Secretary to the Government of India

Union Secretary
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Government of India
Member ofCommittee of Secretaries on Administration
Reports to
AppointerAppointments Committee of the Cabinet
Term lengthNo term length is imposed, except for Home Secretary and Defence Secretary.[1][2][3]
Term extendable
Formation1930; 89 years ago (1930)
Succession23rd (on the Indian order of precedence.)
Salary225,000 (US$3,100) monthly[4][5]
WebsiteOfficial Website
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Secretary to the Government of India, often abbreviated as secretary, GoI, or, simply as secretary, is a post and a rank under the Central Staffing Scheme of the Government of India.[6] The authority for the creation of this post solely rests with the Union Council of Ministers.[7]

The position holder is generally a career civil servant, mostly from the Indian Administrative Service,[4][8][9][10][11][12] and a government official of high seniority. The post of the secretary, however, is an ex-cadre post, hence, anyone can occupy it, but the office-bearers generally are either from All India Services (deputation; on tenure, after empanelment) or Central Civil Services (Group A; on empanelment). All promotions and appointments to this rank and post are directly made by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.

In the structure of the Indian government,[13][14][15] a secretary is the administrative head of a ministry or department,[16][17] and is equivalent to chief secretaries of state governments and Vice Chief of the Army Staff, commanders, officers of the rank of full four-star general and their equivalents in the Indian Armed Forces,[18] and are listed as such on the Indian order of precedence, ranking twenty-third.[19][20][21][22]


C. H. Bhabha with a Secretary and a few Joint Secretaries to the Government of India in 1947.

In mid-1930s, the Central Secretariat contained only twenty-nine secretaries,[23] who were all members of the Indian Civil Service. The salary for a member of this rank and post was fixed at Rs. 48,000 per annum in the 1930s.[23] As per warrant or precedence of 1905,[24] secretaries to the Government of India was listed together with joint secretaries to the Government of India and were ranked above the rank of chief secretaries of provincial governments.[24]

N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar had once suggested "A secretary should not be immersed in files and burdened with routine. It is essential that he should have time to grasp the overall picture, size up the problems facing the government in the field allotted to his charge, and think and plan ahead. All these are his proper functions and must be efficiently performed. Failure to make adequate provision in this respect cannot be compensated by a mere increase in the establishment under his control."[25]

The Administrative Reforms Commission visualised the role of secretary, primarily as one of "coordinator, policy guide, reviewer, and evaluator."[25]

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