Cabinet Secretary (India)

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Cabinet Secretary
Rajiv Gauba
since 30 August 2019
Cabinet Secretariat
StatusHead of Permanent Executive
Member ofCivil Services Board[a]
Space Commission
Reports toPresident of India
Prime Minister of India
Residence32, Prithviraj Road, New Delhi[1]
SeatCabinet Secretariat, New Delhi
Term length4 years[2][3]
Extension may be granted up to 1 year[4]
Inaugural holderN. R. Pillai, ICS
Formation6 February 1950; 74 years ago (1950-02-06)
Succession11th (on the Indian order of precedence)
Salary250,000 (US$3,100) monthly[5][6]

The Cabinet Secretary is the top-most executive official and senior-most civil servant of the Government of India. The Cabinet Secretary is the ex-officio head of the Civil Services Board, the Cabinet Secretariat, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), and all Civil Services of India work under the rules of business of the government.

The Cabinet Secretary is the senior-most cadre post of the Indian Administrative Service,[7] ranking eleventh on the Indian order of precedence.[8][9][10][11] The Cabinet Secretary is under the direct charge of the Prime Minister. Since 2010, the Cabinet Secretary's term length was extended to a maximum of four years.[2][3]



The precursor to the cabinet, the Executive Council of the Viceroy, used to have a Secretariat, which was headed by the Private Secretary of the Viceroy. At first, the role of this Secretariat was merely to take care of the paperwork related to the Executive Council but when the work of the individual departments under the Council increased, the work of the Secretariat too became more complex. The Private Secretary came to be known as the secretary of the secretariat. And this post became more powerful over time as the Secretariat's main role became coordinating the work of the departments. In 1946, the secretariat became cabinet secretariat and the secretary became the Cabinet Secretary.

Functions and power[edit]

The following are the functions of the Cabinet Secretary:


The Cabinet Secretariat is the office of Cabinet Secretary of India

In the Government of India Allocation of Business Rules, 1961, the Cabinet Secretariat finds a place in the First Schedule to the Rules. The subjects allotted to this Secretariat are, firstly, secretarial assistance to Cabinet and Cabinet Committees, and secondly, the Administration of the Rules of Business.

The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the Transaction of Business Rules, 1961 and the Allocation of Business Rules, 1961 of the Government of India, facilitating smooth transaction of business in ministries/departments of the Government by ensuring adherence to these rules. The Secretariat assists in decision-making in Government by ensuring Inter-Ministerial coordination, ironing out differences amongst ministries/departments and evolving consensus through the instrumentality of the standing/ad hoc Committees of Secretaries. Through this mechanism, new policy initiatives are also promoted.

The Cabinet Secretariat ensures that the President of India, the Vice-President and Ministers are kept informed of the major activities of all departments by means of a monthly summary of their activities. Management of major crisis situations in the country and coordinating activities of the various ministries in such a situation is also one of the functions of the Cabinet Secretariat.

The Cabinet Secretariat comprises three wings: Civil, Military and Intelligence. The Civil wing is considered to be the main wing and provides aid, advice and assistance to the Union Cabinet. The purpose of having the Military wing is to have better coordination in Intelligence and to provide secretarial assistance to the Defence Committee of the Cabinet and the National Defence Council. The Military wing is represented by an officer of the rank of major general, or its equivalents in the Indian Armed Forces, who is designated as a joint secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat. The Intelligence wing deals with matters pertaining to the Joint Intelligence Committee of the union cabinet. The chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) also officially first reports to the Cabinet Secretary, and is designated Secretary (R) in the Cabinet Secretariat.

The First Administrative Reforms Commission (1966–70) found that the average tenure of the Cabinet Secretary was two years and eight months, which was considered to be inadequate. It recommended a tenure of three to four years. It also wanted that Cabinet Secretary to act as the principal staff officer to the prime minister, the cabinet and the cabinet committees for important matters.

Head of the All India Civil Services[edit]

As head of the Civil Services, the incumbent position holder is accountable for ensuring that the civil services are equipped with the skills and capability to meet the everyday challenges it faces and that civil servants work in a fair and decent environment. The Cabinet Secretary is arguably India's most powerful bureaucrat and the right hand of the Prime Minister of India.[13][16][17]

Emolument, accommodation and perquisites[edit]

The Cabinet Secretary to Government of India is eligible for a diplomatic passport. The official earmarked residence of the Cabinet Secretary is 32, Prithviraj Road, New Delhi, a Type-VIII bungalow.[1]

The salary and emolument in this rank is in pay level 18 which is equivalent to Chief of the Army Staff,[18] but in precedence the cabinet secretary is listed above all other government officers including those from armed forces.[18] It is however a fact, that the warrant of precedence is not an indication of functional or inter-se seniority, and is only referred to for seating at official functions, with no relevance to the day-to-day business of government.[19]

Cabinet Secretary monthly pay
Base salary as per 7th Pay Commission (Per month) Pay matrix level Sources
250,000 (US$3,100) Pay level 18 [5][6]

List of Cabinet Secretaries of India[edit]

In 1950, N. R. Pillai, ICS was appointed as the first cabinet secretary.[20]

Cabinet Secretaries of India since 1950[21]
S.No Name Assumed office Left office Tenure Cadre/ Batch Notes
1 N. R. Pillai 6 February 1950 13 May 1953 2 years, 7 months, 8 days ICS Inaugural Holder
2 Y. N. Sukthankar 14 May 1953 31 July 1957 4 years, 2 months, 17 days
3 M. K. Vellodi 1 August 1957 4 June 1958 10 months, 3 days Earlier served as Chief Minister of Hyderabad State.
4 Vishnu Sahay 1 July 1958 10 November 1960 2 years, 4 months, 9 days
5 B. N. Jha 10 November 1960 8 March 1961 3 months, 26 days Shortest serving Cabinet Secretary
6 Vishnu Sahay 9 March 1961 15 April 1962 1 year, 1 month, 6 days
7 S. S. Khera 15 April 1962 18 November 1964 2 years, 7 months, 3 days First Sikh as Cabinet Secretary.
8 Dharma Vira 18 November 1964 27 June 1966 1 year, 7 months, 9 days
9 D. S. Joshi 27 June 1966 31 December 1968 2 years, 6 months, 4 days
10 B. Sivaraman 1 January 1969 30 November 1970 1 year, 10 months, 29 days
11 T. Swaminathan 1 December 1970 2 November 1972 1 year, 11 months, 1 day
12 B. D. Pandey 2 November 1972 31 March 1977 4 years, 4 months, 29 days
13 N. K. Mukarji 31 March 1977 31 March 1980 3 years
14 S. S. Grewal 2 April 1980 30 April 1981 1 year, 28 days PB:1947
15 C. R. Krishnaswamy Rao 30 April 1981 8 February 1985 3 years, 9 months, 9 days AP:1949
16 P. K. Kaul 8 February 1985 22 August 1986 1 year, 6 months, 14 days UP:1951
17 B. G. Deshmukh 23 August 1986 27 March 1989 2 years, 7 months, 4 days MH:1951
18 T. N. Seshan 27 March 1989 23 December 1989 8 months, 26 days TN:1955
19 V. C. Pande 23 December 1989 11 December 1990 11 months, 18 days RJ:1955
20 Naresh Chandra 11 December 1990 31 July 1992 1 year, 7 months, 20 days RJ:1956
21 S. Rajagopal 1 August 1992 31 July 1993 11 months, 30 days MH:1957
22 Zafar Saifullah 31 July 1993 31 July 1994 1 year KA:1958
23 Surendra Singh 1 August 1994 31 July 1996 1 year, 11 months, 30 days UP:1959
24 T. S. R. Subramanian 1 August 1996 31 March 1998 1 year, 7 months, 30 days UP:1961
25 Prabhat Kumar 1 April 1998 31 October 2000 2 years, 6 months, 30 days UP:1963
26 T. R. Prasad 1 November 2000 31 October 2002 1 year, 11 months, 30 days AP:1963
27 Kamal Pandey 1 November 2002 14 June 2004 1 year, 7 months, 13 days UK:1965
28 B. K. Chaturvedi 14 June 2004 13 June 2007 2 years, 11 months, 30 days UP:1966
29 K. M. Chandrasekhar 14 June 2007 13 June 2011 3 years 11 months 30 days KL:1970
30 Ajit Seth 14 June 2011 13 June 2015 3 years 11 months 30 days UP:1974
31 P. K. Sinha 14 June 2015 30 August 2019 4 years 2 months 16 days UP:1977
32 Rajiv Gauba 30 August 2019[22] Incumbent 4 years, 8 months and 27 days JH:1982 Longest-serving Cabinet Secretary

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b As Chairman.


  1. ^ a b "PK Sinha is the top boss". GFiles Magazine. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Four years for Cabinet Secretary". The Hindu. 22 July 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Fixed four-year tenure for Cabinet Secretary". The Indian Express. 22 July 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Centre relaxes rules to give one-year extension to Cabinet secretary". The Times of India. 3 August 2023. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 4 August 2023.
  5. ^ a b "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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Even Cabinet Secy's is IAS cadre post: Centre". 3 March 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Order of Precedence" (PDF). Rajya Sabha. President's Secretariat. 26 July 1979. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ Maheshwari, S.R. (2000). Indian Administration (6th ed.). New Delhi: Orient Blackswan Private Ltd. ISBN 9788125019886.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Laxmikanth, M. (2014). Governance in India (2nd ed.). Noida: McGraw-Hill Education (published 25 August 2014). pp. 3.16–3.17. ISBN 978-9339204785.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Iype, George (31 May 2006). "What does the Cabinet Secretary do?". Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  14. ^ a b c d "Powers & Duties of Officials". Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India. Archived from the original on 24 September 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  15. ^ a b c "The Current System". Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  16. ^ "PK Sinha to be next cabinet secretary: All you should know about India's most powerful bureaucrat". Firstpost. FP Staff. Network 18. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  17. ^ "From Power Secretary to the most powerful bureaucrat and he is the India's Top IAS officer". Business Line. Our Bureau. New Delhi: The Hindu Group. 29 May 2015. ISSN 0971-7528. OCLC 456162874. Retrieved 6 August 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  18. ^ a b "Army Pay Rules, 2017" (PDF). Ministry of Defence, Government of India. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  19. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  20. ^ "Cabinet Secretariat - Cabinet Secretaries". 10 March 2010. Archived from the original on 10 March 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  21. ^ "Cabinet Secretaries Since 1950". Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India. 8 June 2011. Archived from the original on 13 May 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  22. ^ "Shri Rajiv Gauba Takes Over as the New Cabinet Secretary". 30 August 2019.

External links[edit]