The states under the Indian Constitution are organized on the pattern of the Centre. The basis of organization being Parliamentary form of government. Although constitution vests the executive power of the state in the Governor, in practice these powers are exercised by the state Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head. The Council of Ministers in the state is an exact replica of the Council of Ministers at the Centre. They resemble in formation, function and role in the administration.
The process of formation of the Council of Ministers begins with the appointment of the Chief Minister. The Governor first appoints the Chief Minister and then the other ministers on his advice. The distribution of portfolios among the ministers is also done by the Governor on the recommendation of the Chief Minister.
The shape and size of the Council of Ministers solely depends on the Chief Minister. There are usually four kinds of ministers. They are Cabinet ministers, minister of state, deputy ministers and parliamentary secretaries. Senior and experienced leaders of the party are appointed as Cabinet ministers. They handle the administrative departments under their Portfolio independently. They together constitute the Cabinet which works under the guidance of the Chief Minister. The midlevel party leaders are chosen as ministers of state to assist the Cabinet Ministers in the discharge of their duties. Sometimes apart from helping the senior ministers, the chief minister allows some ministers of state independent charge of the portfolio. There is no rule to justify such an arrangement.
Including the ministers in the Council of Ministers and distributing portfolios among them depends purely on the Chief Minister and his compulsions. The junior and fresh members of the party are usually inducted as Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries. These categories of ministers earn experience while assisting the senior ministers. Except the ministers of Cabinet rank the other ministers do not attend the Cabinet meeting unless specially invited to do so.
Sometimes a distinction is made between the Council of Ministers and the Cabinet. Cabinet is the smaller version of the Council of Ministers, consisting of only the ministers of cabinet rank. But the Council of Minister includes the four categories of ministers appointed by Governor. The Council of Ministers does not meet as a body except on rare occasions. Instead the Cabinet performs all the functions. Therefore the functions of the Cabinet are described as the functions of the Council of Ministers.
The basis of functioning of the Council of Ministers is collective and individual responsibility to the Legislative Assembly. They function till they enjoy the support of the majority in the Assembly. All the ministers are collectively and individually responsible before the Assembly for their acts. No minister can ever differ from the decisions taken by the Chief Minister or the Council of Ministers. If any minister does not agree with any principle decided by the Council he has to resign first to oppose the principle. Therefore all the differences must be sorted out before a policy is spelt out and once it is made public all ministers must agree to that. Besides that for the fault of a single minister the entire Council of Ministers have to own the responsibility and may have to resign also.
The Cabinet exercises the real executive powers of the State. It is the highest policy making body of the State. Besides policy formulation all important decision relating to administration are taken in the Cabinet. The inter departmental squabbles are sorted out in the cabinet meetings. The Chief Minister presides over the Cabinet meetings and takes stock of the administration of all the departments. Any difference among the ministers are sorted out in this meeting. Though the budget is prepared by the finance minister the Cabinet determines the principles of budget in consultation with the finance minister. The views of the Chief Minister is taken as final in the Cabinet.