If the President is the constitutional Head of the state, the real executive is council of Ministers. Article 74 (i) provides that there shall be a council of Ministers with the Prime Minister and the other Ministers are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Ministers hold office during the pleasure of the President while the Council of Ministers are collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. Before a Minister enters his office, the President shall administer to him the oath of office and secrecy according to the prescribed form in the third schedule. A minister must be a member of either House of Parliament. If he is not, he ceases to be a minister after the expiry of six months of his appointment. The council is collectively responsible to the Parliament and a vote of no-confidence against any minister automatically leads to the resignation of the entire Council. The salaries and allowances are determined by law.
The major powers of the Council of Ministers are:
- It formulates the policy of the country on the basis of which the administration is carried on.
- It introduced all important bills and resolutions in the Parliament and pilots them through.
- It presents the budget of the country before the Parliament. Though Parliament can modify the budget, it is generally passed in the form in which it is presented.
- it determines the foreign policy of the country and the kind of relations it should have with other powers. All diplomatic appointments are made by the President on the recommendation of the Council of ministers. The Council also approves the international agreements and treaties.
- Cabinet members of the Council of Ministers render advice to the President regarding the proclamation of emergency on grounds of war, external aggression or armed rebellion.