Administrative Machinery at Centre, State and District Levels

Public Administration is the management of public affairs. it is a study of Indian administrative system at multi - level considering the administrative machinery at the central, states, district, and the local levels.

The administrative organs of the government at the central and the state levels are of vital importance in the formulation and fulfillment of the responsibilities and duties of the government.

Central Secretariat

  • Central secretariat may be defined as a common name for all the ministries and departments of the central government.
  • The political head of the ministry is the minister and administrative head is the Secretary
  • At the lowest level is the office which may consist of a few secretariats
  • A ministry may be composed of one department or more than one department
  • The main function of the secretariat is to advise the minister concerned in matters of policy and administration
  • Each minister is aided by the secretariat staff

The secretariat’s primary responsibility is to assist and advise the ministers in respect to the following matters:

  • Making and modifying policies from time to time
  • Forming legislation rules and regulations
  • Sectoral planning and programme formulation
  • Coordination and integration of policies and programmes, contact with state governments
  • Supervision, control execution of policies & evaluation of results
  • Budgeting and control of expenditure
  • Developing greater organizational competence
  • Assisting the minister in discharge of his parliamentary responsibilities
  • Secretariat is to assist and advise the political executive in policy making

Cabinet Secretariat

The Cabinet Secretariat was created in 1947. It is headed politically by the Prime Minister and administratively by the Cabinet Secretary.

The Cabinet Secretariat has three wings - Civil Wing, Military Wing and Intelligence Wing. The Cabinet Secretariat has subject related advisors to the Prime Minister.

Function of Cabinet Secretariat

  • To provide secretarial assistance to the cabinet
  • To prepare for the meetings of the cabinet
  • Providing information and material for its deliberations
  • It keeps a record of the discussions and decision of the cabinet, circulation of memorandum on issues awaiting cabinet approval and circulation of the cabinet decisions to all the ministries
  • Preparation and submission of monthly summaries on many specified subjects to the cabinet
  • It oversees the implementation of the cabinet decisions by the concerned ministries and other executive agencies
  • It functions as the prime coordinating agency in the government of India.

Cabinet Secretary

  • The office of Cabinet Secretary was created in 1950
  • The Cabinet Secretary functions under the leadership of the Prime Minister
  • The chief function of the Cabinet Secretary is to aid the council of ministers, he deals primarily with cabinet affairs
  • He is the head of the civil service and ensures that the moral of the civil servants remain high
  • He must act as a buffer between the politicians and the civil servants and protect the interest of the latter in situations of conflict between the two

Prime Minister’s Office

  • The Prime Minister is assisted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
  • It provides secretarial assistance and crucial advice to the Prime Minister.
  • It came into existence in August 1947 and was called the Prime Ministers Secretariat. In June 1977, Its name was changed and now it is known as Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).


  • PMO is headed politically by the Prime Minister and administratively by the principal secretary.
  • It consists of some additional secretaries and joint secretaries.

Principal Secretary’s Functions

  1. Deals with all governmental files in the office.
  2. Puts before the Prime Minister (PM) all important documents & information.
  3. Prepares notes on matters to be discussed by the PM.
  4. On the directions of the PM looks after the affairs of different ministries and departments.
  5. Coordinates the activities of various personnel in the office.

State Secretariat

A state secretariat is at the level of each state. It consists of several ministries and departments of state government.

  • The Ministries departments are headed politically by the ministers and administratively by the secretaries
  • The chief secretary is the head of the entire state secretariat
  • Secretary usually a senior IAS officer is head of one or two departments


  • It ranges from 15 to 35 departments.
  • Secretariat department consists of officers who are appointed for a fixed tenure.
  • The hierarchy of the secretariat officers is like the Central Secretariat.


The State Secretariat performs mainly the following functions:

  • To assist the Minister in the fulfilment of his task
  • To formulate the policies and programmes of the state government
  • To coordinate amongst the programmes of the state government
  • To prepare the state budget
  • To frame legislation, rules and regulations
  • To review the results of the execution of the policy
  • To maintain contacts with Central and other State governments
  • To receive the complaints, representations and appeals from the people and solve them
  • To serve as a think-tank of the state government

Chief Secretary

Chief Secretary is the head of the state secretariat. He is the administrative head of the state administration and stands at the apex of the state administrative machinery. He is the senior most civil servant in the state.

Powers and Functions

  1. He acts as the principal advisor to the Chief Minister on all matters of state policies and administration.
  2. He acts as the secretary to the State Cabinet.
  3. He prepares agenda for cabinet meetings and keeps records of its proceedings.
  4. He is the chief coordinator of state administration and resolves inter departmental disputes.
  5. The general administration department, Personnel department, Planning department and Administrative Reform department are directly placed under the charge of the chief secretary.
  6. In times of crises like drought, floods, famine, communal disturbances, the chief secretary plays the role of crises administrator.
  7. Acts as a spokesman of the state government, principal channel of communication between government and central on the one hand and the state governments on the other, acts as the chief advisor to the Governor when President’s Rule is imposed in the state, attends the meetings of the National Development.
  8. He deals with all cases related to appointment, transfers, & promotion of senior state civil servants.


The Directorates are the executive arm of the government. Their duty is to translate into action the policies which are framed by the secretariat. The directorates are located outside the secretariat.

Functions of the Head of the Directorate

  1. To provide technical advice to the Ministers
  2. To prepare the budget of the department
  3. To inspect implementation of work by the departmental district staff
  4. To render advice to the State Public Service Commission regarding promotions and disciplinary actions
  5. To organize in service training programmes for departmental officers

District Administration

District administration is that part of public administration which functions in the territorial limits of the district.


  • To ensure public safety, the protection of the citizens and all their rights.
  • It includes the maintenance of law and order and the administration of criminal and civil justice.
  • It works on land revenue, irrigation charges, agricultural income, tax levied, excise duties, entertainment tax etc.
  • It also includes the administration of treasury, land reforms, land acquisition, land management, land records etc.

District Collector

A district is placed under the charge of a District Officer called the District Collector or Deputy Commissioner.

Role and Functions of District Collector

Revenue Functions:

  1. To collect land revenue
  2. To collect other government dues
  3. To distribute and recover taccavi loans
  4. To maintain land records
  5. To collect rural statistics
  6. To exercise the power of land acquisition officer acquiring land for purpose of colonization, industry, slum clearance
  7. To implement land reforms
  8. To look after the welfare of the agriculturists
  9. To assess losses of crops and recommend relief during natural calamities like fire, draught, and flood
  10. To supervise treasury and sub treasury
  11. To enforce Stamps Act
  12. To pay rehabilitation grant
  13. To manage government estates
  14. To hear revenue appeals against the orders of lower authorities
  15. To pay Zamindari Abolition compensation

Maintenance of Law and Order

  1. To control and supervise the subordinate magistracy
  2. In case of threat to public peace, to order imposition under section 144 of the criminal procedure code
  3. To inspect the jails
  4. To release prisoners on parole
  5. To grant superior classes to prisoners
  6. To submit an annual criminal report to the govt
  7. To grant, suspend or cancel many kinds of licenses like arms, hotels, explosives etc.
  8. To control and direct the action of district police
  9. To enforce Entertainment Tax Act and Press Act
  10. To prosecute offenders under the Factories Act and Trademark Act
  11. To order disposal of unclaimed property
  12. To recommend schemes for the development of forests
  13. To supervise and control local bodies

Coordinator of Different Departments or Offices

The district collector is the coordinating agency in overall charge of every important official activity in the district.

Crisis Management

During emergencies such as those caused by natural calamities, floods, famines, cyclones, or manmade crises such as riots, fires, or external aggression, it is he who holds an umbrella over the district.

Development Functions

  • He is designated as the District Development Officer
  • Rural development programmes and improving the living standards of the poor
  • He is the ex-officio chairman of the district rural development agency (DRDA)

Administration Below District Level

For administrative purposes, the district is divided into subdivisions, Tehsils, Parganas or Circle or Ferka and the village is at the lowest level.

  • The subdivision is headed by SDO - SDM/ Assistant Collector.
  • He performs revenue as well as law and order functions in his subdivisions.
  • He is a link between the district collector and the tehsildar in revenue matters and DM and the Station Police Officers in law and order matters.
  • Tehsil is the basic unit for purposes of general administration, treasury, land revenue, land records, etc. Tehsil comprises of about 100 villages.

Block Development Officer (B.D.O.)

B.D.O. is the main coordinator who implements the development programmes at the block level. He is a government servant selected by the State Public Service commission.


  • To convene the meetings of the block Samiti
  • To prepare its agenda and keep its records
  • To prepare the budget at the block level
  • To prepare programme for the development work and to assist in its implementation
  • He supervises the work of the different agencies like Agriculture, Fisheries, Cattle stock etc.

B.D.O. main functions

  1. Development management
  2. Management of Panchayat Samiti