The basic difference between a State and a Union Territory is that union territories are directly ruled by the union government, while states have a separate government for administrative purposes.
A nation is known by its states and union territories. India as a country comprises 28 states and 8 Union Territories. There is a difference between a state and a union territory. This article will mention the basic differences between the two for IAS Exam aspirants along with the explanation of the states and union territories.
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Evolution of States and Union Territories in India
Our 28 states and 8 Union Territories have come out from the two categories of political units:
- The British Provinces
- The Princely States
India as an independent nation started with a total of 29 states classified into four categories:
- Part A: Nine erstwhile governor’s provinces of British India
- Part B: Nine erstwhile princely states with legislatures
- Part C: Erstwhile chief commissioner’s provinces of British India and some of the erstwhile princely states. These Part-C states (in all 10 in number) were centrally administered
- Part D: The Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Check the states in the above-mentioned parts at the time of India’s independence:
|Part A States||Part B States||Part C States||Part D States|
|Assam||Hyderabad||Ajmer||Andaman & Nicobar Islands|
|Bihar||Jammu & Kashmir||Bhopal||–|
|Madras||Patiala & East Punjab||Coorg||–|
|West Bengal||Vindhya Pradesh||Manipur||–|
Later, with the States Reorganisation Act (1956) and the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act (1956), the distinction between Part-A and Part-B states was done away with, and Part-C states were abolished. Some of them were merged with adjacent states and some others were designated as union territories.
As a result, the following 14 states and 6 union territories were created in 1956:
|Andhra Pradesh||Andaman & Nicobar Islands|
|Bombay||Laccadive, Minicoy & Amindivi Islands|
|Jammu & Kashmir||Manipur|
States and Union Territories Post-1956
The demand for the creation of states based on languages was one of the major reasons for India to have several states. Post-1956, India came up with 29 States and 7 Union Territories:
|Andhra Pradesh||Andaman and Nicobar Islands|
|Assam||Dadra and Nagar Haveli|
|Bihar||Daman and Diu|
|Chhattisgarh||Delhi (National Capital Territory)|
|Jammu and Kashmir||–|
Note: After the repeal of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir in July 2019, on October 31, 2019, the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir was bifurcated into two union territories:
- Jammu & Kashmir
Hence, now India has 28 states and 8 Union Territories.
Difference between States and Union Territories
The basic differences between a state and a union territory are given below which can help aspirants in UPSC 2021 exam as the bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir state makes this topic important.
|Definition||It is an independent unit which is run by the state legislature which either is unicameral or bicameral:
(to read the difference between unicameral and bicameral, refer to the linked article.)
|It is not an independent unit but is run by the administrators appointed by the President of India
Delhi and Puducherry are the only two UTs that have a legislature and are governed by a Lieutenant Governor (LG), CM, and council of ministers.
||Central Government through Lieutenant Governors & Administrators. 3 Union Territories – Chandigarh, Lakshwadeep, Dadar and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu have Administrators, rest of the 5 Union Territories – Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, and Puducherry have Lieutenant Governors (LG).|
|Executive Head||Governor||Lt. Governor|
|Centre’s relationship||Federal in character||Unitary in character|
|Election||Chief Minister is elected||An LG/Administrator is appointed by the President|
|Autonomy||Exist||Does not exist|
IAS aspirants must understand that both states and union territories are important blocks of a nation. While states are bigger, UTs are smaller. These differences will help aspirants to understand the two in a better way.
For more UPSC- related preparation articles visit the links given in the table below. Candidates can also visit the UPSC Syllabus page to get a general idea of the UPSC exams.
Frequently Asked Questions on Difference Between States and Union Territories
Q 1. What is the basic difference between a State and a Union Territory?
Q 2. How many States and Union Territories are there in India?
Q 3. How are Union Territories different from States?
Ans. During independence and due to the constitutional provisions, Union Territories were created either because they were too small in area to be called a state or were not entirely a part of the country. Thus, they were named Union Territories depending upon the Union Government.
Q 4. Who is the administrator of the States and Union Territories?
Q 5. Why is India divided into States and Union Territories?
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