21 Feb 2019

Prime Minister’s Office3 min read

Manifest Pedagogy

Institutions and departments have been a usually neglected by aspirants but this has been usually focused on by UPSC like Department of Economic Affairs etc. This topic should be prepared well to get an extra edge in both prelims and mains!

In news

PMO conducts parallel negotiations on Rafael.

Placing it in the syllabus

  1. Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive
  2. Organization of Ministry nad Departments

Static dimensions

1.PMO ,origin and its Functions

Current dimensions

  1. Increasing role of PMO in recent times
  2. Comparison of PMO with Cabinet Secretariat


About Prime Minister’s Office

  • The PMO is a staff agency meant for providing secretarial assistance and crucial advice to the PrimeMinister.
  • It plays an important role in the process of decision-making at the top level in the Government of India. However, it is an extra-constitutional body.
  • The PMO enjoys the status of a department of the Government of India under the Allocation of
  • Business Rules, 1961. It has no attached and subordinate office under it.


  • The PMO came into existence in 1947 by replacing the Secretary to the Governor-General (Personal). Till June 1977, it was called as the Prime Minister’s Secretariat (PMS).
  • During the tenure of Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister, the then Prime Minister’s Secretariat was headed by a Joint Secretaryuntil his death.
  • The post of Principal Secretary to Prime Minister was created during the tenure of Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister.
  • In 1977 Prime Minister Morarji Desai renamed the Prime Minister’s Secretariat as the Prime Minister’s Office. He also circumscribed its roles and functions significantly.
  • During the Rajiv Gandhi period, once again the Prime Minister’s Office assumed significant power and took active interest in the evolution of the economic policies. The VP Singh and Chandrashekhar Government were somewhat transitional. Subsequently during the tenure of Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao between 1991 and 1996, the Prime Minister’s Office played a crucial role in reshaping economic policies in response to the balance of payments crisis of 1991.
  • During the period of Vajpayee It was by any reckoning an active PMO in the triple area of economy, foreign policy and security framework.


  • The PMO is headed politically, by the Prime Minister and administratively, by the Principal Secretary.
  • Additionally, it consists of one or two additional secretaries, three to five joint secretaries and a number of directors/deputy secretaries and under-secretaries.
  • There are also other officers like private secretaries, officer on special duty (OSD), Social Secretary, Research Officer, Hindi Officer and so on. Note; these personnel are generally drawn from the Civil Service and posted for varying periods. Their status is equivalent to the status of officers of different ministries/departments in the Central Government.
  • The Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, as the administrative head of the PMO, plays an important role and performs the following functions:
  1. Deals with all governmental files in the office.
  2. Puts before the Prime Minister all important documents for orders and instructions.
  3. Prepares notes on matters to be discussed by the Prime Minister with important dignitaries.
  4. Looks after the affairs of different ministries and departments which are handed over by the Prime Minister.
  5. Coordinates the activities of various personnel in the office.
  6. Tenders advice to the Prime Minister on various foreign and domestic matters.


  • Assisting the Prime Minister in respect of his overall responsibilities as head of the government like
  • Maintaining liaison with central ministries/departments and the state governments.
  • Acting as the ‘think-tank’ of the Prime Minister.
  • it acts as the residual legatee of the Central Government, that is, it deals with all such subjects which are not allotted to any ministry/department.
  • It is not concerned with the responsibilities of Prime Minister as the chairman of the Union Cabinet.

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