The Prime Minister of India is the head of the executive branch of the Government of India. His position is distinct from that of the President of India, who is the head of the State. As India follows a parliamentary system of government, most of the executive powers are exercised by the Prime Minister. He acts as a chief advisor to the President of India, head of the Council of Ministers and the leader of the majority party in the parliament.
The Constitution states that the President of India should appoint the leader of the party or alliance which is in majority in the Lok Sabha as the Prime Minister of India. In case no party or alliance enjoys majority, the President appoints the leader of the largest party or alliance as the Prime Minister. But he has to win the confidence vote in the Lower House of the Parliament as early as possible.
Unlike the President, the Prime Minister does not have a fixed tenure. The full term of the Prime Minister is five years, which coincides with the normal life of the Lok Sabha. However, the term can end sooner if he loses the vote of confidence in the Lower House. So, it can be said that he remains in power as long as he enjoys the confidence of the Lok Sabha. The Prime Minister can also resign by writing to the President.
Eligibilty Creteria :
- A citizen of India
- Be a member of either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.
- 25 years of age if he is a member of the Lok Sabha or 30 years if he is a member of the Rajya Sabha.
- Not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments.
Powers and functions of the Prime Minister :
- The Prime Minister of India is the head of the Government. Though the President is the head of the State, most of the executive decisions are taken by the Prime Minister. All the important decision-making bodies in India, like the Union Cabinet and the Planning Commission, run under his supervision.
- As far as the Prime Minister’s relation to the Council of Ministers is concerned, his position is that of “First among Equals”. In the case of death or resignation of the Prime Minister, the entire Council of Ministers has to resign. The ministers directly report to the Prime Minister. He can also remove a minister by asking for his resignation or having him dismissed by the President. If any difference of opinion arises between the Prime Minister and any other minister, the opinion of the Prime Minister prevails.
- The Prime Minister is the Leader of the House to which he belongs. He can also take part in debates in the House of which he is not a member. He can also advise the President to dissolve the Lok Sabha.
- In international affairs, he is the spokesperson of the country. The Prime Minister plays a major role in directing India’s foreign policy.
- The prime minister, in consultation with the Cabinet, schedules and attends the sessions of the Houses of Parliament and is required to answer the question from the Members of Parliament to them as the in-charge of the portfolios in the capacity as Prime Minister of India.
List of Prime Ministers of India:
|Prime Minister||Office Tenure||Party|
|Jawaharlal Nehru||Aug. 15, 1947 - May 27, 1964||Congress|
|Gulzari Lal Nanda||May 27, 1964 - June 9, 1964 (Interim)||Congress|
|Lal Bahadur Shastri||June 9, 1964 - January 11, 1966||Congress|
|Gulzari Lal Nanda||January 11 - 24, 1966(Interim)||Congress|
|Indira Gandhi||Jan. 24, 1966 to March 24, 1977||Congress|
|Morarji Desai||March 24, 1977 to July 28, 1979||Janata Party|
|Charan Singh||July 28, 1979 - Jan. 14, 1980||Janata Party|
|Indira Gandhi||Jan. 14, 1980 to Oct. 31,1984||Congress (I)|
|Rajiv Gandhi||Oct. 31,1984 to Dec. 1,1989||Congress (I)|
|V. P. Singh||Dec. 2,1989 - Nov. 10, 1990||Janata Dal|
|Chandra Shekhar||Nov. 10,1990 - June 21, 1991||Janata Dal (S)|
|P. V. Narasimha Rao||June 21, 1991 to May 10, 1996||Congress (I)|
|Atal Bihari Vajpayee||May 16 to June 1, 1996||Bharatiya Janata Party|
|H. D. Deve Gowda||June 1, 1996 to April 21, 1997||Janata Dal|
|I. K. Gujral||April 21, 1997 - Nov. 28. 1997||Janata Dal|
|Atal Bihari Vajpayee||March 19, 1998 - May 22, 2004||Bharatiya Janata Party|
|Dr. Manmohan Singh||May 22, 2004 - May 26, 2014||INC|
|Narendra Modi||May 26, 2014 - till date||Bharatiya Janata Party|