Difference Between Secretary and Joint Secretary

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary from a functional perspective is that a Secretary is the appointed administrative head of a ministry of the Indian government. In contrast, the Joint secretary is under the additional secretary, and his role is in the middle-level management of ministerial affairs of the Indian government. The secretary is below the Minister but above the additional secretary.

Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary PDF

The Indian government has various ministries whose administration is looked after by qualified civil servants called secretaries. 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. In this article, we will explore the important differences between Secretary and Joint Secretary in detail.

Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary

The secretary administrates the entire ministry’s functioning, whereas the Joint Secretary is responsible for administering the wings under Secretary. The difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary can be understood better by comparing the various functional parameters.

The table below highlights the major attributes of the secretary and joint secretary.

Joint Secretary vs Secretary

Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary



Joint Secretary

Administrative Position

Administrative Head of Government of Indias department or ministry

The administrative Head of the wing is established under the Secretary of the 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

The work of joint secretary is to oversee the functioning of a specific wing in the Ministry by assisting the Secretary

Position in Government of Indias Ministerial Hierarchy of Power

The hierarchy of secretaries in India government is 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, guides him on policy matters, and helps administrate the affairs of the ministry or department.

The joint secretary meaning is that they have no direct contact with the minister and can be considered 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 the Government of India’s Ministry set-up.

Joint Secretary occupies a position in Middle-Level Management in the Government of India’s 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 senior-most secretary coordinates the work of the various secretaries within the ministry.

There is a minimum of 1 joint secretary for a small ministry.

There can be 3 or more joint secretaries for a large ministry.

Secretary and Joint Secretary

The Indian Administrative Services (IAS) members can be appointed 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.

Who is Secretary?

The Secretary of GOI is responsible for monitoring and administering the ministry. There are different secretaries in government, such as the Defense Secretary, Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, Finance Secretary, Secretary of the Home Department, Telecom Commission secretary, Railway Board Secretary etc.

There are various roles assigned to the secretary of India, and a few of them are:

  • Complete responsibilities of being a head of the ministry.
  • Minister’s Chief Advisor.
  • Representing the ministry to Public Accounts Committee.

Who is Joint Secretary?

The Joint Secretary to the Government of India is the 3rd highest executive rank(non-political). They are also known as the JS, GOI. Joint Secretary can even hold the post of President of India’s Social and Press Secretary. They can hold the positions such as CVO, CAO, Joint Director of CBI, etc.

A few roles assigned to the Joint Secretary are

  • Complete responsibilities of a head of the ministry’s wing.
  • They file affidavits before SCI.


Key Difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary

The key difference between Secretary and Joint Secretary is that Secretary is the administrative head of the Ministry, which comes in the third position. In contrast, Joint Secretary is the head of a particular wing of a Ministry and comes in the fifth position.

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