major reorganization, Indian parliament, major significance, civil liberties, United States Bill of Rights
India’s constitution went into effect in 1950, providing civil liberties protected by a set of fundamental rights. These include not only rights to free speech, assembly, association, and the exercise of religion—echoing the United States Bill of Rights—but also rights such as that of citizens to conserve their culture and language and to establish schools to aid this endeavor. The constitution also lists principles of national policy, such as the duty of the government to secure equal pay for men and women, provision of free legal aid, and protection and improvement of the environment. India has universal voting rights for adults beginning at age 18.
The Indian parliament has amended the constitution many times since 1950. Most of these amendments were minor, but others were of major significance: For example, the 7th amendment (1956) provided for a major reorganization of the boundaries of the states, and the 73rd and 74th amendments (1993) gave constitutional permanence to units of local self-government (village and city councils).
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