According to the Indian Constitution,A Chief Minister is the elected head of government of each of Thirty-Four states and Seven union territories. According to the Constitution of India, the Governor is a state's de jure head, but de facto executive authority rests with the Chief Minister. Following elections to the state legislative assembly, the Governor usually invites the party (or coalition) with a majority of seats to form the government. The Governor appoints and swears in the Chief Minister, whose council of ministers are collectively responsible to the assembly. Based on the Westminster system, given that he retains the confidence of the assembly, the Chief Minister's term can last for the length of the assembly's life—a maximum of five years. There are no limits to the number of terms that the Chief Minister can serve.
Powers and Functions of Chief Ministers
1. The Leader of the Legislative Assembly:
The Chief Minister is the leader of the Legislative Assembly of the State. On his advice the Governor exercises his functions in matters like summoning, proroguing or, if necessary, dissolving the Legislative Assembly. As the chief spokesman of the State Government, he explains the government policies.In the matter of determining the internal policies of the State, the decision of the Chief Minister is final.He comes to the rescue of a minister if he faces any difficulty during the debates in the Assembly. He has to bear the responsibility of getting the important Bills passed.
He remains responsible to the Legislative Assembly for the acts performed by the State Council of Ministers.He has to take great care to ensure smooth conduct of the proceedings of the State Legislature by maintaining contacts and good relations with the opposition.
In case of conflict arising between him or the Council of Ministers led by him and the State Legislature, he can advise the Governor to dissolve the Legislative Assembly. In such cases, the Governor may also reject his advice by exercising his ‘discretionary powers’.
2. The Leader of the Council of Ministers:
The Constitution virtually gives a preeminence to the leadership of the Chief Minister by placing him ‘at the head’ of the Council of Ministers.The Governor appoints or dismisses other ministers on his advice. The Chief Minister allocates or re-allocates the portfolios among the ministers.The responsibility for maintaining unity and integrity among the members of the Council of Ministers lies mainly with him.
The policies and workings of the different ministries are monitored and co-ordinate by him. He summons and presides over the meetings of the Council of Ministers.If there is any conflict of opinion between the Chief Minister and any other minister, the latter has to resign.If the Chief Minister resigns, the entire Council of Ministers is bound to resign. So, in case of necessity, he tries to keep the Council of Ministers under his control by brandishing the threat of resignation’.In view of his total control over the Council of Ministers, he is described by many as ‘the corner-stone of the Cabinet arch’ in the state.
3. The chief adviser to the Governor:
The Chief Minister is the chief adviser to the Governor. Generally the Governor exercises all his functions on the advice of the Chief Minister.Besides, he has to act as the principal channel of communication between the Governor and the Council of Ministers.It is his duty to communicate to the Governor all decisions of the Council of Ministers.He has to furnish such information relating to the affairs of the State as the Governor may call for.
4. The Leader of the majority party or alliance:
It is the leader of the majority party or alliance in the Legislative Assembly whom the Governor appoints the Chief Minister. He has to lead the party in and outside the Assembly, and to see that the image, popularity, integrity and discipline of the party are maintained.
He is always active to reconcile the policy of the party or the alliance with that of the Government. The popularity of the ruling party largely depends on the personality and efficiency of the Chief Minister.
5. Miscellaneous functions
It is an important function of the Chief Minister to maintain contact with the people at large.He has to keep a watchful eye on the public opinion at the time of formulating government policy and performing his functions.
He discusses the problems and issues of the State and tries to form public opinion in support of his party or alliance through his speeches in the radio, the T.V., public meetings etc.
Salary of Chief Minister
The salary of Chief Minister of a state in India, like that of the prime minister of the country, is accompanied by a number of other allowances, besides the basic pay, such as constituency allowances, sumptuary allowances ( tax free) and daily allowances.
The salary of the CM is decided by the respective state legislatures in the country, as per Article 164 of the Indian Constitution. Thus it varies from one state to another.
Facility of Chief Minister
Medical facilities, residential facilities, reimbursement of electricity and phone charges, traveling facilities and many more are allotted to the Chief Minister of the state.
The amount allotted for each of these facilities to the Chief Minister varies from one state to another, as these are specifically detailed in the respective state legislatures of the country
He has the right to avail the free medical treatment, reimbursement and free accommodation in all hospitals run by the Government and other referral hospitals declared by the government as per Medical Attendance Rules.
The Chief Minister is entitled to have a rent-free and well furnished residence. It varies with the state.
Reimbursement of Electricity and Phone Charges
A fixed amount of money as reimbursement against phone call charges made in a month can be reimbursed by the Chief minister. A fixed quantity of electricity units are allotted free of cost to the Chief Minister, for the monthly consumption of electricity.
In a year, a fixed amount of money for Chief Minister’s traveling expenses is given. According to Article 164 of the Indian Constitution the amount can vary. In a year , for free traveling a certain amount is fixed.
Selection Process of Chief Minister
.The appointing authority is the governor, who suggests a vote of confidence procedurally in the state legislature, to establish the selection of the Chief Minister. By the people of a state, Chief Minister cannot be directly elected as per the the Westminster model of parliamentary system which is followed by India.
·Particular representatives from various constituencies in a state can only be elected by the people as the members of the state legislature or MLAs of the Vidhan Sabha. These representatives, especially from the majority party which forms the government, then choose the Chief Minister from among them. Chief Minister serves for a period of five years. However, the tenure of the Chief Minister can be terminated by the governor before the period of five years, when the majority party loses the confidence vote in the state legislative assembly.
·Chief Minister serves for a time period of 5 years. When the state legislative assembly is dissolved and fresh elections are held in the Vidhan Sabha (Legislative Assembly). Chief Minister can be terminated by the governor before the term of five years, when the majority party/alliance loses the confidence vote in the state legislative assembly. Before the completion of his period, Chief Minister can also resign from his post.
·Chief Minister has no age for retirement. For becoming the Chief Minister 25 years is the minimum age .
Pension of Chief Minister
According to Indian Constitution , the Chief Minister of a state is entitled to a certain amount of pension after his or her retirement. However, the amount varies in the respective state legislatures. In the case of death of the Chief Minister, his or her spouse is entitled to pension too.