What are the powers and functions of the Prime Minister of India?

The Prime Minister is the most important and powerful executive of the state. He can be called the ruler-of the state. He is the head of the Council of Ministers and all the powers of the President are actually exercised by the ministers. He can rule the country in a way which he thinks the best. He is the architect of the fate of state.

Appointment

The Prime Minister is appointed by the President but while doing so the President is not having a free hand. Only that person can be appointed to the office of the Prime-Minister who is the leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha. After the General Election the President invites the leader of the party which has gained majority in the Lok Sabha to form the Government. If no political party gets an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha even then the President is not free to appoint anybody the Prime-Minister. Under such circumstances only that person will be invited to form the Government who can seek the co-operation of the majority of members in the Lok Sabha & can prove his majority on the floor of Lok Sabha within the stipulated period.

Tenure

The Prime Minister does not have a fixed tenure of office. He remains in office till that time so far as he enjoys the support of the majority party.

Salary

The Prime Minister gets the same salary and allowances which are paid to the members of Parliament. He also receives a constituency allowance like other MPs. In addition he gets sumptuary allowance per month. It is fixed by the Parliament from time to time

Powers: Prime Minister and the Cabinet

The Prime Minister is the maker of the Cabinet. The Cabinet has no existence without the Prime Minister. He can make or unmake a Cabinet. The Cabinet performs all its functions under the control & guidance of the Prime Minister, therefore he is called the keystone of the Cabinet arch.

i) Formation of the Council of Ministers- His first duty after assuming office in the formation of the Council of Ministers. He prepares a list of ministers according to his sweet will. He has a free hand in the selection of ministers.

ii) Distribution of Portfolios - The Prime Minister distributes work among the ministers. He decides what dept. is to be allotted to a particular minister. He controls the working of the departments of his ministers. If the Prime Minister is not satisfied with the working of a department, he can change the department of that minister. He distributes particular departments to ministers in such a way that they can run the departments quite efficiently.

iii) Removal of the Ministers - The ministers remain in office during the pleasure of the Prime Minister. If the Prime Minister is not satisfied with the working of a minister or the minister does not run the department in accordance with the wishes of the Prime Minister, he can ask him to quit the office & can appoint someone else in his place.

iv) Leadership of the Cabinet - The Prime Minister is the leader of the Cabinet. The Cabinet functions under the control of the Prime Minister. He can call the meetings of Cabinet whenever he likes. The Prime Minister prepares the agenda for the meeting as well as controls it. He presides over the Cabinet meetings. All the decisions in Cabinet meeting are taken according to the wishes of the Council of Ministers.

v) Link between the President & the Cabinet - The Prime Minister is the link between the President and the Cabinet. It is the duty of the Prime Minister to convey the decisions of the Cabinet to the President. No minister can discuss a particular problem with the President without the permission of the Prime Minister.

The President can demand information from the Prime Minister regarding the working of administration.

Leadership of the Cabinet

The Prime Minister leads the Cabinet in the Parliament. The ministers answer the question but to them by the members of the Parliament. The Prime Minister explains the policy & decision of the Cabinet to the Parliament. All important statements on behalf of the Cabinet are made by the Prime Minister in the Parliament.

Sole advice of the President

The Prime Minister is the chief adviser of the President. The President seeks the advice of the Prime Minister in all matters of the state. The Prime Minister informs the President regarding all the decisions taken by the Cabinet.

Leader of the House

The Prime-Minister is the leader of the House. Out of the two Houses the position of the Lok Sabha is of great importance & the Prime Minister is the leader of the Lok Sabha. The Parliament always depends upon the policy & guidance of the Prime Minister for facing any problem. All the important decisions in the Parliament are taken according to the wishes of the Parliament.

Leader of the Nation

The Prime Minister is also the leader of the nation. The President is the head of the state & the Prime Minister is the head of Government. A general election means that election of the Prime Minister.

Position of the Prime Minister

An Analysis of the powers of the Prime Minister proves that he is the pivot of the whole system of Government. He occupies a position of exceptional authority. K. T Shah observed the Constituent Assembly "This constitution concentrates so much power & influence in the hands of the Prime-Minister that there is every danger to apprehend that the Prime Minister may become a dictator if he chooses to do so. N. V. Gadgil says that " The Prime Minister is invested with formidable power & influenced unless he be a genuine democrat by nature he is very likely to become a dictator. In the words of Nehru "The Prime Minister is the king pin of the Government. According to Laski "The Prime Minister is central to the formation of the Council of Ministers, central to its life, central to its death.

However, the Prime Minister's supremacy is not due entirely to the power which belongs to his office. Much depends upon his personality. If he is a man of dynamic personality he will be able to dominate the political scene.