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  • Context (IE): The President administered oaths to the new Central Council of Ministers.

Central Council of Ministers

  • Article 74 states that the Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister (“first among equals”), shall aid and advise the President, who shall act in accordance with their advice.
  • The CoM is the real executive authority in India’s parliamentary system of government.
  • The President appoints the Prime Minister and other ministers on the PM’s advice (Article 75).
  • The size of the CoM cannot exceed 15% of the total strength of the Lok Sabha. It is added through the 91st Constitutional Amendment Act of 2003.
  • Article 88 allows ministers to participate in proceedings of both houses of Parliament and joint sessions but does not guarantee them voting rights.
  • The Prime Minister decides the portfolio of each minister and heads the Cabinet Secretariat, which oversees the day-to-day administration of the government and coordination between ministries.
  • The CoM is divided into three categories:
    • Cabinet Ministers
    • Ministers of State (Independent Charge)
    • Ministers of State (without Independent charge)
  • The President is the Head of the State, and the Prime Minister is the Head of the Union Government.
  • Article 163: There shall be State CoMs headed by the Chief Minister to aid and advise the Governor.
  • A minister who is not a member of Parliament for six consecutive months will lose their position.
  • The Deputy PM/CM (if available) is also part of the Council of Ministers.

Cabinet Ministers

  • Cabinet Ministers are the senior-most members of the CoMs, second only to the Prime Minister.
  • They head important and strategic ministries like Home Affairs, Finance, Defence, etc. They have the authority to organise meetings and make major policy decisions related to their ministries.

Ministers of State (Independent Charge) [MoS (IC)]

  • MoS (Independent Charge) are junior to Cabinet Ministers but have independent charge of a ministry.
  • They are empowered to administer their respective ministry without oversight from Cabinet Ministers or other members of the Council of Ministers. They are not part of the Cabinet.

Ministers of State

  • Ministers of State assist Cabinet Ministers in the administration and do not have an independent charge.
  • They are responsible for specific functions delegated to them by their respective Cabinet Ministers.
  • They are usually given the charge of departments under a ministry.
  • Crucial ministries like Home, External Affairs, Health, and Education may have two or three Ministers of State working under the Cabinet Minister. They are also not part of the Cabinet.
  • Deputy Ministers assist cabinet ministers or MoS with administrative, political, and parliamentary duties.
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