THE WORK OF THE SECRETARY- GENERAL OF THE RAJYA SABHA
India’s “Council of States”, the Rajya Sabha or upper House of the Parliament of India, has 245 Members and 1,600 staff divided into almost 60 different sections. Heading the Secretariat of this House is a vital position in India’s democracy that requires political acumen and a wide range of abilities, including the fortitude to work extremely long days.
Dr V.K. Agnihotri in New Delhi Dr Agnihotri was the Secretary-General of the Rajya Sabha, the upper House in the Parliament of India, from 2007 to 30 September 2012. He was Secretary for the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs from 2003 to 2005 and an Administrative Member of the Central Administrative Tribunal (Principal Bench) of New Delhi from 2006 to 2007.
Each Parliament around the world relies on the efficient functioning of a well organized and competent administrative body to conduct its business smoothly. The efficacy of the Secretariat, which looks after the day- to-day administration and legislative needs of Parliament, reflects the ability and resourcefulness of the head of the organization, which in the case of the Indian Parliament’s upper House, the Rajya Sabha, is the Secretary-General. The post is entrusted with a wide range of duties and functions which necessitate vast knowledge and rich experience of parliamentary procedures, practices and precedents.
Role and position of the Secretary-General Each House of India’s Parliament has its separate Secretariat which functions under the direction and
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control of its Presiding Officer. The Secretary-General of the Rajya Sabha functions as the head of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat and advisor to the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. As the head of the Secretariat, he or she is expected to be conversant with all matters that have a reference to the Rajya Sabha and its business, whether they relate to some constitutional issue or some procedure that should be followed in a given situation. As advisor to the Chairman in matters concerning the Rajya Sabha or its Secretariat, he is the repository of accumulated wisdom of the House, and the custodian of its culture, traditions and precedents. He is, therefore, expected to possess certain special abilities, traits, orientation and aptitude. The Secretary-General is the third
most important functionary of the Rajya Sabha after the Chairman and
Dr V.K. Agnihotri.
the Deputy Chairman. He is chosen and appointed by the Chairman. In the Warrant of Precedence, he holds the rank corresponding to the Cabinet Secretary, who is the senior-most bureaucrat in the government of India. He is seated just below the
Chairman’s seat in the Rajya Sabha Chamber, to be available for consultation and advice on procedural