Prime Minister of India

The Prime Minister of India is head of the Council of Ministers, appointed by the President to assist the latter in the administration of the affairs of the executive in India. The Prime Minister is responsible for the discharge of the functions and power vested in the President in terms of the Constitution of India. He is appointed by the President, being recognized as the leader of the majority party in the two Houses of the Parliament of India.

Constitutional framework and position of Prime Minister

The Constitution envisages a scheme of affairs in which the President of India is technically the head of the executive in terms of Article 53 with office of the Prime Minister as heading the Council of Ministers to assist and advise the President in the discharge of the executive power. To quote, Article 53 and 74 provide as under;

The phrase "act in accordance with such advice" was a subject of considerable litigation and dispute in the initial days of the Indian executive but was settled by the Supreme Court of India as referring to mean that the President was bound by the advice tendered by the Prime Minister unless it was evident that the Prime Minister did not enjoy the majority support of the Parliament. [ cite web |url=http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/qrydisp.aspx?filename=6215 |title=Shamsher Singh v. State of Punjab (decision of Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court of India holding that President is bound by the advise of the Prime Minister) |publisher= judis.nic.in | accessdate=2008-06-05 |last= |first= ] Since then the role of the President has been reduced to a nominal head as approving the decisions of the Prime Minister, except in certain exceptional circumstances wherein the Constitution requires the President to decide on the basis of his personal opinion, such as deciding whom to invite to form the Government after the general elections.

Typically like most parliamentary democracies where the Head of State's duties are largely ceremonial, the Prime Minister of India is the head of government and has effective responsibility for executive power. With India following a parliamentary system of government (known as the "Westminster system" after that of the United Kingdom), the Prime Minister is generally the leader of a party (or coalition of parties) that has a majority in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India. The Prime Minister either has to be a current member of one of the houses of Parliament, or be elected within six months of being appointed.

Role of the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister leads the functioning and exercise of authority of the Government of India. He is invited by the President as leader of the majority party in the Parliament of India to form a government at the federal level (known as "Central Government" in India) and exercise its powers. In practice the Prime Minister nominates the members of his Council of Ministers cite web |url=http://pmindia.nic.in/team.htm |title= Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers |publisher=pmindia.nic.in |accessdate=2008-06-05 |last= |first= ] [ cite web |url=http://pmindia.nic.in/mos_ind.htm |title= Ministers of State (Independent Charge) |publisher=pmindia.nic.in |accessdate=2008-06-05 |last= |first= ] [ cite web |url=http://pmindia.nic.in/mos.htm |title= Ministers of State (without Independent Charge) |publisher=pmindia.nic.in |accessdate=2008-06-05 |last= |first= ] to the President. He also works upon to decide a core group of Ministers (known as the Cabinet) as in-charge of the important functions and ministries of the Government of India.

As the head of the government, the Prime Minister is responsible for distribution of work of the Government to various ministries and offices and in terms of the "Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961" [ cite web |url=http://cabsec.nic.in/abr/welcome.html |title=(Allocation of Business) Rules 1961 |publisher=cabsec.nic.in |accessdate=2008-06-05 |last= |first= ] whereunder the Prime Minister's Office [ cite web |url=http://pmindia.nic.in/ |title=Prime Minister's Office |publisher=pmindia.nic.in |accessdate=2008-06-05 |last= |first= ] allocates the work to be performed by various Ministries. The work is generally allocates to the Cabinet Secretariat [ cite web |url=http://cabsec.gov.in/ |title=Cabinet Secretariat,Govt.of India |publisher=cabsec.gov.in |accessdate=2008-06-05 |last= |first= ] which in turn acts as a nodal agency for the functioning of the various Ministries. While generally the entire work of the Government in divided into various Ministries, the Prime Minister may retain certain portfolios with himself.

The Prime Minister, in consultation with the Cabinet, schedules and attends the sessions of the Houses of Parliament and is required to answer the question put to him by the Members of Parliament [ cite web |url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Members_of_Parliament#India |title=Member of Parliament - Wikipedia |publisher=en.wikipedia.org |accessdate=2008-06-05 |last= |first= ] to him as the in-charge of the portfolios he holds or in his capacity as the Prime Minister of India. [ cite web |url=http://pmindia.nic.in/parl.htm
title= PM's answers to Parliamentary Questions |publisher=pmindia.nic.in |accessdate=2008-06-05 |last= |first=
] The Prime Minister is also the "ex officio" Chairman of the Planning Commission of India. He also appoints the Deputy Chairman of the Commission, who is responsible for the functioning of the Commission and reports to the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister represents the country in various delegations, high level meetings and international organizations that require the attendance of the highest government office [ cite web |url=http://pmindia.nic.in/visits.htm |title= Recent Visit of the Prime Minister |publisher=pmindia.nic.in |accessdate=2008-06-05 |last= |first= ] and also addresses to the nation on various issues of national or other importance. [ cite web |url=http://pmindia.nic.in/message.htm |title= Recent National Messages of the PM |publisher=pmindia.nic.in |accessdate=2008-06-05 |last= |first= ] He also has to his exclusive jurisdiction the disposal of two national funds, (i) the PM's National Relief Fund [ cite web |url=http://pmindia.nic.in/relieffund.htm |title=PM's National Relief Fund |publisher=pmindia.nic.in |accessdate=2008-06-05 |last= |first= ] , and (ii) the PM's National Defence Fund [ cite web |url=http://pmindia.nic.in/fundnationalbody.htm |title=PM's National Defence Fund |publisher=pmindia.nic.in |accessdate=2008-06-05
last= |first=
] , which he uses in his discretion to the attainment of the objectives behind the establishment of these funds.

List of Prime Ministers of India

Till date there have been 14 people who have occupied the office of the Prime Minister of India which in terms of parties they represent are as under;



* * Interim - It is debatable whether Mr. Gulzari Lal Nanda was a Prime Minister or an Acting Prime Minister. The constitution does not have a position of acting Prime Minister. Mr. Nanda was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India. In contrast, the constitution provides for an acting President who discharges the duties of a President. Hence, constitutional experts and historians now agree that Mr. Nanda is the second Prime Minister of India.
* Returned to Office
* Assassinated or Died in Office
* Resigned
* Dismissed by President following a no-confidence motion

Notes

See also

* Presidents of India
* Deputy Prime Minister of India

External links

* [http://pmindia.nic.in/ The Prime Minister of India (Official site)]
* [http://pmindia.nic.in/former.htm Former Prime Ministers of India (Official site)]


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