What is the difference between a state and an union territory?
India is one of the largest countries in the world and the administrative powers and responsibilities of the country are divided among central government and various units in the form of states and union territories.
When it comes to administrative divisions of the country, after the inclusion of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh there is total of 28 states and 9 Union Territories.
If you are confused about the difference between state and union territory, this article will help you understand the concept better.
What is a state?
When talking about the difference between state and union territory, a state is a division under Indian constituency, which has a separate government. States are explained as the administrative unit that has its elected government, which has the right to frame its laws. It has its own Legislative Assembly and the Chief Minister, for administration. The Governor acts as the representative of the President, in states.
There is a distribution of sovereign legislative and executive powers between the Centre and state, regarding the territory of that state.
Different states vary in size, demography, history, dressing style, culture, language, tradition and so on. Prior to independence, there were two kinds of states in India, i.e. Provinces and Princely states, wherein provinces are under the control of British Government while the Princely states are ruled by the hereditary rulers.
What is union territory?
Union Territories are ruled directly by the Central Government has a Lieutenant Governor as an administrator, who is the representative of the President of India and appointed by the Central government. Union Territories have no representation in the Rajya Sabha except Delhi and Puducherry.
Unirritory is a small administrative unit that is ruled by the Union. The Union Territories are controlled and administered directly by the Central Government.
To sum up in simple words the basic difference between state and union territory is that, a state has a separate governing body whereas, an union territory is directly governed by the central government or union government.
History of union territories
During the discussion on reorganisation of states in 1956, the States Reorganisation Commission recommended creation of a different category for these territories since they neither fit the model of a state nor do they follow a uniform pattern when it comes to governance.
It was observed that these economically unbalanced, financially weak, and administratively and politically unstable territories can’t survive as separate administrative units without depending heavily on the Union government. Considering all the reasons union territory was formed.
Andaman and Nicobar island was the first union territory of India, Chandigarh is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana state of India.
How Delhi and Puducherry are different from other union territories?
In India, all the states and three union territories, i.e. Puducherry, Delhi, and Jammu and Kashmir possess elected legislature and government.
There are total nine union territories in India, out of which 3, i.e. Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, and Puducherry, have their elected members and the Chief Minister, as these are granted with partial statehood, by amendment to the Constitution.
These two possess their own legislative assembly and executive council and operate like states. The remaining union territories are controlled and regulated by the Union of the country, that’s why named as union territory.
Union territories of India
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- Dadra and Nagar Haveli
- Daman and Diu
- Jammu and Kashmir