History And Geography
Tucked away in the hills of eastern sub-Himalayas is Meghalaya, one of the most beautiful State in the country. Nature has blessed her with abundant rainfall, sun-shine, virgin forests, high plateaus, tumbling waterfalls, crystal clear rivers, meandering streamlets and above all with sturdy, intelligent and hospitable people.
Emergence of Meghalaya as an Autonomous State on 2nd April 1970 and as a full-fledged State on 21st January 1972 marked the beginning of a new era of the geo-political history of North Eastern India. It also marked the triumph of peaceful democratic negotiations, mutual understanding and victory over violence and intrigue.
The State of Meghalaya is situated on the north east of India. It extends for about 300 kilometres in length and about 100 kilometres in breadth. It is bounded on the north by Goalpara, Kamrup and Nowgong districts, on the east by Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills districts, all of Assam, and on the south and west by Bangladesh.
Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya is located at an altitude of 1496 metres above sea level. Shillong, which was made Assam’s capital in 1874, remained so till January 1972, following the formation of Meghalaya. The capital city derives its name from the manifestation of the creator called Shyllong.
Meghalaya is subject to vagaries of the monsoon. The climate varies with altitude. The climate of Khasi and Jaintia Hills is uniquely pleasant and bracing. It is neither too warm in summer nor too cold in winter, but over the plains of Garo Hills, the climate is warm and humid, except in winter. The Meghalayan sky seldom remains free of clouds. The average annual rainfall is about 2600 mm over western Meghalaya, between 2500 to 3000 mm over northern Meghalaya and about 4000 mm over south-eastern Meghalaya. There is a great variation of rainfall over central and southern Meghalaya. At Sohra (Cherrapunjee), the average annual rainfall is as high as 12000 millimetres, but Shillong located at a distance of about fifty kilometres from Sohra receives an average of 2200 mm of rainfall annually.
Administrative units of state
The Governor: All Executive Authority of the State formally vests in the Governor. In actual practice, however, he acts as the Constitutional Head of the State Government. Every act or decision of the Governor is impressed to be taken in his name. Every such act or decision is based on a decision taken by the Council of Ministers or under the authority of a Minister except in so far as the Governor is by or under the Constitution required to exercise his function on any of them in his decision
Council of Ministers: The executive power of the State Government is exercised by the Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as its head. The Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor. The other Ministers are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the State Legislative Assembly.
The Council of Ministers consist of Ministers who are members of the Cabinet and Ministers of States. The Cabinet, which consists of the Ministers appointed as its members, determines the policy of the Govt. and gives direction. The Ministers who are not members of the Cabinet attend meetings of the Cabinet when matters concerning their Departments are considered by the Cabinet, if so desired by the Cabinet.
Administrative relations between the Union and the State: The executive power of the State is so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by parliament and in existing laws which apply in the State and also as not to impede or prejudice the exercise of the executive power of the Union. The Union may give such directions to the State as may appear to the Govt. of India to be necessary for the purpose in accordance with the Constitution.
Advocate General: The Advocate General for the State is the highest legal adviser to the State Govt. and is usually consulted in matters of importance involving interpretation of the Constitution, laws or other rules. He also appears in the Supreme Court on behalf of the Govt. to conduct important cases. Under Article 177 of the Constitution, the Advocates General has the right to speak in, and otherwise to take part in the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly.
Chief Secretary: The Chief Secretary is the principal Officer of Govt. responsible for overall control and efficient administration of the State Govt. In addition to the regular Secretarial functions regarding the Departments under his charge, he is entrusted with the following special functions:
He is the Secretary to the Cabinet and as such advises Cabinet on all matters placed before it for consideration.
He is responsible for inter-departmental co-operation and co-ordination.
He advises the Chief Minister on all important policy decisions and important matters concerned with Government of India or with other States.
He may send for any file from any Department regarding a proposal, which has already been examined in the Department and with his view may send the file to the Minister in-charge or the Chief Minister through the Minister in-charge.
He is responsible for all other matters not specifically allotted to other Secretaries.
Secretary: A Secretary to the Govt. is the administrative head of one or more Departments. He is the principal adviser to the Minister on all matters of policy and administration within his department. Such Officer may be designated as Commissioner / Commissioner and Secretary or Secretary and may be assisted by a Secretary or Additional / Joint / Deputy / Under Secretary, Superintendent and other subordinate staff.
With the approval of the Minister-in-charge, an Additional, Joint, Deputy, or Under Secretary may be authorized by the Secretary to dispose off specified classes of cases without reference to the Secretary, provided that:
The Secretary may require cases of importance within the delegated classes to be submitted through him;
All cases, on return from the Minister, will pass through the Secretary; and
The Secretary retains the right of intervention in any such case at any stage.
In the absence of the Secretary of the Department, the next senior most officers will perform the duties of the Secretary.
A Joint Secretary / Deputy Secretary: A Joint Secretary or a Deputy Secretary is ordinarily in-charge of two or three Departments. The duties and responsibilities of the Joint Secretary and Deputy Secretary are ordinarily the same and they put up papers directly to their respective Secretaries or Ministers.
Branch Officer: The Officer in-charge of a Branch is called the Branch Officer. He is of the rank of Under Secretary or Special Officer or Research Officer of equivalent status or an officer of higher rank. An illustrative, list of his duties is given in Appendix III, Part I.
A Superintendent: A branch of the Secretariat Department or where there is no Branch the whole Department, is under the charge of the Superintendent. His role is very important and the general standard of efficiency in the Branch depends to a great extend on his personal example, supervision and guidance. He is assisted by a number of Assistants and typist. When justified by the workload he is assisted by an Assistant Superintendent. He is responsible for efficient administration of the Branch and prompt and satisfactory disposal of allotted business.
Vigilance Commissioner: There is a State Vigilance Commission headed by the State Vigilance Commissioner who is appointed by the Governor. The State Vigilance Commission enjoys the same measure of autonomy as enjoyed by the Meghalaya Public Service Commission. The Vigilance Commission can cause an enquiry or investigation to be made into any complaint or corruption or mis-conduct on the part of a public servant. It may also formulate proposals for the prevention and control of corruption.
Local Bodies: The Urban Local bodies in the State include Municipal Board and Town Committees. Though there are no rural local bodies like the Mahkuma Parishad, the Anchalik Panchayat and the Goan Panchayat but traditional institutions like Syiemship, Daloiship and Nokmas exist in the rural areas. The Municipal Boards and Town Committees are governed by the Assam Municipal Act, 1956, since adopted, and the Establishment and Administration of Town Committees Acts such as the Garo Hills District (Administration of Town Committee) Act, 1956; the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills District (Establishment of Town Committee) Act, 1960; and the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District (Establishment and Administration of Town Committees) Act, 1975.