In India, the role of the Cabinet Secretary is pivotal, serving as the highest-ranking executive officer overseeing the civil service officers across the nation. Currently, Rajiv Gauba holds this esteemed position, having been appointed in 2019, with his tenure extended in both 2021 and 2022. Gauba, a 1982-batch IAS officer of the Jharkhand cadre, has played a crucial role in shaping key policies, notably contributing to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, of 2019, leading to the division of the state into two union territories.
Operating at the apex level of the civil services, the Cabinet Secretary directly reports to the highest echelons of the Indian government, including the Prime Minister, President, Vice President, and other cabinet ministers. His responsibilities extend to facilitating seamless communication between authorities and cabinet ministers, ensuring that decisions and activities are effectively communicated to the nation’s top leaders.
The Cabinet Secretary’s influence reaches across various ministries, such as Defence, Home Affairs, External Affairs, and Finance. In times of crisis, he plays a vital role in crisis management, coordinating the activities of different ministries to address major challenges facing the country. Moreover, the Cabinet Secretary acts as a mediator in the case of inter-cabinet disputes, providing clarity and resolution.
As the head of all civil services in India, the Cabinet Secretary contributes significantly to maintaining unbiased and disciplined functioning among IAS officers nationwide. Beyond administrative functions, he serves as an advisor to the Prime Minister and the cabinet, offering insights and recommendations on critical matters.
The salary of the Cabinet Secretary falls under the 18th level pay, reflecting his seniority and qualifications as the senior-most IAS officer in the country. NR Pillai was the inaugural Cabinet Secretary of India, marking the beginning of a crucial administrative position that continues to play an integral role in the nation’s governance.