The Constitution of India provides for a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as the head, to aid and advise the President. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President. Ours being a Parliamentary form of Government, the President is only a nominal Head of the State. The Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister is the most powerful institution in the Indian polity.
Appointment of Prime Minister
The Prime Minister is appointed by the President. The President cannot act arbitrarily in this appointment. According to convention, the President invites the leader of the majority party or group in the Lok Sabha to form the Government. The members of the majority party or the group elect their leader to be appointed as the Prime Minister. Then the President appoints him as the Prime Minister.
Position and powers of the Prime Minister
The position and powers of the Prime Minister include: (i) All the ministers are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister; (ii) The Prime Minister influences Cabinet decisions; (iii) As Chairman of the Council of Ministers, he exercises a casting vote; (iv) He acts as a link between the President and the Cabinet; (v) He coordinates the policies of the various departments and ministries; (vi) He is the leader of the Lok Sabha; (vii) He is the chairman of the Panning Commission and the Atomic Energy Commission.
Meaning of collective responsibilty
The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People (Lok Sabha). The principle of collective responsibility implies: i) The decisions taken in the meetings of the Cabinet are equally applicable to all the Ministers. ii) All Ministers jointly share the responsibility for the government's policy and performance. iii) If a vote of no-confidence is passed against one Minister, the whole Ministry has to resign.
Ministers are individually responsible to the President i.e., they hold office during the pleasure of the President and may be dismissed by him on the advice of the Prime Minister. Each Minister is answerable to the Parliament for the department under his control. Every Minister is responsible for matters such as, a) personal lapse b) departure from official policy by him or his department c) breach of oath of secrecy and so on.
National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog
Central Government has called off the working of the Planning Commission and replaced it with National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog). The NITI Aayog came into being on 1st January, 2015. The chairman of the NITI Aayog is the Prime Minister. The Governing Council consists of all state Chief Ministers, Lieutenant Governors of Union Territories and a vice-chairman named by the Prime Minister.