'Minister may delegate powers to Dept secretaries'

Minister may delegate powers to Dept secretaries, says fresh Rules

Vidhan Soudha in Bengaluru. Credit: DH Photo

Karnataka Government (Transaction of Business) Rules will grant more powers to bureaucrats, with the fresh changes allowing ministers to delegate any of their responsibilities to the secretary of the department.

It has also put an end to the supplementary agendas at Cabinet meetings. Any new subject, which is not on the agenda, will now have to be cleared by the chief minister in writing to be included as a subject during Cabinet.

The Karnataka Government (Transaction of Business) (Amendment) Rules, 2020, notified December 21, inserted a fresh section under sub-rule (2) of Rule 6. “A minister may by order delegate any of his powers to the secretary of the department,” the new Rules said.

According to sources, the delegation of powers was only for routine matters related to the day-to-day administration of the department. “All policy matters will be dealt with by the Cabinet minister. The amendment will help ministers delegate subjects, such as remuneration for lawyers and payment of bills. Till now, all payments that exceeded a certain amount - ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 25 lakh, based on the department size - was cleared by the ministers.”

The new rules also restrict additional agendas taken up by the Cabinet during its meetings. The chief minister will have to approve any additional agenda in writing before it is included for
discussion.

“Once an agenda paper, containing the cases to be discussed at the meeting of the Cabinet, is issued by the secretary to Cabinet with the approval of the chief minister and sent to the members of Council of Ministers, no subject shall be included in additional agenda...” the rules said, “...unless the concerned secretary submits a note explaining the urgency for placing it before the meeting and the chief minister approves the same in writing for inclusion in the additional agenda”.