Records Retention Schedule for Records pertaining to Substantive Functions:

    Records pertaining to Substantive Functions of a Records Creating Agency (RCA) include records pertaining to the functions which are peculiar (specific) to that particular agency. Therefore, the Retention Schedule for records pertaining to Substantive Functions of each RCA would be according to the records created by it.

    The Public Records Act, 1993 (69 of 1993) Clause (e) of Subsection (1) of Section 6 and the Central Secretariat Manual of Office Procedure (Para 111 (1) (d)) stipulate that every RCA would compile a Retention Schedule for Records pertaining to its Substantive Functions which has to be vetted by the National Archives of India (NAI) before its implementation.

Steps to be taken by the RCA in the preparation of Retention Schedule for Records pertaining to Substantive Functions

1. Study of the Structure and Functions of the Organisation:
This would include the study of the hierarchical position of the organisation its organisational set up aims and objectives its duties and functions etc

2. Study of the Work Distribution amongst various Divisions/ Branches/ Sections/ Units/ Cells etc:
This exercise would help in short-listing the Divisions/ Branches/ Sections/ Units/ Cells etc that are assigned the work related to substantive functions of that organisation.

3. Study of the Current and Semi-Current Record-Series/ Record-Groups:
This exercise aims at the identification of record-series/record-groups pertaining to Substantive Function produced by a RCA. It would include a physical examination of file registers, filing manuals, and the current and semi-current files with a view to ascertain different subject-heads and their sub-heads under which record are being created in that RCA.

4. Listing of the subject-heads (including sub-heads) and Record-Groups:
This exercise involves listing of various subject-heads including their sub-head and records-group under which record are being created by a division/ branch/ section/ unit/ cell etc. This listing should preferably be done under the name of division/ branch/ section/ unit/ cell etc.

5. Prescribing of the Retention Periods:
After listing the subject-heads and their sub-heads/ records-groups, their retention periods are prescribed in accordance with their reference value and the importance of the subject. The retention period is the period a particular agency is required to keep the records before their final disposition.

For the purpose of prescribing the retention periods, the records are classified into three categories viz. 'A', 'B' and 'C'. An illustrative list of records fit to be categorised as 'A', 'B' and 'C' categories is given in Annexure - I.

'A' Category: Records under this category are meant for permanent preservation and are to be microfilmed because they contain:
i. a document so precious that its original must be preserved intact and access to it in the original form must be restricted to the barest minimum; or
ii. material likely to be required for frequent reference by different parties.
'B' Category: Records under this category are also meant for permanent preservation but they are not to be microfilmed.
 'C' Category: records under this category are meant to be maintained for a limited period, not exceeding 10 years.
 N.B. While prescribing the retention period for 'C' Category files, slabs of C-1, C-3, C-5 and C-10 may be followed, where the numerals represent the number of years that a file is to be retained after being closed or recorded.
 6. Preparation of the draft Records Retention Schedule:
Thus, a draft Records Retention Schedule can be drawn up. A proforma for the draft Records Retention Schedule is enclosed at Annexure II.

While compiling the draft Records Retention Schedule, the subject-heads as well as the retention periods of the similar record-series under different divisions/ branches/ sections/ units/ cells etc. may be checked with a view to ensuring standardisation of nomenclature and the periods of retention.

7. Forwarding the draft Records Retention Schedule to National Archives of India for Vetting:
The draft Records Retention Schedule thus compiled by the RCA Should then be forwarded to the National Archives of India for its vetting before its implementation by the RCA.

Vetting of the Records Retention Schedule by the National Archives of India

After the draft Records Retention Schedule is received from the RCA, the National Archives of India would:

Revision of the Records Retention Schedule Pertaining to Substantive Functions
The Central Secretariat Manual of Office Procedure(Para 111 (2)) stipulates that the Records Retention Schedule pertaining to Substantive Functions should be reviewed at least once in five years. The revision is aimed at the inclusion of the expanding activities of the RCA as well as re-allocation of subjects and other organisational changes that might take place from time to time.

While revising the Records Retention Schedule, steps 1 to 7 stipulated above are followed.