State Chief Secretary(India)
As India has adopted the federal system, it consists of several states—total number of twenty-eight states—the last three being recently included. In each of these component states, there is a general Administrative Department under the authority and direct control of the Chief Minister of the state.
The Chief Secretary is the head of the state administrative machinery. The Chief Secretary of the state is the king-pin of the secretariat. He has absolute control over all the administrative offices of the state. He is in fact the leader of the state administrative machinery and the chief public relation officer of the state government. He is in fact the main link between the state and the centre as well as the other states.
According to the Andhra Pradesh Administrative Reforms Committee’s report of 1965-66, the Chief Secretary of a state is the chief of the Civil Services.
The role of the Chief Secretary of a state is much wider than the role of the Cabinet Secretary of the Central Government. In the centre in addition to the Cabinet Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Finance Secretary, the Prime Minister’s personal and political secretaries are all holding powerful and responsible position authority and responsibilities in their respective fields. Thus the burden of responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary is shared by them all. But in case of the Chief Secretary of a state, he is the leader of the state’s administrative machinery, the Cabinet Secretary, the chief of the state’s public service commission as well as the principal Public Relation Officer of the state’s government—all in one. All these have made his post too powerful and very much responsible one. In view of the importance of his post, the post of the Chief Secretary has been kept out of the tenure system. Sometimes he retires from the service as the Chief Secretary or sometimes he is transferred to some more important position under the central government.
The Rajasthan Administrative Reforms Committee of 1963 also categorically laid stress on the multifarious activities of the Chief Secretary. As an adviser to the Chief Minister and as the head of the state’s administrative system the Chief Secretary has to perform some great and significant role. Apart from the departments with whom he is directly involved, he also co-ordinates the activities of different other departments and brings parity among the works and policies adopted by the state government in different fields from time to time.
The committee also recommended that each minister should take the advice of the Chief Secretary before taking any decision especially in the following affairs :
- In case of adopting any special and new policy or programme or making any deviation from the existing rules, regulations, norms and customs.
- In cases of appointment, confirmation transfer or promotion of an officer to the rank of deputy chief or higher posts in any department.
Thus the Chief Secretary of a state in India has to do the following jobs mainly:
- The Chief Secretary is the principal adviser of the Chief Minister and helps the latter to perform all the duties and to materialize all the development plans and programmes.
- The Chief Secretary is the Cabinet Secretary of the state and as such he decides the agenda and venue of the cabinet meetings and also maintains the necessary records thereof.
- The Chief Secretary controls and supervises all the departments of the whole secretariat of the state.
- The Chief Secretary is the Chief of the Civil Service. He controls the appointment promotion and transfer of the high ranking government officials. It is through him that all the government orders, directives etc. are sent to the different high ranking officials of government departments.
- It is the Chief Secretary who represents his state in the zonal council and also acts as its secretary one after another as the term rotates.
- The Chief Secretary controls and the administrative works including even the distribution of the rooms of all the secretariat buildings within the state of which he is the Chief Secretary.
- It is he who controls all the employees of all the state government departments within his state.
- He also controls the central record branch, the secretariat library, the secretariat archive, the security guards of the secretariat etc.
- He also looks after those affairs which do not fall in the jurisdiction of other secretaries.
- At the same time he, by dint of his post, is the ex-officio chairman of innumerable committees which generally takes significant and important decisions in administrative affairs of the state.
- Moreover, during the time of national or state level emergency, the Chief Secretary acts as the main nerve-centre of his state. During the time of calamity, be that natural or otherwise, he remains by the side of the government with his advice, efficiency and skill and looks after the works of relief and rehabilitation. During this period he acts as the coordinator between the state and the districts. As a coordinator, Crisis administration is the main role of the Chief Secretary.
When the Cabinet Secretary of the Central Government convenes a meeting of the Chief Secretaries of the states, the latter usually gets a golden scope to ventilate their ideas. It serves as a scope for them to ventilate the problems of the states properly before the centre and thus they act as an administrative bridge between the Centre and the States. Even in most of the times the Chief Minister of a State generally has to depend upon the ideas, experience, skill, coordinating capacity and advice of his Chief Secretary for running the administrative machinery of the state successfully.