Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

On Limiting The Size Of Ministries

 The Vajpayee government has announced that it will bring legislation to limit the size of the council of ministers at the Centre and in the states. The CPI(M) is for limiting the size of the ministries given the trend of enormously large ministries being constituted.

However, the proposal made by the BJP-led government is self-serving and does not conform to the spirit of the principle of limiting the size of the ministry. According to the Union Cabinet proposal, there will be a limit to the size of the ministry of 10 per cent of the legislature or parliament. This would mean, for the Union ministry, a limit of 10 per cent of the total members in both the houses of parliament — the lower house and the upper house. By this criteria, the Union council of ministers can go up to 79 members. The Vajpayee government has currently 78 members, which is the biggest ever in the history of independent India. The Union Cabinet has bypassed the recommendation made by the Commission it set-up for the review of the working of the Constitution, which has recommended that the size of the cabinet be limited to 10 per cent of the popular house, i.e., the lower house. Earlier recommendations have also been for limiting the size based on 10 per cent of the directly elected lower house. By this principle, the Union ministry cannot exceed 54 members.

Further, in the states, there is no necessity whatsoever to include the legislative council alongwith the lower house for setting the size of the ministry. By the government proposal, some states will have bigger cabinets just because they have an upper house. Exemption to the 10 per cent limit to some extent may be given to states with small assemblies as in the north-eastern region.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) is of the firm opinion that the limitation in the size of ministries should be based on 10 per cent of the lower house which is directly elected.