The government brought the National Security Council Secretariat into the allocation of Business(AOB) rules, thus granting constitutional recognition and legal authority to the National Security Council.

  • The amendment to the government's rules of business also gives an official description of the role of National Security Advisor as “the principal advisor on national security matters to the prime minister”. 
  • It also makes it clear that the NSCS will be the secretariat for the PM-led National Security Council (NSC).
Amendment into Government of India (Allocation Of Business) Rules,1961:
  • The NSC (National Security Council) also called the Rashtriya Suraksha Parishad Sachivalaya, has been enumerated right after NITI Aayog at number 50 in the first schedule of the AOB rules.
  • Unlike in the case of other departments, the government has refrained from going into any detailed elaboration of the NSCS functions, except stating that it will “assist the National Security Advisor, the principal advisor on national security matters to the PM, and NSC”.
  • The amendment to the rules, which was done on August 6 when Parliament was debating the withdrawal of Article 370 from Jammu & Kashmir, provides the NSA with a clearer domain and authority.
Why the National Security Council (NSC) has formed?
  • The NSCS has formed two decades ago on 19 November 1998, as an outcome of the elaborate post-Kargil review.
  • It was formed to assist the then newly created NSA’s post and was housed within the cabinet secretariat. In 2002, it was brought under the PMO. 
  • The Strategic Policy Group was created under the cabinet secretary with the NSA as the member.
  • Through this amendment to AOB, the government has firmed up a clear structure for the NSC, which comprises the PM, the home minister, the defence minister, the finance minister and the external affairs minister.
Recent Developments in the National Security Council:
  • The National Security Advisor was made the head of a reconstituted SPG and the NSCS was tasked to service it. The NSA(National Security Advisor) was also given cabinet rank status in PM Narendra Modi’s second term.
  • The NSA already heads two important bodies – the Strategic Policy Group (SPG), which is to identify long-term threats and priorities as well as the Defence Planning Group that is meant to work too closely with the proposed Chief of Defence Staff on prioritising procurements for all three services.
  • This move also mainstreams the NSCS and gives it the authority to service the NSC, SPG and even the DPG.
  • It can now generate cabinet notes, access relevant cabinet proposals and partake in inter-ministerial deliberations just like any other government department. Until now, the Cabinet Secretary would have to send out periodic reminders to various ministries to route relevant notes through the NSCS for comments.
Why the constitutional recognition to the NSC has criticised?
  • Questions were raised on the legal sanctity of the body as both the NSA and NSCS, unlike the cabinet secretary and the cabinet secretariat, were not identified and made part of the government’s rules of business.
The Government of India (Allocation of Business Rules), 1961:
  • The Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 are made by the President of India under Article 77 of the Constitution for the allocation of business of the Government of India. 
  • The Ministries/Departments of the Government are created by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister under these Rules. 
  • The business of the Government is transacted in the Ministries/Departments, Secretariats and offices (referred to as 'Department') as per the distribution of subjects specified in these Rules. 
  • Each of the Ministries is assigned to a Minister by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. Each department is generally under the charge of a Secretary to assist the Minister on policy matters and general administration.
Prime Minister National Security Council (PM-NSC):
  • The National Security Council (NSC) of India is an executive government agency tasked with advising the Prime Minister's Office on matters of national security and strategic interest.
  • The NSC is the apex body of the three-tiered structure of the national security management system in India. The other two tiers are the Strategic Policy Group, and the National Security Advisory Board.
It now has four broad verticals – strategic affairs, military, internal security as well as foreign and intelligence – headed by either a Deputy NSA or an officer of that seniority. Also read: Need for National Resource Efficiency Policy Multipurpose National Identity Card (MPNIC)