Office Procedure - FORMS AND PROCEDURE OF COMMUNICATION

CHAPTER V

FORMS AND PROCEDURE OF COMMUNICATION

28. Forms of communication -

The different forms of communication, its content and format generally by a Department are reproduced below:-

(i) Letter-

Letter

(ii) Demi-official letter-

(iii) Office Memorandum-

(iv) Inter-departmental note (earlier referred to as U.O. Note i.e. before 7th edition of CSMOP)-

(v) Office Order-

Office Order

(vi) Order-

Order Format - Office Procedure

(vii) Notification-

(viii) Resolution-

(ix) Press Communique/Note-

(x) Endorsement-

(xi) Minutes-

A record of discussions is prepared immediately after the meeting and circulated to the other Ministries/Departments concerned, giving date/time/venue of the meeting held, who chaired the meeting and the list of participants, setting out the conclusions reached and indicating the Ministry(s)/Department(s) responsible for taking further action on each conclusion. In case it is perceived by a participant of the meeting, that the minutes recorded are not as per the understanding/perception of the participant, the same may be immediately referred in writing to the authority which has issued the minutes.
Modes of communications shall be decided depending on the nature and urgency of message to be conveyed.

29. Correspondence with attached and subordinate offices-

Senior Officers/Head of a subordinate/attached office under an administrative Ministry/Department shall correspond in respect of matters involving intervention/approval of another Ministry/department in a form of a note/e-mail/e-file to their concerned Ministry/Department. In case of seeking clarifications relating to rules/guidelines from Departments like Department of Expenditure, Department of Personnel, Ministry of Health etc. the Attached/Subordinate offices can communicate directly without the intervention of their parent Ministry/Department.

30. Single File System-

(i) This shall apply to matters which have to be referred by the Non Secretariat Office(NSO) to the Department for seeking a sanction/order, i.e. a decision not within its own delegated powers.
(ii) This shall not apply to matters which in a hybrid environment i.e. where either the Department or the NSO is still operating in paper mode (non-electronic). In such cases, the procedure detailed in para (iii) to (vii) below will be followed. In cases where both the Department and NSO are electronically connected, the workflow given below will be followed:
(a) The SFS file need not bear an I.D.No. or other formal method of sending, but will be sent as though it is from one officer to another in the same organization.
(b) The SFS file shall be completed in all respects, so as to enable the Department to take a decision expeditiously; hence the NSO will ensure that:
(i) every point for decision/order is clearly brought out;
(ii) all relevant connected papers are placed on the file/e-files, properly arranged and referred to;
(iii) draft orders/sanctions are put up, where they are required to be approved by the department for issue; and
(iv) the availability of funds, etc., is certified where additional expenditure is involved in the proposal.
(iii) The officer last dealing with the SFS case in the NSO shall mark it to the appropriate officer in the Department, by name; policy files will, however, be referred to the department at appropriate levels to be determined by the Department and the NSO concerned, through a general order.
(iv) All SFS files shall invariably be routed through the central registry of the department concerned.
(v) As a rule, all noting in the Department will be on the NSO file. However, where sensitive or delicate matters in the sphere of personnel, policy issues and finance are involved; the recording of notes in ‘duplicate’ e-files may be permitted by issuing general or special orders by the Department. This will be done at a particular stage of the SFS case or at or above a particular level, with the final decision thereafter being suitably recorded on the SFS e-file.
(vi) As a convention, the secretariat noting on a SFS file shall start on a new page and the noting done sequentially-save in matters of the nature referred to in (v) above.
(vii) Action to implement the government decision in SFS case shall be initiated in and by the NSO on the return of the file. Orders so issued should specifically state that these have received the concurrence of Government in the Department concerned. Copies of every sanction/order so issued by the NSO will be endorsed without fail to all the officers concerned in the Department.

31. References to the Attorney-General of India-

References to the Attorney-General shall be made by the Ministry of Law and Justice.

32. References to Constitutional/Statutory Authorities-

References to constitutional and statutory authorities such as Election Commission of India/ Union Public Service Commission etc. shall normally be made in the letter from addressed to Principal Secretary/Secretary of the Commission.

33. References to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India-

References to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India for his views or advice shall be made only by or through the Ministry of Finance. In matters of day-to-day administration, Ministries/departments may, however, at their discretion, correspond directly with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

34. Correspondence with Union Territory Administrations-

All communications of a routine nature which clearly relate to the business of a particular Department, shall ordinarily addressed to the Secretary in the appropriate Department. Other important communications may be addressed to the Chief Secretary or the Administrator as the case may be.

35. Correspondence with State Governments-

(i) Communications on the subjects which clearly relate to the business of a particular Department shall normally be addressed to the Secretary of that Department. Other communications including those of special nature or important warranting attention at higher levels may be addressed to the Chief Secretary. Demi-official letters may also be sent to officers of State Governments. In case of demi-official communication is to the Chief Secretary of a State, this level shall not be below the level of Joint Secretary.
(ii) Communications other than those of a purely routine nature e.g., acknowledgements shall not ordinarily be addressed to State Governments except with the prior approval and under the signature of the branch officer. Purely routine communications may, however, be signed by a Section Officer.

36. Correspondence with the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha Secretariats -

Communications meant for the Lok Sabha Secretariat or the Rajya Sabha Secretariat and requiring urgent or high level attention shall be addressed to the Secretaries concerned and not to the Speaker of the Chairman directly.

37. Correspondence with Members of Parliament and VIPs-

(i) Communications received from Members of Parliament and VIPs should be attended to promptly.
(ii) Where a communication is addressed to a Minister, it shall, as far as possible, be replied to by the Minister himself. In other cases, a reply should normally be signed by an officer of the rank of Secretary only.
(iii) Where, however, a communication is addressed to the head of an attached or subordinate office, Public Sector Undertakings, Financial Institutions including nationalized banks) Division/Branch in charge in a Ministry/Department/Organization, shall be replied to by the addressee himself. In routine matters, he may send an appropriate reply on his own. In policy matters, however, the officers should have prior consultation with higher authorities before sending a reply. It should, however, be ensured that the minimum level at which such replies are sent to Members of Parliament and VIPs is that of Under Secretary and that also in letter form only.
(iv) Normally information sought by a Member/VIP should be supplied unless it is of such a nature that it would have been denied ot him even if asked for on the floor of the House of Parliament.
(v) In case, a reference from an ex-Member of Parliament is addressed to a Minister or Secretary, reply to such reference may be sent by a Joint Secretary level officer after obtaining approval of the Secretary of the Ministry/Department. In case the reference is addressed to a lower level officer, reply to such reference could be sent by the officer on his own in non-policy cases and after obtaining approval of the higher authorities in policy cases. However, the minimum level at which reply could be sent should be that of an Under Secretary and that too in a polite letter form only.
(vi) Each communication received from a Member of Parliament/VIP, shall be acknowledged within 15 days, followed by a reply within the next 15 days of acknowledgement sent.
(vii) Appropriate record shall be maintained in respect of communications received from Members of Parliament and VIPs and monitored by all concerned. A similar procedure may also be followed for judicial/quasi-judicial matters.

38. Correspondence with Ministers of State Governments -

The procedure laid down in the above paragraph (No.37) shall also be followed in dealing with communications received from the Ministers of State Governments.

39. Correspondence with Foreign Governments and International Organizations -

Correspondence with Foreign Governments and their Missions in India, Heads of Indian Diplomatic Missions and posts abroad and United Nations and its specialized agencies shall normally be through the Ministry of External Affairs. Exceptions to this may be made only as per the instructions issued by the Ministry of External Affairs in this regard from time to time.

40. Target date for replies -

In all important matters in which State Governments, Departments of the Central Government, or other offices, public bodies or individuals are consulted, time limit for replies may ordinarily be specified. On expiry of the specified date, orders of the appropriate authority may be allowed an extension of time or whether the matter may be processed on the basis of the information available, without waiting for their replies.
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