The President of India is the head of the State. He exercises only nominal powers. He is not elected directly by the people. All the members of Parliament i.e. MPs and Members of State Legislative Assemblies i.e. MLAs elect him. A candidate standing for President's post has to get a majority of votes to win the election. This ensures that the President can be seen to represent the entire nation.
The President supervises the overall functioning of all the political institutions in the country so that they operate in harmony to achieve the objections of the State. He exercises the following powers :
(i) All the governmental activities take place in the name of the President.
(ii) All laws and major policy decisions of the government are issued in his name.
(iii) All major appointments are made in the name of the President. These include the appointment of the Chief Justice of India, the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts of the States, the Government of the States, the Election Commissioners, ambassadors to other countries, etc.
(iv) All international treaties and agreements are made in the name of the President.
(v) The President is the supreme commander of the defence forces of India.
But the President exercises all these powers only on the advice of the Council of Ministers. The President can ask the Council of Ministers to reconsider its advice. But if the same advice is given again, he is bound to act according to it. In the same way, a bill passed by the Parliament becomes a law only after the President gives assent to it. If the President wants, he can delay this for some time and send the bill back to the Parliament for reconsideration. But if the Parliament passes the bill again, he has to sign it.