The Stories Of Change

8 Most Significant Changes in the Indian Constitution

On 70th Republic Day celebration, we bring you some of the most significant amendments and changes in the constitution of India.

Constitution of India came into force on January 26th, 1950. Dr. B R Ambedkar, Chairman of the Drafting Committee structured the Indian Constitution, which one of longest ones in the world. It took two years, 11 months and 18 days to finish.

On 70th Republic Day, we bring you eight incredible amendments and introduction of new laws that happened in the constitution in the last few decades.

Constitution of India

Photo: Wikimedia

1. The first amendment, 1951

The first amendment was passed in the year 1951 after the constitution came into existence. Lots of changes were made in the fundamental rights.

Former Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru passed the first amendment on May 10th, 1951. The amendments were passed to make special provisions for the advancement of socially and economically backward classes. These were focused around the abuse of freedom of rights, the abolition of zamindari laws and added a special provision for Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes in the education and social sectors.

2. Formation of states and union territories, 1956

The seventh constitutional amendment, States Reorganisation Act came into existence on 31st August 1956. This amendment abolished division of states according to their classes and per capita income and reorganised them systematically.

The amendment abolished the classification of States into A, B, C and D categories to 14 states and six union territories. This is under the provision of Part 1 of the Indian constitution, Article 3 and 4.

Jawaharlal Nehru signing the Constitution | Photo: Wikipedia

3. The mini-constituion, 1976

Also called the mini-constitution, the 42nd amendment was enacted during the emergency period in 1976.

  • The three words; socialist, secular, and integrity were added in the preamble of the constitution. This was done to ensure the security of the minority population in the country. In addition, the economic equality was promoted in this amendment.
  • Added fundamental duties by the citizens
  • Equal justice, free legal aid participation of workers in the management of industries were the three directive principles which were added.

This was also the most controversial amendment in the Indian history since it gave a lot of powers to the Prime Minsiter’s Office.

4. Lowering the voting age, 1989

Thrusting trust upon the youth of India, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi brought out this change to involve the younger generation in the political process of the country.

The voting age was reduced from 21 years to 18 years in the 61st amendment. The Statement of Objects stated:

“The present-day youth are literate and enlightened and the lowering of the voting age would provide to the unrepresented youth of the country an opportunity to give vent to their feelings and help them become a part of the political process. The present-day youth are very much politically conscious. It is, therefore, proposed to reduce the voting age from 21 years to 18 years.”

5. Urban Local Bodies Incorporated, 1993

When state local bodies became ineffective and unstable, the 74th Amendment came into force in June, 1993. .This amendment brought municipalities under the official structure of the constitution.

This was aimed at building a firm relationship between the State and Urban Local Bodies with respect to the function and taxation, ensuring regular conduct of elections, arrangements of revenue sharing and representation of the weaker section.

6. Free and compulsory education, 2002

By introducing Right to Education, the constitution laid emphasis on free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in India.

The Act requires all private schools to reserve 25 percent of seats to children (to be reimbursed by the state as part of the public-private partnership plan). Kids are admitted into private schools based on economic status or caste-based reservations. 

7. Right to Information, 2005

This law was passed by Parliament on 15 June 2005 and came fully into force on 12 October 2005. The law empowers any citizen of India to request information from a “public authority”. The public official is required to respond to the query expeditiously or within thirty days. Nearly 5,000 RTIs are filed every day in India.

8. The GST, Value Added Tax, 2016

101st amendment of the constitution was introduced in 2016. The GST, Value Added Tax was proposed to collect indirect tax from sales and consumption of goods. This was done to simplify the taxation process where the consumers don’t have to pay multiple taxes.

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Chaithra Srinivas

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