Thursday, September 4, 2008

Prime Minister's Office (PMO)

The Prime Minister of India is the Head of the Union (Federal) Government, as distinct from the President of India, who is the Head of State. Since India has adopted the Westminster model of constitutional democracy, it is the Prime Minister who oversees the day-to-day functioning of the Union (Federal) Government of India.

The Prime Minister is assisted in this task by his Council of Ministers, comprising Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State with Independent Charge, Ministers of State who work with Cabinet Ministers, and Deputy Ministers.

Prime Minister's Office

The President of India appoints the leader of the party or alliance that enjoys majority support in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) as Prime Minister. In case no single party or alliance has a majority, the leader of the largest single party or alliance is appointed Prime Minister, but he/she has to subsequently secure a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha. The Union Council of Ministers is appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister can be a member of either the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) or the Lok Sabha. As Prime Minister, he is the Leader of the House to which he belongs. The Prime Minister is also the Chairman of the Planning Commission of India.

As head of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister oversees the work of all the Ministries. He presides over Cabinet meetings, which are normally held in the Cabinet Room of the Prime Minister's Office. The Union Cabinet functions on the principle of "collective responsibility".

The Prime Minister's Office, popularly known as the 'PMO', is located at

South Block, Raisina Hill,
New Delhi,
India-110 011.
Telephone: 91-11-23012312.
Fax: 91-11-23019545 / 91-11-23016857.
e-mail: Click here

The South Block is one of the two secretariat blocks (the other is known as North Block) that flank Rashtrapati Bhavan - the residence of the President of India.

The PMO provides secretarial assistance to the Prime Minister. It is headed by the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister. The PMO includes the anti-corruption unit and the public wing dealing with grievances.

The subject-matter of files required to be submitted to the Prime Minister depends on whether he is holding direct charge of the Ministry or whether there is a Cabinet Minister or Minister of State (Independent Charge) in charge of the Ministry.

In the case of the latter, most matters are dealt with by the Cabinet Minister / Minister of State-in-charge. Only important policy issues, which the Minister concerned feels should be submitted to the Prime Minister for orders or information, are received in the PMO.

In cases where the Prime Minister is the Minister-in-charge, all matters requiring Ministerial approval not delegated to the Minister of State / Deputy Minister, if any, are submitted for orders. The Prime Minister has traditionally been the Minister-in-charge of the Departments of Space, Atomic Energy, and Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.

Since the Prime Minister is Chairman of the Planning Commission, relevant files are forwarded to the PMO for his comments and clearance.

Some of the important matters that require the Prime Minister's personal attention include the following:

(a) Important defence-related issues;
(b) Decorations, both civilian and defence, where Presidential approval is required;
(c) All important policy issues;
(d) Proposals for appointment of Indian Heads of Missions abroad and requests for grant of agreement for foreign Heads of Missions posted to India;
(e) All important decisions relating to the Cabinet Secretariat;
(f) Appointments to State Administrative Tribunals and the Central Administrative Tribunal, UPSC, Election Commission, Appointment of members of statutory/constitutional Committees, Commissions attached to various Ministries;
(g) All policy matters relating to the administration of the Civil Services and administrative reforms;
(h) Special Packages announced by the Prime Minister for States are monitored in the PMO and periodical reports submitted to Prime Minister; and
(i) All judicial appointments for which Presidential approval is required.

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