India, a union of states, is a sovereign, socialist, secular, and democratic republic with a Parliamentary system of Government. A union territory is a type of administrative division in India which is ruled directly by the Union government (Central Government). Hence, it is called the “union territory”. The President is the constitutional head of the Executive of the Union. Union Territories are administered by the President through an Administrator appointed by him/her. Union territories of India have special rights and status due to their process of formation and development. The status of “Union Territory” is assigned to an Indian sub-division to safeguard the rights of indigenous cultures, averting political turmoil related to matters of governance, newly inducted into India from a foreign colony, and so on.
What are the Union Territories of India?
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 President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Union Territories have no representation in the Rajya Sabha except Delhi and Puducherry. The Administrator of each Union territory has a functional responsibility independent of his peer Administrators in other Union territories. The Union territories are further sub-divided into smaller administrative blocks for effective governance. Villages form the smallest area of administration. Each village has a representative administrative Gram Panchayat. A Gram Panchayat may have administrative control of a number of villages.
How Many Union Territories in India?
India, a union of states, is a Sovereign, Secular, Democratic Republic with a Parliamentary system of Government. The President is the constitutional head of the Executive of the Union. The Union territories are notionally administered by the representative of the Indian President. There are 8 Union territories in India. From the largest to the smallest, each UT of India has a unique demography, history, culture, dress, festivals, language, etc. This section introduces you to the various UTs in the Country and urges you to explore their uniqueness:
Union Territories of India
There are 8 Union territories in India. The list for the same is given below:
1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
2. Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu
8. Jammu and Kashmir
1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
|Area||8,249 sq. km|
|Population||4 lakh (approx)|
|Languages||Hindi, Nicobarese, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu|
The Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is situated between 6° and 14° North Latitude and 92° and 94° East Longitude. The islands located north of 10° north latitude are known as the Andaman Group of Islands while islands located south of 10° north latitude are called the Nicobar Group of Islands. The climate of the islands can be defined as a humid, tropical coastal climate. The islands receive rainfall from both the southwest and northeast monsoons and the maximum precipitation is between May & December.
The original inhabitants of the islands lived in the forests hunting and fishing. There are four Negrito tribes, viz., the Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa, and Sentinelese in the Andaman group of islands, and two Mongoloid tribes, viz., Nicobarese and Shompens in the Nicobar group of islands.
2. Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu
|Area||491 sq km|
|Population||4 Lakhs (Approx)|
Recently Daman and Diu are merged into Dadar and Nagar Haweli to form a single Union Territory i.e., Dadar and Nagar Haweli. From 1954 to 1961, the territory functioned almost independently by what was known as the ” Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli Administration “. However, the territory was merged with the Indian Union on 11 August 1961, and since then, is being administered by the Government of India as a Union Territory.
|Area||32 sq. km|
|Population||64,429 ( Approx )|
|Principal Languages||Malayalam, Jeseri (Dweep Bhasha) and Mahal|
Not much is known about the early history of these islands. It is the smallest Union Territory of India. The islands that were supposed to have been inhabited first are Amini, Andreotti, Kavaratti, and Agatti. It was earlier believed that the islanders were originally Hindus, and later converted to Islam under the influence of Arab traders, sometime in the 14th century. In 1956, the islands were constituted into a single territory, and since then, have been directly administered by the Union Government through an Administrator. The Laccadives, Minicoy, and Amindivi group of islands were renamed Lakshadweep in 1973. Lakshadweep, is a group of coral islands consisting of 12 atolls, three reefs, and submerged sandbanks. Of the 27 islands, only 11 are inhabited. These lie scattered in the Arabian Sea about 280 km to 480 km off the Kerala coast.
|Area||479 sq km|
|Principal Languages||Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, English, and French|
The territory of (Puducherry) comprises the former French establishment Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe, and Yanam, which lie scattered in South India. Puducherry, the capital of the territory was once the original headquarters of the French in India. It was under French rule for 138 years and merged with the Indian Union on 1st November 1954. It is bounded on the east by the Bay of Bengal and on the three sides by Tamil Nadu. About 150 km south of Puducherry on the East Coast lies Karaikal. Mahe is situated on the Malabar coast in the Western Ghats surrounded by Kerala. It can be reached from Calicut Airport, which is 70 km from Mahe. Yanam is situated adjoining the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh and is about 200 km from Visakhapatnam airport.
5. NCT of Delhi
|Area||1,483 sq. km|
|Principal Languages||Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu & English|
Delhi finds prominent references right from the times of the epic Mahabharata. Its control passed from one ruler/dynasty to another, beginning with the Mauryas, Pallavas, Guptas of Central India, and then to the Turks and Afghan during the 13th to 15th centuries, and finally to the Mughals in the 16th century. In the latter half of the 18th century and early 19th century, British rule was established in Delhi. In 1911, Delhi became the center of all activities after the capital was shifted from Kolkata. It was made a Union Territory in 1956. Lying in the northern part of the country, Delhi is surrounded by Haryana on all sides except the east, where it borders Uttar Pradesh. The 69th Constitutional amendment is a milestone in Delhi’s history, as it got a Legislative Assembly with the enactment of the National Capital Territory Act, 1991.
|Area||114 sq km|
|Principal Languages||Hindi, Punjabi, English|
Chandigarh is a fully grown town of the most modern architectural splendor. The city nestles in a picturesque setting in the foothills of Shivalik hills and enjoys the popular epithet “City Beautiful”. Representative of modern architecture and town planning, the city is a creation of the French Architect, Le Corbusier. Chandigarh and the area surrounding it were constituted as a Union Territory on 1 November 1966. It serves as the joint capital of both Punjab and Haryana States. It is bound North and West by Punjab and on the East and South by Haryana.
Ladakh became a Union Territory on 31st October 2019. The Union Territory of Ladakh comprises two districts namely Leh and Kargil. It is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and distinct culture. The UT of Ladakh shall comprise two districts namely Leh and Kargil.
1. Sub-Divisions: 6
2. Tehsils: 8
3. Blocks: 16
4. Panchayat: 95
5. Villages: 113
1. Sub-Divisions: 4
2. Tehsils: 7
3. Blocks: 15
4. Panchayat: 98
5. Villages: 130
8. Jammu and Kashmir
|Capital||Jammu ( winter ), Srinagar ( summer )|
|Languages||Urdu, Dogri, Kashmiri, Pahari, Ladakhi, Balti, Gojri and Dari|
How do Delhi, Puducherry, J&K have other systems than the other Union Territories?
In India, all the states and three union territories, i.e. Puducherry, Delhi, Jammu, and Kashmir possess elected legislature.
Out of a total of eight union territories in India, three U.T. i.e., Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, and Puducherry have their elected assembly, as these are granted partial statehood, by an amendment to the Constitution.
Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, and Puducherry have their own legislative assembly and executive council and operate like states. They have a few subjects of State listed with them and a few lie with the center.
Union Territories of India: History
During the discussion on the re-organization of states in 1956, the States Re-organisation Commission recommended the 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 states of India. Recently the Jammu and Kashmir state is bifurcated into Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories while the Dadar and Nagar Haweli is merged with Daman and Diu.