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What are the Powers and Functions of Prime Minister of India?

Article 74(1) of the Constitution states that there shall be a council of ministers with Prime Minister as its head to aid and advice the President who shall exercise his function in accordance with advice tendered. Thus the real power is vested in council of ministers with Prime Minister as its head.
Mar 29, 2019 19:08 IST
PM Modi

Article 74(1) of the Constitution states that there shall be a council of ministers with Prime Minister as its head to aid and advice the President who shall exercise his function in accordance with advice tendered. Thus the real power is vested in council of ministers with Prime Minister as its head. 

Appointment of the Prime Minister

  • The term of office of Prime Minister is not fixed in constitution. The constitutional provisions of the Prime Minister are mentioned below:
  • Union government shall have council of ministers headed by the Prime Minister
  • Prime Minister shall be appointed by President
  • Other minister shall be appointed by President on the recommendation of Prime minister
  • The ministers shall hold the office during the pleasure of the President
  • A minister who is not a member of the Parliament for any 6 consecutive months shall cease to be a minister

Powers and Functions

The Prime Minister performs many significant functions in the Indian political system and exercises vast powers to his advantage. He is the chief executive of the nation and works as head of union Government.

  1. Head of the Government – Though President is head of the state, Prime Minister is head of the government. All the decisions are taken in the name of President but with the aid and advice of Prime Minister and council of minister. Even regarding appointing other ministers he has to appoint according to PM’s recommendation.
  2. Leader of Cabinet– It is Prime Minister who recommends President regarding their appointment, he allocates and reshuffles various portfolios among minister, he presides over the meeting of council of ministers and influences their decision, he can ask any member to resign or recommend President to remove any minister. Hence on death or resignation of Prime Minister entire council of minister tends to collapse
  3. Link Between President and the Cabinet – Article 78 of constitution specify the duties of PM and in discharging them he acts as a link between President and cabinet. The following are the cases where he does so:
  • While communicating all the decisions of the council of ministers relating to administration of affairs of the union and proposals for legislation
  • When any decision taken by council of minister by not taking in to consideration any clauses of constitution or opinion of council then President can ask Prime minister to consider such issues
  • When President calls for any information regarding administration of the affairs of union or any such things
  1. Leader of the Parliament– as a leader he determines the dates of its meetings and programmes for the session. He also decides when the house has to be prorogued or dissolved. As a chief spokesman he makes announcement of principal government policies and answers questions on then
  2. Chief Spokesman in Foreign Relations– in international conferences it is he who speaks for the nation.
  3. Leader of the party
  4. Chairman of various commissions- on being PM he is de facto chairman of some of the commissions like planning commission, national development council, national integration council, inter-state councils, national water resources council.

Functions in Coalition Government

Coalition is coming together or entering into an alliance of two or more separate parties persons for a temporary period with a specific objective of taking on activities of the state.

Powers in Single Party Government

When in elections a single party gains complete majority then President invites leader of such party to form government and act as Prime Minister. In such a case Prime Minister will have all the powers as stated in constitution with no restrictions. Thus, such a government is more stable.

Role in Minority Government

Minority government in parliamentary system is formed when a political party or a coalition of parties does not have majority of overall seats in the parliament but is sworn into government by the outside support of the other parties to break a hung parliament election results. In such a situation legislation can only be passed with the support of other parties. This government tends to be less stable than majority government. A classic example in political history is of Narasimha Rao government. In such a condition Prime Minister is not necessarily the head of largest party, he can be any person as decided by all the members. In such a situation government relies on other parties to pass laws. The major difference between coalition and minority government is that in coalition government the opposition parties in minority government create an agreement by which they are allowed to take control of government. 

Prime Ministers of India Till Date.

Sl. No. Name Duration
1 Jawaharlal Nehru 1947-1964
2 Gulzari Lal Nanda 1964-1964
3 Lal Bahadur Shastri 1964-1966
4 Gulzari Lal Nanda 1966-1966(Acting)
5 Indira Gandhi 1966-1977
6 Morarji Desai
1977-1979
7 Charan Singh 1979-1980
8 Indira Gandhi 1980-1984
9 Rajiv Gandhi 1984-1989
10 Vishwanath Pratap Singh 1989-1990
11 Chandra Shekhar
1990-1991
12 P V Narasimha Rao 1991-1996
13 Atal Bihari Vajpayee 1996-1996(16 days)
14 H D Deve Gowda
1996-1997
15 I K Gujral 1997-1998
16 Atal Bihari Vajpayee 1998-1999
17 Atal Bihari Vajpayee 1999-2004
18 Dr Manmohan Singh 2004-2009
19 Dr Manmohan Singh 2009-2014
20 Narendra Modi
2014-till date

Indian Polity & Governance: Complete Study Material

Features of the Indian Constitution