India adopted parliamentary democracy where admin responsibility is entrusted to political executive, these line agent invariably require competent staff to translate their vision into action. The relationship between political and permanent executive is not just of master-servant but it is actually complementary in nature. Each has the best of what the other lacks.
|Political Executive||Permanent Executive|
|Expert and Technical||Technical and expert|
|Public representative||has experience and expertise|
|translate public mandate into policy||F3 - Free, frank, fair and A3 - aid, advice, assist|
- Secretariat assistance to the state cabinet
- Staff assistance
- Chief Secretary = Cabinet Secretary + Principal Secretary to PM + Secretary of few ministries and department...etc
- The responsibility assigned to the chief secretary in states is shared among two to three secretaries at the central level. There is no parallel to the chief secretary at the centre.
- Residual legatee
- Status equivalent to the secretary of GOI - He is chief of all secretaries in the state while cabinet secretary is a 1st among equals at the centre.
- Coordination - Unlike a cabinet secretary who does not have any ministry under his direct control, chief secretary not only monitors but also directs and supervises the working of other secretaries in state. He heads state secretariate. No one individually heads central secretariate
- Line and staff agent. He heads GAD - General admin department in states, which looks after coordination, transfer and postings...etc
- A role model of civil servants - Human relations management, maintaining morale, motivation, acting as a catalyst for admin reforms. Can use the influence of his posts to trigger new initiatives like BPR - Business process re-engineering, GPR - Government process re-engineering, TQM - Total Quality Management, Benchmarking, can create a ripple effect, he is a tipping point. (leadership can shift the balance in your favour). He can bring about 360* change.
- He interacts with other counterparts in various forums like the chief secretary conference where he can interact network and derive learning experiences.
- In other forums like DC's conference...etc. He can get insights and feedback on Policy formulation, Policy Implementation and Policy Execution. He is uniquely placed between political and permanent executive. Hence can raise issues like frequent transfers, victimisation of whistleblowers, harassment of honest civil servants, can properly guide and appraise CM w.r.t best HRM practices and curtail excessive political interference in decision making which adversely affects civil servants moral. This was one of the findings of the civil services survey of 2010.
- In a context where there is an increasing trust deficit between state and people, the chief secretary has a vital role to play as catalysts and promoters of Good governance. P.K.Duraiswamy former chief secretary says " Chief secretary should be the guardian of morale of civil servants concerned with Human Resources Development and designing continuous improvements in admin system to preserve integrity and neutrality and increase responsiveness ".
- SMART Governance - Simple, moral, accountable, responsive, transparent
He has to raise above " hear and now " issues (short term issues and locate the macro pic). He has to use his rich diverse, admin experience to bring about desired change as a holistic representative of government, He has to ensure an integrated image of the government, both internally and externally.
Causes of concern
- There have been instances where, who are known to sympathize with a particular CM or party have been elevated to the post affecting their neutrality and converting a strategic post into a special post. Although merit and suitability are the criteria for appointment, CM's routinely influence to get the chief secretary of their choice.
- Recently in norther state a former chief secretary despite being voted internally as the most corrupt by the state IAS Officers Association was made the chief secretary and later she was convicted on corruption charges. Even Judiciary has come down heavily on chief secretaries who tend to be more of an ambassador of states CM rather than a public servant.
- A corrupt chief secretaries not only tarnishes the image of the post but also make the entire bureaucracy look tainted and vulnerable to corruption
The post of chief secretary comes with great power and its intended responsibility. The incumbent should use his power influence of the post to bring about transformation while continuing to act as value guardian, role model and motivator for Bureaucracy.
Difference between chief secretary and cabinet secretary
|Chief Secretary||Cabinet secretary|
|Head state secretariate||Does not head central secretariate|
|chief of all secretariate||First among equals|
|Staff and line||Only staff|
|Supervising, directing, monitoring||Mainly watching|
|Greater visibility, direct involvement proximity with CM||Comparatively less|
|Principal advisor to CM||Not principal advisor to PM|
|Residual Legatee||Not residual legatee|