent charge.
2. Secretariat organisation headed by a secretary who is a career civil servant. He is assisted by Joint secretaries, Deputy Secretaries, Undersecretaries and office establishment.
3. Executive organization under a head of the department who is known by various designations like Director, Director-General, Commissioner, Inspector-General, Chief Controller etc…
A ministry is primarily divided into departments. Each department is divided into wings. Each wing is, in turn, divided into divisions, which are further divided into branches. Each branch is divided into sections. A section is the lowest level and smallest organizational unit of a ministry/ department.
Under the Government of India, Rules of Business, 1961, the ministries departments in the Government of India were classified into different levels.
Wing (Additional/Joint Secretary)
Division (Deputy Secretary)
Branch (Under Secretary)
Section (Section Officer)
The Central Secretariat comprises of all the ministries and departments of the central Government. Article 77 of the Indian Constitution authorizes the President of India to make rules for more convenient transaction of business of Central Government and for allocation of such business among the ministries.
The Central Secretariat is a policy making body of the government and is not, to undertake work of execution, unless necessitated by the lack of official agencies to perform certain tasks. The Central Secretariat normally performs the following functions:
1. Assisting the minister in the discharge of his policy making and parliamentary responsibilities.
2. Framing legislation, rules and principles of procedure.
3. Sectoral planning and programme formulation.
4. Budgeting and control of expenditure in respect of activities of the Ministry/ department.
5. Supervision and control over the execution of policies and programmes.
6. Initiating steps to develop greater personnel and organizational competence both in the ministry/ department and its executive agencies.
7. Coordination and interpretation of policies, assisting other branches of government and maintaining contact with state administration.
The Cabinet Secretariat functions directly under the Prime Minister. The administrative head of the Secretariat is the Cabinet Secretary who is also the ex-officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board. The business allocated to Cabinet Secretariat under Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 includes (i) Secretarial assistance to the Cabinet and Cabinet Committees; and (ii) Rules of Business.
The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the Government of India (Transaction of Business). The Secretariat assists in decision-making to the Government by ensuring Inter-Ministerial coordination, ironing out differences amongst Ministries/Departments and evolving consensus through the instrumentality of the standing/adhoc Committees of Secretaries. Management of major crisis situations in the country and coordinating activities of various ministries.
Organisation of Cabinet Secretariat
The Cabinet Secretariat has three wings
v Civil wing
v Military wing
v Intelligence wing
Civil wing - It is the main wing and provides aid, advice and assistance to the Union cabinet.
Military wing - provides secretarial assistance to the defence committee of the cabinet, the military affairs committee etc.
Intelligence wing - it deals with the matters pertaining to the joint intelligence committee of the cabinet.
Other organizations are - RAW, Director General of Security, SPG, Joint intelligence group, DG public grievances (1988), National Authority, Chemical Weapons Convention.
The secretarial assistance, provided by Cabinet Secretariat to the Cabinet and Cabinet committees, includes
v Convening of the meetings of the Cabinet and its Committees on the orders of the Prime Minister.
v Preparation and circulation of the agenda.
v Circulation of papers related to the cases on the agenda.
v Preparation of record of discussions.
v Circulation of the record of discussions after obtaining the approval of the Prime Minister.
v Monitoring implementation of decisions taken by the Cabinet and its Committees.
v President of India
v Vice President of India
v Cabinet Secretariat
v Election Commission of India
v Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
v National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), India
v Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India,
v Indian Audit and Accounts Department
v NITI Aayog - National Institution for Transforming India
v National Commission for Women (NCW)
v National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
v Fifteenth Finance Commission of India
v National Commission for Minorities(NCM)
v Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA)
v Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser
v The Cabinet Secretariat is the custodian of the papers of the Cabinet meetings.
The office of cabinet secretary was created in India in 1950. The first Cabinet secretary was N.R.Pillai. The Cabinet Secretary is the head of the Cabinet Secretariat. He is given a top place among the civil servants. Thus, he is the senior most civil servant in India.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) consists of the immediate staff of the Prime Minister of India. The PMo was originally called the Prime Minister’s Secretariat until 1977, when it was renamed during the Morarji Desai ministry.
The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India (O/o of PSA) was set-up in November, 1999, primarily to:
v Evolve polices, strategies and missions for the generation of innovations and support systems for multiple applications,
v Generate science and technology tasks in critical infrastructure, economic and social sectors in partnership with Government departments, institutions and industry,
v Office of PSA also services the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM- STIAC)
v Office of PSA has been placed administratively under the Cabinet Secretariat in August, 2018.
The PMo provides secretarial assistance to the Prime Minister. It is headed by the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. The PMo includes the anti-corruption unit and the public wing dealing with grievances. The office houses the Prime Minister and few selected officers of Indian Civil Service who work with him to manage and coordinate government and his office. The Prime Minister through his office coordinates with all ministers in the central union cabinet, minister of independent charges and governors and ministers of state government.