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Section B — Chapter 3

Prime Minister and Council of Ministers

Class 10 - Total History & Civics Solutions


Short Answer Questions

Question 1

State the three categories of Ministers in the Council of Ministers.

Answer

The three categories of Ministers in the Council of Ministers are-

  1. Cabinet Ministers
  2. Minister of State
  3. Deputy Ministers

Question 2

Explain the term 'Collective Responsibility'.

Answer

The principle of collective responsibility implies the following:

  1. The decisions taken in the meetings of the Cabinet are equally applicable to all the Ministers even though they may differ among themselves on a particular policy.
  2. All Ministers jointly share the responsibility for the government's policies and performance. The Ministers must function as a team in supporting and defending government policies inside as well as outside Parliament.
  3. A Vote of No-Confidence against one Minister is a vote against the whole Ministry. Such a Ministry that has lost the confidence of the Lok Sabha has to resign.

Question 3

Who is the head of the Union Council of Ministers?

Answer

Prime Minister is the head of the Union Council of Ministers.

Question 4

How long can a Minister stay in office?

Answer

A minister being a member of Parliament has a normal term of office of 5 years. But Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers can remain in office so long as they enjoy the majority support in the Lok Sabha. If the Lok Sabha passes a vote of no -confidence against the Council of Ministers then they have to resign collectively even before completion of their 5 years term.

Question 5

Under what provision can a non-member of Parliament be made a Minister?

Answer

In case a non-member is appointed as a Minister, he must be elected or nominated to the Parliament six months from the date of his appointment. Failing this, he will have to resign from the post of a Minister.

Question 6

By whom and on whose advice is the Council of Ministers appointed?

Answer

The Council of Ministers is appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Structured Questions

Question 1

With reference to the powers and functions of the Cabinet, briefly state the following:

(a) Three Administrative Functions.

(b) Three Legislative Functions.

(c) Four Financial Functions.

Answer

(a) Three administrative functions of the Cabinet are as follows-

  1. Policy Making — The Cabinet formulates both external and domestic policies of the Government. Individual Ministers have reasonable freedom of action, but on all major matters they have to consult the Cabinet.
  2. Implementation of Policies — Once a policy decision is taken by the Cabinet on any subject, it is conveyed to the Minister of State and the Deputy Minister of the concerned Ministry. They work out the details and pass it to the civil servants under that Ministry to implement the decision.
  3. Coordinating the Functioning of Various Ministers — The Cabinet coordinates the working of various departments for the smooth implementation of government policies.

(b) Three legislative functions of the Cabinet are as follows-

  1. Amendment to the Constitution — The Cabinet is instrumental in planning and moving the Amendment to the Constitution.
  2. Summoning the Houses of Parliament — Although the Houses are summoned by the President, initiative in this matter is taken by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
  3. Issuing Ordinances — Cabinet also advises the President to issue ordinances when the Parliament is not in session.

(c) Four financial functions of the Cabinet are as follows-

  1. Budget — The Finance Minister prepares the Annual Budget containing estimates of income and expenditure for the ensuing year.
    1. Though the budget is passed by Parliament, usually no changes are made in the budget figures against the wishes of the Cabinet.
    2. Any amendment to the budget proposals against the wishes of the Cabinet that may be passed by the Lok Sabha amounts to a vote of No-Confidence in the Ministry. It happens only when the Ministry has lost the support of the majority in the Lok Sabha. In such a situation the Ministry must resign.
  2. Finances of the Government — The Cabinet is responsible for the expenditure of the government for presenting the demand for grants and also for raising necessary income by various means including taxation.
  3. Introduction of Money Bills — A Money Bill can be introduced in the Lok Sabha only by a Minister.

Question 2

The Constitution provides a Council of Ministers to aid and advise the President. In this context, answer the following questions:

(a) Briefly mention three of their functions.

(b) How does the Parliament exercise an effective control over the Council of Ministers?

(c) State the Cabinet's role in the formulation of policies of the Government.

Answer

(a) Three functions of Council of Ministers are-

  1. Policy Making — The Cabinet formulates both external and domestic policies of the Government. Individual Ministers have reasonable freedom of action, but on all major matters they have to consult the Cabinet.
  2. Implementation of Policies — Once a policy decision is taken by the Cabinet on any subject, it is conveyed to the Minister of State and the Deputy Minister of the concerned Ministry. They work out the details and pass it to the civil servants under that Ministry to implement the decision.
  3. Finances of the Government — The Cabinet is responsible for the expenditure of the government for presenting the demand for grants and also for raising necessary income by various means including taxation.

(b) Parliament ensures Cabinet's responsibility to the people, in general, and to the Parliament as a whole. The methods adopted by the Parliament are —

  1. A vote of No-Confidence in the Council of Ministers.
  2. Rejection of a Government bill.
  3. Passing a bill opposed by the Government.
  4. Voting a cut in the Budget.
  5. Passing an amendment to a bill against the wishes of the Government.
  6. Reducing the salaries of the Ministers.
  7. Asking questions.
  8. Adjournment motions.
  9. Rejecting some government measures.

(c) The Cabinet formulates both external and domestic policies of the Government.

  1. It takes decisions on matters such as defence, economic policy, security needs, President's rule in State, formation of new States, industrial policy, imports and electoral reforms.
  2. Individual Ministers have reasonable freedom of action, but on all major matters they have to consult the Cabinet.

Question 3

With reference to the Prime Minister of India, answer the following questions:

(a) State any three qualifications which a person should possess to be eligible for appointment as Prime Minister.

(b) What is the position of the Prime Minister under the Parliamentary system of government?

(c) How is the Prime Minister a link between the Cabinet and the President?

Answer

(a) Three qualifications which a person should possess to be eligible for appointment as Prime Minister are-

  1. He should be a citizen of India.
  2. He must have completed 25 years of age in case he is a member of Lok Sabha and 30 years in case of Rajya Sabha.
  3. He must be a member of either house of Parliament.

(b) While the President is the nominal head of State, the Prime Minister is the real head of the nation.

  1. Leader of the Lok Sabha — As the Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party in Parliament, he is said to be the leader of the House.
  2. Spokesperson of the Government — The Prime Minister is the chief spokesman of the Government in the Parliament. He makes all important announcements on national policies on the floor of the House.
  3. Defender of Government Policies — The Prime Minister defends the Government in the Parliament. When a policy or a Minister comes under attack in the Parliament, the Prime Minister comes to defend the issue involved.
  4. Intervention in case of Controversial Issues — There are some controversial issues like the language issue, Centre-State relations, price-rise and atrocities on women over which members lose their temper. If an ugly situation arises in any of the Houses, the matter generally ends with the intervention of the Prime Minister.

(c) The Prime Minister heads the Cabinet.

  1. He acts as the link between the Cabinet and the President.
  2. He decides the agenda of Cabinet meetings and presides over them.
  3. Our Constitution lays down that it shall be the duty of the Prime Minister to communicate to the President all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administration of the Union and the proposals for legislation.
  4. A Minister cannot discuss any matter of national policy with the President on his own.

Question 4

With reference to the Prime Minister of India, answer the following questions:

(a) How can we say that the Prime Minister occupies a unique position in the Parliament?

(b) State any three powers of the Prime Minister as a Chairperson of the Cabinet?

(c) Mention three ways in which the Constitution ensures the pre-eminent position of the Prime Minister in relation to the Union Council of Ministers.

Answer

(a) The Prime Minister occupies a unique position in the Parliament as can be seen by the following points-

  1. Leader of the Lok Sabha — As the Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party in Parliament, he is said to be the leader of the House.
  2. Spokesperson of the Government — The Prime Minister is the chief spokesman of the Government in the Parliament. He makes all important announcements on national policies on the floor of the House.
  3. Defender of Government Policies — The Prime Minister defends the Government in the Parliament. When a policy or a Minister comes under attack in the Parliament, the Prime Minister comes to defend the issue involved.
  4. Intervention in case of Controversial Issues — There are some controversial issues like the language issue, Centre-State relations, price-rise and atrocities on women over which members lose their temper. If an ugly situation arises in any of the Houses, the matter generally ends with the intervention of the Prime Minister.

(b) Three powers of the Prime Minister as a Chairperson of the Cabinet are as follows-

  1. Power to Allocate Portfolios and to Reshuffle the Council of Ministers — It is the Prime Minister who allocates departments or portfolios to the Ministers. He can reshuffle his Council of Ministers whenever he pleases.
  2. Power to Select and Dismiss Ministers — The Prime Minister chooses the Ministers and has the power to dismiss them too. He can ask an erring Minister to resign.
  3. Power to Direct and Coordinate Policy — The Prime Minister coordinates the working of various departments so that administration is carried on smoothly. In critical matters such as, foreign, defence, economic and technological affairs, he coordinates the policy of the Government.

(c) Three ways in which the Constitution ensures the pre-eminent position of the Prime Minister in relation to the Union Council of Ministers are as follows-

  1. Appointment of Council of Ministers — The Prime Minister chooses the ministers and, on his advice, the President appoints them.
  2. Power to Allocate Portfolios and to Reshuffle the Council of Ministers — It is the Prime Minister who allocates departments or portfolios to the Ministers. He can reshuffle his Council of Ministers whenever he pleases.
  3. Power to Dismiss Ministers — The Prime Minister has the power to dismiss the ministers. He can ask an erring Minister to resign.

Picture Study

Question 1

Study the figure and answer the following questions:

What is meant by the term 'Cabinet'? Who comprises the Cabinet? State three points of difference between the Cabinet and the Council of Ministers. Distinguish between individual responsibility and collective responsibility. Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Total History and Civics Solutions ICSE Class 10.

(a) What is meant by the term 'Cabinet'? Who comprises the Cabinet?

(b) State three points of difference between the Cabinet and the Council of Ministers.

(c) Distinguish between individual responsibility and collective responsibility.

Answer

(a) The Cabinet is composed of a small but important body of senior leaders of the party, who are included in the Council of Ministers.

  1. They hold important portfolios and decide major policies of the Government.
  2. They, being trusted colleagues of the Prime Minister, form the nucleus of the administration.
  3. In fact, the Cabinet is the pivot round which the whole administration revolves.
  4. They hold important portfolios like Home, Defence, Finance, External Affairs, Railways, etc.
  5. A Cabinet Minister is in charge of a Ministry and some times of more than one Ministry.
  6. Only Cabinet Ministers have a right to attend meetings of the Cabinet.
  7. They together determine the policy and programme of the Government.

(b) Three points of difference between the Cabinet and the Council of Ministers are as follows:

Cabinet MinistersCouncil of Ministers
The 'Cabinet' is a smaller group consisting of senior Ministers holding important portfolios such as Defence, Finance, Home, etc.The Council of Ministers consists of all categories of Ministers — Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers.
They are the most trusted colleagues of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister always consults them. The decisions of the Cabinet are binding on all the ministers.The Prime Minister may or may not consult the other Ministers, below the rank of Cabinet Ministers.
The Cabinet is a small cohesive group of senior Ministers who determine the policy and programme of the Government; so they meet as frequently as possible.In the day-to-day working of the government, the Council of Ministers as a whole rarely meets.

(c) The differences between collective responsibility and individual responsibility of the Council of Ministers are as follows:

Collective ResponsibilityIndividual Responsibility
According to Article 75(3) of the Constitution, the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.The Ministers are individually responsible to the President.
The decisions taken in the meetings of the Cabinet are equally applicable to all the Ministers even though they may differ among themselves on a particular policy.Each Minister is answerable to Parliament for the department under his control. It is obligatory for him to answer all the questions asked by the MPs, regarding matters such as personal lapse, departure from official policy by him or by his department, breach of oath of secrecy and so on.
A Vote of No-Confidence against one Minister is a vote against the whole Ministry. Such a Ministry that has lost the confidence of the Lok Sabha has to resign.A minister may be dismissed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister even when they may have the confidence of the Legislature.
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