The post of Prime Minister in India holds significant importance in the country’s governance structure. It is the highest executive office and is responsible for leading the government and making important policy decisions. The Prime Minister is the head of the Council of Ministers and plays a pivotal role in shaping India’s domestic and foreign policies.
Appointment and Tenure:
- The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of India, who is the constitutional head of the country.
- After a general election, the leader of the political party or coalition that commands a majority in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of Parliament) is invited by the President to form the government and become the Prime Minister.
- The Prime Minister’s tenure depends on their ability to maintain the majority support in the Lok Sabha. They can continue in office as long as they have the confidence of the majority of members in the lower house.
Powers and Functions:
- Head of Government: The Prime Minister is the head of the government and exercises executive authority on behalf of the President.
- Chief Advisor: The Prime Minister serves as the principal advisor to the President and assists in the formulation of policies and decisions.
- Council of Ministers: The Prime Minister presides over the Council of Ministers, who are appointed by the President on the Prime Minister’s advice.
- Cabinet Meetings: The Prime Minister convenes and presides over regular Cabinet meetings where important decisions are taken.
- Legislative Role: The Prime Minister plays a crucial role in the legislative process by presenting bills and policies in the Parliament.
- National Representative: The Prime Minister represents India on various national and international platforms, fostering diplomatic relations.
- Crisis Management: During emergencies, the Prime Minister provides leadership and ensures coordination among various government agencies.
Role in Foreign Policy:
- As the chief diplomat, the Prime Minister plays a vital role in formulating and implementing India’s foreign policy.
- The Prime Minister represents India in international forums and conducts bilateral and multilateral meetings with other world leaders.
- They prioritize key foreign policy issues, foster relations with other countries, and participate in global initiatives.
- The Prime Minister’s political influence extends beyond the executive branch, as they are often influential in the Parliament.
- The Prime Minister’s party or coalition strives to maintain discipline among members and secure the passage of important bills and policies.
Relationship with the President:
- While the President is the head of state, the Prime Minister is the head of government.
- The President acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers in most matters, except certain constitutional powers like granting pardons.
Resignation and Removal:
- The Prime Minister can choose to resign at any time or may be asked to resign by the President if they lose majority support in the Lok Sabha.
- If a motion of no-confidence is passed against the Prime Minister in the Lok Sabha, they must resign along with the entire Council of Ministers.
Important Constitutional Articles related to the Prime Minister of India
Article 74: Council of Ministers to Aid and Advise the President
- This article deals with the concept of the Council of Ministers to aid and advise the President of India.
- The Prime Minister is the head of the Council of Ministers and advises the President on matters of governance.
Article 75: Appointment of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers
- Article 75 states that the Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President of India.
- The President appoints the Prime Minister based on their ability to command the majority in the Lok Sabha (House of the People).
- The Council of Ministers, including the Prime Minister, holds office during the pleasure of the President.
Article 77: Conduct of Business of the Government of India
- Article 77 deals with the conduct of the government’s business.
- It states that all executive actions of the government of India shall be taken in the name of the President.
- The Prime Minister, as the head of the government, exercises executive authority on behalf of the President.
Article 78: Duties of the Prime Minister
- Article 78 outlines the duties of the Prime Minister.
- It states that the Prime Minister shall communicate to the President all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation.
|Prime Minister||Tenure||Interesting Facts|
|Jawaharlal Nehru||Aug 15, 1947 – May 27, 1964||India’s first Prime Minister; A key figure in the Indian independence movement; Advocated for non-alignment.|
|Gulzarilal Nanda||May 27, 1964 – June 9, 1964||Acting Prime Minister twice between Nehru’s and Shastri’s tenures.|
|Lal Bahadur Shastri||June 9, 1964 – Jan 11, 1966||Led India during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965; Coined the slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” (Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer).|
|Indira Gandhi||Jan 24, 1966 – Mar 24, 1977||India’s first female Prime Minister; Imposed Emergency in 1975; Assassinated in 1984.|
|Morarji Desai||Mar 24, 1977 – July 28, 1979||India’s first non-Congress Prime Minister; Advocated for austerity and prohibition.|
|Ch. Charan Singh||July 28, 1979 – Jan 14, 1980||A prominent leader in the farmer’s movement; with Shortest tenure as Prime Minister.|
|Indira Gandhi||Jan 14, 1980 – Oct 31, 1984||Returned to power for the fourth time; Assassinated in 1984.|
|Rajiv Gandhi||Oct 31, 1984 – Dec 2, 1989||India’s youngest Prime Minister at the time; Pioneered information technology initiatives.|
|Vishwanath Pratap Singh||Dec 2, 1989 – Nov 10, 1990||Implemented Mandal Commission recommendations; Resigned due to political turmoil.|
|Chandra Shekhar||Nov 10, 1990 – Jun 21, 1991||Only Prime Minister who never faced a parliamentary vote; Advocated for social justice.|
|P.V. Narasimha Rao||Jun 21, 1991 – May 16, 1996||Initiated economic reforms; Oversaw liberalization of the Indian economy.|
|Atal Bihari Vajpayee||May 16, 1996 – Jun 1, 1996||First term as Prime Minister; A prominent leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party.|
|H.D. Deve Gowda||Jun 1, 1996 – Apr 21, 1997||Led the United Front coalition government; Resigned after losing political support.|
|Inder Kumar Gujral||Apr 21, 1997 – Mar 19, 1998||Advocated for improved relations with Pakistan; Articulated the “Gujral Doctrine.”|
|Atal Bihari Vajpayee||Mar 19, 1998 – May 22, 2004||Second term as Prime Minister; Ordered nuclear tests in Pokhran in 1998.|
|Manmohan Singh||May 22, 2004 – May 26, 2014||Architect of economic reforms in the 1990s; First Sikh Prime Minister of India.|
|Narendra Modi||May 26, 2014 – Present||Current Prime Minister; Known for initiatives like “Make in India” and “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.”|
Unique facts about some Prime Ministers of India
|Longest-serving Prime Minister of India||Jawaharlal Nehru|
|India’s second-longest-serving Prime Minister||Indira Gandhi|
|Two times as acting Prime Minister||Gulzari Lal Nanda|
|The Bharat Ratna was awarded to the first Female Prime Minister||Indira Gandhi|
|First Prime Minister of India who was not a member of the Congress||Morarji Desai|
|The highest civilian honor in Pakistan was given to the Indian Prime Minister||Morarji Desai|
|India’s Youngest Prime Minister||Rajiv Gandhi|
|First South Indian Prime Minister||P.V. Narasimha Rao|
|The first Prime Minister of India who was a member of the Rajya Sabha||Indira Gandhi|
|Shortest tenure Prime Minister of India||Atal Bihari Vajpayee (13 days)|
Chief Ministers who later became Prime Ministers of India
|1||Moraji Desai||Bombay State|
|2||Ch. Charan Singh||Uttar Pradesh|
|3||VP Singh||Uttar Pradesh|
|4||PV Narasimha Rao||Andhra Pradesh|
|5||HD Deve Gowda||Karnataka|
Frequently Asked Question
Q.1. Who was the first Prime Minister of India?
Ans. Jawaharlal Nehru was the First Prime Minister of India. His tenure of office as Prime Minister was from 15th August 1947 to 27th May 1964.
Q.2. Who is the first female Prime Minister of India?
Ans. Indira Gandhi was the first and the only female Prime Minister of India till date.