Everyone knows India is the world’s largest democracy. But did you know it also has the world’s largest constitution?

At 145,000 words, it is the longest written constitution of any sovereign state in the world. The US constitution, by contrast, has only 4,400 words.


What is the World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit 2019?

Under the theme, Innovating for India: Strengthening South Asia, Impacting the World, the World Economic Forum's India Economic Summit 2019 will convene key leaders from government, the private sector, academia and civil society on 3-4 October to accelerate the adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and boost the region’s dynamism.

Hosted in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the aim of the Summit is to enhance global growth by promoting collaboration among South Asian countries and the ASEAN economic bloc.

The meeting will address strategic issues of regional significance under four thematic pillars:

• The New Geopolitical Reality – Geopolitical shifts and the complexity of our global system

• The New Social System – Inequality, inclusive growth, health and nutrition

• The New Ecological System – Environment, pollution and climate change

• The New Technological System – The Fourth Industrial Revolution, science, innovation and entrepreneurship

Discover a few ways the Forum is creating impact across India.

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Composed between 1947 and 1950, the Indian constitution has only grown over the years, the ministry of external affairs explains:

The original text of the Constitution contained 395 articles in 22 parts and eight schedules. It came into effect on January 26, 1950, the day that India celebrates each year as the Republic Day. The number of articles has since increased to 448 due to 100 amendments.

Two copies of the Indian constitution were handwritten, one in English and one in Hindi. They are currently kept in helium-filled cases in the library of the Parliament House. In December 2012, a copy of the first edition of the Indian Constitution, which was signed by the country’s first president Rajendra Prasad, was auctioned by Sotheby’s in London. It sold for nearly £40,000 (Rs35.6 lakh) to a private collector.

Critics wonder if its length is perhaps a weakness of the Indian constitution.

“The Constitution of India remains like the proverbial elephant being touched in different parts by many blind men, coming up with their own interpretation of the nature of the creature,” wrote Jhelum Chowdhury of Crystal Research and Consulting.

“This is the unwieldy and incomprehensible Rule Book that is supposed to guide the daily lives of the people of India and their municipalities, state and federal governments and the relations between them,” Chowdhury added. “No wonder no one really knows what is going on in India, except those who claim special knowledge or forbearance, of which unfortunately there is quite a few. And no wonder the country’s progress is being held back because there is no unanimity of understanding on the set of rules.”

Plus, dissenters are sceptical about the number of times it has been toyed with. In less than eight decades of the country’s existence, the Constitution of India has been amended 103 times. The American one, written in 1787 and ratified in 1788, has been amended just 27 times.