The Prime Minister of India holds a position of utmost significance in the governance of the country. The journey to becoming Prime Minister begins with the success of a political party in a general election. The party that secures a majority of seats in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament, gains the privilege of nominating a candidate for the esteemed position of Prime Minister. This nominee is carefully chosen by the party’s leadership and carries the responsibility of setting the course and priorities for the government during their term.
Following the party’s selection, the nominated candidate’s name is presented to the Indian President, who plays a ceremonial role in this process. The President’s duty is to formally appoint the nominee as the Prime Minister of India, effectively inaugurating their leadership.
The Prime Minister, upon assuming office, takes on a multifaceted role. Not only are they the head of the government, but they also serve as the chief executive and leader of the ruling political party. Their responsibilities encompass making crucial policy decisions, representing India on the international stage, and overseeing the day-to-day functions of the government.
This tradition of appointing a Prime Minister in India traces back to the year 1947 when the nation achieved independence from British colonial rule. Jawaharlal Nehru became India’s first Prime Minister, playing a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s early years.
As of the year 2023, the incumbent Prime Minister of India is Narendra Modi. Serving multiple terms, his leadership has been marked by the implementation of significant policy initiatives, both on the domestic and international fronts, contributing to India’s growth and development. The role of the Prime Minister in India stands as a testament to the democratic process and holds profound implications for the nation’s future direction and progress.
Eligibility to be a Prime Minister
Requirements to Become the Indian Prime Minister:
- Citizenship of India.
- Membership in either the Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha.
- A minimum age of 30 years if a member of the Rajya Sabha, or 25 years if a member of the Lok Sabha.
Role and Status of the Prime Minister:
- Throughout Indian history, from the time of the first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister holds a highly esteemed position.
- This elevated status is attributed to the Prime Minister’s prominent role within the Cabinet and their leadership of the majority party.
- The Prime Minister’s combination of these positions distinguishes them significantly from regular ministers.
- Notably, the passing, resignation, or removal of the Prime Minister results in the dissolution of the entire Council of Ministers, creating a leadership void.
- Conversely, the demise, resignation, or removal of an ordinary Minister merely opens a vacancy, which may or may not be filled, without affecting the functioning of the government.
Why is the Indian Government called a ‘Prime Ministerial Government’?
- The Prime Minister in India holds the position of the head of government and is effectively the head of state.
- The appointment of the Prime Minister is made by the President of India.
- The Prime Minister is typically the leader of the political party or coalition that commands the majority of seats in the Lok Sabha, which is India’s lower house of parliament.
- One of the key responsibilities of the Prime Minister is to oversee the administration of the government.
- The Prime Minister also serves as the chief spokesperson for the government’s policies.
- According to Article 75, the President appoints the Council of Ministers based on the advice of the Prime Minister.
- Article 74(1) stipulates the presence of a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at its helm to offer guidance to the President.
- In India’s parliamentary system, the role of the Prime Minister has become so crucial that the form of government is often referred to as a ‘Prime Ministerial Government.’
ARTICLE 78: DUTIES OF PRIME MINISTER WITH RESPECT TO THE FURNISHING OF INFORMATION TO THE PRESIDENT, ETC.
The Prime Minister’s responsibilities are as follows:
(a) To relay to the President all decisions made by the Council of Ministers regarding the management of Union affairs and legislative proposals.
(b) To provide the President with any information pertaining to the administration of Union affairs and legislative proposals upon request.
(c) If requested by the President, to present to the Council of Ministers any issue that has been decided upon by a Minister but has not yet been discussed by the Council for consideration
The constitutional provisions pertaining to the office of the Prime Minister of India
|The President shall appoint the Prime Minister who, in his opinion, commands the confidence of the majority of the members of the Lok Sabha
|The Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister
|The Prime Minister shall be the head of the Council of Ministers
|The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha
|The Prime Minister can be removed from office by a vote of no confidence passed by a majority of the members of the Lok Sabha, or if he resigns from office.
|The Prime Minister holds office during the pleasure of the President but must have the support of a majority of the Lok Sabha.
|Must be a citizen of India and a member of either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.
Appointment of the Prime Minister
- The Indian Constitution does not provide a specific procedure for selecting and appointing a Prime Minister.
- Article 75 of the Constitution grants the authority to appoint the Prime Minister to the President, but this process follows established parliamentary norms.
- In a parliamentary government system, it is customary for the President to appoint the leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha as the Prime Minister.
- When no party holds a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, the President may use discretion in selecting the Prime Minister.
- In such cases, the President typically chooses the leader of the largest party or coalition in the Lok Sabha and requires them to secure a vote of confidence from the House within a month for their appointment to be confirmed.
Oath, Term, and Salary
- Prior to assuming the office of the Prime Minister, the President administers oaths of office and secrecy to the Prime Minister-Elect.
- In the oath of office, the Prime Minister pledges
- To faithfully uphold the Constitution of India,
- To safeguard the sovereignty and integrity of India,
- To conscientiously fulfill the duties of the office,
- To ensure justice for all in accordance with the Constitution and the law, without any bias or prejudice.
- The Prime Minister’s term is not fixed and continues at the discretion of the President.
- However, this discretion does not grant the President the authority to remove the Prime Minister at will.
- As long as the Prime Minister maintains the majority support in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament), they cannot be dismissed by the President.
- If the Prime Minister loses the confidence of the Lok Sabha, they are obligated to resign, or the President may dismiss them from the position.
- The salary and benefits of the Prime Minister are determined periodically by the Parliament.
- These benefits encompass the compensation and privileges accorded to a Member of Parliament.
- Additionally, the Prime Minister may receive supplementary perks such as a sumptuary allowance, access to free housing, travel allowances, and access to medical facilities.
Relationship between the Prime Minister and the President of India
The Indian Constitution contains several articles that outline the relationship between the Prime Minister and the President:
This article establishes a connection between the Prime Minister and the President through the Council of Ministers. It specifies that the Council, with the Prime Minister as its head, provides advice to the President on various matters.
Article 75 addresses three key aspects of the relationship:
– The President appoints the Prime Minister, and other ministers are appointed by the President upon the advice of the Prime Minister.
– Ministers serve at the pleasure of the President, meaning their tenure is subject to the President’s discretion.
– The Council of Ministers collectively holds responsibility to the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament).
Article 78 delineates the role of the Prime Minister in communication. The Prime Minister is responsible for conveying all decisions made by the Council of Ministers to the President. Additionally, the President has the authority to refer specific matters for the consideration of the Council of Ministers.
These articles define the interconnected roles and responsibilities of the Prime Minister and the President within the framework of India’s parliamentary system of government
Powers of the Prime Minister of India
The powers vested in the Prime Minister of India can be broadly categorized into the following domains:
As the leader of the Union Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister assumes responsibility for the governance and administration of the country. This role encompasses chairing cabinet meetings and coordinating the activities of various ministries and government departments.
The Prime Minister, as a member of either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha, actively engages in the proceedings of these parliamentary bodies. Furthermore, the Prime Minister provides counsel to the President on matters concerning the summoning, prorogation, and dissolution of parliament sessions, thereby influencing the legislative agenda.
On the global stage, the Prime Minister serves as India’s representative and conducts diplomatic negotiations with foreign nations. Additionally, the Prime Minister receives foreign diplomats and dignitaries on behalf of the President, fostering international relations.
During times of national emergency, the Prime Minister plays a pivotal role by advising the President on necessary measures to safeguard the security and stability of India.
Collaborating with the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister offers guidance to the President concerning appointments to key positions within the higher judiciary and critical administrative roles. This includes appointments such as Governors, the Chief Election Commissioner, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, and the Attorney General of India.
The Prime Minister shoulders the responsibility for overseeing the nation’s economic and financial management. Their government is responsible for presenting the annual budget to the parliament and ensuring its successful passage, contributing to effective fiscal governance.
1. Who is the Prime Minister?
The Prime Minister is the head of government in many countries, including India. They are typically the leader of the political party or coalition with the most seats in the lower house of parliament.
2. How is the Prime Minister selected?
The process of selecting a Prime Minister varies by country. In India, the Prime Minister is appointed by the President but is usually the leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha.
3. What are the roles and responsibilities of the Prime Minister?
The Prime Minister’s roles include leading the government, making policy decisions, representing the country internationally, and overseeing the administration.
4. How long is the term of a Prime Minister?
The term of a Prime Minister varies by country. In some countries, it’s fixed, while in others, it can be as long as the Prime Minister maintains the support of parliament.
5. Can the Prime Minister be removed from office?
Yes, a Prime Minister can be removed through a vote of no confidence in parliament or by the President in some countries. The process depends on the country’s constitution.