45. File Numbering System: Normally, no files should be opened for dealing with receipts of routine nature. The following two file numbering systems may be used:-

I. Functional file numbering system -

(i) The range and dimensions of the subjects falling under the scope of business allocated to a department are analyzed in the following sequence:

(a) main functions of the department;
(b) activities in each of these functions;
(c ) aspects or operations involved in each of these activities; and
(d) factors to be taken into consideration relating to each of these aspects or operations.

(ii) The scope of business of a department is analyzed under four hierarchical divisions, and the following four standard lists of headings are prepared:

(a) functional heads which may be called basic heads;
(b) activity heads which may be called ‘primary heads’ as related to each functional head;
(c ) aspect or operation heads which may be called ‘secondary heads’ as related to activity heads; and
(d) factor heads which may be called ‘tertiary heads’ as related to operation heads

(iii) Based on the above list of heads, a functional file index for various substantive subjects dealt with by a department together with an identifying file numbering system is then developed.
(iv) For opening files on subjects which are common to all Ministries/Departments (e.g. matters relating to establishment, finance, budget, accounts, office supplies and services and other house-keeping jobs, Hindi, Vigilance, Parliament, Questions, etc.) the common standardized functional file index/file-numbering system, as contained in the booklet ‘Record Retention Schedule’ in respect of records common to all Ministries/Department issued by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in 2012 (uploaded on the website (, as amended from time to time, shall be followed.

II. Subject classification based file numbering system -

(i) Each Section/Desk will maintain approved lists (to be reviewed every year) of:
(a) standard heads i.e. main subjects heading concerning it.
(b) standard sub-heads i.e. aspects of the main subject headings.

(ii) The standard heads will bear consecutive serial numbers. No such numbers, however, will be allocated to standard sub-heads.

(iii) The dealing hand will ascertain the standard to which the paper under consideration relates and then propose a suitable title subject to review by the Senior officers.

(iv) As far as possible, there should be a separate file for each distinct aspect of the subject.

(v) If the issue raised in the fresh receipt or in the note of a current file goes beyond the original scope, a new file may be opened to deal with it by placing photocopies of relevant extracts.

(vi) The first three elements in the file number will be separated from one another b a slant stroke and the last two by a dash. Thus, the files opened in say, Scientific Research Section during 2009 under the standard head bearing serial number ‘3’ will be numbered consecutively as 3/1/2008-SR, 3/1/2009-SR etc. and so on, where ‘SR’ represents the section.

III Part File -

(i) If the main file on a subject is not likely to be available for some time and it is necessary to process a fresh receipt or a note without waiting for its return, a part file may be opened to deal with it. Where two or more part files are opened, each will be identified by a distinct number, e.g. part file I, part file II or part file ‘A’, part file ‘B’ and so on. Once the main file returns the part files will be merged with it, after removing duplicate papers, if any.

(ii) In a computerized environment appropriate entry will be made in the computer, so that easy tracking is facilitated for the purpose of merging of the part file with the main file.

IV. Unique e-file number:

In a computer environment, a unique e-file number will also be generated automatically as and when a new e-file is opened. The e-files which are entered in the system will be automatically traceable on any of the following parameters:

(i) no. of the file.
(ii) date of opening of the file.
(iii) as many catch words as possible from out of the subject on the file.
(iv) any other parameter(s) at the discretion of the Department concerned.

46. Transfer , reconstruction and numbering of files -

Whenever work is transferred from one department/section to another, the former shall transfer all the related records including file both current and closed to the latter. In case of transfer of files from one Department to the other a list will be prepared and approval of the Head of the Department taken. The department/section taking over the records will not divide, reclassify or renumber the closed files transferred to it. In the case of current files, the endeavour should be to close them at the earliest possible stage and open new files/e-files according to the Department’s/Section’s own scheme for dealing with the matter further.
A paper based file will be reconstructed if it is misplaced. The copies of the various correspondences will be obtained from the corresponding department and papers will be arranged in chronological orders and a new duplicate file prepared. A self-contained note will be prepared based on the correspondences.

47. Movement of files -

Movement of files shall be entered in the file movement register in the format to be decided by the Department concerned through departmental instructions. This may also be done through the electronic based File Tracking System.