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Why in news?

A high level meeting was held  with Chief Secretaries of all the States by the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister regarding COVID-19.

Who is Cabinet Secretary?

  • The Cabinet Secretary is drawn from the senior most officers of the Indian Administrative Service.
  • He is the administrative head of cabinet secretariat.
  • The Cabinet Secretary’s office was created in India in 1950 after Independence and N.R. Pillai was the first Cabinet Secretary. 
  • He is the ex-officio chairman of the civil services board.
  • A cabinet secretary is appointed for a fixed tenure of two years.
  • According to All India Services (Death-Cum-Retirement-Benefits) Rules, 1958, the government can give extension in service to a cabinet secretary provided the total tenure does not exceed four years.
  • As per the modified rules, the central government may give an extension in service for a further period not exceeding three months, beyond the period of four years to a cabinet secretary.

Role of Cabinet Secretary:

  • Cabinet Secretary is the head of the civil services and chief adviser to the council of Ministers and the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and its committees.
  • He coordinates the activities of various ministries, and departments. He is the link between the Prime Minister’s office and various administrative departments.
  • He is the link between the political part of Government, i.e., the Cabinet and the apolitical governmental machinery, i.e., the bureaucracy.
  • The main functions of the Cabinet Secretary is to provide Secretariat assistance to Cabinet and’ Cabinet Committees, and to formulate rules of business of the Government. 
  • The Cabinet Secretary provided the eyes and ears for the Prime Minister to keep in touch with the process of official business in the central government

Who is Chief Secretary?

  • The chief secretary of a state is the kingpin of his state’s secretariat including all secretarial departments of state.
  • Chief Secretary is the chief advisor to the Chief Minister of the state and secretary to the state’s cabinet.
  • Chief Secretary is appointed by Governor after getting recommendation from Chief minister of the state. 
  • Usually, he is the senior most IAS officer at the state level.  

Role of Chief Secretary:

  • He is the administrative head of the Cabinet Secretariat and attends the meeting of the Cabinet and its sub-Committees, if necessary.
  • Acts as the head of the State Civil Services.
  • Deals with all the cases related to appointment, transfers, promotion of senior State Civil Servants.
  • He acts as a conscience-keeper to all the State Civil Servants.
  • He is the chief coordinator of the State administration.
  • He presides over the meetings of the departments ‘Secretaries.
  • He attends the annually held Chief Secretaries conference presided over by the Cabinet Secretary.
  • He acts as the chief advisor to the Governor, if the Central advisors are not appointed and the President’s rule is imposed in the State.

Difference between Chief Secretary and Cabinet Secretary:

  • The Chief Secretary is the chief of the State Secretaries, while the Cabinet Secretary is not the chief of the Central Secretaries but only ‘Primus inter pares’ (first among equals).
  • The powers and functions of the Chief Secretary are much more than that of the Cabinet Secretary.
  • The Chief Secretary is the administrative head of the State Secretariat, while the Cabinet Secretary is not the administrative head of the Central Secretariat.
  • The Chief Secretary is the ‘Residual Legatee’ at the State level, while the Cabinet Secretary is not the ‘Residual Legatee’ at the Central level.
  • Some departments of the State Secretariat are directly under the charge of the Chief Secretary while no department of the Central Secretariat is under the direct charge of the Cabinet Secretary, except the Cabinet Secretariat.
February 2024