Directive Principles of State Policy


This 1057-word document is fundamental to Indian democracy and governance. It was adopted by the Indian Constitution on November 26, 1949, and came into force two months later, on January 26, 1950.

The Directive Principles of State Policy – Part IV of the Constitution of India, covering Articles 36 to 51  – are not enforceable in any court of law, but Article 37 states “the principles therein laid down are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws.”

The State, Article 36, clarifies, includes the government and Parliament of India, the governments and legislatures of each state, and “all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India.”  (The same definition is clarified in Article 12, Part III of the Constitution , on Fundamental Rights.)

Article 38 says that the State shall strive to promote welfare such that “justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life.” It shall work towards minimising inequalities in income, and eliminating inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities among individuals and groups.

Article 39 says that the State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing:

(a) that the citizens, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood;

(b) that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good;

(c) that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment;

(d) that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women;

(e) that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength;

(f) that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment. (On January 3, 1977, Article 39(f) replaced the original text of the same clause through the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976.)

Article 39A stipulates that the State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity. It shall provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities.

Article 40 stipulates that the State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.

Article 41 says that the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of ‘undeserved want’.

Article 42 says that the State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.

Article 43 says that the State shall endeavour to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organisation or in any other way, to all workers, agricultural, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operative basis in rural areas.

Article 43A stipulates that the State shall take steps, by suitable legislation or in any other way, to secure the participation of workers in the management of undertakings, establishments or other organisations engaged in any industry.

Article 44 says that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.

Article 45 says that the State shall endeavour to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.

Article 46 says that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

Article 47 says that the State shall regard raising the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties. It also says that the State shall endeavour to prohibit the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health, except for medicinal purposes.

Article 48 says that the State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter, of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.

Article 48A stipulates that the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country.

Article 49 says that the it shall be the obligation of the State to protect every monument or place or object of artistic or historic interest, declared by or under law made by Parliament to be of national importance, from spoliation, disfigurement, destruction, removal, disposal or export, as the case may be.

Article 50 stipulates that the State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in its public services.

Article 51 stipulates that the State shall endeavor to promote international peace and security, maintain just and honourable relations between nations, foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of ‘organized peoples’ with one another, and encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.


Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India


Government of India, New Delhi


26 Jan, 1950