Secretary to the Government of India

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Union Secretary
Emblem of India.svg
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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; 90 years ago (1930)
Succession23rd (on the Indian order of precedence.)
Salary225,000 (US$3,200) monthly[4][5]

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, Army commanders, 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 a "coordinator, policy guide, reviewer, and evaluator."[25]

Powers, responsibilities and postings[edit]

The organizational structure of a department of the Government of India.

A secretary to the Government of India is the administrative head of a ministry or department and is the principal adviser to the minister-in charge on all matters of policy and administration within the ministry or department.[17]

The role of a secretary is as follows:

  • To act as the administrative head of the ministry or department. The responsibility in this regard is complete and undivided.[16]
  • To act as the chief adviser to the minister on all aspects of policy and administrative affairs.[16]
  • To represent the ministry or department before the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament of India.[16]

The prime minister-led Appointments Committee of the Cabinet is the final authority on posting and transfer of officers of secretary level.[26] Secretaries report to their ministerial cabinet minister and to the prime minister.[citation needed]


In the Indian government, secretaries head departments or ministries of the government and hold positions such as Finance Secretary, Defence Secretary, Secretaries under MEA, Home Secretary, Defence Production Secretary, members of the Railway Board and members of the Telecom Commission.

According to the report of the Seventh Central Pay Commission of India, seventy-three out of ninety-one secretaries to the Government of India are from the Indian Administrative Service.[4]

Emolument, accommodation and perquisites[edit]

An Indian diplomatic passport and an official generally issued to Secretaries to the Government of India.

All secretaries to the Government of India are eligible for a diplomatic passport. Secretaries are allotted either type-VII or type-VIII bungalows in areas like New Moti Bagh and Lutyens' across Delhi by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs' Directorate of Estates.[27][28][29]

The salary and emolument in this rank is equivalent[18] to chief secretaries of state governments and to Vice Chief of the Army Staff, commanders and officers in the rank of full general, and its equivalents, in the Indian Armed Forces.[18]

Secretary to the Government of India monthly pay and allowances
Base salary as per the Seventh Pay Commission Pay matrix level Sources
225,000 (US$3,200) per month Pay level 17 [4][5]

List of current secretaries to the Government of India[edit]

Secretaries to the Government of India[30]
Ministry Designation Name of secretary Background Batch
President’s Secretariat Secretary to the President Sanjay Kothari IAS officer 1978[a]
Vice President’s Secretariat Secretary to the Vice President I. V. Subba Rao 1979[a]
Prime Minister’s Office Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Pramod Kumar Misra 1972[a]
Special Secretary to the Prime Minister of India (Parliamentary Affairs) Anil Kumar Gupta 1986
Cabinet Secretariat Cabinet Secretary[b] Rajiv Gauba 1982
Secretary (Coordination) Dr. V. P. Joy 1987
Secretary (R) Samant Goel IPS officer 1984
Secretary (Security) Dr. V. P. Joy Additional Charge 1987
Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Secretary (Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare) Shobhana K. Pattanayak IAS officer 1982
Secretary (Agricultural Research and Education) Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra Scientist
Secretary (Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries) Tarun Shridhar IAS officer 1984
Atomic Energy Secretary (Atomic Energy) and chairperson of the Atomic Energy Commission K. N. Vyas Scientist
AYUSH Secretary (AYUSH) Rajesh Kotecha
Chemicals and Fertilizers Secretary (Chemicals and Petrochemicals) P. Raghavendra Rao IAS officer 1985
Secretary (Fertilizers) C. Roul 1985
Secretary (Pharmaceuticals) Jai Priye Prakash 1982
Civil Aviation Secretary (Civil Aviation) Pradeep Singh Kharola 1985
Coal Secretary (Coal) Sumanta Chaudhury 1985
Commerce and Industry Secretary (Commerce) Anup Wadhawan
Secretary (Industrial Policy and Promotion) Ramesh Abhishek 1982
Communications Secretary (Posts) Anant Narayan Nanda IPoS officer 1982
Secretary to (Telecommunications) and Chairperson, Telecoms Commission Aruna Sundararajan IAS officer
Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Secretary (Consumer Affairs) Avinash K. Srivastava
Secretary (Food and Public Distribution) Ravi Kant 1984
Corporate Affairs Secretary (Corporate Affairs) Injeti Srinivas 1983
Culture Secretary (Culture) Arun Goel 1985
Defence Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar 1985
Secretary (Defence Production) Subhash Chandra 1986
Secretary (Department of Military Affairs) and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat Indian Army -
Secretary (Defence Research and Development) and Chairperson, Defence Research and Development Organisation Dr. G. Sateesh Reddy Scientist
Secretary (Defence Finance) Gargi Kaul IA&AS officer 1984[31]
Secretary (Ex-Servicemen Welfare) Sanjeevanee Kutty IAS officer 1983
Development of North Eastern Region Secretary (Development of North Eastern Region) Navin Verma 1982
Drinking Water and Sanitation Secretary (Drinking Water and Sanitation) Parameswaran Iyer 1981[c]
Earth Sciences Secretary (Earth Sciences) and Chairman, Earth Sciences Commission Dr. M. Nair Rajeevan Scientist
Electronics and Information Technology Secretary (Electronics and Information Technology) Ajay P. Sawhney IAS officer 1984
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Secretary (Environment, Forest and Climate Change) C. K. Mishra 1982
External Affairs Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla
IFS officer 1984
Secretary (East) Vijai Thakur Singh 1982
Secretary (Economic Relations) T. S. Tirumurti 1985
Secretary (West) A Gitesh Sarma 1982
Finance Finance Secretary & Secretary (Financial Services) Rajiv Kumar IAS officer 1986
Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey 1984
Economic Affairs Secretary & Secretary (Investment and Public Asset Management) Atanu Chakraborty 1985
Expenditure Secretary Atanu Chakraborty(Addl. Charge) 1985
Food Processing Industries Secretary (Food Processing Industries) Jagdish Prasad Meena 1983
Health and Family Welfare Secretary to (Health and Family Welfare) Preeti Sudan 1983
Secretary (Health Research) Dr. Soumya Swaminathan Scientist
Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Secretary (Heavy Industry) Asha Ram Sihag IAS officer 1983
Secretary (Public Enterprise) Seema Bahuguna 1983
Home Affairs Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla 1984
Secretary (Official Language) Sailesh 1985
Secretary (States Council Secretariat) Ruolkhumlien Buhril 1984
Secretary (Border Management) Braj Raj Sharma 1984
Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary (Housing and Urban Affairs) Durga Shanker Mishra IAS officer 1984
Human Resource Development Secretary (Higher Education) R Subrahmanyam 1985
Secretary (School Education and Literacy) Rina Ray 1984
Information and Broadcasting Secretary (Information and Broadcasting) Amit Khare 1985
Labour and Employment Secretary (Labour and Employment) Heeralal Samariya 1985
Law and Justice Secretary (Justice) Barun Mitra 1987
Secretary (Legal Affairs) Anoop Kumar Mendiratta Judicial Service Officer -
Secretary (Legislative) G. Narayana Raju Indian Legal Service Officer -
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Secretary (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) Arun K. Panda IAS officer 1984
Mines Secretary (Mines) Anil Gopishankar Mukim 1985
Minority Affairs Secretary (Minority Affairs) Ameising Luikham 1981
New and Renewable Energy Secretary (New and Renewable Energy) Anand Kumar 1984
Panchayati Raj Secretary (Panchayati Raj) Amarjeet Sinha 1983
Parliamentary Affairs Secretary (Parliamentary Affairs) Surendra Nath Tripathi 1985
Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Secretary (Personnel and Training) C. Chandramouli 1984
Secretary (Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances) K.V. Eapen  1984
Secretary (Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare) 1984
Petroleum and Natural Gas Secretary (Petroleum and Natural Gas) Kapil Dev Tripathi 1980
Power Secretary (Power) Sanjiv Nandan Sahai 1986
Road Transport and Highways Secretary (Road Transport and Highways) Yudhvir Singh Malik 1983
Rural Development Secretary (Land Resources) Anant Kumar Singh 1984
Secretary (Rural Development) Amarjeet Sinha 1983
Ministry of Railway (Railway Board) Secretary ex-officio Vinod Kumar Yadav IRSEE 1980
Science and Technology Secretary (Biotechnology) Dr. Renu Swarup Scientist
Secretary (Science and Technology) Dr. Ashutosh Sharma
Secretary (Scientific and Industrial Research) Dr. Girish Sahni
Shipping Secretary (Shipping) Gopal Krishna IAS officer 1983
Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Secretary (Skill Development and Entrepreneurship) K.P. Krishnan
Social Justice and Empowerment Secretary (Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities) Shakuntala Gamlin 1984
Secretary (Social Justice and Empowerment) Nilam Sawhney
Space Secretary (Space) and Chairperson, Indian Space Research Organisation Dr. K. Sivan Scientist
Statistics and Programme Implementation Secretary (Statistics and Programme Implementation) K. V. Eapen IAS officer 1984
Steel Secretary (Steel) Raghvendra Singh 1982
Textiles Secretary (Textiles) Ravi Capoor 1986
Tourism Secretary (Tourism) Rashmi Verma 1982
Tribal Affairs Secretary (Tribal Affairs) Deepak Khandekar 1985
Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Secretary (Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation) Upendra P. Singh 
Women and Child Development Secretary (Women and Child Development) Rakesh Srivastava 1981
Youth Affairs and Sports Secretary (Sports) Rahul Bhatnagar 1983
Secretary (Youth Affairs) Amarendra Kumar Dubey 1982
  1. ^ a b c Retired
  2. ^ Cabinet Secretary is not a secretary rank position but the highest level of empanelment in Government of India is at secretary rank.
  3. ^ Voluntarily retired from service.


Media articles and others have argued in favour of lateral entrants being recruited to this rank/post to infuse fresh energy and thinking into an insular, complacent and archaic bureaucracy.[32][33][34][35]

Non-IAS civil services have complained to the Government of India because of lack of empanelment in the rank/post of secretary on numerous occasions.[4][8][9][10][11][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Khare, Harish (8 February 2005). "Fixed tenure planned for Home, Defence Secretaries". The Hindu. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Fixed tenure for defence, home secretaries". 22 September 2005. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Fixed tenure for Defence, Home Secretaries". Outlook. 22 September 2005.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Report of the 7th Central Pay Commission of India" (PDF). Seventh Central Pay Commission, Government of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 November 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b Biswas, Shreya, ed. (29 June 2016). "7th Pay Commission cleared: What is the Pay Commission? How does it affect salaries?". India Today. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  6. ^ "The Central Staffing Scheme" (PDF). Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. January 1996. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Only Cabinet can create Joint Secretary, above level posts". Press Trust of India. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  8. ^ a b Tripathi, Shishir (8 December 2015). "IAS: Emperor among the kings?". Governance Now. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  9. ^ a b Tikku, Aloke (15 January 2016). "Parity between IAS and non-IAS? The IAS will get to decide". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Non-IAS bureaucrats now eligible for secretary-level posts". The Asian Age. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Need Pay Parity With IAS Officers, Say Officials Of 20 Civil Services". NDTV. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  12. ^ a b Dastidar, Avishek G (14 January 2017). "Alleging bias, non-IAS officers petition PM Modi". The Indian Express. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Part I of the Constitution of India- The Union and its territory - Article 1" (PDF). Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Part XIV of the Constitution of India- Finance, Property, Contracts and Suits - Article 300" (PDF). Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 December 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Part XIV of the Constitution of India- Services under the Union and the States - Article 312(2)" (PDF). Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 December 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  16. ^ a b c d Laxmikanth, M. (2014). Governance in India (2nd Edition). Noida: McGraw Hill Education. pp. 3.1–3.10. ISBN 978-9339204785.
  17. ^ a b "Central Secretariat Manual of Office Procedure - 14th Edition (2015)" (PDF). Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension. p. 6. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  18. ^ a b c "Army Pay Rules, 2017" (PDF). Ministry of Defence, Government of India. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  19. ^ "Order of Precedence" (PDF). Rajya Sabha. President's Secretariat. 26 July 1979. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  20. ^ "Table of Precedence" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. President's Secretariat. 26 July 1979. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 May 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  21. ^ "Table of Precedence". Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. President's Secretariat. Archived from the original on 28 April 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  22. ^ Maheshwari, S.R. (2000). Indian Administration (6th Edition). New Delhi: Orient Blackswan Private Ltd. ISBN 9788125019886.
  23. ^ a b Kirk-Greene, A. (2000). Britain's Imperial Administrators, 1858-1966. New York City: Springer. ISBN 9780230286320.
  24. ^ a b As per published records and book named "The India List and India Office List 1905" as published by India Office and India Office Records.
  25. ^ a b Singh, Hoshiar; Singh, Pankaj (2011). Indian Administration (1st edition). Delhi: Pearson Education India. pp. 104–126. ISBN 978-8131761199.
  26. ^ "PM to oversee cadre allocation of bureaucrats, postings of joint secretaries and above". The Times of India. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  27. ^ "Compendium (RTI Act) – Government Residence (General Pool in Delhi) Rules" (PDF). Directorate of Estates, Ministry of Urban Development They are also eligible for Y+ security i.e of 4 Para commando and 18 Armed Forces. January 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  28. ^ Gupta, Geeta (21 July 2011). "New homes for govt staff changing New Delhi". Indian Express. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  29. ^ Singh, Vijaita (16 September 2015). "Home Secretary gives the miss to fortified bungalow". The Hindu. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  30. ^ "Secretaries to the Government of India". Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. 1 September 2017. Archived from the original on 3 March 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  31. ^ Pubby, Manu (25 December 2018). "Rafale shadow: 2 senior MoD finance officers shifted out" – via The Economic Times.
  32. ^ Natarajan, Gulzar (13 April 2015). "Lateral entry, blind alley". The Indian Express. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  33. ^ Chandra, Shailaja (15 July 2017). "Should the government allow lateral entry into the civil services?". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  34. ^ "The need for lateral entry in civil services". Live Mint. HT Media. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  35. ^ Natarajan, Gulzar; Subbarao, Duvvuri (9 August 2017). "The case for lateral entry". The Indian Express. Retrieved 13 August 2017.