COUNCIL OF MINISTERS (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     17th June 2024        

Context: The Union Council of Ministers was recently sworn in, comprising the Prime Minister, 30 Cabinet Ministers, 5 Ministers of State with independent charge, and 36 Ministers of State.

Council of Ministers

  • Article 74: It provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers (COM) headed by the Prime Minister (PM) to aid and advise the President.

oThe real executive powers lie with the Council of Ministers (COM).

  • Article 75: It states that the President appoints the Prime Minister. Based on the PM’s recommendation, the President also appoints other ministers. The article mandates that the size of this council should not exceed 15% of the strength of the Lok Sabha, or the House of the people.
  • Criteria for Ministers: A Minister should be a member of either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha and if not, should become one within six months of his/her appointment.

oA similar setup prevails in States with a Council of Ministers (COM) headed by the Chief Minister (CM).

  • Composition: The COM consists of Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State (MoS) with independent charge, Ministers of State (MoS), and Deputy Ministers.
  • Article 88: It  empowers the ministers to speak or otherwise participate in proceedings in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, as well as any joint session of both houses or any Parliamentary committee they may be a part of.
  • Cabinet Ministers: These are ranked as the senior-most in the council, second only to the Prime Minister. They oversee the strategic and important ministries of the Central government – related to Home Affairs, Finance, Defence, etc. 
  • Ministers of State (Independent Charge): These are junior members of the COM. A Minister of State (Independent Charge) is empowered to administer their respective ministry without oversight from cabinet ministers or other members of the Union government.
  • Ministers of State: As opposed to a Minister of State (Independent Charge), a Minister of State does not enjoy the foremost administerial duties over a ministry, but assists a cabinet minister with the same, and is responsible for specific functions as delegated to them by their superior.
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