Central Council of Ministers : Civil Services Exam Preparation
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Central Council of Ministers : Civil Services Exam Preparation

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Central Council of Ministers: Civil Services Exam Preparation 

The Council of Ministers is a traditional name given to the supreme executive organ in some governments. Councils of Ministers are usually composed of those Ministers who are responsible for a ministry and are usually led by a President of the Council of Ministers.

Central Council of Ministers Civil Services Exam Preparation

Art. 74:

Council of Ministers to aid and advise President:

  1. There shall be a CoM with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President who shall, in the exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice. However, President may require the CoM to reconsider such advice and the President shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration.
  2. The advice tendered by Ministers to the President shall not be inquired into in any court.

Art. 75:

Other Provisions as to Ministers:

  1. The Prime Minister(PM) shall be appointed by the President and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the PM.
  2. 91st Amendment Act restricted the strength of CoM to 15% of the total strength of Lok Sabha.
  3. If a member of Parliament is disqualified on the ground of defection, then he would not be eligible to become a minister. He should contest again in the next parliamentary election to be eligible to become a minister.
  4. The Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the President.
  5. The CoM shall be collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.
  6. The President shall administer the oaths of office and secrecy to a minister
  7. A minister must be a member of either House of Parliament. If not, he will cease to be a minister unless he manages to get elected or nominated to either of the two Houses within 6 months.
  8. The salaries and emoluments of ministers are determined by the Parliament.
  9. Ministers may be chosen from any House of the Parliament. A minister who is a member of one House has the right to speak in and to take part in the proceedings of the other House but he has no right to vote in the House of which he is not a member.

Art. 77:

Conduct of Business of the Government of India:

  1. All executive action of the Government of India shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the President.
  2. Orders and other instruments made and executed in the name of the President shall be authenticated to be made by the President. Also, the validity of such authenticated instrument shall not be called in question on the ground that it is not an order or instrument made or executed by the President.
  3. The President shall make rules for the more convenient transaction of the business of the Government of India, and for the allocation among Ministers made or executed by the President.

Art. 78:

Duties of Prime Minister:

It shall be the duty of the Prime Minister:

  1. To communicate to the President all decisions of the CoM relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation.
  2. To furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation as the President may call for
  3. If the President so requires, to submit for the consideration of the CoM any matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but which has not been considered by the Council.

3 Types of Ministers:

  • Cabinet Ministers
  • Minister of State
  • Deputy Minister

Note: 1 more category “Parliamentary Secretaries” is there which has no department under its control. They only assist senior ministers. Since 1967, no parliamentary Secretaries appointed. 

Cabinet Ministers:

  1. They are experienced Ministers who hold important portfolios like Home, Defence, Finance, External affairs, etc.
  2. They always head a ministry and are given independent charge of it, unless he is appointed a Minister without portfolio.
  3. He attends the meeting of the cabinet in his own right.
  4. He is assisted by Ministers of State, Deputy Minister, or both.

Minister of State:

  1. He may be given independent charge of a Ministry but normally he assists a Cabinet Minister.
  2. He cannot attend the meetings of the cabinet in his own right but can attend the meeting when invited.
  3.  Normally he is invited if given independent charge of the ministry.

Deputy Minister:

  1. He is not given independent charge of any ministry.
  2. He gets trained by assisting the Cabinet Minister or Minister of State.
  3. He does not attend a Cabinet meeting.

Central Council of Ministers : Civil Services Exam Preparation

Central Council of Ministers : Civil Services Exam Preparation



Principles on which Cabinet system works:

  • Collective Responsibility
  • Individual Responsibility
  • No Legal Responsibility

Collective Responsibility:

“Art. 75(3) states that the CoM shall be collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.”

  1. A government remains in office till it enjoys the confidence of the Lok Sabha.
  2. Collective responsibility means that all the Ministers are collectively answerable to the Lok Sabha for the policies of the Government, even though the decision has been taken by a single Ministry.
  3. Once a decision has been taken by the Cabinet, it is the duty of each and every minister to support it in Parliament and outside. If he disapproves, he has to resign.

Collective responsibility can only be achieved through Prime Minister, because:

  1. No person can be nominated to the Cabinet without the advice of the Prime Minister.
  2. No person shall be retained as a member of the Cabinet if PM asks to dismiss him.

With the increase in the formation of Coalition Governments, collective responsibility is at stake. It severely affects the solidarity of the Cabinet.

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  2 Tests Full-length GS

Individual Responsibility:

“Art. 75(2) says that the Ministers hold office during the pleasure of the President.”

It means that the Ministers can be removed by the President anytime. However, President acts on the advice of the PM, this power, in reality, is exercised by the PM.

No Legal Responsibility:

  1. In the U.K., every public act is counter-signed by the Minister, so it is the Minister who is legally responsible for any act, not the monarch.
  2. But in India, an order of the President need not be signed by the concerned minister of the department. Also, the courts barred from inquiring into the nature of advice given by the ministers. So, Cabinet has no legal responsibility.

Kitchen Cabinet:

  1. Being a smaller body than the cabinet, consisting of the Prime Minister and 2 or 4 influential colleagues, it is a more efficient decision-making body than a cabinet.
  2. It can meet often and make the decision-making process fast and can maintain the secrecy of decisions.
  3. But, it reduces the status of the Cabinet as the highest decision-making body and allows outside people to influence government functioning.

Features of Cabinet Committees:

  1. It is an Extra-Constitutional body set up by PM according to requirements of time-varying in its strength of members.

Two types:

  • Standing(Permanent)
  • Ad-hoc(Temporary)
  1. Set up to decrease the workload of the Cabinet. They sort out issues, formulate proposals for consideration of the cabinet and take decisions also. However, Cabinet can review their decisions.

Economic Affairs Committee:

  1. Chairman- Prime Minister
  2. Members- Finance Minister + Rural Development Minister + Industry Minister.
  3. It directs and coordinates Government activities in the economic field and also regulates the working of the national economy.

Committee on Parliamentary Affairs:

  1. Chairman- Home Minister
  2. Members- Information and Broadcasting Minister + Minister for Labour and Parliamentary Affairs + Law Minister.
  3. It looks after the Government business in Parliament to secure the smooth passage of legislation and determine Government’s attitude to non-official Bills and resolutions coming before the Parliament.

Appointment Committee:

  1. Chairman- Prime Minister
  2. Members- Home Minister + Minister concerned
  3. It takes decisions regarding:
  4. Secretariat appointments of the rank of Deputy Secretary and above
  5. Chairman, Managing Directors and General Managers and state-owned public corporations, companies, and enterprises including Governor of Reserve Bank
  6. Other appointments requiring approval of the Government of India and which carry a salary
  7. Deciding matters of disagreement regarding an appointment between Union Public Service Commission and the Department concerned

Cabinet Meetings:

  1. Presided over by Prime Minister.
  2. Presided over by a senior Minister, nominated by the Prime Minister, if Prime Minister is out of town. 
  3. They meet normally once a week and more if the need arises.
  4. When the meeting gets over, the Cabinet Secretary present prepares, and circulates a summary containing the decisions reached.

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