Drafting the Memorandum for the Meeting:
The memo for the cabinet meeting should contain the number of files concerning the matter under discussion, the name of the department, the subject, history and facts of the case and the points at issue on which orders of the cabinet are desired arguments for and against the case and the advantages and disadvantages of a particular proposal are pointed out. Points raised by the department are also incorporated.
Information for the Cabinet Meeting:
When a decision is taken to call a meeting of the cabinet, after the final approval of the Chief Minister, a letter is issued by the Chief Secretary, which informs all the cabinet ministers about the time, date and venue of the meeting. Ministers of state can be invited by the Chief Minister, if considered necessary. Cabinet meetings are held at two days notice but, they can be summoned at a few hours notice on the telephone also.
Decision by Circulation:
In case a formal meeting of the cabinet cannot be held and there are certain items which require urgent disposal, the Chief Minister may issue directions that the particular subject be circulated to the ministers for their opinion. The ministers are asked to communicate their decisions by a particular date. If they do not send their recommendations and opinions by that date, it is assumed that they have no objection to the decision. Thereafter, the necessary orders are issued according to the provisions of the Rules of Business. Such decisions, taken by circulation, require the formal approval of the next cabinet meeting.
Decision in Cabinet Meeting:
Agenda items are generally discussed seriatim, but it is not necessary that the serial order be followed strictly. An urgent mater can be taken up first. The Chief Secretary reads out the summary of the cabinet memo regarding each case. It is not necessary that all items be decided in a single meeting.
The effectiveness of the Chief Minister and the collaborative spirit among his colleagues influences the total outcome of a cabinet meeting.
The Chief Minister’s role is crucial in guiding the decisions and evolving a consensus. Although, in principle, all policy decisions should be taken by the cabinet, in practice, at times, the Chief Minister can take policy decisions on his own also and report it, and that becomes, through due process, the decision of the cabinet as such. Decisions of the cabinet are announced either on the floor of the Assembly or to the public and the press by the Chief Minister or by any member of the Cabinet authorized by him.
Minutes of Cabinet Meeting:
Drafting of minutes is the responsibility of the Chief Secretary, who acts as the Secretary to the Council though, in actual practice, the Special Secretary, Cabinet, does this work.
The minutes, approved by the Chief Minister are sent to all the ministers, the Secretary to the Governor and other secretaries. It may be mentioned in this context that details regarding the deliberations within the cabinet are not recorded. Only the decisions made are recorded for reference and reporting.
Implementation of Cabinet Decisions:
The minister and the secretary of the concerned department are responsible for the implementation of a cabinet decision. In the Cabinet Secretariat, a register is maintained for the purpose of recording the progress made in relation to various cabinet decisions. Similar registers, regarding the implementation of cabinet decisions, are kept in each department as well.