The Union Council of Ministers exercises executive authority in the Republic of India. It consists of senior ministers, called "Cabinet Ministers", and junior ministers, called "Ministers of State". It is led by the Prime Minister. A smaller executive body, called the Union Cabinet is the supreme decision-making body in India. Only the Prime Minister and ministers of the rank of "Cabinet Minister" are members of the Cabinet. The most senior civil servant in India, called the Cabinet Secretary, leads the Cabinet Secretariat, and provides administrative assistance to the Council of Ministers. Ministers of State are tasked with assisting Cabinet Ministers in their work.
As a collective, the Council of Ministers is responsible to the lower house of the Indian Parliament, called the House of the People. According to the Constitution of India, the total number of ministers in the Council of Ministers must not exceed 15% of the total number of members of the House of the People. Ministers must be members of parliament. Any minister who is not a member of either the lower or upper houses of parliament for six consecutive months is automatically stripped of his or her ministerial post.