With reference to the powers and functions of the Cabinet, explain the following:
- Administrative powers
- Legislative powers
- Financial powers
1. Administrative powers:
- Policy Making: The Cabinet is considered as the policy-making organ of the government. It formulates both external and domestic policies of the Government. The Cabinet also takes decisions on various matters such as defence, economic policy, security needs, industrial policy, imports, electoral reforms, formation of new States and President’s rule in State. Even though, individual ministers have reasonable freedom of action, they need to consult the Cabinet in major matters of concern.
- Policies Implementation: The decisions made by the Cabinet on any subject, are conveyed and communicated to the Minister of the State and the Deputy Minister of the respective ministries. For the decision to be implemented, the ministers work out the details and pass it to the civil servants. This helps in managing the business of the government jointly by the Council of Ministers and the civil servants concerned.
- Coordinating the Functioning of Various Ministers: Various departments are involved in formulating and smooth implementation of government policies. It is the Cabinet that coordinates between the working of various departments. The government policies include eradicating unemployment or improving public health services etc.
- Appointments: The Cabinet decides all major appointments that are made by the President. These appointments include Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, Chief Election Commissioner, the Attorney-General of India, etc.
2. Legislative Powers:
- Introduction of Bills: In legislation, the Cabinet and the administrative departments take the initiative of preparing, defending and presenting the bills. Almost 95% of the bills presented in the House are steered by the Cabinet. It also pilots the bill through various processes of legislation from introduction to the final passage of the bill.
- Source of Information: The ministers provide information to the public through their representatives. They do so by answering questions put to them by the members of the Lok Sabha, along with the secretaries of the concerned departments.
- Amendment to the Constitution: It is the Cabinet which is instrumental in planning and moving the Amendment to the Constitution.
- Summoning the Houses of Parliament: The initiative of summoning the Houses of Parliament is taken by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, even though the Houses are summoned by the President.
- President’s Special Address: The President’s Special Address to the Parliament is prepared by the Cabinet. These legislative programmes are presented before the commencement of the first session of the Lok Sabhaafter each General Election, and the commencement of the first session of the Parliament.
3. Financial Powers:
- Budget: It is Finance Minister’s responsibility to prepare the Annual budget that contains the estimates of income and expenditure for the ensuring year. Though the budget is passed by the Parliament, no changes can be made against the wishes of the Cabinet.
- Finances of the Government: It is the Cabinet’s responsibility to look after the expenditure of the government, to present the demand for grants and also to raise necessary income by various means including taxation.
- Introduction of money bills: A money bill can be passed only by the Lok Sabha.
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