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The Prime Minister of India (Hindi: प्रधान मंत्री) is the head of government of the Republic of Indiamarker, and head of the Council of Ministers, appointed by the President to assist the latter in the administration of the affairs of the executive in India. The Prime Minister is responsible for the discharge of the functions and power vested in the President in terms of the Constitution of India. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President, and recognized as leader of the majority party in the two Houses of the Parliament of India.

The incumbent prime minister is Manmohan Singh, in office since May 22, 2004.

Constitutional framework and position of Prime Minister

The Constitution envisages a scheme of affairs in which the President of India is technically the head of the executive in terms of Article 53 with office of the Prime Minister as heading the Council of Ministers to assist and advise the President in the discharge of the executive power. To quote, Article 53 and 74 provide as under;

Typically like most parliamentary democracies where the Head of State's duties are largely ceremonial, the Prime Minister of India is the head of government and has effective responsibility for executive power. With India following a parliamentary system of government (known as the Westminster system after that of the United Kingdom), the Prime Minister is generally the leader of a party (or coalition of parties) that has a majority in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India. The Prime Minister either has to be a current member of one of the houses of Parliament, or be elected within six months of being appointed.

Role of the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister leads the functioning and exercise of authority of the Government of India. They are invited by the President as leader of the majority party in the Parliament of India to form a government at the federal level (known as Central or Union Government in India) and exercise its powers. In practice the Prime Minister nominates the members of their Council of Ministers to the President. They also work upon to decide a core group of Ministers (known as the Cabinet) as in-charge of the important functions and ministries of the Government of India.

As the head of the government, the Prime Minister is responsible for distribution of work of the Government to various ministries and offices and in terms of the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 whereunder the Prime Minister's Office allocates the work to be performed by various Ministries. The work is generally allocated to the Cabinet Secretariat which in turn acts as a nodal agency for the functioning of the various Ministries. While generally the work of the Government is divided into various Ministries, the Prime Minister may retain certain portfolios.

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. The Prime Minister is also the ex officio Chairman of the Planning Commission of India. They also appoint the Deputy Chairman of the Commission, who is responsible for the functioning of the Commission and reports to the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister represents the country in various delegations, high level meetings and international organizations that require the attendance of the highest government office and also addresses to the nation on various issues of national or other importance. They also have exclusive jurisdiction over disposal of two national funds, (i) the PM's National Relief Fund , and (ii) the PM's National Defence Fund , which they use at their discretion attain the objectives behind the establishment of these funds.

List of Prime Ministers of India

The pattern of Prime Ministers elected for Republic of Indiamarker shows its well natured tradition of unity in diversity, India has elected Prime Ministers from various linguistic backgrounds, various cultures, religious or political faiths and there is no difference on the basis of gender as well.

No. Name Portrait Entered office Left office Birth Death Political party/alliance Election year Lok sabha
1 Jawaharlal Nehru 15 Aug 1947c 27 May 1964 1 14 Nov 1889 27 May 1964 Indian National Congress 195119571962first lok sabha
2 Gulzari Lal Nanda 27 May 1964 9 Jun 1964 * 4 Jul 1898 15 Jan 1998 Indian National Congress
3 Lal Bahadur Shastri 9 Jun 1964 11 Jan 1966 1 2 Oct 1904 11 Jan 1966 Indian National Congress
4 Gulzari Lal Nanda 11 Jan 1966 24 Jan 1966 * 4 Jul 1898 15 Jan 1998 Indian National Congress
5 Indira Gandhi 24 Jan 1966 c 24 Mar 1977 19 Nov 1917 31 Oct 1984 Indian National Congress 19671971
6 Morarji Desai 24 Mar 1977 28 Jul 1979 4 29 Feb 1896 10 Apr 1995 Janata Party 1977
7 Ch. Charan Singh 28 Jul 1979 14 Jan 1980 3 23 Dec 1902 29 May 1987 Janata Party
8 Indira Gandhi 14 Jan 1980 2 31 Oct 1984 1 19 Nov 1917 31 Oct 1984 Indian National Congress 1980
9 Rajiv Gandhi 31 Oct 1984 c 2 Dec 1989 20 Aug 1944 21 May 1991 Indian National Congress 1984
10 Vishwanath Pratap Singh 2 Dec 1989 10 Nov 1990 3 25 Jun 1931 27 Nov 2008 Janata DalNational Front 1989
11 Chandra Shekhar 10 Nov 1990 21 Jun 1991 1 Jul 1927 8 Jul 2007 Samajwadi Janata PartyNational Front
12 P. V. Narasimha Rao 21 Jun 1991 c 16 May 1996 28 Jun 1921 23 Dec 2004 Indian National Congress 1991
13 Atal Bihari Vajpayee 16 May 1996 1 Jun 1996 3> 25 Dec 1924 Alive Bharatiya Janata Party 1996
14 H. D. Deve Gowda 1 Jun 1996 21 Apr 1997 3 18 May 1933 Alive Janata DalUnited Front
15 Inder Kumar Gujral 21 Apr 1997 19 Mar 1998 4 Dec 1919 Alive Janata DalUnited Front
16 Atal Bihari Vajpayee 19 Mar 1998 c 22 May 2004 25 Dec 1924 Alive Bharatiya Janata PartyNational Democratic Alliance 19981999
17 Manmohan Singh 22 May 2004c Incumbent 26 Sep 1932 Alive Indian National CongressUnited Progressive Alliance 20042009

  • * Interim - It is debatable whether Mr. Gulzari Lal Nanda was a Prime Minister or an Acting Prime Minister. The constitution does not have a position of acting Prime Minister. Mr. Nanda was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India. In contrast, the constitution provides for an acting President who discharges the duties of a President. Hence, constitutional experts and historians now count Mr. Nanda as the second Prime Minister of India.
c-indicates a full term
  • 1 Assassinated or Died in Office
  • 2 Returned to Office
  • 3 Resigned
  • 4 Dismissed by President following a no-confidence motion

Mr.Gulzari Lal Nanda served as an Acting Prime Minister.

See also


External links

[ Subbaraju. P]

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