The Executive Arm of Government and its Powers and Functions

The Executive arm of government is the government’s second but most powerful organ. It is the organ in charge of carrying out the legislature’s laws as well as the government’s policies. The emergence of the welfare state has greatly expanded the state’s and, in actuality, the executive’s tasks. In ordinary parlance, the executive is associated with the government. In today’s world, the executive branch’s power and influence has grown dramatically in every state.

What is the Executive Branch of Government All About?

Both the broad and restricted definitions of the term “executive” have been provided. It is taken to mean all officials, political authority holders (Political Executive), and permanent civil servants who carry out laws and policies and manage the state administration in its broadest sense.

Only the executive heads (ministers, i.e. the political Executive) who head government ministries, establish policies, and monitor the implementation of the government’s laws and policies are referred to as “executive heads.” The civil service and its administrative functions are not included in the Executive’s purview in the limited sense.

Political scientists have traditionally accepted just the restricted interpretation. However, in current times, the executive is defined in a broader sense, encompassing both the political and civil services.

Functions of the the Executive Arm of Government

The executive arm of Government

The executive arm of Government

Law Enforcement

The executive’s principal responsibility is to enforce laws and maintain peace and order in the state. When a law is broken, it is the executive’s obligation to close the loophole and prosecute the perpetrators. Each government department is in charge of enforcing the laws and policies that apply to its activity. The executive organizes and maintains the police force in order to maintain law and order in the state.

Making of Appointments

The chief executive makes all significant appointments. The President of India, for example, appoints the Chief Justice and other Supreme Court and High Court judges. Ambassadors, India’s Advocate General, members of the Union Public Service Commission, state governors, and so on.

Similarly, the President of the United States appoints a considerable number of essential officials. The US President appoints all secretaries who lead major government departments, judges of the Supreme Court and other Federal Courts, federal authorities in the states, and so on. All such nominations, however, must be approved by the US Senate (Upper House US Congress i.e. Parliament).

See Also: Functions of the Legislative Arm of Government

The Constitutional Responsibilities of the Government

Treaty Making Function

It is the executive’s obligation to decide which treaties should be struck with which other countries. The executive negotiates treaties in conformity with international law as well as the provisions of the state constitution.

A member of the executive signs each pact. The majority of treaties also require ratification by the state legislature. It is once again the executive’s job to obtain congressional approval for the treaties it has signed.

Functions of Defense, War, and Peace:

One of the most important functions of the state is to maintain and preserve the country’s unity and integrity, as well as to safeguard it against external attack or war. It is the executive’s job to carry out this task. The executive’s functions include organizing the military for the defense of the state, preparing for and fighting war if it becomes necessary, and negotiating and signing peace treaties after each battle.

The executive is the ultimate arbiter of the nature of a threat to the country’s security. It is its primary responsibility to take all necessary steps in the interest of the state’s security and integrity. The state’s chief executive is also the state’s supreme commander of the armed forces.

Making Foreign Policy and Managing Foreign Relations:

In this age of ever-increasing global interdependence, formulating the state’s foreign policy and managing foreign relations has become one of the most crucial duties of a government. The executive also performs this duty.

The executive sets the national priorities and formulates the aims of national interest. It formulates the nation’s foreign policy and then implements it in order to achieve the nation’s stated goals. The state’s ambassadors to foreign countries are appointed by the administration.


The modern welfare state must perform a wide range of responsibilities in order to ensure the socioeconomic and cultural growth of its citizens. It must develop policies, devise short- and long-term plans, and put them into action. All of the state’s actions are directed by specific policies and programs.

Policy-making and development planning are carried out by the executive branch. These are the executive’s two most significant tasks, because it is through them that the state achieves its goal of improving the welfare of its citizens.

Functions relating to Law-making:

The legislature is primarily responsible for enacting laws. The executive, on the other hand, plays a role in lawmaking. In this area as well, the executive’s responsibility has grown by leaps and bounds. Ministers are also members of the legislature under a parliamentary system, and they play a key role in lawmaking.

They introduce and pilot the majority of legislation bills in the legislature. The legislature spends the majority of its time passing governmental bills. Only once the Head of State signs the bills voted by the legislature do they become law.

Making laws under the Delegated Legislation system:

The executive’s influence in lawmaking has grown significantly as a result of the delegated legislation system. The legislature delegated some of its legislative powers to the executive under this arrangement. On the basis of these abilities, the executive creates rules. The volume of executive delegated legislation greatly outnumbers the laws passed by the legislature.

9. Financial Services:

The legislature is in charge of all financial matters. It has the authority to levy, cut, or abolish a tax. In practice, however, the executive performs a number of financial duties. It is responsible for budget preparation.

It suggests imposing new taxes or altering the tax system and administration. It is responsible for collecting and spending funds as directed by the legislature.

The CEO makes the decisions about how the money will be collected and spent. It is in charge of developing all economic strategies and programs. It regulates the production and distribution of products, as well as the money supply, prices, and exports and imports. It secures international loans, negotiates foreign aid, and ensures the state’s financial stability.

Semi-Judicial Functions:

The best strategy for ensuring the independence of the judiciary is for the executive to appoint judges. The chief executive has the power to nominate judges in practically all democratic systems. He also has the authority to award offenders pardon, reprieve, and amnesty. The executive agencies have the authority to hear and decide issues involving certain domains of administrative activity under the administrative adjudication system.

In India, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and a number of other countries, parliamentary executives are in place. The executive branch of government in the United States of America is presidential. In France, these two types of executive exist in tandem.

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