To prepare for INDIAN POLITY for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about the Prime Minister’s Office. It gives an idea of all the important topics for IAS Exam and the polity syllabus (GS-II.). This is an essential portion of the polity. As IAS aspirants, you should be thorough with the Prime Minister’s Office. In this article, you can read all about the Prime Minister’s Office for the polity and governance segments of the UPSC syllabus.

“PMO is one of the youngest organisation of union government, but has tended to emerge as tallest at different points of times”

  • PMO was originally setup as Prime Ministers Secretariat (PMS) in 1947.
  • PMS changed to PMO in 1977.
  • PMO consists of the immediate staff of the PRIME MINISTER of India, as well as multiple levels of support staff reporting to the PM.
  • The PMO is headed by the Principal Secretary (currently Nripendra Misra)
  • PMO can be defined as the administrative agency created under the provision of 77 (3) in order to provide secretarial assistance.
  • It got the status of department under Allocation of Business rules 1961.
  • This staff agency is mainly concerned with providing assistance in decision making at top level of government of India.
  • Even though its importance, it is accorded as extra-constitutional body.
PMO being closer to Prime Minister, today PMO is stronger than cabinet secretariat. Principal Secretary is ear to PM. Terms and conditions of Principal Secretary are set by PM


Composition of PMO
  • Politically headed by Prime Minister.
  • Administratively headed by Principal Secretary (Usually senior retired IAS)
  • One or two additional secretaries
  • 5 joint secretaries
  • National Security Advisor (NSA)
  • A number of directors/ deputy secretaries and under secretaries


Functions of PMO (According to Allocation of business Rules 1961)
  • To provide secretarial assistance to PM and act as a think tank.
  • It deals with all references which under the Rules of Business comes to PM.
  • Helps the PM in discharge of his overall responsibilities as CEO and as head of NITI Aayog.
  • PM’s relief fund and PM’s National Defence Fund are managed by PM, which are based on voluntary contribution.
  • To deal with public relation side of PM, which is related to intellectual forums and Civil Societies.
  • Acts as an office to get feedback of administration by considering public grievances against malfunctioning of administrative system.
  • To provide Prime Ministerial assistance in examination of cases submitted to him for orders under described rules so it acts as settlement house to finalize decision concerning to administrative doubts.


  • Governor-General-in Council (earlier name of Cabinet Secretariat) procedure was legalised by the Councils Act of 1861, during the time of Lord Canning, leading to the introduction of the portfolio system and the inception of the Executive Council of the Governor-General. The Secretariat of the Executive Council was headed by the Cabinet Secretary.
  • The Executive Council’s Secretariat was then designated as the Cabinet Secretariat by the Constitution of the Interim Government in September 1946.



  • 352defines the term “cabinet” as the Council consisting of the Prime Minister and other Ministers of Cabinet rank under Art. 75.
  • Cabinet Secretariat is chief coordinating agency of Govt. of India.
  • Cabinet Secretariat is the office which provides secretarial assistanceto the Cabinet.
  • It functions directly under the Prime Minister.
  • The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the GoI (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961 and GoI (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961, facilitating a smooth transaction of business in Ministries/ Departments of the Government by ensuring adherence to these rules.


Organisation of Cabinet Secretariat

  • Civil Wing à Providing assistance to cabinet and cabinet committees.
  • Military Wing à Providing assistance to the National Defence Council and other bodies dealing with defence.
  • Intelligence Wing à Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), 1967 Sits in Cabinet Secretariat.
  • Directorate of public grievances
  • Cabinet Secretary
  • National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention
  • Performance Management Division (Group) – Manages Performance Management and Evaluation System (PMES)
  • Office of Principal Scientific Adviser has been placed administratively under the Cabinet Secretariat in August, 2018.

The Cabinet Secretary is the ex-officio head of the Civil Services Board, the Cabinet Secretariat, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and head of all civil services under the rules of business of the Government.


The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the administration of:

  • The Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961
  • Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961
  • 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.


Principle functions of Cabinet Secretariat

  • The secretarial assistance to the Cabinet and Cabinet committees and ensures that cabinet functions on principle of “collective responsibility”.
  • Convening of the meetings of the Cabinet & its Committees on the orders of the Prime Minister.
  • Preparation and circulation of the agenda and Preparation of record of discussions.
  • Circulation of the record of discussions after obtaining the approval of the Prime Minister.
  • Monitoring implementation of decisions taken by the Cabinet and its Committees.
  • Appointment– All senior level appointments (including Cabinet Secretary) are done with the approval of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.


Cabinet Secretary

  • Officially principle advisor to PM.
  • He is under direct charge of PM.
  • First Cabinet Secretary – N. R. Pillai
  • Present Cabinet Secretary – Rajiv Gauba (IAS)
  • Ranks 11th in order of precedence.
  • There is no fixed tenure, but tenure can be extended.


Role of Cabinet Secretary

  • Heads cabinet secretariat.
  • Act as conscience keeper of civil services.
  • Presides and guides conference of chief secretaries.
  • Act as chairperson of Civil Services Board, which makes recommendations w.r.t appointments of joint secretary in cabinet secretariat.
  • Act as buffer and bridge between political executive and permanent executive.
In 2010, GoI mandated a minimum 2 years tenure for cabinet secretary, which is extendable up to 4 years. It can go beyond the age of retirement.



  • Government of India works on split system i.e. policymaking and policy implementation.
  • Central Secretariat – At Central level
  • State Secretariat – At State level
  • Cabinet Secretariat is not a part of any ministry, so not part of central secretariat. Its only to support cabinet functions.
  • Secretariat is policy making organ whereas Directorate act as implementing agency.


Functions of Central Secretariat


  • Policy making
  • Secretariat provides continuity and consistency in decision making and administration.
  • It is principle channel of communication with state and other important bodies.
  • It acts as institutionalized memory of GoI.
  • Acts as clearing house of policy proposals and government decisions
  • Legislative role
    • It frames draft legislation/ bill.
    • Preparing response to parliamentary questions.
    • Preparation, execution and control of budget.
    • General supervision over implementation.



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