Essay on the Legislative Role of the State Council of Ministers

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All important money and non-money bills are prepared by the Cabinet. Money bills require the sanction of the Governor before they are introduced in the Legislative Assembly. Government bills are introduced in the Assembly by a minister.

He guides the bill through the various stages in the Assembly. Government bills almost always get through because of the majority party support. Due to its important role in legislation, the cabinet is like a mini-legislative committee. The increase in delegated legislation has led to an increase in the powers of the council of ministers.

The Assembly, being overburdened with work, passes bills in skeleton form and the function of framing the rules and procedures by which the bill will be implemented is left to the departments headed by the ministers.

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During popular rule, the ordinances issued in the name of the Governor are prepared by the council of ministers. In rare circumstances, the Governor can withhold his assent to drafts of ordinances. The Governor’s Address, during the inaugural session of the Legislative Assembly held after the general elections as well as the budget session, is prepared by the council of ministers.

The Governor can ask for a particular paragraph to be deleted out of his address, although such a situation may prove to be controversial. A statement in the address which could be embarrassing to the Union government may have serious repercussions on Centre-state relations.

The Council of Ministers can also advise the Governor to summon, prorogue or dissolve the Legislative Assembly. The discretionary powers of the Governor play a decisive role in this respect and this advice is not always binding.

The ministers have to answer questions raised in the Assembly during the Questions Hours, Call Attention Motions and Adjournment Motions regarding the functioning of their respective departments. In case a minister is unable to satisfy the Assembly, his colleagues or the Chief Minister may come to his rescue in satisfying the members.

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As at the centre, the states to have their Cabinet Secretaries to provide assistance to the Cabinet

The Chief Minister of an Indian state, as the foregoing analysis reveals, is the real head of the state’s politico-administrative system. He is the chief policy maker, principal planner, head of the Council of Ministers, political head of key departments, coordinator of state administration, catalyst to administrative reforms, guardian of the civil service, leader of his political party and voice of the people.

The multiplicity of his roles makes him the key factor in state administration. His role-set is vast and varied and, to deal with its various segments, he has to use political astuteness and administrative acumen with sagacity. With the visible tendency of centralization of power in the seats of governance, the position of the Chief Minister has gained substantially greater strength than before. He is no more primus inter pares (first among equals) merely. He is much taller than his colleagues in the Cabinet. In this situation, the personality of the Chief Minister – his ability, behaviour and character-become of paramount significance. On his vision and competence depends the effectiveness of the state administration?

The Council of Ministers at the state level, which is generally three-tiered (and in some cases, only two-tiered), is the main policy-making organ of the state government. It functions on the principle of collective responsibility.

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Though the policy-making and policy-evaluation systems in the state governments are democratic in nature, it has been increasingly realized that the overall influence of the Chief Minister in guiding the deliberations of the cabinet has grown substantially. This trend is in tune with the growing centralization of executive authority witnessed throughout the world.

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