Composition of the Council of Ministers
The Council of Ministers is appointed by the Governor. At the head of the Council of Ministers stands the Chief Minister who is appointed by the Governor. Other Ministers are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Ministers hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.
A non-member may be appointed a Minister provided he gets a seat in the State Legislature within a period of six months from the date of his appointment.
Certain members in the Legislative Council are nominated. There is also no bar of selecting a nominated member of the Legislative Council as the Chief Minister. But the Constitution makes the Council of Ministers collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly.
The size of the Council of Ministers depends upon the discretion of the Chief Minister and on the political circumstances. The only constitutional requirement is that in the States of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, the Council of Ministers must have a Minister in charge of Tribal Welfare.
Thus the strength of the Council of Ministers varies from State to State and also in the same State from time to time. It is often complained that the Councils of Ministers in some States are unduly large.
In the States there are three categories of Ministers, namely, Cabinet Ministers. Ministers of the State holding independent charge of departments and Deputy Ministers who are to assist the Ministers in their departmental affairs.
Often a few Parliamentary Secretaries are appointed from among the members to help the Ministers in the discharge of their functions The Deputy Ministers do not have separate charge of any department. Their task is to assist the Ministers with whom they are associated in their administrative duties.
Cabinet Ministers are those ministers who are given cabinet rank. They hold independent charge of the important departments, like finance, Local Bodies, home affairs, health etc.
They together determine the policies of the state. The Chief Minister and the cabinet ministers together constitute the State Cabinet. It is the most powerful part of the State Council of Ministers.
The cabinet works through various committees called cabinet committees.
They are of two types— NOTES AND REFERENCES standing and ad hoc. The former are of a permanent nature while the latter are of a temporary nature.
They are set up by the Chief Minister according to the exigencies of the time and requirements of the situation. Hence, their number, nomenclature and composition vary from time to time.
They not only sort out issues and formulate proposals for the consideration of the cabinet but also take decisions. However, the Cabinet can review their decisions.