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  • W.B.C.S. Examination Notes On – Cabinet Secretariat – Political Science Notes.

    The Cabinet Secretariat is headed by the Prime Minister who is assisted by a Cabinet Secretary and other secretariat staff.Continue Reading W.B.C.S. Examination Notes On – Cabinet Secretariat – Political Science Notes.

    The cabinet secretariat is organised in three wings

    1. The Civil wing,
    2. The Military wing, and
    3. Intelligence wing.

    1. The Main Civil Secretariat: The main civil wing is the institutional machinery through which the Cabinet Secretary provides the secretarial service to the cabinet and its committees. It also provides secretarial service to the committees of secretaries which ‘function under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary. It also deals with the framing of Rules of Business of the Union Government.

    2. The Military Wing: The military wing provides secretarial service to the Defence Committee of the Cabinet, National Security Council, Military Affairs Committee and a number of other committees concerned with defence matters.

    3. The Intelligence Wing: The Intelligence wing concerns itself with matters relating to the Joint Intelligence Committee of the Cabinet.Apart from the main secretariat, the Cabinet Secretariat comprises of four organisations:

    1. Director General of Security,
    2. Research and Analysis Wing,
    3. Joint Intelligence Committee, and
    4. Special Protection Group.

    The Secretariat of the Executive Council was headed by the private Secretary to the Viceroy, but he did not attend the Council meetings. Lord Willington first started the practice of having his Private Secretary by his side at these meetings. Later, this practice continued and in November 1935, the Viceroy’s Private Secretary was given the additional designation of Secretary to the Executive Council.

    The constitution of the Interim Government brought a change in the name, though little in functions of this office in September 1946. The Executive Council’s Secretariat was then designated as the Cabinet Secretariat. It seems, however, at least in retrospect, that Independence brought a sort of change in the functions of the Cabinet Secretariat. It no longer remained concerned with only the passive work of circulating papers to Ministers and Ministries but developed into an organization for effecting coordination between the Ministries.

    An Economic Committee of the Cabinet was set up in February 1949 with a view to speedily considering the proposals in the economic field. The Secretariat of this Committee was located in the Ministry of Finance till June 1950, when it was made a part of the Cabinet Secretariat and was designated as the Economic Wing. Later to ensure better coordination and to avoid unnecessary duplication in the secretariat functions, this Wing was merged with the main Secretariat in October 1955.

    In 1954, the Organisation and Methods Division was established and placed under the Cabinet Secretariat. In May 1964, the O&M Division was transferred from the Cabinet Secretariat to the Ministry of Home Affairs and is presently in the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension.

    In 1957, a significant addition to the scope of the Cabinet Secretariat’s functions took place with the constitution of a Defence Committee of the Cabinet. A separate wing called the Military Wing was established in the Cabinet Secretariat for providing secretariat assistance to the Committee. The officers for this Wing are drawn from the Defence Services. The Military Wing has been transferred to the Ministry of Defence with effect from. 1st July, 1991.

    In April 1961, the Department of Statistics was created as a part of the Cabinet Secretariat and was transferred to the Ministry of Planning in February 1973. The Ministry of Planning has been renamed ‘Ministry of Planning and Programme Implementation’ since July 1991.

    Department of Special Economic Coordination was set up under Cabinet Secretariat on 16th June 1962 and it was transferred to the then Ministry of Economic Defence Coordination on 14th November, 1962. Presently no such department exists in the Government of India. In July 1965, the Intelligence Wing was set up as a part of the Cabinet Secretariat, to provide secretariat assistance to the Joint Intelligence Committee.

    The Bureau of Public Enterprises was brought under the Cabinet Secretariat as a subject from the Ministry of Finance on 25th January. 1966 and transferred to the then Department of Coordination under the Ministry of Finance on 2nd June, 1966. Later on the Bureau of Public Enterprises was transferred to the Department of Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Finance on 13th June. 1967. On 25th September, 1985 the Bureau of Public Enterprises was transferred to the then newly’ created Department of Public Enterprises under the Ministry’ of Industry.

    On 26th June, 1970 besides the Department of Cabinet Affairs and the Department of Statistics under the Cabinet Secretariat, three more departments were created under the Cabinet Secretariat, namely, (i) Department of Electronics. (ii) Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and (iii) Department of Personnel.

    Functions of the Cabinet Secretariat

    The Cabinet Secretariat has a very important place in the Central administration. It is such a source of authority the assistance of which enables the central government to undertake any matter of serious responsibility. The cabinet secretariat now possessing the relevant specialised field is in a position to (execute) carry out its responsibilities with greater competence, initiative and efficiency. Some of the important functions of the cabinet secretariat are as under;

    1. To prepare the Cabinet agenda and its minutes, to keep its records and to keep track of the progress made by administrative ministries and the department in executing the cabinet decisions.
    2. To know the implementing position of the decisions of the cabinet, it (cabinet, secretariat) calls for information from the various ministries and the departments which is subsequently passed on to the cabinet wherever it (cabinet) holds its meeting.
    3. To inform the President, the Vice-President and the Council of Ministers about the major activities of the government conducted in several ministries.
    4. To circulate the monthly summaries and brief notes on important matters for collecting the information relating to the major activities of the government conducted in the various ministries.
    5. To prepare minutes of the meetings of the cabinet and its committees.
    6. To render its services to the committee of secretaries meeting periodically under the chairmanship of the cabinet secretary. This committee of the secretaries meets to consider and advise on problems requiring inter-ministerial consultation and co-ordination.
    7. To lay down the rules of business and re-allocating the business of the government of India among the various ministries and the departments within the frame work of directives of the Prime Minister, after these have been approved by the President.
    8. To establish co-ordination between the various Seminars organised by the different central ministries.
    9. To work as the liaison agency between the state government and the central cabinet.

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