Cabinet Minister vs State Minister
Difference between Cabinet Minister and State Minister is in the roles and responsibilities they have to fulfill. In a parliamentary form of democracy, in many countries, it is common to see cabinet ministers and also ministers of state. Some people are confused by this distinction and cannot differentiate between the roles and responsibilities of a cabinet minister and a state minister. This article is an attempt to highlight these differences. We will first focus on who a cabinet minister is and who a state minister is. Then, we will go onto discuss the differences between the cabinet minister and the state minister. However, the title state minister has a bit of a different definition with regard to different countries.
Who is a Cabinet Minister?
Generally, a cabinet minister, as the name indicates, is a member of the Cabinet, which is the highest deciding body of ministers. That itself shows that a cabinet minister is a minister with the highest power. In India, the nomenclature of cabinet minister and minister of state is used at the central level where cabinet ministers are considered superior and are given charge of separate ministries such as home, foreign, petroleum, education, welfare, science and technology, health, and so on. In the case of smaller departments, there is usually a cabinet minister with no ministers of state.
Let us take the example of an important ministry like finance. There is the usual cabinet minister for finance, but since there are so many important parts of this ministry, it is common to see minister of state or the state minister looking after affairs of taxation and so on. The state minister or the minister of state remains subordinate to the cabinet minister and reports all matters to him.
Who is a State Minister?
State minister or minister of state (MoS) is defined in different ways in different countries. In some countries such as India and Pakistan, a state minister is a junior minister under a cabinet minister. In cases where the ministry is large and necessitates junior members to help and assist cabinet minister in discharging his duties, ministers of state are appointed.
There are instances where a single person is given charge of 2 or more ministries, and then he requires ministers of state to help in managing the affairs of these ministries. There are minister of state (MoS) and also minister of state with independent charge, when there is no cabinet minister to oversee the working of the ministry. This title of minister of state with independent charge is given to ministries with less significant value such as food processing.
Then, in some countries, the title minister of state has high government ranks. For example, in Brazil, the title minister of state is the title the members of the Federal Cabinet bear. Then, in Portugal, minister of state is the title given to a part of the cabinet. This small group has the power that is roughly equivalent to Deputy Prime Minister.
What is the difference between Cabinet Minister and State Minister?
• Cabinet minister and state minister or minister of state are two important titles in parliamentary form of democracy. Council of ministers includes cabinet ministers who hold important ministries.
• Cabinet minister is a senior to whom the responsibility of a ministry is given.
• There are state ministers who work as junior ministers under the cabinet minister in large ministries.
• However, there are also Ministers of State with independent charge (MoS) who are in charge of a ministry. These ministers of State are not like those who assist cabinet ministers in large ministries. With ministers of state with independent charge, there is no senior cabinet minister to whom they should report. They are their own masters.
• Cabinet minister is a minister title with high government rank in any country. The title state minister or minister of state has different values in different countries.
• In countries such as India and Pakistan, state minister is a minister with junior government rank. In countries such as Brazil and Portugal, state minister is a minister with high government rank.
These are the differences between the cabinet minister and the state minister. Now, you can understand how they differ from one another.
- Cabinet minister of external affairs, India via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
- Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan by CC BY 2.0)