The Constitution of India gives a federal structure to the Republic of India, declaring it to be a “Union of States”. Following the tradition of that federal system, the State Secretariats have also been created in each of component state which acts as the main administrative centers of the state governments. It 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. In the second part of a two-part series, The Morung Learning looks at some of the functionaries of the State Secretariats.
Chief Secretary: According to the Manual of Office Procedure (MOP), 2010, the Chief Secretary (CS) is the Principal Officer of the Government responsible for overall control and efficient administration of the State Government. In addition to the regular charge, s/he is entrusted with the following special functions;
• The CS is the Secretary to the Cabinet and as such advises Cabinet on all its decisions.
• The CS responsible for inter-departmental cooperation and coordination.
• The CS advises the Chief Minister on all important matters concerned with Government of India or with other States.
• The CS may send for any file from any Department regarding a proposal which has already been examined in the Department and with his or her view may send the file to the Minister-in-charge or the Chief Minister through the Minister-in-charge. Example:- In a proposal of Agriculture Department not agreed to by Finance Department, the CS may see for the buff sheets of Finance Department and put them upto the Finance Minister for re-consideration. The CS will not put up the buff sheets of Finance Department to the Minister-in-charge, Agriculture Department as that would be contrary to the Rules of Executive business.
• The CS is also responsible for all other matters not specifically allotted to other Secretaries.
Secretary (or above Secretary): A Secretary or above to the Government of Nagaland is the Administrative Head of the Department. S/he is the Principal Adviser of the Minister on all matters of policy and administration within the Department, and the responsibility is complete and undivided.
Additional Secretary/Joint Secretary/Deputy Secretary/Under Secretary: When the volume of work in a Department exceeds the manageable charge of a Secretary, one or more Branches may be established with Additional Secretary/Joint Secretary, in charge of each Branches. Such a functionary is entrusted with the maximum measure of independent functioning and responsibility in respect of all business falling within his/her subject, to the general responsibility of the Secretary for the administration of the division as a whole. The duties and responsibilities of the Additional Secretary/Joint Secretary/Deputy Secretary/Under Secretary are ordinarily the same and they put up papers directly to their respective Secretaries or Ministers.
A. General Duties:
(i) Distribution of work among the staff as evenly as possible;
(ii) Training, helping and advising the staff;
(iii) Management and co-ordination of the work;
(iv) Maintenance of order and discipline in the branch;
(v) Maintenance of a list of residential addresses of the Staff.
(vi) Responsibilities relating to Dak – to go through the receipts;
(vii) To submit receipts which should be seen by the Branch Officer or higher officers at the dak stage;
(viii) To keep a watch on any hold-up in the movement of dak; and
(ix) To scrutinize the section diary once a week to know that it is being properly maintained.
B. Responsibilities relating to issue of draft:
(i) To see that all corrections have been made in the draft before it is marked for issue;
(ii) To indicate whether a clean copy of the draft is necessary;
(iii) To indicate the number of spare copies required;
(iv) To check whether all enclosures are attached;
(v) To indicate priority marking;
(vi) To indicate mode of dispatch.
C. Responsibility of efficient and expeditious disposal of work and checks on delays:
(i) To keep a note of important receipts with a view to watching the progress of action;
(ii) To ensure timely submission of arrears and other returns; and to undertake inspection of Assistants’ table to ensure that no paper of file has been overlooked;
(iii) To ensure that cases are not held up at any stage and to go through the list of periodical returns every week and take suitable action on items requiring attention during next week.
D. Independent disposal of cases: Independent action of the following types:
(i) Issuing reminders;
(ii) Obtaining or supplying factual information of a non-classified nature;
(iii) Any other action which a Superintendent is authorized to take independently.
E. Duties in respect of recording and indexing:
(i) To approve the recording of files and their classification;
(ii) To review the recorded file before destruction;
(iii) To order and supervise periodic weeding of unwanted spare copies;
(iv) Ensuring proper maintenance of registers required to be maintained in the section;
(v) Ensuring proper maintenance of reference books, Office Orders etc and keep them up-to-date;
(vi) Ensuring neatness and tidiness in the Section;
(vii) Dealing with important and complicated cases himself;
(viii) Ensuring strict compliance with Departmental Security Instructions.
Junior Section Officer/Secretariat Assistant: The JSO or SA works under the orders and supervision of the Section Officer and is responsible for the works entrusted to them. Where the line of action on a case is clear or clear instructions have been given by the Branch Officer or higher officers,they should put up a draft without much noting. In other cases he will put up a note keeping in view the following points: –
(i) To see whether all facts open to check have been correctly stated;
(ii) To point out any mistakes or incorrect statement of the facts;
(iii) To draw attention, where necessary, to precedents or Rules and Regulations on the subject;
(iv) To put up the Guard file, if necessary, and supply other relevant facts and figures;
(v) To bring out clearly the question under consideration and suggest a course of action wherever possible.
(vi) Registration of Dak, maintenance of Branch Diary, File Register, File Movement Register, Indexing and Recording, typing, comparing, dispatch, preparation of arrears and other statements, supervision of correction of reference books and submission of routine and simple drafts etc. JSO or SA also assists in data entry and maintenance of records in computerised form.
Private Secretary/ Personal Assistant/Stenographer: They will keep the officer free from routine nature of work by mailing correspondence, filing papers, making appointments, arranging meeting and collecting information so as to give more time to the officer. Personal Assistants will maintain the confidentiality and secrecy of confidential and secret papers entrusted to them and will exercise his or her skill in human relations and be cordial with the persons who come in contact with their boss officially or helpful or who have dealings with the boss as professional persons. Some of the more specific functions are enumerated below:-
(i) Taking dictation in shorthand and its transcription in the best manner possible;
(ii) Fixing up of appointments and if necessary cancelling them;
(iii)Screening the telephone calls and the visitors in a tactful manner;
(iv) Keeping an accurate list of engagements, meetings etc. and reminding the officer sufficiently in advance for keeping them up;
(v) Maintaining, in proper order, the papers required to be retained by the Officer;
(vi) Keeping a note of the movement of files, seen by his officer and other officers, if necessary;
(vii) Destroying by burning the stenographic record of confidential and secret letters after they have been typed and issued;
(viii) Carrying out the corrections to the officer’s reference books and making fair copies of draft demi-official letters to be signed by the officer;
(ix) Generally assisting the officer in such a manner as s/he may direct and at the same.
Information and Facilitation Counters (IFCs): It provides the following services to the clients/customers of the organization:
(1)information regarding services provided and programmes, schemes etc. supported by the organization and the relevant rules and procedures, through brochures, folders etc.;
(2) facilitating the customer/client to obtain the services of the Organisation optimally, timely, efficiently and in a transparent manner and providing forms etc. of public usage;
(3)information regarding the standards of quality of service, time norms, etc. evolved by the organization with reference to the services/schemes/functioning of the organization;
(4)Information regarding hierarchical set up of Public Grievance Redress Machinery of the organization; and
(5)Receiving, acknowledging and forwarding the grievances/application/request/form etc. (related to the services provided by the Organisation) to the concerned authority in the organization and providing information on their status/disposal.
Source: Manual of Office Procedure of the Nagaland Civil Secretariat, the Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms.