Powers and Functions of Prime Minister of India

Powers and Functions of Prime Minister of India

After the general election, the president of India nominates the prime minister of India. It is the first step to creating the councils of ministers because the prime minister is the person by whom advice, the president appoints the council of ministers. The council of ministers and the prime minister are the important parts of our government. In this article, we will discuss the powers and functions of the prime minister of India. 

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister of India after independence.

The prime minister of India is the head of the union cabinet. He has to enjoy the confidence of the majority in Lok Sabha. If there is no majority of his party in Lok Sabha, in that case, he has to give resignation. 

Article 74 of the constitution of India

As per article 74 of the constitution of India, “there shall be a council of ministers and the prime minister will be the head of that council of ministers to aid and advise the president of India. 

It simply means that all the powers and functions of the president of India are used according to the advice of the council of ministers. 

Qualification of Prime Minister

Any person who is fulfilling the following qualifications can be the prime minister of India:

  • He should be a citizen of India
  • Should not hold any office of profit under government or any public officer.
  • He should be a member of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha
  • If the candidate is not a member of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha at the time of his selection, in that case, he must become a member of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha within 6 months. 
  • If he is a member of Lok Sabha, he should be above 25 years of age.
  • If he is a member of the Rajya Sabha, he should be above 30 years of age.

If any of the candidates for prime minister of India is elected, he must vacate his position in private or public office. 

Article 75 of the constitution of India

According to article 75 of the constitution of India, the President of India appoints the prime minister of India after general elections. After the appointment of the prime minister, the president administers the oath to the prime minister of India before he enters the prime minister’s office.

Once the prime minister of India is appointed, the president will take the advice of the prime minister of India to appoint the council of ministers who will work under the prime minister of India. The total number of the council of ministers including the prime minister should not exceed 15% of the total numbers of Lok Sabha

The president will administer the oath to all the councils of ministers. 

Tenure of the prime minister of India

There is no fixed term for the prime minister of India, he holds his office as long as his party has the majority in Lok Sabha. The time period of Lok Sabha is 5 years and after that, there will be general elections in which if his party again gains a majority, then he can continue to hold his office. 

The prime minister has to resign during the tenure of the Lok Sabha if he loses the support of the majority during the term of Lok Sabha. 

Death or resignation of the prime minister

If the prime minister dies or resigns, it will automatically dissolve the council of ministers. There will be no council of ministers without the prime minister of India. After the death or resignation of the prime minister, the president will nominate the next prime minister who has the majority in Lok Sabha. But what if any minister in council resigns? 

If any minister who is in the council of ministers resigns, the president will take the advice of the prime minister to fill the seat of that minister. 

Powers of the prime minister of India

There are different types of powers of the prime minister of India which he can use while his party is in the majority. 

Executive powers of the prime minister of India

As we know that three main pillars of the government are legislative, executive and judiciary. 

The councils of ministers are at the top of the executive. The prime minister is the head of the council of ministers. After the elections of Lok Sabha, it is the power of the prime minister that he will advise the President of India to appoint the council of ministers. After the appointment of the council of ministers:

  • The prime minister will decide the different departments for these ministers. 
  • He can interchange these departments between the ministers anytime.
  • He can change the decisions of any minister according to the needs of the party.
  • The PM can ask any of the ministers to give the resign to the president of India.

Appointment powers

The prime minister of India can advise the President of India for the appointment of different people. He can advise the president for the appointment of:

  • Comptroller Auditor General of India
  • Solicitor General of India
  • Attorney General of India
  • Election commission of India
  • RBI governor and others
  • Chairperson and members of the finance commission
  • Chief information commissioner of India
  • Information commissioners of India.
  • Chairperson and UPSC members

Legislative powers

As we know that the prime minister is the head of the council of ministers, so if the prime minister resigns, then the council of ministers cannot make the decisions and it will be dissolved automatically. 

If the prime minister thinks that, majority of his party in Lok Sabha has been dissolved, then he can suggest the President dissolve the Lok Sabha and ask for re-election. 

It is the prime minister of India who advises the president of India to call the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for their sessions. 

Military powers

We discussed in the powers of the president of India that the president-elect the chief of army, navy and airforce and the prime minister of India is known as the political head of these defence forces. To implement any strategic policy made by India related to the borders, the prime minister of India can do that by using his military powers. 

Foreign policy powers

The Prime Minister of India plays an important role in implementing foreign policies. He can take all the necessary steps to implement such policies in India. Rest of it, he is the head of:

In an emergency in India, the prime minister of India becomes the political head of disaster management

These are the major powers of the prime minister of India. He can use such powers while his party is in majority.

Functions of the prime minister of India

So let’s talk about the functions and duties of the prime minister of India. 

Duty to announce important policies

The prime minister of India must announce all the important policies made by the government. For example, all the policies like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, demonetisation in India, lockdown in India, etc are announced by the prime minister.

The constitutional obligation of the prime minister

The prime minister must communicate all the decisions or proposals made in the councils of ministers related to the making of new laws or other things to The President.

The Prime Minister of India is the Linchpin of the government. 

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru

Distribution of work

The prime minister of India helps the president to distribute the work to different ministers. The prime minister can assign the work to any member of the cabinet which is not allocated yet.

Duty to attend parliamentary sessions

The prime minister of India must attend the parliamentary sessions as a prime minister and give answers to the questions asked by members.

Country representation

The prime minister of India represents our country in high-level meetings and international organizations. 

Are the powers of the prime minister of India absolute? 

The powers of the prime minister of India depends upon the prevailing political conditions. As you know, there can be two types of government; one is a coalition government and the second is a stable government. So let’s discuss the powers and functions of the prime minister of India in different types of government.

Coalition government

A coalition is a type of government in which more than one party joins to form a majority government. We have written an article on the coalition government.  You can check for your reference. In the coalition government:

  • There will be no stability in Lok Sabha
  • The prime minister of India has to negotiate with other ruling parties member to take decisions
  • There is a maximum chance that the government will collapse
  • The coalition government affect the working of the parliamentary executive

Majority government

Any government is formed only by one party with a majority.

  • There will be stability in the party
  • The decision taken by the council of ministers and prime minister will work as a command
  • The parliamentary executive can work effectively

Key points of the prime minister of India

  • Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister of India
  • The Prime minister of India is the link between the President of India and the council of ministers
  • The Prime minister can select and dismiss the ministers.
  • He is known as the chairperson of the cabinet
  • He is the largest influencer over the legislation
  • He can use his military power to implement any political decision on borders

Conclusion

The Prime Minister of India is the union head of our legislature. All the necessary laws passed by the legislature are announced by the prime minister. The President of India can use his maximum powers after advising the prime minister of India only. The Prime minister is responsible to give all the necessary information to the president of India. The powers given in the constitution of India are divided between the president and prime minister so that both can check their decisions. 


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