The 97th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2011 gave a constitutional status and protection to co-operative societies. In this context, it made the following three changes in the constitution:
1. It made the right to form co-operative societies a fundamental right (Article 19).
2. It included a new Directive Principle of State Policy on promotion of cooperative societies (Article 43-B).
3. It added a new Part IX-B in the Constitution which is entitled “The Cooperative Societies" (Articles 243-ZH to 243-ZT).
Part IX-B of the constitution contains the following provisions with respect to the co-operative societies:
REASONS FOR THE 97TH AMENDMENT
The reasons for adding the above provisions in the Constitution by the 97th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2011 are as follows:
1. The co-operative sector, over the years, has made significant contribution to various sectors of national economy and has achieved voluminous growth. However, it has shown weaknesses in safeguarding the interests of the members and fulfilment of objects for which these institutions were organised.
2. The “co-operative societies” is a subject enumerated in Entry 32 of the state list of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and the state legislatures have accordingly enacted legislations on co-operative societies. Within the framework of State Acts, growth of co-operatives on large scale was envisaged as part of the efforts for securing social and economic justice and equitable distribution of the fruits of development.