State Secretariats in India

State Secretariats in India

India has been made a federation and following the tradition of that federal system, State Secretariats have also been created in each of component states. The State Secretariats are the main administrative centers of the state governments.

The state secretariat conducts the different functions that come under the jurisdiction of the state government, co-ordinates the activities of different departments of the state government and carries the responsibilities of implementing the fiscal, administrative and other policies implemented or adopted by the state government.

According to Shriram Maheswari – “the expression secretariats is used to refer to the complex of departments whose heads, administratively are secretaries and politically are the ministers.” It should be remembered that a secretary is the secretary of the government of a state and not of any particular minster in whose department he belongs. They are the entire civil service cadre excepting the secretary of public works department, where the chief engineer of the department becomes the secretary. Generally a secretary of the state government has to look after the functions of different departments at a time and he is the chief of his subordinate departments as well as the principal adviser of the minister concern. The minister is the political chief of the department and the decisions he takes on different matters are to be implemented by the secretary concern. Moreover, the secretary of a department also acts as the representative of his department in different legislative committees formed by the state legislature.

In all the state government departments, the higher level of the bureaucratic set up generally consists of the secretary, the deputy secretary and the assistant secretaries. In the big departments there are two other secretaries—the additional secretary and the joint secretary. All of these bureaucrats have to work under fixed tenure system set by the government which means that they are appointed in that secretariat for a fixed time. They are thus appointed for a fixed period only and then transferred to other departments. But this term appointment is not applicable for the principal secretary or the chief secretary. Subordinate to these secretariat set up the real government office or department consists of the superintendent, assistants, a member of the upper division and lower division clerks, typists, stenographers, and the class IV staffs like the peon, jamadars, etc.

The rank of Principal secretary is above the other secretaries of various departments of the state.

Department of State Secretariats

There is no unanimity in the number of departments of the state secretariats and they vary from state to state. The number of such departments may vary from eleven to thirty-four, though in most of the states we generally find the existence of altogether twenty-two departments. These departments are— the general administration, home food and agriculture planning, Panchayati Raj, finance, law, public and water works, irrigation and power (electricity), education, industry, co-operative, transport, local self-government, prison, labour and employment, tax and tariff, fishery and animal husbandry, information, social welfare, forests etc. etc. It should also be remembered that the secretariat and the executive departments are not the same thing. The chief of the executive department is generally a specialist- person, but the secretary must always be an I.A.S. cadre. The head of the executive department performs his duties under the direct supervision of the secretary. Moreover, it is the duty of the secretariat to help the formation of all governmental policies, while the executive departments are responsible for implementing those policies into practice.

Functions of State Secretariats

Therefore the secretariat of a state has to do some specific and important functions.

  • First, the secretariat of the state determines the general program of activities of the state government.
  • Secondly, it prepares the annual budget of the state government after detailed discussion or consultation with the Finance Department of the state.
  • Thirdly, to implement the programs adopted by the political authority and the ministers, it is the duty of the secretariat to fix the policies and planning’s for the materialization of those programs and also to decide where and under what condition the loans or grants-­in-aids will be given.
  • Fourthly, it is the duty of the secretariat to observe and supervise the progress made in the formulation of those government policies.
  • Fifthly, the secretariat looks after if the money is spent in accordance with the term and conditions of the budget in each and every government departments.
  • Sixth, it is the duty of the secretariat to amend or modify the investment policy and programs of the government following the norms and classifications set by the Finance Ministry.
  • Seventh, the secretariat looks after the appointment, of the departmental heads of various departments, including their salaries, leave etc. and takes the necessary decisions thereof.
  • Eighth, it is the secretariat which gives the final shape to all proposed laws.
  • Ninth, the secretariat prepares and gives the documents of the questions to be answered by the ministers in the Legislative Assemblies and the Legislative Councils, where they are.
  • Tenthly, it is the duty of the secretariat to select the places and to provide spaces to the departments of the s