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Difference Between Cabinet Minister and State Minister

Cabinet Minister vs State Minister

In 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 cabinet ministers and ministers of state. This article is an attempt to highlight these differences.

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 case of smaller departments, there is usually a cabinet minister with no ministers of state. But in cases where the ministry is large and necessitates junior members to help and assist cabinet minister in discharging his duties, minister(s) 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.

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 MoS looking after affairs of taxation, and so on though the MoS remains subordinate to the cabinet minister and reports all matters to him.

In brief:

Difference Between Cabinet Minister and State Minister

• Council of ministers includes cabinet ministers who hold important ministries

• There are ministers of state 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 unlike those who assist cabinet ministers in large ministries.


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  • Suriya Moorthy

    Why the word ‘…State’ which causes all this confusion?

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