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 9 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 2020 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.