Remarkable Functions of state government

Functions of state government

Functions of state government

Functions of state government :- Welcome to Ritu’s Academy. In this article we are covering the point of Functions and responsibilities of state government. The topic is related to Indian politics or social and political life. Which comes under all compititive exams of teaching, UPSC, IAS, IPS, Railways, Banking etc. There is detailed information about the subject.

The State Government of India

  1. Democracy is not just about people electing their rulers, It is about decision making. we are going to study how decisions are taken at state level, who takes them, who implements them and if there is any dispute, who solves them.
  2. India is a federal government i.e. there are two sets of governments i.e. Union Government and the State Government. The Constitution of India has specified the working of both the sets of governments.
  3. As we know, India is a Union of states. Each state has its own system of governance on the lines of the Union Parliament.


  • Like the Lok Sabha at the Centre, the States have their own Legislative Assemblies, which are the Lower Houses. Again like the Rajya Sabha some States have their own Legislative Councils, which are the Upper Houses of the State Legislature. It may be noted that all the states do not have their Upper Houses i.e. Legislative Assemblies councils.
  • The State Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad is the upper house in those 6 states of India- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh that have a bicameral state legislature; the lower house being the State Legislative Assembly.
  • Its establishment is defined in Article 168 of the Constitution of India. As of January 2020, 6 out of 28 states have a State Legislative Council. The latest state to have a council is Telangana. All other states have legislative Assemblies which are also called Vidhan sabhas. 

Legislative assembly

The legislative assembly is the popular house of the state legislature. It is also called the people’s house or the lower house. Its member are elected directly by the people. The strength of the members of the legislative assembly is based on the population of the state. The number of members differ from state to state.

Method of election:   The members of the legislative assembly are chosen by direct election from single member constituencies on the basis of universal adult franchise. Each state is divided into different areas or constituencies. From each constituency, the people elect one representative who then becomes a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). Candidates contest elections in the name of different parties. These MLAs therefore belong to different political parties.

How do people who are MLAs become ministers or chief minister ? 

A political party whose MLAs have won more than half the number of constituencies in a state can be said to be in a majority. The political party that has the majority is called the ruling party and all other members are called the opposition.

Provision of reservation of seats: The Constitution provides for reservation of seats in the Legislative Assemblies for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. 

Nomination of the members of Anglo- Indian Community: The Governor can nominate one member of the Anglo-Indian community in the Legislative Assembly if he is of the opinion that the Anglo-Indian community is not adequately represented in the legislative assembly.

Qualifications for the Legislative Assembly Candidates : 

(i) He must be a citizen of India. 

(ii) He must be above the age of 25. 

(iii) He should not hold any office of profit under the Union or the State government. 

(iv) He should not be an insane or an insolvent person. 

(v) He should not have been convicted  for some grave offence. 

(vi) He must fulfil all other qualifications as laid down by an act of the Parliament.

Tenure: The tenure of the Legislative  Assembly is 5 years but the Governor can a dissolve it at any time. Its tenure can be extended by one year during the imposition of national emergency.

Session: The Governor can convene the session at any time but a period of more than 6 months must not lapse between the two sessions. 

Officials of the Legislative Assembly Speaker and Deputy Speaker : 

The members of the Legislative Assembly elect a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker from amongst themselves to preside over its meetings. The Speaker presides over the meetings, maintains discipline during the meetings, recognises the members and allows them to speak, put the measures for voting and declares the results.

Powers and functions of the legislative assembly

 1. Power to make law

The Legislative Assembly can make laws on the subjects grouped in the State List and the Concurrent List. But  the law passed by the Legislative Assembly comes into conflict with the laws passed by the Parliament related to a Concurrent Subject, the Union law will prevail.

In the states having a bi-cameral legislature the Legislative Council can delay a bill for 4 months but cannot veto it.

2. Financial Powers: 

The Legislative Assembly controls the finances of the state. It approves the annual financial statements i.e. the Budget by means of which it authorises the government to impose, reduce or abolish taxes. The state government cannot spend  money without its approval.

The Legislative Council can delay a money all for a period of not more than 14 days.

3. Executive Powers: 

The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the legislative assembly. Members of the Legislative Assembly make the Council of Ministers responsible to it by asking them questions by moving Call Attention Motion, Adjournment Motion, Censure Motion, etc. The Legislative Assembly can remove the Council of Ministers from office by passing the vote of No Confidence against it.

4. Constitutional Powers: 

For amending some provisions of the Constitution approval of at least 1/2 states is necessary. Thus the Legislative Assembly along with the Legislative Council takes part in the amendment process of the Constitution.

5. Electoral Powers: 

(i) Members of the Legislative Assembly take part in the election of the President. 

(ii) It elects 1/3 members of the Legislative Council. 

(iii) It elects the members of the Rajya Sabha. 

(iv) The members elect a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker.


The State Legislative Council’s members are not elected directly by the people but they are elected indirectly by the MLA’s, Local bodies, teachers, graduates.


The State Executive in India like the Union Executive consists of two parts –

1. Nominal Executive

2. Real Executive

The Governor is the nominal executive head whereas the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister is the real executive.


The Governor is the executive head of the state.The Constitution vests the executive powers of the State in the Governor because of the adoption of the parliamentary government in the states  the Governor is the constitutional head of a State Government and all his powers are in actual practice exercised by the Council of Ministers of the State.

Appointment of Governor : 

The Governor is appointed by the President, but in actual practice the President makes this appointment on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

Qualifications of Governor :

(i) He must be a citizen of India.

(ii) He must not be below 35 years of age.

(iii) He must not be a member either of the Union or of the State Legislature. If he is a member of any of the legislatures, he has to resign from his seat in the legislature before assuming the office of Governor. 

(iv) He must not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or any State Government.

Term of Office

The Governor’s term of office is five years. As he holds his office “during the pleasure of the President”, his term can be terminated even earlier by the President. However, the President acts on the advice of the Prime Minister. His appointment and removal are political decisions based mostly on political considerations.

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The Governor’s position in relation to the State Council of Ministers is technically the same as that of the President at the Centre in relation to the Council of Ministers there. He exercises his powers and functions on the advice of the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers. But the Governor possesses some discretionary powers as an agent of the Centre which he can exercise through his individual judgement in the best interest of the State concerned. we may say that the Governor acts in two capacities i.e., 

(a) as the Constitutional Head of the State. 

(b) as an agent of the central government in the state.

Executive powers and functions of the governor

1. To appoint the chief minister :

The first step in the formation of the government in the state is the appointment of the chief minister (C.M.).This power is exercised by the governor. If a political party has a clear cut simple majority in the Legislative assembly of the state after the election then the governor invites the leader of the majority party to be the chief minister. In this situation the governor has no choice. But if there is no clear majority in favour of a single party or parties in alliance the governor has to assess the situation and assure himself is to which party can provide a stable government.

In doing so he has to carefully exercise his wisdom in appointing the chief minister. In a situation of claims and counter-claims by political parties the governor may  appoints the chief minister and ask him to  prove its majority on  the floor of the house within a week or ten days.

2. To appoint the council of ministers:

The chief minister selects  team of his ministers. The governor administers to the ministers the oath of office and secrecy which is an important ceremony. The chief minister allot portfolios to the ministers.

3. To appoint the high officials :

The governor is the executive head of the state. All decisions of the government are taken in his time. In fact all administrative appointments are made by him or  made in his name. He appoints the advocate general of the state, the chairman and members of the state public service commission. He is also consulted by the president while appointing judges in the state High court.

Legislative powers and functions of the governor

Sessions of the state legislature:  The governor is an integral part of the state legislature. He convenes the session of the state legislature and adjourns it. The constitution requires that a period of more than 6 months must not have passed between two sessions of the legislature.

1. To nominate MLA/MLC:

The governor may nominate one member from the Anglo Indian community if this community is not adequately represented in the state assembly. He also has the power to nominate one sixth members to the state legislative council from amongst the persons eminent in the field of literature, science, art, co-operative movement for social services.

2. To address the  legislature:

The governor addresses the state legislature. In the very first session the governor’s address actually is a policy statement of the government.

3. To give assent to the bills:

After the bill is passed by the state legislature it is presented to the governor. The governor may take one of the following action on it i.e.,

  • Give his assent to the bill and it becomes an act.
  • May withhold his assent.
  • May reserve the bill for the consideration of the president.
  • May return the bill to the legislature for its reconsideration provided that it is not a money bill. If it is passed by the legislature for the second time with or without amendment then the governor cannot withhold his assent to it.
4. To release Ordinances:

The Governor may issue an ordinance, when the State legislature is not in session. The ordinance is as good as a law and it comes into effect immediately on its issuance. Every ordinance must be laid before the State Legislature when it reassembles. If it is approved by it then the ordinance becomes a permanent law.

5. To Dissolve the State Assembly : 

The Governor may dissolve the State Assembly on the advice of the Council of Ministers provided it commands a clear majority in the House. If there is a coalition Ministry and the partners in it break up and the government loses the confidence vote in the House then the Governor has to use his own judgement whether to dissolve the House on the advice of a defeated and divided Ministry.

Financial Powers of the governor:

The Governor has the following financial powers :
1. No Money Bill can be introduced in the State Assembly without the Governor’s recommendation or prior approval.
2. He causes the annual budget of the State to be laid before the House before the beginning of a financial year.
3. He has at his disposal a State Contingency Fund to meet any unforeseen expenditure. 

The judicial powers of the Governor

1. To grant pardons remission of punishment under State laws except death sentence.2. To appoint, promote and post District Judges in consultation with the High Court. 3. He is consulted by the President at the time of the appointment of Judges to the High Court.

Discretionary powers of Governer

Under the discretionary powers of the governor exercises his own individual judgement in certain situations. He must distinguish between right and wrong in the advice given by the council of minister in the following matters:

  • When no party commands and absolute majority in the state assembly he may use his discretion  in selecting the chief minister. Before doing so he has to ensure a stable government in the state.
  • To dismiss a council of ministers which has lost the confidence of the state assembly but if the chief minister insists upon remaining in office and asks for the dissolution of the assembly, after having lost its confidence the governor may use his own discretionary powers either to dismiss the council of ministers or to dissolve the assembly. He may recommend fresh election in the state.
  • To report to the president that the government of the state cannot be run according to  the provisions of the constitution. This means  the imposition of the constitutional emergency and president’s rule in the state.
  • The governor may refuse to give his assent to a bill. He may send it back to the state legislature for reconsideration. He may even reserve of bill for president’s assent.

Council of ministers

There is a council of ministers headed by the chief minister to aid and advise the governor in a state, who is its constitutional head,  of course with the council of ministers. Formation of the council of ministers

The appointment of the chief ministers and other ministers

The first step in the formation of the council of ministers is the appointment of the chief minister and on his advice to make the appointment of other ministers. Only a member of the state legislature can be a minister or chief minister. But if a non member is appointed he/ she must become an MLA /MLC within six months from the date of nomination/ appointment.

The state council of ministers has four categories of ministers:-

1) Cabinet ministers :  

They are the most important and senior most members of the council of ministers. They independently hold the charge of the important portfolios and their number is normally small. 

2) Ministers of state:

In the second category are listed the ministers of state. They sometimes hold the independent charge of the department and at times they may be required to assist  the cabinet ministers in the administration of the portfolios. They ordinarily do not attend the meetings of the cabinet.

3) Deputy ministers:

The deputy ministers form the third category of the council of ministers. They do not hold independent charge of any portfolio but are attached with the the cabinet ministers and the ministers of States. The nature of their work is such as is assigned to them by the minister incharge of the department.

4) Parliament secretaries:

They are neither ministers properly so called nor do they hold the charge of any department. They are appointed the chief minister and are responsible to him. Their chief function is to do the functions athorized by the chief minister.

Term of office

In the Constitutional terminology the ministers remain in office during the pleasure of the Governor. But under the Parliamentary system the Ministry is collectively responsible to the State Legislative Assembly and it has to resign from office when it loses the confidence of the Assembly any time before five years. This is the usual or normal term of both the Assembly and the Ministry.

Relationship of the council of ministers with the chief minister

Chief Minister’s Unique Position : In order to understand the relationship of Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister, we must first of all realise that the Chief Minister possesses vast powers in the state government. His position is unique. He is the Captain of the team of his ministers. He is the pivot of the whole state government and its administration.

The Chief Minister is the key-man, he is like a sun amongst his ministerial planets. He has vast legislative, executive, financial and administrative powers. None of his ministers can be compared with him.
The functions and powers of the Chief Minister can be divided under the following headings:

1. Formation of the Council of Ministers: 

After his own appointment the Chief Minister prepares the list of other ministers and present this list to the Governor for his approval. He is absolutely free to include any person in his Council of Ministers and the approval of the Governor is just a formality.

2. Distribution of Portfolios : 

The Chief Minister distributes the portfolios among the Ministers on the basis of the efficiency and significance of the ministers and can reshuffletheir portfolios.

3. Reorganisation of Council of Ministers: 

The Chief Minister re-organises the Council of Ministers  time to time, he can induct the able ministers into the Cabinet, and can remove the inefficient ministers from the Council of Ministers.

The Chief Minister acts as a link between the Governor and the Council of Ministers. He keeps the Governor informed of the decisions of the Council of Ministers and communicates the advice of the Governor to the Council of Ministers.

5. Leader of the people: 

The Chief Minister is the leader of the people of State. The people of the state look up to him for guidance and the development of the state. The Governor is appointed by the centre therefore, it is the Chief Minister and not the Governor who is the leader of people.

6. Control over Appointments : 

Although all the high appointments in the state such as Advocate General, State Public Service Commission, Vice-Chancellors of the Universities are made in theory by the Governor yet in reality the list of the persons to be given these high appointments is made by the Chief Minister. So much so that even in the appointment of the Governor the President consults the Chief Minister of the state concerned.

7. Control over Finance : 

The Finance Minister prepares the Finance Bill according to the wishes and liking of the Chief Minister and introduces the same in the legislature.

Position : 

The Chief Minister is the most important official in the state and occupies the same position as occupied by the Prime Minister at the centre. No action in the state can be taken in the state against the wishes of the Chief Minister. He plays a significant role in the formation of the ministry distribution of portfolios among the ministers reshuffling of the portfolios and infact he controls the very life of the Cabinet. He can get any minister dismissed.

His resignation is considered to be the resignation of the whole ministry. In fact he is the pivot around which the whole Council of Ministers and the total administration of the state revolves.


We have studied that it is the Chief Minister and his Council which takes all policy decisions. Now the question is who executes all the policies of the state government. District is the primary unit of administration. It is through district that the people come in contact with the government directly. The people take their complaints to the district administration and it is the district administration which addresses their problems.

Therefore it may not be wrong to call the district administration as the backbone of the administration. It is the district administration which implements the developmental plans made by the centre and the states. Therefore the evaluation of the administration can be made on the basis of the evaluation of district administration because the entire administration at the lower level revolves around the district administration. 

Major functions of the district administration

  1. District administration maintains law and order in the district and gives punishment to those who disobey the orders of the government.
  2. It collects the various taxes levied by the government and deposits the same in the treasury.
  3. It keeps the record of the land of the district and deals with the land related disputes.
  4. It provides justice to the people in civil and criminal cases and for this, there is provision of civil and criminal courts.
  5. It implements all the developmental plans in the district and evaluates their progress from time to time.
  6. It evaluates the performance of panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies. It also helps these bodies in the proper discharge of their duties.

The deputy commissioner is the chief executive officer of the district and is known by the name of collector, district judge and district officer etc. The entire administration of the district to revolves around him. It is his responsibility  to successfully complete the welfare and developmental functions in the district. The policies and programmes of the government up to the people is also his responsibility. There are so many other officials who assist him and they work under his supervision and control. 

As citizens it is our duty to co-operate with the state officials. They are the actual agents through whom laws are executed and ultimately benefit of the same riches the people through them.

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