Mains Practice Question

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Topic

What is the Council of Ministers, and who are its members? What are the responsibilities of cabinet ministers and ministers of state?
 

Body

  • Article 74 stipulates that there exists a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at its helm to assist and advise the President, who must act in accordance with this advice in the exercise of their functions.
  • The Central Council of Ministers, led by the Prime Minister, plays a crucial role in formulating government policies and is the practical executive authority in India's parliamentary system.
  • As per the Indian Constitution, the President of India, as the head of the Executive, is obligated to act upon the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
  • Article 75 specifies that the President appoints the Prime Minister, who in turn recommends other ministers for appointment. The size of this council is mandated not to exceed 15% of the total membership of the Lok Sabha, the House of the People.
  • Article 88 empowers ministers to participate in the proceedings of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, joint sessions, and parliamentary committees to which they belong, although it does not guarantee them the right to vote.

Role of the Prime Minister in the Council of Ministers:

The Prime Minister serves as the chief executive of the Central Council of Ministers.

While being the foremost leader of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister is considered equal to other ministers.

Article 75 states that the Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.

The Prime Minister holds decision-making authority over significant policy issues and ministries not specifically assigned to other ministers.

Additionally, the Prime Minister heads the Cabinet Secretariat, overseeing day-to-day government administration and inter-ministerial coordination. The Prime Minister also leads the NITI Aayog and the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.

Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State (Independent Charge):

Cabinet ministers are senior members of the council, ranking directly below the Prime Minister. They oversee crucial ministries such as Home Affairs, Finance, and Defence, and are empowered to schedule and attend meetings and make pivotal policy decisions.

Ministers of State are junior members of the Council of Ministers. A Minister of State (Independent Charge) heads their ministry independently, without oversight from other cabinet ministers or the Union government.

Ministers of State:

Ministers of State assist cabinet ministers in their duties and are responsible for specific tasks delegated to them by their superiors. They do not have primary administrative authority over a ministry but support the cabinet minister in managing it

 

Other Points to Consider

Council of Ministers in recent Lok Sabha

Election Commission

 

 

Previous Year Questions

1. Discuss the role of Presiding Officers of state legislatures in maintaining order and impartiality in conducting legislative work and in facilitating best democratic practices. (2023)

2. Explain the constitutional provisions under which Legislative Councils are established. Review the working and current status of Legislative Councils with suitable illustrations. (2021)

20-Jun 2024
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