Union Territories


09:06 AM

1 min read

Prelims: Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

Mains: Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure


What are Union territories? 

Union territories are the administrative units that are governed in part or wholly by the Union Government of India. 

  • As per Article 1 of the constitution, the territory of India shall comprise:
    • The territories of the States
    • The Union Territories
    • Such other territories may be acquired.
  • Part VIII of the Indian Constitution( Article 239- Article 241) deals with the Union territories. 


What are the present Union Territories in India?

Currently, India has eight Union territories which were constituted for various purposes across time. These include

  • Delhi (1956): For administrative needs as it is the National Capital Territory. 
  • Andaman and Nicobar (1956): Strategic significance due to its presence in the Bay of Bengal.  
  • Chandigarh(1966): For administrative needs as it is the common capital for Punjab and Haryana. 
  • Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (2020): Cultural uniqueness as it used to be Portuguese possession.
  • Jammu and Kashmir (2019): For administrative, developmental, and security purposes.
  • Ladakh (2019): For special attention to the tribal communities and territorial remoteness. 
  • Lakshadweep (1956): For the strategic significance due to the presence in the Arabian Sea
  • Puducherry (1956): For its cultural uniqueness for being an erstwhile French territory. 




How did the Union Territories evolve in India? 

The Constitution of India, adopted in November 1949, divided Indian states into four categories. Part C States included former princely states and chief commissioners’ provinces. The only Part D State was Andaman and Nicobar Islands, administered by a lieutenant governor appointed by the Union government.

  • 1956: The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 merged all Part C and Part D states into a new category called "Union territory". 
    • Six Union territories created were: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Delhi, Manipur, Tripura, and Himachal Pradesh. 
    • Later, Himachal Pradesh became a state, followed by Manipur and Tripura.
  • 1961: Dadra and Nagar Haveli, which were under Portuguese rule, were merged into India and were made a Union territory.
  • 1962: Pondicherry/Puducherry became a Union territory after its transfer from French possession and was granted a state legislature by the Government of Union Territories Act 1963.
  • 1966: Chandigarh was made the shared capital of Haryana and Punjab and became a Union territory.
  • 1987: Daman and Diu earlier used to be part of Goa and became a Union territory.
  • 2019: The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act split the state into two Union territories: Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
  • 2020: The two Union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu were merged into a single territory.


What are the differences between the States and Union Territories?



Union Territories

Form of government

A state is a constituent division that has a separate government.

The Union territories are administered and controlled directly by the Central Government of India.

Federal relationship 

States enjoy a federal relationship with the central government. The legislative and executive powers are distributed.

Union territories are part of the unitary structures under the central government. This means all the legislative and executive powers rest with the Union.

Role of Governor/


The Governor acts in aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. 

The Administrator acts on behalf of the President.

Representation in parliament

Represented in both Houses of Parliament. (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha)

Represented in Lok Sabha only except for Delhi, Puducherry and Jammu and Kashmir which have representation in Rajya Sabha also. 

Legislative assembly

Has its own Legislative Assembly.

Does not have its own Legislative Assembly, except for Delhi and Puducherry, and Jammu and Kashmir.


How are the Union Territories classified in India? 


Union Territories of India 

With Legislature 

Without legislature 

Delhi NCR


Other Union Territories 


Lieutenant Governor on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.

Lieutenant Governor on the aid and the advice of the Council of Ministers.

Administered by the President acting to such extent through an Administrator.

Administrator’s Advisory Councils and Home Minister’s Advisory Committees (HMACs) are set up to advise the Administrators on matters concerning these UTs.


Legislative assembly on the State list (except police, public order, and land)  and concurrent list of the 7th Schedule. 

Parliament on the three lists of the 7th Schedule. (In case of conflict, the law made by Parliament prevails) 

Legislative Assembly on the State list and concurrent list of the 7th Schedule

Parliament on the three lists of the 7th Schedule. (In case of conflict, the law made by Parliament prevails)

President can make regulations when the assembly is suspended  

Parliament on the three lists of the 7th Schedule 

President can make regulations for the peace, progress and good governance


Delhi High Court 

Madras High Court 

Andaman - Kolkata High Court

Chandigarh- Punjab and Haryana High Court

Dadra and Nagar, Daman and Diu - Mumbai High Court

Lakshadweep - Kerala High Court  



Previous Year Questions



Q) Discuss the essentials of the 69th Constitutional Amendment Act and anomalies, if any, that have led to recent reported conflicts between the elected representatives and the institution of the Lieutenant Governor in the administration of Delhi. Do you think that this will give rise to a new trend in the functioning of Indian federal politics? (2016)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q) What territories does the Union Territory of Puducherry comprise? 

The Union Territory of Puducherry comprises the former French establishments of  Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe, and Yanam, which lie scattered in the Southern part of India.


Q) Which Union territories later became states?

Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura, and Arunachal Pradesh are the Union territories which later became States.