Central Secretariat Service

Central Secretariat Service (CSS) is a part of the administrative civil service of the executive branch of the Government of the Republic of India. It provides the middle and the senior level civil servants in the Central Secretariat of the Government of India.
The Central Secretariat Service (CSS) is one of the earliest organized civil services in India. The origin of the service can be traced back to the year 1919, when the Imperial Secretariat Service came into being as one of the off-shoots of the Lewllyn-Smith Committee which had been set up on the eve of the introduction of the Montague-Chelmsford reforms.
The role
While important structural changes have been made several times since 1919, one common thread running through all the stages of the evolution of the service, has been the role of the service in ensuring continuity of administration in the Central Secretariat which is in common parlance called “Secretariat Administration and House Keeping”. In the areas of policy making, where specialized unifunctional services are available and also in areas where these are not available, there is need at middle levels of the Government personnel who are especially trained to coordinate various expert’s opinions, ideas to present a balanced picture.
Central Secretariat Service officers mostly are posted in the Cabinet Secretariat. They could also be posted at other departments and ministries in the Union or Central Government.

The Cabinet Secretariat is under the direct charge of the Prime Minister of India. The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961 and the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961, 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/adhoc Committees of Secretaries. Through this mechanism new policy initiatives are also promoted.

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

The Cabinet Secretariat is seen as a useful mechanism by the departments for promoting inter-Ministerial coordination.
Colonial Period and Future

This service has been a legacy of the British Raj and it has survived many reforms of central Government administration. It has produced some of the outstanding civil servants but with the advent of IT and e-governance, the service seems to be losing its sheen and the Department of Personnel and Training may redefine the role of this service in future, if this service has to perform the important role that it has been performing over the several decades.


Please post your thoughts and queries for Central Secretariat Service