The autonomous agencies could be divided into two general classifications: the first was concerned with education, welfare, and culture; the second, with industry and commerce. In the first classification, autonomous agencies supervised the University of the Republic and the councils for secondary and elementary education, as well as the training for teachers. Others were concerned with radio, television, the theater, housing, welfare, and social security. In the second classification, agencies supervised the waterworks, fishing industry, ports, national merchant marine, and production of petroleum products, cement, alcoholic beverages, and electric power. In the commercial field, autonomous agencies supervised the Central Bank of Uruguay, the Social Welfare Bank, the State Insurance Bank, and the Mortgage Bank.
A three-fifths vote of the full membership of both chambers of the General Assembly was required for the passage of a law to allow the admission of private capital in the organization or expansion of the assets of any of the autonomous entities, and the contribution of private capital, if allowed, was never to be greater than that of the national government. The state could also participate in the industrial, agricultural, or commercial activities of enterprises formed by workers' cooperatives, if it had the consent of the enterprise. The autonomous entities could not conduct any business not specifically assigned to them by law, nor could they expend any of their resources for purposes foreign to their usual activities.