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Functions of the Prime Minister

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Know what are the powers and functions of Indian Prime Minister?

Narendra Modi is personally the 15th Prime Minister of India.  Article 75 of the Indian Constitution only says that there will be a Prime Minister of India, who will be appointed by the President of India. The Prime Minister is the leader of the Council of Ministers.  The President is only a nominal head while the principal executive powers are vested in the Prime Minister.

In India, the President is the head of the nation while the Prime Minister is the head of the government.  That is, in the Constitution of India, the post of Prime Minister gets real power while the President is only a nominal ruler.  Before assuming office, the Prime Minister is administered the oath of office and secrecy by the President of India.

 The main functions in relation to the Council of Ministers are as follows:

  1. The Prime Minister suggests the names of the members of his party to be appointed as a minister. The President can appoint only those ministers whose names are recommended by the Prime Minister.
  2. He determines which department will be given to which minister and he (Prime Minister) can also reshuffle the portfolios among the ministers.
  3. He also presides over the meeting of the Council of Ministers and can change the decision according to his wish.
  4. Prime Minister may ask a minister to resign or advise the President to dismiss him in case of differences of opinion.
  5. He also controls and directs the activities of all ministers.
  6. He can also advise the President to dismiss the entire cabinet. That is, he can also advise the President to dissolve the Lok Sabha and hold elections afresh.

 Note: If the Prime Minister resigns from his post or he dies, then other ministers cannot function that is, the Council of Ministers automatically dissolves with the resignation or death of the Prime Minister.

Rights in relation to appointments:

The President has the right to give an opinion regarding the appointment of the following officers by the Prime Minister:

  1. Comptroller and Auditor General of India
  2. Attorney-General of India

 III. Appointment of Chairman and members of  the Union Public Service Commission

  1. Election Commissioners of ECI (Election Commission of India)

IV.Election of Chairman and members of Finance Commission

 Rights with reference to the Parliament:-

The Prime Minister is the leader of the lower house and he exercises the following powers-

  1. He advises the President to convene and prorogue the Parliament.
  2. He can advise the President to dissolve the Lok Sabha at any time.
  3. He declares the policies of the Government on the floor of the House

Other powers of Prime Minister:

  1. He plays an important role in shaping the foreign policy of the nation.
  2. He is the chief spokesperson of the Central Government.
  3. He is the leader of the ruling party.
  4. The Chairman of the Planning Commission, National Development Council, National Integration Council, Inter-State Council, and the National Water Resources Council.
  5. He is the crisis- manager-in-chief at the political level during emergencies.
  6. He is the political head of the services.

Relations with the President:-

The relationship between the President and the Prime Minister is given in the following two points-

  1. Article 74: There will be a Council of Ministers to aid and advise the President, whose head will be the Prime Minister. The President will act as per the advice of the Prime Minister, however, the President may ask the Council of Ministers to reconsider such advice and the President shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration.
  2. Article 75:
  3. The President will appoint the Prime Minister.  On the advice of the Prime Minister, he also appoints other ministers
  4. Ministers may continue in office during the President’s pleasure.
  5. The Council of Ministers will be collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.

Duties of Prime Minister(Article 78):-

  1. To submit the report on the functions of the Council of Ministers to the President.
  2. To give complete information to the President regarding ‘foreign policy’ like emergency or any other matter in the country.
  3. Inform the President on all decisions of the Council of Ministers related to the functioning and administration of the Union.

Commenting on the functions of the Prime Minister, Dr. Ambedkar said that if any functionary under our Constitution is to be compared with the President of USA, then he will be “Prime Minister of India” and not “President”.

Thus, it can be said that in the parliamentary system of India, the President is only a nominal executive head and the real executive powers are vested in the Prime Minister.

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