But in actual practice, the President has little opportunity of exercising his personal choice in appointing the Prime Minister. Normally he has to appoint the leader of the majority party in the House of the People as the Prime Minister.
Only when there are several parties in the House and no party commands a clear majority, the President may have some freedom of choice.
After the Prime Minister has been appointed, the President has to accept the other Ministers selected by him. Ministers may be appointed from either House of the Parliament.
A non-member may be appointed as a Minister provided he gets a seat in the Parliament within a period of six months from the date of his appointment.
This provision has been made in order to secure the services of the best men and women of ability who may not be, for the time being, members of the Parliament or who are competent to hold the posts of Ministers but are defeated in the election for some reasons.
Thus, the Prime Minister is solely responsible for the formation of the Council of Ministers. Whether the Council of Ministers will be small or large is a matter which the Prime Minister decides on administrative and political grounds. There are three categories of Ministers in India.
The first category includes the Ministers of Cabinet rank, which constitute the Cabinet in the Centre. There is a distinction between the Cabinet and the Council of Ministers. The Cabinet consists of top-ranking Ministers who decide mostly the policy matters. It is like “a wheel within a wheel”.
All Cabinet members are the Ministers where all Ministers are not the Cabinet members. The second category Ministers includes the Ministers of State. These Ministers hold ‘”dependent charge of the Departments or sub-departments generally included in the portfolios of Cabinet Ministers.
They are Ministers of Cabinet rank and they receive the same salary as the Cabinet Ministers but they do not attend the Cabinet meetings unless specially invited when the affairs of their departments are considered. They have no voice in the formulation of the Government’s general policy.
The third category of Ministers includes the Deputy Ministers who do not hold independent charges of any Departments. They are attached to different Ministries and they work under the departmental Ministers concerned. In addition to these Ministers, there are the Parliamentary Secretaries.
They do not have any independent power or function. They are appointed to assist the Ministers in parliamentary work. They are in fact probationers under training and may hope to rise to higher ranks, if such opportunities arise in future.