- The President, Vice-President, Council of Ministers led by the Prime Minister, and Attorney General are all mentioned in Chapter I- Executive of Part V of the Constitution, i.e., Union. The British pattern of cabinet government was established in India by the framers of the Constitution.
- According to Article 74 of the Constitution, there shall be a Council of Ministers, led by the Prime Minister, to assist and advise the President, who shall act in accordance with such advice in the exercise of his functions. The Prime Minister and other Ministers make up the Council of Ministers. Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State, and Deputy Ministers are the three types of ministers. Each of them is appointed by India’s President. The total number of ministers cannot exceed 15% of the total strength of the Lok Sabha.
- Lord Canning introduced the portfolio system in the Indian Councils Act of 1861.
- The real executive in the United Kingdom is the Council of Ministers, which is left on the convention.
- In India, the Council of Ministers system is codified and mentioned in the Indian Constitution.
- The Supreme Court ruled in S.R. Chauhan vs. State of Punjab (2001) that a non-member cannot be re-appointed unless elected. A non-member, on the other hand, can serve on the council of ministers for a maximum of six months.
- The Indian Constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government modelled after the British model, with the Council of Ministers led by the Prime Minister serving as the real (de-facto) executive authority in our politico-administrative system.
- The Constitution does not include a detailed description of the parliamentary system’s guiding principles.
- However, two articles in Part V, 74 and 75, dealt with them in a broad, hazy, and general manner.
- Art. 74 addresses the status and nature of the council of ministers, while Art. 75 addresses the ministers’ appointment, tenure, responsibility, qualification, oath, and salaries and allowances.
- Every Minister is accountable for the actions of his department’s officers. In Parliament, he must answer questions about his department’s business.
- Because the Council of Ministers meets infrequently, the Cabinet serves as the government’s steering wheel.
- Articles spanning from 74 to 78 in Part V broadly deals with Central Council of Minister
|74||Council of Ministers to aid and advise President|
|75||Other provisions as to Ministers|
|77||Conduct of business of the Government of India|
|78||Duties of the Prime Minister as respects the furnishing of information to the President, etc.|
|88||Rights of Ministers with respects th to the Houses.|
- The Union Executive includes the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Union Council of Ministers, and the Indian Attorney General.
Article 74 – Council Of Ministers To Assist And Advise The President
- There shall be a Council of Ministers, led by the Prime Minister, to assist and advise the President, who shall act in accordance with such advice in the performance of his functions.
- However, the President may request that the Council of Ministers reconsider such advice (option added by the 44th CAA 1978), and the President shall act in accordance with the advice offered following such reconsideration.
- Ministers’ advice to the President shall not be investigated in any court.
Article 75 – Other Provisions As To Ministers
- The President appoints the Prime Minister, and the President appoints the other Ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister.
- The Council of Ministers will be held jointly accountable to the Lok Sabha. (This does not apply to the Rajya Sabha.)
- Collective responsibility is based on the ‘idea of solidarity,’ which states that a single vote of no confidence against a minister can result in the resignation of the entire council. As a result, the council must have majority support.
- A minister who is not a member of Parliament (either Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha) for six months in a row ceases to be a minister.
- The ministers will serve at the pleasure of the President.
Article 77 – Conduct Of Business Of The Government Of India
- All executive actions taken by the Indian government must be expressed to be taken in the name of the President.
- Orders and other instruments made and executed in the President’s name must be authenticated in the manner specified in rules made by the President.
- Furthermore, the validity of an order or instrument so authenticated shall not be called into question on the grounds that it was not made or executed by the President.
- The President shall make rules for the more convenient transaction of the government of India’s business, as well as for the allocation of said business among Ministers.
Article 78 – Prime Minister’s Duties
- All decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administration of the Union’s affairs, as well as legislative proposals, must be communicated to the President.
- To provide such information about the administration of Union affairs and legislative proposals as the President may request.
- If the President so directs, to submit to the Council of Ministers any matter on which a Minister has made a decision but which has not been considered by the Council.
Article 88 – Ministries’ Rights In Respect Of Their Houses
- Every minister has the right to speak and participate in the proceedings of either House, any joint sitting of the Houses, and any Parliamentary Committee to which he may be appointed. He will not, however, be able to vote.
91st Constitutional Amendment Act 2003
- The total number of ministers in the Council of Ministers, including the Prime Minister, shall not exceed 15% of the total strength of the Lok Sabha.
- A member of either house of Parliament from any political party who is disqualified for defection is also disqualified for appointment as a minister.
Consideration In Forming The Ministers’ Council
- Ministers from various regions to improve regional representation on the Council of Ministers.
- Communities, castes, women, and coalitions are all represented.
- Ministers’ ability to handle a variety of tasks
- Age factor – a young and dynamic personality with sufficient experience.
- He should be an effective administrator and decision maker.
- Visionary and optimistic, with a forward-thinking attitude
- A moral person who is not corrupt.
Is Com Advice Binding?
- The 42nd (1976) and 44th (1978) Constitutional Amendment Acts made the President’s advice binding.
- The Supreme Court ruled in 1971 that the Council of Ministers continues to hold office even after the Lok Sabha is dissolved.
- The President shall act in accordance with the advice rendered by the Council of Ministers in the exercise of his functions under the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976.
- The 44th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1978 added a provision stating that the President may request that the Council of Ministers reconsider such advice, and that the President shall act in accordance with the advice offered after such reconsideration.
- Any court, however, cannot inquire into the nature of advice given to the President by ministers.
- This provision emphasises the President’s intimate and confidential relationship with the ministers.
The Nature Of Ministers’ Advice
- It should be noted that Article 74 is mandatory, and the president cannot exercise executive power without the assistance and advice of the Council of Ministers.
- Any exercise of executive power without the assistance and advice of the legislature is unconstitutional under Article 74.
- In 1974, the court ruled that wherever the Constitution requires the satisfaction of the President, the satisfaction is the satisfaction of the Council of Ministers, with whose assistance and advice the President exercises his powers and functions.
- The Indian courts are not permitted to inquire into the nature of the ministers’ advice to the President.
Ministers’ Oaths And Salary
- Oath: Before taking office, every new minister must take the Oath of Office and Secrecy.
- The President of India administers the oath to each new minister.
- Ministers’ “Oath of Secrecy” should be replaced by a “Oath of Transparency” – Second ARC
- The constitution makes no mention of a separate oath for the Prime Minister. He/she takes the Ministerial Oath.
- Salary: The constitution states that ministers’ salaries and allowances are to be determined by law by the Parliament. As a result, by law passed in 1985, the Parliament mandated that each minister receive the same salary and allowances as a member of the Parliament.
- The salaries and allowances of ministers are set by PARLIAMENT on a regular basis.
Controversies Associated With Oath And Affirmation
- Devi Lal’s oath as Deputy Prime Minister in 1990 was challenged as unconstitutional because the Constitution only provides for the Prime Minister and other ministers.
- The Supreme Court upheld the oath as valid, stating that describing someone as Deputy Prime Minister is only descriptive and does not confer any powers of Prime Minister.
- The Supreme Court ruled that a minister’s designation as Deputy Prime Ministers or any other type of minister, such as minister of state or deputy minister, which is not mentioned in the Constitution, does not invalidate the oath he took as long as the substantive part of the oath is correct.
Responsibility Of Ministers
- The fundamental principle underlying the operation of the parliamentary system is the principle of collective responsibility.
- Article 75 states unequivocally that the Council of Ministers is collectively accountable to the Lok Sabha. This means that all ministers bear joint responsibility to the Lok Sabha for all omissions and commissions. Working as a team and swimming or sinking together is philosophy.
- When the Lok Sabha passes a no-confidence motion against the Council of Ministers, all ministers, including those from the Rajya Sabha, must resign.
- On the other hand, the Council of Ministers can advise the president to dissolve the Lok Sabha and call for new elections on the grounds that the House does not faithfully represent the views of the electorate. The President may refuse to comply with a Council of Ministers that has lost the trust of the Lok Sabha.
- Collective responsibility also implies that Cabinet decisions bind all cabinet ministers (and other ministers), even if they differ in the cabinet meeting.
- Every minister has a responsibility to support cabinet decisions both inside and outside of Parliament.
- Any minister who disagrees with a cabinet decision and is unwilling to defend it must resign.
Notable Disagreement Examples
- In 1953, B.R. Ambedkar resigned due to disagreements with his colleagues on the Hindu Code Bill.
- D. Deshmukh resigned due to disagreements with the policy of state reorganisation.
- Arif Mohammed resigned in protest of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights in Divorce) Act of 1986.
- Article 75 – refers to the principle of personal responsibility.
- It states that ministers serve at the pleasure of the president, implying that the President can remove a minister even if the Council of Ministers has the confidence of the Lok Sabha.
- However, the President can only remove a minister on the Prime Minister’s advice. The Prime Minister can ask him to resign or advise the President to dismiss him due to a difference of opinion or dissatisfaction with a minister’s performance.
- By exercising this power, the Prime Minister can ensure that the rule of collective responsibility is followed.
- “Collective responsibility can only be achieved through the instrumentality of the Prime Minister,” Dr. B.R. Ambedkar observed. As a result, there can be no collective responsibility unless and until we create that office and give it statutory authority to nominate and dismiss ministers.”
In India, There Is No Legal Responsibility.
- Unlike in the United Kingdom, India’s constitution makes no mention of a system of legal responsibility for ministers.
- A presidential order for a public act should not be countersigned by a minister, according to the legal responsibility system.
- Every order of the King for any public act in the United Kingdom must be countersigned by a minister. If the order violates any law, the minister will be held accountable and held liable in court.
- The President appoints the Prime Minister, while the President appoints the other ministers on the Prime Minister’s advice.
- This means that the President can only appoint ministers who have been recommended by the Prime Minister.
- A minister can also be appointed who is not a member of either House of Parliament. However, he must become a member (either by election or nomination) of either House of Parliament within six months or he will lose his position as a minister.
- A minister who is a member of one House of Parliament has the right to speak and participate in the other House’s proceedings, but he can only vote in the House in which he is a member.
Categories Of Ministers
- Cabinet Minister
- Minister of State (Independent Charge)
- Minister of State
- Deputy Ministers
- The Cabinet Ministers are in charge of the Central Government’s major portfolios, such as the Home Ministry, Finance Ministry, Defense Ministry, and External Affairs Ministry, among others.
- Cabinet Ministers typically consist of 18 to 25 ministers.
- Cabinet Ministers attend critical meetings and play an important role in the nation’s policy formation.
State Minister (Independent Charge)
- The Minister of State has the same functions and powers as Cabinet Ministers in their departments and ministries.
- They are not cabinet members. As a result, they are not entitled to attend cabinet meetings until they are not invited.
- When the cabinet considers something important related to their departments/ministries, ministers of state (independent charge) are invited to attend cabinet meetings.
- Ministers of State are given charge of departments within ministries led by Cabinet Ministers or are assigned specific tasks within ministries led by Cabinet Ministers.
- These ministers, for the most part, work under the supervision and guidance of the Cabinet Ministers.
- Deputy Ministers are the lowest ranking officials. They do not have independent authority over the ministries/departments.
- They are usually attached to Cabinet Ministers or Ministers of State to assist them with administrative, political, and parliamentary responsibilities.
- Deputy Ministers are not members of the cabinet. As a result, they do not attend cabinet meetings.
- The Council of Ministers is led by the Cabinet. It is made up of 15-18 members who are the council’s senior and most effective ministers.
- The Prime Minister and cabinet ministers deliberate and make decisions on various national policies.
- Cabinet ministers are in charge of key portfolios such as Home, Defense, External Affairs, Atomic Energy, and Petroleum, among others.
- Because cabinet ministers form the nation’s central decision-making authority, the Prime Minister chooses them with great care.
- Cabinet meetings are held once a week under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, and if necessary, more than once a week and even once a day.
- The Cabinet was added to Article 352 of the Constitution by the 44th Amendment Act of 1978. It was not included in the original draught of the Constitution.
- The President is advised by the Cabinet, not the Council of Ministers.
- It is easier to reach an agreement.
- More effective discussion and better use of time
- Less burden on the public purse – Economic efficiency
- More emphasis on secrecy
- Larger size allows for more rational work division. The Council of Ministers binds too many tongues, resulting in fewer points of view being available.
- Legislative oversight
- Judicial check via judicial review mechanism
- The news media and public opinion
- International public opinion
- Global constitutionalism must be ensured (like treaties, conventions etc.)
The Cabinet’s Role
- In the Indian political and administrative system, the Cabinet is the highest decision-making authority.
- Cabinet is envisioned as the central government’s primary policy-making body.
- It is the Central government’s supreme executive authority.
- He is the Central Administration’s chief coordinator.
- It serves as the president’s advisory body, and its recommendations are legally binding on him (president can return advice for reconsideration only at once)
- Cabinet is the chief crisis manager and thus handles all crises.
- It handles all major legislative and financial issues.
- Cabinet has authority over higher-level appointments such as constitutional authorities and senior secretariat administrators.
- Cabinet is in charge of all foreign policies and foreign affairs.
- Every Indian Prime Minister has had a ‘Inner Cabinet,’ which is a circle within a circle. The ‘Inner Cabinet,’ also known as the ‘Kitchen Cabinet,’ was particularly powerful during Indira Gandhi’s tenure.
- The Prime Minister’s Kitchen Cabinet is an informal body of the Prime Minister and 2-4 influential colleagues in whom he has faith and with whom he can discuss any issue.
- Outsiders such as friends and family members of the Prime Minister can be included in addition to cabinet ministers.
- Members of the Prime Minister’s kitchen cabinet advise him on important political and administrative issues and assist him in making critical decisions.
- In contrast to the CoM, which has constitutional status, the Kitchen Cabinet is an informal and non-constitutional (extra-constitutional) body.
- The philosophy of the ‘kitchen cabinet’ exists in the United States and the United Kingdom; it is not unique to the Indian political and administrative system.
- Indira Gandhi’s ‘Kitchen Cabinet’
- Rajiv Gandhi’s ‘Dehradun Brigade’
- L. B. Shastri’s ‘Grand Council of India’
Merits And Demerits Of Inner Cabinet
|Due to the small unit, a much more efficient decision-making body than a large cabinet.||Reduces the authority and status of the cabinet as the highest decision-making body.|
|Members can meet more often and deal with business much more expeditiously||Circumvents the legal process by allowing outside persons to play an influential role|
|Helps in maintaining secrecy in making decisions on important political issues.||Could induce sense of mistrust among other members of cabinet|
Cabinet Vs Council Of Ministers
|Cabinet||Council of Ministers|
|Smaller body of 15 to 20 ministers.||Wider body consisting of 60 to 70 ministers.|
|Includes the cabinet ministers only. It is a part of the CoM||Includes all the three categories of ministers.|
|Collective functions – It meets, as a body, once in a week to deliberate and take decisions regarding the transaction of government business.||No collective functions – It does not meet, as a body, to transact government business.|
|In practice, it exercises the powers of the Council of Ministers and acts for the Council of Ministers.||Theoretically it is vested with all powers.|
|It directs and guides the Council of Ministers by taking policy decisions which are binding on all ministers||Its functions are determined by the cabinet|
|It supervises the implementation of its decisions by the Council of Ministers||It implements the decisions taken by the cabinet.|
|Inserted by 44th Amendment (1978) in Art. 352. It did not find a place in the original text of the Constitution.Art. 352 only defines the cabinet saying that it is ‘the council consisting of the Prime Minister and other ministers of cabinet rank appointed under Art. 75Art. 352 does not describe its powers and functions.Role of the cabinet in our politico-administrative system is based on the conventions of parliamentary government as developed in Britain.||It is a constitutional body, dealt in detail by the Art. 74 and 75 of the Constitution. Its size and classification are not mentioned in the Constitution. Its size is determined by the Prime Minister according to the exigencies of the time and requirements of the situation.Its classification into a three-tier body is based on the conventions of parliamentary government as developed in Britain. According to Salaries and Allowances Act of 1952, it has got a legislative sanction – defines a ‘minister’ as a ‘member of the Council of Ministers, by whatever name called, and includes a deputy minister’.|
|It enforces the collective responsibility of the Council of Ministers to the Lok Sabha of Parliament.||It is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha of the Parliament|
Powers Of The Union Council Of Ministers
- Executive Powers
- Legislative Powers
- Financial Powers
- Real Executive: The Council of Ministers is the real executive. The Council of Ministers exercises all of the President of India’s executive powers.
- Policy Development: The Cabinet develops policies that are then submitted to Parliament for approval. The Cabinet/Prime Minister coordinates and controls the operations of all government departments. The Cabinet develops foreign policy as well as all domestic policies deemed necessary for the country’s overall development.
- Administration Management: The Cabinet manages the administration in accordance with the laws and policies. It is responsible for maintaining the country’s law and order. The departments make day-to-day decisions in accordance with the Cabinet’s policies.
- Functions in an Emergency: The President always exercises Emergency Powers with the advice of the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers. Only with the written advice of the Cabinet can the President declare an emergency.
- Appointment Powers: The President appoints Governors, Ambassadors, Envoys, High Commissioners, Consuls, Supreme Court and High Court Judges, Military Commanders, members of the UPSC, Election Commission, Planning Commission, and others on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
- Treaty-Making and Defense Functions: All treaties and other international agreements are negotiated and signed on behalf of the President by the ministers. A fundamental function of the Cabinet is to prepare for the country’s defence by organising and modernising the Army, Air Force, and Navy, as well as developing an appropriate defence and nuclear policy.
- Though the Union’s legislative powers are held by the Parliament, the Council of Ministers plays an important role in the legislative process.
- Ministers are both heads of government departments and members of Parliament. They participate fully and actively in the work of the Parliament.
- They introduce and pilot the majority of the bills. The Parliament spends 95% of its time dealing with governmental business, which is managed by ministers.
- A bill that is not supported by the Council of Ministers cannot be passed by Parliament because the ministry has a majority in Parliament.
- If the Lok Sabha passes a bill that is not supported by the Council of Ministers, rejects a bill that is supported by it, or rejects the Cabinet’s budget, it is considered a vote of no confidence in the government, and the entire Council of Ministers resigns.
- While doing so, the Prime Minister/Cabinet may recommend to the President that the Lok Sabha be dissolved.
- In accordance with Cabinet advice, the President summons, prorogues, or dissolves Parliament.
- The Prime Minister may recommend to the President that the Lok Sabha be dissolved and new elections be held.
- Such advice is always accepted by the President. The threat of dissolution can be used by the Cabinet to gain support from the Lok Sabha.
- The Council of Ministers is, without a doubt, collectively responsible before the Lok Sabha, which can remove it with a vote of no-confidence.
- A majority-backed ministry can have its way in Parliament. Normally, the Cabinet (backed by a majority) is in charge of the workings of Parliament.
- The Parliament is in charge of national finances. However, the Cabinet also plays a key role in this area.
- The Cabinet is in charge of preparing the budget. It establishes the government’s fiscal policies. The Cabinet is in charge of getting the budget approved by Parliament.
- The Cabinet manages the financial administration in accordance with the budget provisions passed by Parliament.
- The Cabinet makes all proposals for new taxes. Money Bills (Art. 110) can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha and by ministers.
- The Parliament can amend financial bills, but only with the Cabinet’s approval. Any action taken by Parliament contrary to the wishes of the Cabinet constitutes a vote of no confidence in the government.
Position Of The Union Council Of Ministers
- In a nutshell, the above description of the Council of Ministers’ powers and functions reveals the Council of Ministers’ strong and central position as the real and powerful executive in the Indian political system.
- The Council of Ministers truly wields all of the President of India’s powers.
- The Cabinet is the most powerful institution within the Council of Ministers. All of these powers are exercised by the central institution.
- The Cabinet directs, supervises, and controls the formulation of national policies as well as the administration’s operations.
- The Cabinet enjoys an enviable position as the maker of all policies, the director of administration, and the supreme coordinator of government activity.
- In actuality, it serves as “the steering wheel of the ship” for the state. It is the seat of power.
Office of Deputy Prime Minister
- The Deputy Prime Minister of India is a member of the Union Cabinet in the Government of India. It is not technically a constitutional office, it seldom carries any specific powers. A deputy prime minister usually also holds a key cabinet portfolio Such as a home minister or finance minister.
- At times, the COM may also include a deputy prime minister. The deputy prime ministers are appointed mostly for political reasons.
- We must remember that the position of Deputy Prime Minister has previously been held by seven people. Vallabhbhai Patel, Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, Jagajivan Ram, Yeshwantrao Chavan, Devi Lal, and L.K.Advani were among them. The prime minister must decide whether he requires a deputy prime minister. Unlike in other Indian countries, the post of deputy prime minister is not required. When there is an emergency, the deputy prime minister serves as an alternative to the prime minister. The Deputy Prime Minister has no work to do while the Prime Minister is present.
- On August 15, 1947, Vallabhbhai Patel took the oath of office. L. K. Advani was the last Deputy Prime Minister. There is no deputy Prime Minister in the current government. The post of Deputy Prime Minister remains vacant following Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet. Several proposals to make the position permanent have been made, but none have been successful. The same is true for the position of state deputy chief minister. Normally, a deputy prime minister holds a cabinet portfolio such as home minister, defence minister, or finance minister.
- The deputy prime minister is treated as “first among equals” in the cabinet in parliaments: the position of deputy prime minister is used to bring political stability and strength within a coalition government or in times of national emergency, when a proper chain of command is required. The position of deputy prime minister is not mentioned in India’s current constitution.
- Parliamentary secretaries are ruling party members appointed to assist ministers.
- They are regarded for all practical purposes as deputy ministershaving access to all official files and documents.
- Parliamentary secretaries are the members of the last category of the council of ministers.
- They have no department under their control.
- They are attached to the senior ministers and assist them in the discharge of their parliamentary duties.
Appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries:
- In India, state governments have been appointing parliament secretaries from among Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs).
- A Parliament Secretary often holds the rank of Minister of State and has the same entitlements and is assigned to a government department.
- The Parliamentary Secretary in the House plays the role of liaison between the ministers, senators and other House members.
- They help in strengthening the contacts within the government caucus.
- They may be held responsible for answering policy questions in the absence of a minister from the House.
Other Roles and Responsibilities:
- Preparation of Statements by Members.
- During adjournment proceedings, they may speak on behalf of a minister.
- They may also act on the behalf of a cabinet minister in some circumstances.
Limitations on Parliamentary Secretaries:
- While the Parliamentary Secretaries have a number of responsibilities and rights, they are not involved in some major decisions.
- They may not represent government bills and are ineligible to introduce their own private Member’s motions or bills.
Parliamentary Secretaries in states:
- Punjab, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh are some of the states where the Parliament Secretaries are appointed.
- PILs filed in various High Courts have argued that appointment of parliamentary secretaries goes against the Article 164 (1) of the constitution for states and Article 239AA for Delhi, which limits the number of ministers in the state/UTs cabinets.
- Various High Courts have deemed the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries unconstitutional and have ruled against such appointments.
- The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961 and the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961, facilitating smooth transaction of business in Ministries/ Departments of the Government. This Secretariat provides Secretarial assistance to the Cabinet and its Committees, and also assists in decision-making in Government by ensuring Inter-Ministerial coordination , ironing out differences amongst Ministries/ Departments and evolving consensus through the instrumentality of the standing/ adhoc Committees of Secretaries. Through this mechanism new policy initiatives are also promoted.
- The Cabinet Secretariat ensures that the President, the Vice President and Ministers are kept informed of the major activities of all Ministries/Departments by means of monthly summary of their activities. Management of major crisis situations in the country and coordinating activities of various Ministries in such a situation is also one of the functions of the Cabinet Secretariat.
- Before the adoption of the portfolio system in the Government of India, all Governmental business was disposed of by the Governor-General in Council, the Council functioning as a Joint Consultative Board. As the amount and complexity of business of the Government increased, the work of the various Departments was distributed amongst the members of the Council, only the more important cases being dealt with by the Governor-General or the Council collectively.
- This procedure was legalized by the Indian Councils Act, 1861 during the time of Lord Canning, leading to the introduction of the portfolio system and the inception of the Executive Council of the Governor-General. The Secretariat of the Executive Council was headed by the Private Secretary to the Viceroy, but he did not attend the Council meetings. Lord Willingdon first started the practice of having his Private Secretary by his side at these meetings. Later, this practice continued and in November, 1935, the Viceroy’s Private Secretary was given the additional designation of Secretary to the Executive Council. But these posts were separated subsequently, and a separate Secretary was appointed to the Executive Council as distinct from the Private Secretary to the Viceroy and Governor General.
- Constitution of the Interim Government in September 1946 brought a change in the name of this Office. On 5th September, 1946, the Secretariat of the Executive Council was designated as Cabinet Secretariat, and the Secretary to the Executive Council as Cabinet Secretary. It seems, however, at least in retrospect, that Independence brought a sort of change in the functions of the Cabinet Secretariat. It no longer remained concerned with only the work of circulating papers to Ministers and Ministries, but developed into an organisation for effecting coordination between the Ministries.
- The Cabinet Secretariat functions directly under the Prime Minister. The administrative head of the Secretariat is the Cabinet Secretary who is also the ex-officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board. The business allocated to Cabinet Secretariat under Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 includes (i) Secretarial assistance to the Cabinet and Cabinet Committees; and (ii) Rules of Business.
- The Cabinet Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961 and Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 facilitating smooth transaction of business in Ministries/ Departments. The Secretariat assists in decision-making in Government by ensuring Inter-Ministerial coordination, ironing out differences amongst Ministries/Departments and evolving consensus through the instrumentality of the standing/adhoc Committees of Secretaries. Management of major crisis situations in the country and coordinating activities of various ministries in such a situation is also one of the functions of the Cabinet Secretariat.
Allocation and disposal of Government Business
- The Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 (AoB Rules) and the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961 (ToB Rules) have been framed under Article 77 (3) of the Constitution of India. The First Schedule to the AoB Rules specifies the Ministries, Department, Offices and Secretariats while the Second Schedule lists out the business allocated to different Ministries/ Departments of the Government of India.
- The ToB Rules lay down the procedure for disposal of business and decision making in Government of India. The business of the Government of India is normally disposed of at various levels within the Ministries/ Departments by, or under the general or special directions of the Minister-in-charge subject to requisite inter-Departmental consultations stipulated in the ToB Rules. Further, the ToB Rules specify the cases for which approval of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and its Committees, and of the President is required. The cases that require approval of Cabinet are indicated in the Second Schedule to the ToB Rules, and those requiring approval of the Committees of the Cabinet are indicated in the First Schedule to the ToB Rules. The cases that require submission to the Prime Minister and the President are listed in the Third Schedule to the ToB Rules. Accordingly, while a significant portion of the Government business gets disposed of at the departmental level, certain cases, or class of cases that are important from the national perspective, require approval of the Cabinet or one of the Committees of the Cabinet.
Support to Cabinet Committees
- The secretarial assistance, provided by Cabinet Secretariat to the Cabinet and Cabinet committees, includes
- Convening of the meetings of the Cabinet & its Committees on the orders of the Prime Minister.
- Preparation and circulation of the agenda.
- Circulation of papers related to the cases on the agenda.
- Preparation of record of discussions.
- Circulation of the record of discussions after obtaining the approval of the Prime Minister.
- Monitoring implementation of decisions taken by the Cabinet and its Committees.
- The Cabinet Secretariat is the custodian of the papers of the Cabinet meetings.
- Promotion of Inter-Ministerial Coordination
- Among the inter-Ministerial matters, the coordination is required for:
- Removing difficulties.
- Removing differences.
- Overcoming delays.
- Coordination in administrative action.
- Coordination of policies.
- While each Ministry is responsible for acting on its own for expeditious implementation of Government policies, plans and programmes, where inter-Ministerial cooperation is involved, they often seek the assistance of the Cabinet Secretariat. The inter-Ministerial problems are dealt with in the meetings of the Committees of Secretaries (COS). Committees are constituted for discussing specific matters and proposals emanating from various Secretaries to the Government and meetings are held under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary. These committees have been able to break bottlenecks or secure mutually supporting inter-Ministerial action.
- The discussions of the COS take place on the basis of a paper formulated by the principal Department concerned and the Department with a different point of view, if any, providing a supplementary note. The decisions or recommendations of the COS are unanimous. These proceedings are also circulated to and are followed up by the Departments. There are other important functions which it discharges, viz.
- Promoting new policy initiatives.
- The Cabinet Secretariat is seen as a useful mechanism by the Departments for promoting inter-Ministerial coordination since the Cabinet Secretary is also the head of the civil services. Ministries/ Departments through the system of monthly DO letters apprise the Cabinet Secretary about important issues/ developments pertaining to their respective Ministry/ Department. A monthly report is also sent by Ministries/ Departments to the Cabinet Secretariat providing details on a wider range of issues such as important policy matters, compliance of CoS decisions, sanction for prosecution pending for more than 3 months, departure from ToB Rules, implementation of e-Governance etc.
- After independence, in 1949 an Economic Committee of the Cabinet was set up with its Secretariat at Ministry of Finance. In 1950 this was transferred to Cabinet Secretariat and designated as Economic Wing and ultimately merged with the Secretariat in 1955. In 1954, the Organisation and Methods Division was established under the Cabinet Secretariat which was later transferred to Ministry of Home Affairs during 1964.
- In 1957, the Defence Committee of the Cabinet was constituted under Cabinet Secretariat for which officers were drawn from the Defence services. This wing was transferred during 1991 to the Ministry of Defence. Department of Statistics was created in 1961 under Cabinet Secretariat which was transferred to Ministry of Planning in Feb. 1973. Department of Special Economic Coordination was set up under Cabinet Secretariat in 1962 and later transferred to Ministry of Economic Defence Coordination and at present the Department does not exist. The Intelligence Wing was set up to provide secretarial assistance to the Joint Intelligence Committee in 1965.
- The Bureau of Public Enterprises was brought under the Cabinet Secretariat for short duration from Jan. 1966 to June, 1966 and later transferred to Deptt. of Economic Affairs under Ministry of Finance and later during 1985 to the Deptt. of Public Enterprises under Ministry of Industry.
- In June, 1970 three departments namely:
- Department of Electronics
- Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and
- Department of Personnel
- were created under Cabinet Secretariat and in July, 1970 Directorate General of Revenue Intelligence-cum-Directorate of Enforcement was set up under Deptt. of Cabinet Affairs under Cabinet Secretariat and later this directorate was shifted to Department of Personnel in August, 1970.
- Department of Scientific and Industrial Research became independent department in May, 1971.
- The Department of Electronics became independent department in 1971 and the Department of Personnel became independent. Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms were transferred to the Ministry of Home Affairs from the Cabinet Secretariat. At present it is a part of Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension with a bifurcation as Department of Personnel and training and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances.
- Department of Ocean Development was created in July 1981 under Cabinet Secretariat and became independent department in Feb. 1982.
- Directorate Of Public Grievances (DPG)
- The Directorate of Public Grievances was set up in the Cabinet Secretariat in March, 1988. This Directorate entertains grievances from the public. Citizens can file grievances, either on paper or online with the Directorate of Public Grievance in respect of Departments/organizations which have extensive public interface such as MTNL/BSNL, Railways, Posts, Insurance Companies, Public Sector Bank, etc.
- Depending on nature and gravity of the grievances, the Directorate either seeks comments or transfers the same for appropriate action to the concerned Department(s).
- National Authority, Chemical Weapons Convention (NA, CWC)
- National Authority, Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was set up by a resolution of Cabinet Secretariat dated 5th May 1997 to fulfill the obligations enunciated in the Chemical Weapons Convention initially signed by 130 countries in a conference which concluded on 14th January 1993 for the purpose prohibiting of the development, production, execution, transfer, use and stockpiling of all chemical weapons by Member-States is a non-discriminatory process. To fulfill its obligations, each State Party has to designate or establish a National Authority to serve as the national focal point for effective liaison with Organization for Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons and other State Parties and hence the NA, CWC under the administrative control of the Cabinet Secretariat was set up.
- The National Authority is headed by the Chairperson who is in the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India and is supported by a suitable Technical Secretariat to look after the various functions. A High Level Steering Committee under the Chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary with Secretary (Chemical and Petrochemicals), Foreign Secretary, Secretary, Defence Research & Development, Defence Secretary and Chairman, National Authority as its other members would oversee the functions of the National Authority. The National Authority, CWC is responsible for implementation of CWC Act, liaison with CWC and other State parties, Collection of data fulfilling of declaration obligations, negotiating facility agreements, coordinating OPCW inspections, providing appropriate facilities for training national inspectors and industry personnel, ensuring protection of confidential business information, checking declarations for consistency, accuracy and completeness, registration of entitles engaged in activities related to CWC etc.
Direct Benefit Transfer(DBT) Mission
- DBT is a major reform initiative where benefits, cash or in-kind, are delivered directly to identified beneficiaries using Aadhaar. It envisages efficiency and inclusion in the delivery processes leading to greater accountability and transparency in the system.
- DBT Mission was created in the Planning Commission to act as a nodal point for implementation of DBT. The Mission was transferred to the Department of Expenditure in July’13 and shifted to Cabinet Secretariat w.e.f. 14.09.2015.
- Office of Principal Scientific Adviser (O/o PSA)
- The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India (O/o of PSA) was set-up in November, 1999 , primarily to:
- Evolve polices, strategies and missions for the generation of innovations and support systems for multiple applications,
- Generate science and technology tasks in critical infrastructure, economic and social sectors in partnership with Government departments, institutions and industry,
- Office of PSA also services the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC)
- Office of PSA has been placed administratively under the Cabinet Secretariat in August, 2018.
1.What is the Council of Ministers in India?
Ans. The Council of Ministers in India is a group of senior government officials, including Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State, who assist the Prime Minister in the administration of the country.
2. Where can I find the current list of Council of Ministers in India?
Ans. The most up-to-date list of the Council of Ministers in India can be found on the official website of the Government of India or in reputable news sources.
3.What is the definition of the Council of Ministers?
Ans. The Council of Ministers is a body of senior government officials appointed by the head of state or government to assist in the administration and decision-making process of a country.
4. Who are the current Cabinet Ministers of Jharkhand?
Ans. The composition of the Cabinet Ministers in Jharkhand may change depending on the government in power. To find the current list, you can refer to the official website of the Jharkhand government or trusted news sources.
5. What does “Council of Ministers” mean?
Ans. The “Council of Ministers” refers to a group of high-ranking government officials who are responsible for assisting the head of government or state in the administration and governance of a country or region.
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