Competitive Exams: State Administration

Note: Secretary is the Secretary to the State Government as a whole and not to the individual Minister concerned.

  • Every State has a Secretariat of its own.

  • It is the nerve system of the State Administration.

  • It consists of several departments of the State Government.

  • The departments are headed politically by the Ministers and administratively by the Secretaries.

  • The Chief Secretary is the head of the entire State Secretariat.

  • A Secretary is the head of one or two departments.

  • The Secretary is usually a senior IAS officer except Public Works Department (PWD) which is headed by the Chief Engineer.


The number of Secretariat departments vary from State to State. The departments which are common to all the States are:

  • General Administration

  • Home

  • Finance

  • Health

  • Revenue

  • Forest

  • Education

  • Planning

  • Jail

  • Agriculture

  • Panchayati Raj

  • Labour and Employment

  • Public Works

  • Corporation

  • Industries

  • Excise and Taxation

  • Irrigation and Power

  • Law

  • Transport

  • Publicity and Information

  • Local Government

  • Civil Supplies

  • Housing

  • Social Welfare


A Secretariat department consists of the officers who are appointed for a fixed tenure.

Hierarchy of the Secretariat Officers

  • Secretary

  • Special Secretary/Additional Secretary

  • Joint Secretary

  • Deputy Secretary

  • Under Secretary

  • Assistant Secretary

Office of Secretariat

The office component of the Secretariat consists of the following personnel:

  • Section officer or Superintendent

  • Assistant officer or Deputy Superintendent

  • Upper Divisional Clerks (UDC)

  • Lower Divisional Clerks (LDC)

  • Steno-typists and typists

  • Manual workers


  • A Secretariat is a Staff Agency.

  • Its main function is to assist the Minister in the fulfillment of his role.

  • Formulate the policies and programs of the State Government.

  • Co-ordinate the Government policies and programs.

  • Frame legislations, rules and regulations.

  • Maintain contacts and co-ordination with Central and other State Governments.

  • Prepare the budget and impose control on the public expenditure.

  • Supervises the implementation of the programs and policies by the field agencies.

  • Reviews the results of the execution of programs and policies.

  • Initiates measures to develop greater organizational competence.

  • Assists Ministers in discharging their responsibilities to the State Legislature, like answering questions etc.

  • Serves as a think-tank of the State Government.

  • Appoints Heads of Departments and to look into the consequent establishment work like salary administration.

  • Explore the possibilities of improving the financial position of the State.

  • To receive the complaints, representations and appeals from the people and to solve them.

  • Approves service rules and their amendments.

Chief Secretary

  • The office of a Chief Secretary had its origin in the Central Government during the British Rule.

  • It was created in 1799 by Lord Wellesley, the then Governor General of India.

  • G. H. Barlow was the first occupant of this office.

  • This office disappeared from the Central Government and was adopted by the State Governments before Independence.

  • The Chief Secretary is the executive head of the State Secretariat.

  • He is the administrative head of the State administration and stands at the apex of the State administrative hierarchy.

  • His position in comparison to the other Secretaries is more than Primus inter pares (first among equals).

  • He is, infact, the Chief of the Secretaries and his control extends to all the Secretariat departments.

  • He leads, guides and controls the entire State administration.

  • Since 1973, a Chief Secretary is the senior-most civil servant in all the States.

  • The office of the Chief Secretary has been excluded from the operation of the tenure system. In other words, there is no fixed tenure for this post.

  • The Administrative Reforms Commission of India recommended that the tenure of the Chief Secretary should be of three to four years.