Council of Ministers functions
ï¿½The Council of Ministers functions on the principles of parliamentary features which are summed up as under:
(a) Ministers have to be members of the parliament to be members of either house within a period of six months, or else vacate the office as ministers;
(b) All the ministers are collectively responsible to the lower house of the Parliament, i.e. Lok Sabha (c) ï¿½They work as one unit;
(d) ï¿½They usually belong to the majority party/parties;
(e) ï¿½The proceedings of cabinet meetings are always kept secret;
(f) All the ministers function under the leadership of the Prime Minister, who presides over cabinet meetings. ï¿½The two types of responsibility needs a thorough discussion: the collective responsibility and the individual responsibility. ï¿½The Collective responsibility is the responsibility of the whole Council of Ministers as one unit, one team which, in simple words means the responsibility of the minister as also the responsibility of all other ministersï¿½a shared responsibility : the no-confidence move against one minister is a move against the whole Council of Ministers. It is a responsibility of the whole team of ministers towards the House of the People (Lok Sabha), a responsibility expressed through the leadership of the Prime Minister.
All the ministers work under the supervision of the Prime Minister and all of them work in accordance with his directives and guidance: no minister can function or remain in office while having differences with the Prime Minister. ï¿½The other responsibility is the responsibility of the individual minister, the responsibility of the minister with regard to his department or ministry: each minister is responsible for the acts of commission and omission of his ministry: it is a responsibility through which a minister is responsible for self as a ministerï¿½through it he answers the questions asked to him by members of the Parliament and it is through it that the minister explains the working of the department under his charge. ï¿½The collective responsibility represents the principles that all the ministers swim together and also sink together; the individual responsibility represents the principle that each minister lives for himself. But both the types of responsibility, in the parliamentary system of government, function together, side by side, in parallel to each other.
ï¿½The Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at its head is the real executive in India. In fact, the Council of Ministers are the real rulers whose functions, though important, can be summed up as under:
(a) it formulates all policies of the government;
(b) it carries on the administration of the government;
(c) it recommends all major appointments;
(d) it prepares the national budget through the Finance Minister;
(e) it advises the President on all matters of administration;
(f) it takes the final decisions regarding administration and legislative proposals;
(g) it regulates foreign relations. ï¿½The Council of Ministers works through its committees. Important committees among these are: Political Affairs Committee, Economic Affairs Committee, Appointments Committee, Parliamentary Affairs Committee. In fact, an inner cabinet consisting of core ministers supervises all functions of administration.
ï¿½There is the Cabinet Secretariat headed by an administrative official called the Cabinet Secretary who, usually is the senior most civil servant, one who conducts and coordinates the whole administration.
Written by princy