Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 16, 2022, 11:03

The Indian government has various ministries whose administration is looked after by qualified civil servants called secretaries.

However, there is a Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary from a functional perspective.

Secretary is the appointed administrative head of a ministry of the Indian government. The secretary administrates the functioning of the entire ministry. The secretary is below the Minister but above the additional secretary.

If the ministry's ambit of functioning is so much that a secretary cannot manage on his own, additional wings under respective joint secretaries are established for managing excess work volume. The Joint secretary is under the additional secretary, and his role is in the middle-level management of ministerial affairs of the Indian government.

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What is the Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary?

The difference between the secretary and the Joint secretary can be understood better by comparing the various functional parameters.

The table below highlights the major attributes associated with the secretary and joint secretary:

 

Secretary

Joint Secretary

Administrative Position

Administrative Head of Government of Indias department or ministry

Administrative Head of wing established under Secretary of ministry to manage the additional volume of work that the Secretary is incapable of handling

Functional Area

Secretary oversees the functioning of the entire Ministry

Joint Secretary oversees the functioning of a specific wing in the Ministry by assisting the Secretary

Position in Government of Indias Ministerial Hierarchy of Power

3rd i.e. under the Minister of State (MoS) and superior to the Additional Secretary.

5th i.e. under the Additional Secretary and superior to Director and Deputy Secretary

Principal Role

The Secretary serves as the principal adviser to the concerned minister and guides him on policy matters and helps in the administration of the affairs of the ministry or department

The Joint Secretary has no direct contact with the minister and can be considered as the principal adviser to the Additional Secretary on simple policy matters and administration of the allocated wing

Management Level

Secretary is positioned in the Top-Level Management in Government of Indias Ministry set-up

Joint Secretary occupies a position in Middle-Level Management in the Government of Indias Ministry

Number of Positions

Depending on the number of departments within the ministry, the number of secretary positions is determined for the administration of each department

The work of the various secretaries within the ministry is coordinated by the senior-most secretary

There is a minimum of 1 joint secretary for a small ministry. There can be 3 or more joint secretaries for a large ministry

☛ Also Read: Monthly Current Affairs for UPSC

The Indian Administrative Services (IAS) members can be appointed as the Secretary or Joint Secretary in a ministry. Often, experienced professionals with qualitative exposure to the functioning of various ministries in the state or Indian government are given priority over greenhorns.

There are different secretaries in government such as the Defence Secretary, Secretary in Ministry of External Affairs, Finance Secretary, Secretary of Home Department, Telecom Commission secretary, Railway Board Secretary etc.

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FAQs on the Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary

Q1. In analysing the Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary, who can be considered superior?

In analysing the Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary, the Secretary can be considered superior. They occupy the 3rd position in the hierarchy of power, whereas the Joint Secretary sits in the 5th position.

Q2. What is the Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary regarding eligibility?

There is no Major Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary regarding eligibility. Senior members of Indian Administrative Services (IAS) are preferred for occupying the Secretary and Joint secretary positions as they have the required experience and discernment needed for making policy decisions.

Q3. What is the Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary regarding the management level?

The Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary regarding management level is that the Secretary is positioned in the Top-Level Management, whereas the Joint Secretary occupies a position in Middle-Level Management.

Q4. What is the Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary regarding functional areas?

The Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary regarding the functional area is that the Secretary oversees the functioning of the entire Ministry, whereas the Joint Secretary oversees the functioning of a specific wing in the Ministry by assisting the Secretary.