Appointment and tenure of Cabinet Secretary
The Cabinet Secretary is the ex-officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board, and thus the head of the Indian Administrative Service. As a matter of convention the senior most civil servant is appointed as a Cabinet Secretary. He belongs to the Indian Administrative Service. The incumbent generally has a tenure of 2 to 3 years. Though there is no fixed tenure, the average tenure of the Cabinet Secretary in India has been less than 3 years. His tenure however, can be extended. The Cabinet Secretariat is under the direct charge of the Indian Prime Minister, i.e., he reports directly to the Prime Minister.
Origin of the post of Cabinet Secretary
Prior to the country's independence, the agency that carried out governmental business was called the Governor-General-in Council. In 1946, the Council was renamed the Cabinet Secretariat. Post-independence, major changes were seen in the functions of the Secretariat. A series of committees on economic, defence and intelligence matters were constituted under the Cabinet Secretariat. Most of the departments created after Independence functioned under the Cabinet Secretariat, and were later on shifted to the respective ministries.
Functions of Cabinet Secretary
The most important role of the Cabinet Secretary is to head the Cabinet Secretariat, the key to inter-ministerial coordination. In fact the Cabinet Secretary is the country's top bureaucrat. The Cabinet Secretary acts as a secretary to the Union Council of Ministers. He coordinates major administrative activities and policies of the Indian government. He is the man who is called to resolve any difficulties or delays in administrative fields between various departments of the Government of India, and between state governments. He is responsible for submitting to the Union Cabinet and Cabinet committees all matters for discussion and decision. He is also the ex-officio chairman of the Civil Services Board, besides heading the Cabinet Secretariat.
Thus, the Cabinet Secretary plays a vital role in the administration.
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