The Prime Minister of India is the head of the Council of Ministers and the leader of executive branch of the Government of India.The Prime Minister is also the chief adviser to the President of India
The Prime Minister is the king-pin in the system of Cabinet government. On him rests the entire machinery of administration, its stability and policy continuity. A resignation of a Minister only leads to the withdrawal of that member from the office of minister ship whereas when the Prime Minister resigns the entire Council of Ministers is deemed to have resigned.
Qualifications needed for Prime Minister Post In India
A prime minister must:
1.be a citizen of India.
2.be a member of the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. If the person chosen as the prime minister is neither a member of the Lok Sabha nor the Rajya Sabha at the time of selection, they must become a member of either of the houses within six months.
3.be above 25 years of age if they are a member of Lok Sabha or above 30 years of age if they are a member of the Rajya Sabha.
4.not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments.
If however a candidate is elected as the prime minister they must vacate their post from any private or government company and may take up the post only on completion of their term.
Appointment of Prime Minister of India
The Constitution is silent how the President shall choose the Prime Minister. It does not also say whether he should necessarily belong to the House of the People or may be a member of either House of Parliament. If the letter of the law is to be followed strictly, a Prime Minister may be appointed without his being a member of either House of Parliament for a period of six months and after the expiry of that period he must seek election to either House.
But this shall be against the theory and practice of the parliamentary system of government as it vitiates the principle of ministerial responsibility. The convention is that the Head of the State summons the leader of the party or group commanding a majority in the House of the People to form a Ministry.
Emoluments of Prime Minister of India
The Prime Minister gets the same salary and allowances which are paid to the members of parliament. He also receives a constituency allowance like other. MPs in addition he is also entitled to a sumptuary allowance of Rs. 3000 p.m. free official residence, free travel and medical facilities.
Role and Functions of the Prime Minister of India
The Prime Minister is the keystone of the Cabinet arch. In his hand is the key of the government. According to Bagehot, he is pypen of a buckle. His function and duties are wide and his authority is enormous.
There is no positive provision in the Constitution conferring such vast powers on the Prime Minister, but the spirit of the Constitution and the principles on which it is based are as cogent sources of authority as specified provisions in the Constitution.
The Prime Minister forms the Council of Ministers, determines its size, decides the persons to be included in the Council of Ministers, names the Ministers to constitute the Cabinet and allocates offices. He may even select his colleagues from outside the ranks of his party, as Nehru did in 1950. There is nothing in the Constitution which may bind the Prime Minister in the selection of his team to make the Council of Ministers.
It is the undisputed right of the Prime Minister to shuffle and reshuffle his pack, as and when he likes. He is free in the exercise of his judgements to make such appointments as may seem appropriate to him for the stability, effectiveness and efficiency of the Government.
Both as a Captain of the team and head of the administration, it is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to ask anyone of his colleagues, whose presence in the Ministry is deemed prejudicial to the stability, efficiency, integrity or policy of the Government, to resign. A hint from the Prime Minister is sufficient to a Minister, whose exit is desired, to resign. If he defaults, he may be dismissed.
The Prime Minister has the power to advice dissolution. A difference between two Ministers or Ministries can be settled by private consultation or by arbitration by the Prime Minister. If differences emerge out of the Cabinet discussions the chairman of the Cabinet occupies a position of per-eminence which enables him to impose the decision.
Moreover, the Prime Minister is the leader of the Parliamentary Party and sixteen or more colleagues in the Cabinet owe him a personal allegiance and party loyalty. He also controls the agenda for the Cabinet meetings. It is for the Prime Minister to accept or reject proposals for Cabinet discussion.
The Prime Minister is the Manager-in-Chief of the Government’s business. He supervises and coordinates policies of the several Ministers and Ministries. He must see the Government as a whole and bring the variety of governmental activities into reasonable relationship with one another. He has the right to be consulted on all matters, important or minor, controversial or otherwise.
Apart from the overall supervision of the administration of the Union Government, the Prime Minister exercises special responsibility towards foreign, defence, finance, home and economic affairs. The Prime Minister is the Chairman of the Planning Commission and the National Development Council.
The Prime Minister is the leader of the House of the People. All principal announcements of policy and business of the Government are made by him and all questions of non-departmental affairs and critical issues relating to national and international matters are addressed to the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister initiates and intervenes in debates of general importance and also possesses an immediate authority to correct what he may regard as the errors of commission of his colleagues in the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister is the channel of communication with the President on matters of public importance and the Constitution itself establishes this channel when Article 78 prescribes it as a duty of the Prime Minister.
(a) To communicate to the President all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation;
(b) To furnish such information relating to administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation as the President may call for; and
(c) If the President so requires, to submit for consideration of the Council of Ministers matters on which a decision has been taken by a Minister but which has not been considered by the Council.
Thus, even though any particular Minister has tendered any advice to the Prime Minister without placing it before the Council of Ministers, the President has (through the Prime Minister) the power to refer the matter to be considered by the Council of Ministers. The unity of the Cabinet system will thus be enforced in India through the provisions of the written Constitution.
The patronage exercised by the Prime Minister is enormous. All major appointments are really made by him. In the course of making such appointments, he, no doubt, receives the advice of his colleagues, but the ultimate choice belongs to him.