Central Secretariat Service – Frequently Asked Questions

Central Secretariat Service – Frequently Asked Questions compiled by DOPT

The Central Secretariat Service (CSS) is one of three services functioning in the core functioning in the Governance i.e. Central Secretariat. The CSS is governed by Central Secretariat Service Rules, 1962, which has been issued under the powers of Article 309 of the Constitution. The CSS has been one of the earliest organized services in the country, which presently consists of five grades, namely, Assistant, Section Officer, Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Director. Some of the posts of Joint Secretary-level, which are operating in Central Staffing Scheme, are also held by CSS Officers.  The CSS has been devised primarily to manage the middle level posts in the Central Secretariat, which is the Headquarters of the Union Government, housing the Offices of the Central Ministries/Departments mostly located in Delhi/New Delhi. 

The following are frequently asked questions  on CSS cadre compiled by DOPT.

Click on the Questions for Answers

FAQ concerning Central Secretariat Service

Answer: CS.I Division look after the cadre management of the Central Secretariat Service (CSS).

Answer: CSS comprises the following Grades:

S.No Group of post/grade Grade Classification
1. A Senior Selection Grade (Director) Central Civil Service Group A Ministerial
2. A Selection Grade (Deputy Secretary) Central Civil Service Group A Ministerial
3. A Grade-I (Under Secretary) Central Civil Service Group A Ministerial
4. B Section Officer Central Civil Service Group B Ministerial
5. B Assistant Central Civil Service Group B Ministerial

Answer: As per CSS Rules 2009 notified on 27th February, 2009, the sanctioned strength in each grade of CSS is as under:-

  • Senior Selection Grade -110
  • Selection Grade (combined) – 330
  • Grade -I (Under Secretary) – 1400
  • Section Officer – 3000
  • Assistant – 4904

However, after the 2nd cadre restructuring of CSS in July 2010, the combined strength of grades of Deputy Secretary and Director has been fixed at 600, with a ceiling of 220 posts for Director and 40post for Joint Secretary (In-situ).

Answer: The scales of pay attached to the various Grades of the Service are as follows.

(i) Senior Selection Grade: Rs. 37400-67000 (PB-4) + Rs. 8700 (Grade Pay)

(ii) Selection Grade : Rs.15600-39100 (PB-3) + Rs. 7600 (Grade Pay)

(iii) Grade I: Rs. 15600-39100 (PB-3) + Rs. 6600 (Grade Pay)

(iv) Section Officer’s Grade : Rs. 9300-34800 (PB-2) + Rs. 4800 (Grade Pay)

Note: The non-functional pay scale of Rs.15600-39100 (PB-3) + Rs. 5400 (Grade Pay) is admissible to the Section Officers of the Service on completion of 4 years of approved service in that grade and the officers continue to be in Group B.

(v) Assistants Grade: Rs.9300-34800 (PB-2) + Rs. 4600 (Grade Pay)


  • Vacancies in the grade of Assistant are filled by direct recruitment (75%), limited departmental competitive examination (10%) and promotion on seniority basis (15%)
  • Vacancies in the grade of Section Officer are filled by promotion on seniority basis from the grade of Assistant (50%) and by Limited Departmental Competitive Examination (50%).
  • Vacancies in the grade of Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Director are filled by promotion.

Answer: As per Central Secretariat Service Section Officer’ Grade (Limited Departmental Competitive Examination) Regulations, 2010, the following are the eligibility conditions for Limited Competitive Examination for the Section Officer grade:

  • Assistants of CSS or Personal Assistants of CSSS with five years of approved service on the crucial date and
  • At least four Annual Performance Appraisal Reports in the grade of Assistant or Personal Assistant
  • The Personal Assistants of CSSS should possess a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university of equivalent.

Answer: In case of promotion to a particular grade of CSS, eligibility determined on the basis of completion of required number of years of approved service as under:

  • In the case of direct recruits, the approved service in the grade is counted from the 1st day of July of the year following the year in which the examination for direct recruitment is held;
  • In the case of officers of recruited through Departmental Examination from 1st day of July of the year for vacancies of which such examination was held and
  • In the case of officers recruited to a grade on the basis of length of service in the lower grade from the 1st July of the year for which the recruitment is made.

Promotions are made from amongst eligible officers within zone of consideration subject to fitness and vigilance clearance.

Answer: The Cadre Restructuring of CSS has been conducted twice in October. 2003 and July 2010. The decisions taken as a result of these restructurings are available in the DOP&T website.

Answer: Cadre clearance in advance is required from CSI Division when a CSS officer of grade Under Secretary and above applies for a post on deputation,

  • a post on deputation,
  • long term domestic training and
  • foreign visit on personal grounds

Note: In the case of foreign training, cadre clearance from CSI Division is necessary for officers of all grades of CSS.

Answer: The matters being controlled centrally in CS-I Division are:

  • Regular appointments to all grades of CSS
  • Inter-ministerial postings and transfers of all CSS Officers
  • Rotational transfers in all grades of CSS
  • Maintenance of Post based Reservation Roster for the grades of SO Under Secretary.
  • Maintenance of APARs in respect of Under Secretaries and above
  • Maintenance of Immovable property return in respect of Under Secretaries

Answer: The Ministry /Department wishing to encadre ex-cadre/newly created posts in CSS is required to send a formal proposal in the regard in prescribed format to CS-I Division. Such proposals are considered keeping in view of the pay structure, duties and responsibilities, liklihood of continuance of the post etc for encadrement in respective grades of CSS.

Answer: Whenever a CSS Officer (of the grades of Under Secretary and above) gives notice of voluntary retirement, this will be examined/Processed by respective Ministry having regard to the rules on the subject and will be referred to DOP&T for final approval after the same has been approved by the Secretary in-charge of that Ministry/Department.

Answer: Any proposal for extension in service / re-employment in respect of a CSS officer (of the grades of Under Secretary and above) will be examined by the Administrative Ministry in the light of extant instructions and will be referred to CS Division only after approval of the Minister in-charge of the Ministry/Department and giving detailed justification for further action.

Proposal for commercial employment etc. after retirement of a CSS Officer (of the grades of Under Secretary and above) may be processed by the Administrative Ministry/Department and referred to the CS Divisions of DOP&T for approval.

Answer: Yes, the revised Rotational Transfer Policy (RTP) for CSS Officers was issued vide OM No. 21/2/2009-CS-I (P) dated 29.04.2009. This was subsequently modified vide OM No. 21/2/2009-CS-I(P) dated 08.04.2010. As per these guidelines,

  • The combined tenure of CSS officers in particular Ministry / Department shall be five years in the case of Under Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Director.
  • The combined tenure of CSS officers in a particular Ministry/Department shall be 7 years in the case of Section Officer/Assistants.
  • On promotion, an official of CSS at any level shall be posted out of the Ministry / Department if he/she has served in the same Ministry / Department in any capacity for a period exceeding the prescribed tenure for the promotion post.
  • If the CSS Officers have two years of service to retire, he will not come under the RTP and on promotion, if any he will be adjusted within the same Ministry / Department, if his / her Ministry /Department has a vacancy to accommodate him/her
  • If an officer has six months to retire, he is retained in the same Ministry even if no vacancy is available in the promotional grade in that Minsitry, by upgrading the post held by him.

Answer: Officers of the level of Under Secretary and above on return from deputation/study leave/long leave/long term foreign training are required to report to CS-I Division for further posting in the cadre. However, Assistants and Section Officers will report to the respective cadre units from where they proceeded on such deputation/training/leave.

Answer: A cadre training programme has been devised for CSS (CSS CTP) officers. The details are available in DOPT&T website.


a) Level-A: Four Weeks training for Upper Division Clerks who have rendered 4 years of approved service in the grade.

b) Level-B: Five Weeks training for Assistants who have rendered 6 years of service in the grade

c) Level-D: Eight Weeks training for Section Officers who have rendered 6 years of approved service in the grade.

d) Level-E: Six Weeks Training out of which two weeks in the form of foreign component for Under Secretaries who have rendered 4 years of approved service in the grade.

e) Level-F: Three weeks training with one week foreign compnent for Dy.Secretaries who have rendered 4 years of approved service in the grade.

f) ADR(F): Sixteen weeks training for the Newly Recruited Assistants.

Answer: Nominations are made to each level of training as per the seniority of the officers, subject to vigilance clearance and ACR/APAR status.

[DDET Question 19: Is there any exemption from the CSS training?

Answer: There shall be no exemption from Mandatory training as a rule. However, the following cases could be considered for postponement from the mandatory training related to the promotions under the following circumstances.

i) Maternity/Paternity leave/Mother care/Child Care up to 5 years after birth on the basis of medical certificate to be issued by AMA (as per CSMA Rules).

You might also like