State Secretariats: Organisation and Machinery of the State Government – I

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.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 a two-part series, The Morung Learning looks at the organisation as well as the machinery of the state government.


Nagaland Civil Secretariat:

According to the Manual of Office Procedure (MOP), 2010 of the Nagaland Civil Secretariat, the Secretariat Organisation is divided into Departments. A Department is further divided into Branches and Cells and responsible for disposal of work relating to specific subjects allotted to it. The day to day execution and implementation of the schemes are left to the Heads of Department.


The Secretariat confines itself to general direction, legislation, Assembly business, inter-departmental matters and review assessments of execution of policy and schemes.


A Department is a part of the Secretariat specified as such in the Nagaland Rules of Executive Business, and is responsible for the formulation of the policy of Government with its sphere of responsibility and for review and assessment of execution of that policy.


A branch in the Secretariat normally consist of 6 (six) dealing hands. Generally two or three more Branches are put under the charge of an officer who is called the Branch Officer. The work of the Branch is supervised by a Section Officer (SO).  The SO’s role is very important and the general standard of efficiency in the branch and thus the department depends largely on his/her supervision and guidance. A Section is an independent part of a Branch or a Department specified by Administration Department.


The ultimate object of all Government business is to meet the citizens’ needs and to further their welfare without undue delay. At the same time, those who are accountable for the conduct of that business have to ensure that public funds are managed with utmost care and prudence. It is, therefore, necessary, in each case, to keep appropriate record not only of what has been done but also of why it was so done.



1. The Governor.


2. The Council of Ministers


3. Transaction of Government Business.


4. Department


5. Chief Secretary


6. Secretary (or above Secretary)


7. Additional Secretary/Joint Secretary/Deputy Secretary/Under Secretary


8. Section Officer.


9. Junior Section Officer/Secretariat Assistant


10. Private Secretary/Personal Assistant/Stenographer


11. Information and Facilitation Counters.


1. The Governor: The executive power of the State formally vests in the Governor and may be exercised by him/her either directly or through officers subordinates to him, in accordance with the Constitution.


2. The Council of Ministers: In the exercise of the functions, the Governor is aided and advised by a Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister. In actual practice the executive power of the State resides in the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers consists of Ministers, namely -Cabinet Ministers; The Cabinet, which consists of Ministers, is responsible for shaping the overall policies of the Government in discharging its responsibilities. It sometimes functions through its Committees.


3. Transaction of Government Business: The Rules of Executive Business of the Government of Nagaland are issued by the Governor under Article 166 of the Constitution for the convenient transaction of the Business of the Government. The Rules of Executive Business allocate the business of the Government among its different Departments which are allotted to the Ministers by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. In relation to the Business allotted to a Minister, these rules also permit the association of a Parliamentary Secretaries to perform such functions as may be specifically assigned to him.


The Rules of Executive Business seek to define the authority, responsibility and obligations of each Department in the matter of disposal of Business allotted to it. While providing that the Business allotted to a Department will be disposed of by, or under the direction of, the Minister-in-charge, these rules also specify:


(i) Cases or classes of cases to be submitted to the Governor, the Chief Minister, the Cabinet or its Committees for prior approval; and


(ii) The circumstances in which the Department primarily concerned with the business under disposal will have to consult other Departments concerned and secure their concurrence before taking final decisions.


4. Department:

(i). A Department is responsible for formulation of policies of the Government in relation to business allocated to it and also for the execution and review of those policies. For the efficient disposal of Business allotted to it, a Department is divided into Branches and Cells.


(ii). A Department is normally headed by a Secretary or above who acts as the Administrative Head of the Department and a Minister on all matters of policy and administration within the Department.


(iii). The work in a Department is normally with a Secretary or Additional Secretary in charge. Such a functionary is normally vested with the maximum measure of independent functioning and responsibility in respect of the business falling within his subject, with the overall responsibility of the Chief Secretary for the administration of the Department as a whole.


(iv). A Branch is generally the lowest organizational unit in a Department with a well defined area of work. It normally consists of Section Officer and some Dealing Assistants. Initial handling of cases (including noting and drafting) is generally done by, Dealing Assistants who are also known as the dealing hands.


(v) While the above represents the commonly adopted pattern of organisation of a Department, there are certain variations, the most notable among them being the Branch officer system. In this system the work of a Department at the lowest level is organized into distinct functional Branches each manned by two Branch functionaries of appropriate ranks e.g. Under Secretary or Section Officers. Each Branch functionary handles the cases himself and is provided adequate Stenographic and Clerical assistance.


(To be continued…)


Source: Manual of Office Procedure of the Nagaland Civil Secretariat, the Department of Personnel & Administrative Reforms.…/Manual-of-Office-Procedures-2010.pdf