The Prime Minister of India, who presides over the Council of Ministers and selects its members, serves as the president's principal counsellor. Based on their level of seniority and political significance, the Council of Ministers is divided into several groups, including the Cabinet, Minister of State, Deputy Minister, and Parliamentary Secretaries.
Cabinet Minister vs Council of Ministers
The Council of Ministers' central body is the Cabinet. It has 15–18 members, all of whom are among the council's most senior and capable ministers. The Prime Minister of India is chosen by the President of India from the Lok Sabha's majority party or coalition, who then chooses the Council of Ministers.
Difference Between Cabinet and Council of Ministers (In tabular Form)
|Basis||Cabinet Ministers||Council of Ministers|
|Meaning||The Cabinet is a small group of the Council formed to discuss and choose governmental policies. It is made up of the most seasoned and powerful members.||The Council of Ministers is a group that provides the President with advice on a variety of issues and was established to help the Prime Minister administer the government.|
|Body||Previously, it was not a constitutional body, but in 1978, a change to the Act gave the cabinet that standing.||Legislative Body|
|Size||has between 15 and 18 ministries.||Has between 40 and 60 ministries.|
|Division||It belongs to the council's subsidiary.||The cabinet is one of four divisions of the Council of Ministers.|
|Meeting||Held frequently.||seldom held.|
|Collective functions||Several group activities.||No group activities|
|Policy making||carried out by Cabinet.||Puts the cabinet's decisions into action.|
|Decisions||decides on policies and oversees their execution.||Collectively answerable to Parliament's lower house.|
|Responsibilities||Seldom held.||enforce the council's collective accountability to the lower chamber.|
|Powers||acts and exercises authority on the council's behalf.||theoretically endowed with all powers.|
The Cabinet is the highest-ranking governing body, the centre of policymaking, and it combines and directs the work of Parliament in addition to coordinating and supervising the whole executive branch of the Union.
India has a legislative structure that is modelled on the British model, yet the Indian Cabinet takes on responsibilities that the British Cabinet would never dare. Article 123 of the Constitution, for instance, gives the President the authority to enact Ordinances that have the same authority and impact as an Act of Parliament.
Committees are being used by the Cabinet to carry out its business. A cumbersome Council of Ministers would not be able to manage the intricate company. As a result, committees were established to speed up work completion. The Appointments Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Joint Planning Committee, the Defense Committee, the Economic Affairs Committee, and the Legislative Committee are committees of great importance.
They are made up of very important Cabinet members. The Cabinet is now only allowed to act as a ratifying body as a result. According to Dr Ambedkar, "the Cabinet has merely devolved into a mere recording and registration office of the decisions already reached by committees." They operate behind a wall of secrecy.
Cabinet as Coordinator
Coordination between the populace and the prime minister is one of the numerous executive functions carried out by the Cabinet. Coordinating and directing the operations of the many Ministries and Departments of Government is the Cabinet's main responsibility. The formation of the Cabinet and the increased difficulty of coordination within the Welfare State and the Five-Year Plan's implementation. Plans have resulted in a major expansion of the Cabinet Secretariat's responsibilities.
Appointment Making Power
There are several people whom the President appoints. Most of these appointments are made on the Cabinet's recommendation. Therefore, important figures like governors of states, judges of the Supreme Court and High Court, and members of the Union Public Service Commission are picked by the Cabinet and appointed by the President based on the Cabinet's proposal.
- Bill Introduction: - The Cabinet and administrative departments oversee creating, arguing for, and presenting legislation. Over 95% of the legislation submitted in the House is directed by the Cabinet. It also directs the bill as it moves through the various stages of the legislative process, from introduction to final enactment.
- Information obtained from: - Through their spokespeople, the ministries interact with the public. They accomplish this by replying to inquiries from members of the Lok Sabha and the secretaries of the concerned departments.
- Constitutional Amendments: - The Constitutional Amendment must be developed and put into effect by the Cabinet.
- Summoning the Houses of Parliament: - The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs calls the Houses even though the President usually does.
- President’s special address: - The President's Special Address to Parliament is prepared by the Cabinet. These legislative programs are submitted before the start of the Lok Sabha's first session after each general election and the beginning of the first session of Parliament.
- Budget: - The yearly budget, which includes estimates of revenue and expenditures for the following fiscal year, is the responsibility of the finance minister. The Cabinet's recommendations cannot be changed, even though Parliament approves the budget. National finances are under the supervision of the Cabinet.
- Government’s finances: - The Cabinet is responsible for controlling how much money the government spends, recommending grants when necessary, and ensuring that enough money is raised through taxes and other means.
- Introducing Money Bills: - A money bill can only be passed by the Lok Sabha.
- Policy Making: - The Cabinet is thought of as the body that develops government policy. It formulates both internal and external government policies. The Cabinet also decides on matters related to imports, elections, the creation of new states, economic policy, security requirements, industrial strategy, and the president's power over the government. While they must confer with the Cabinet on matters of importance, individual ministers have a reasonable amount of discretion in their decisions.
- Implementation of Policies: - The Minister of State and the Deputy Minister of the relevant ministries are informed of all cabinet decisions on any matter. The ministers sort out the details and give them to the government employees so that the decision can be carried out. This helps the Council of Ministers, and the involved civil servants manage government business.
- Coordination of Activities of Various Ministers: - Government policy is created and carried out by numerous departments. Coordination of the efforts of several departments is the responsibility of the Cabinet. Among other things, government initiatives include enhancing public health care and lowering unemployment.
- Through their responses to questions from Lok Sabha members, Cabinet Ministers provide information to the public.
- The President's specific address to Parliament has been prepared by the Cabinet.
- Constitutional Amendments are drafted and carried out by Cabinet Ministers.
Council of Ministers
Such advice must be approved by most of the Cabinet and given to the President in writing, according to the 45th Amendment to the Constitution. All the president's executive powers have been formally listed. But as has already been mentioned, our form of government is parliamentary. Because of this, our President merely serves as the official head of state; the Council of Ministers has actual power. As a result, the Prime Minister-led Powers of the Council of Ministers of India are the most influential body in Indian politics.
Composition of Council of Ministers
The President is required to appoint the people on the Prime Minister's list of colleagues who should be appointed as Ministers from among the Members of Parliament. Thus, the Prime Minister is given complete authority over the selection of members for his Council of Ministers.
Categories of Council of Ministers
- The most significant members of the Council of Ministers are cabinet ministers. They are the actual ministers with significant portfolios.
- The second type of minister is the minister of state. They might or might not oversee a portfolio on their own. The prime minister might or might not ask for their opinions.
- Deputy Ministers: The third group of ministers supports the Council of Ministers and the Cabinet ministers.
- The Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers serve at the pleasure of the President, according to the Constitution. But even here, the President doesn't have much authority.
The Council of Ministers: Powers and Functions
- Making policy: The most knowledgeable, powerful, and well-respected members of the ruling party are invariably the Council of Ministers. The Powers of the Council of Ministers of India are responsible for making important decisions about policy. In their sessions, they make decisions and layout policies pertaining to every branch of the government. They have every right to disagree on policy questions in the Cabinet Room. But once a choice has been made, they must speak with one voice. They are not allowed to publicly criticize such a policy. Because of this, this component is referred to as the Cabinet's collective responsibility.
- Implementation: - The Minister of State and the Deputy Minister of the relevant Ministry are informed once a policy decision has been made on any matter. They jot down the broad strokes and provide them to the city workers associated with that Ministry to put into practice. In this approach, the Council of Ministers and the relevant city officials work together to handle the Government's business.
Powers of the Council of Ministers
- The Ministers oversee all government departments, and it is their duty to oversee the administration in a professional manner.
- The Council of Ministers is responsible for upholding law and order in the nation.
- They present bills, take part in discussions, and cast votes.
- The Council of Ministers prepares the state budgets.
- They assess the Planning Commission's and planning's job.
- The Council of Ministers' duties also include overseeing the President's and other ministers' overseas trips.
Role of the Council of Ministers
- The formulation, implementation, assessment, and modification of public policy in a variety of areas where the ruling party tries to advance and put into practice.
- Coordination between multiple ministries and other government agencies that may engage in disputes, waste, duplication of effort, and empire-building.
- Creating and overseeing the legislative agenda, which used statutory enactments to put the government's policies into practice.
- Executive control over the administration through rule-making authority, the appointment of officials, and management of political and natural crises and disasters.
- Fiscal oversight and management of monies like the Consolidated Fund and Contingency monies of India.
Main Difference Between Cabinet and Council of Ministers in Points
- The Cabinet is a small group of the Council formed to discuss and choose the government's policies. It is made up of the most seasoned and powerful members. The Council of Ministers is a group that provides the President with advice on a variety of issues and was established to help the Prime Minister administer the government.
- Articles 74 and 75 of the Indian Constitution contain a detailed description of the provisions relating to the Council of Ministers. In contrast, the phrase "cabinet" appears only once in Article 352, which was likewise added in 1978 as part of the 44th Amendment Act.
- The senior-most ministers make up the cabinet, which has between 15 and 18 members. The Council of Ministers, on the other hand, is a larger group with between 40 and 60 members.
- The Council of Ministers is broken up into different classes of ministers, with the cabinet serving as a subset of the council while the prime minister assigns ranks and portfolios to the ministers.
- Every week, there is a cabinet meeting to discuss and make decisions on a variety of issues. In contrast to this, the Council of Minister’s sessions is infrequently held.
- While the Council of ministers lacks collective functions, the cabinet performs several of them.
- The Cabinet, not the council of ministers, oversees making policies.
- Policy decisions are made by the cabinet, while the council of ministers oversees their execution. The cabinet's decisions are instead carried out by the council of ministers.
- The cabinet upholds the Council of ministers' joint accountability to the House of People. In contrast, the cabinet is answerable to the Lok Sabha, the House of the People.
- The Council of Ministers is given complete authority under the constitution, but the Cabinet executes this authority.
The cabinet and the council of ministers are both headed by the prime minister. Although it is commonly believed that the cabinet advises the president, the truth is that the council of ministers does. These are two distinct organizations that support the efficient operation of the government.