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Cabinet Ministers – Their Roles and Importance

Posted by Admin on June 23, 2014 | Comment

We have been observing how the new BJP government is ‘walking the talk’ when it comes to “minimum government, maximum governance.” Modi had taken the surprise step of trimming the list of Cabinet Ministers from 70 to 45. This restructuring was followed by the discontinuation of some of the Standing Committees of the Cabinet. As political change seems to be in the air, it’s better to be informed about these ministers and what role they play in the government.

Cabinet Ministers - Their Roles and Importance

Who are Cabinet Ministers?

Cabinet Ministers are the integral part of the Cabinet of India (Union Cabinet), which is regarded as the “collective decision-making body” of the Government of India. Cabinet ministers along with the Prime Minister complete the Union Cabinet. It is mandatory for the Cabinet Ministers to be members of either House of the Parliament. They hold the highest rank among the three categories of ministers, including Minister of State (Independent Charges) and Minister of State (MoS).

According to Article 75 of Indian constitution, Cabinet Ministers are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. Besides being responsible for the advancement of a particular ministry, Cabinet Ministers are collectively accountable to the members of the Lok Sabha. During their entire tenure, they are advised by the Cabinet Secretary. Presently, we have 24 Cabinet Ministers.

Each minister is responsible for “expeditious implementation” of Government policies, plans and programmes pertaining to his ministry. The ministers often seek assistance from the Cabinet Secretariat to deal with the inter-ministerial problems.

Role of Cabinet Ministers in India

The prime importance of Cabinet Ministers lies in their role as advisors to the President. They help him to exercise his power. In a major boost to the constitutional authority of the Cabinet Ministers, the 42nd amendment made the ministerial advice “expressly binding” on the President. Like England, it is the Cabinet Ministers who “steer the wheel of the government” in collaboration with the Prime Minister.

Among host of other responsibilities, the Cabinet Ministers have to meet some serious expectations such as strengthening the security of the country, improving the nation’s foreign affairs, and keeping its economy in good state. These ministers are regarded as the political heads of the government’s administrative departments who have to take care of the day-to-day progress.

Importance of Cabinet Ministers in India

Since the Prime Minister and his Cabinet Ministers enjoy a majority support in the Parliament, they wield enough power to pass a law in both the houses. Similarly, they have the authority to stop a bill from becoming a law if they have opposed it. To put it in perspective, the law making powers of Indian Parliament is in reality the power of Cabinet Ministers.

In matter of finance, the Cabinet has the final say. The credit of preparing the annual budget and proposing taxes and expenditures goes to the Cabinet Ministers. The Parliament’s role is restricted to giving formal approvals. Even judiciary is somewhat under the control of the Union Cabinet. The Supreme Court and High Court judges are appointed or transferred by the President on the advice of the Cabinet.