What is the difference between States and Union Territories?

23 Aug 2022  Read 2099 Views

Indian states and Union territories having an extraordinary and rich history, never fails to charm their visitors. India is a land of 28 states and 8 Union territories, with each sharing a distinct story or interesting past like UTs of Daman and Diu were under the rule of the Portuguese while Puducherry was under the rule of the French having different cultures from their surrounding states. Also, after reorganizing, Jammu and Kashmir two UTs came into existence- J & K and Ladakh. Similarly, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu merged into one UT. Union Territories (UTs) are federal territories administered by the Centre. They have Lieutenant Governors (LGs) appointed by the President of India. In this article, we will discuss states & Union territories, the evolution, differences between states and Union territories, etc. Let’s get started.

What are Union Territories?

Unlike the states in India, which have their own governments, Union Territories (UTs) do not have a government of their own rather, they are administered by the Centre. In UTs, the Centre appoints the Lieutenant Governor, an administrator, and the representative of the President of India.

However, there are exceptions as well, such as Puducherry, Delhi, and Jammu & Kashmir; these Union territories have their own governments (an elected legislature), as they were granted partial statehood under the special Constitutional amendment.

How Delhi and Puducherry are different from other union territories?

In India, all the states and three union territories, i.e., Puducherry, Delhi, Jammu, and Kashmir, possess an elected legislature and government. When Jammu and Kashmir were reorganized as per the J & K Reorganization Act, 2019, the state of J & K was divided into two Union territories- Jammu & Kashmir with legislature and Ladakh without legislature.

  • J & K, however, has been a Union territory with legislature since its formation in 2019, but the formation of government is still in progress and hasn’t been implemented to date, whereas; 

  • Delhi and Puducherry possess their own legislative assembly and executive council and operate like states. 

  • While the remaining union territories are controlled and regulated by the Union of the country, they are known as Union territories.

How many States and Union Territories are there at present?

Today, India has 28 states and 8 Union Territories, including Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry.

Difference between States and Union Territories



Union Territory


It is an independent unit that is run by the state legislature 


(either unicameral, with only Vidhan Sabha, or bicameral, with both Vidhan Sabha & Vidhan Parishad)

It is not an independent unit but is run by the administrators appointed by the President of India


However, 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. J & K also has a legislature but govt. has not been formed yet.


By State Legislature

  • Governor

  • Chief Minister & Council of Ministers

By Central Government through Lieutenant Governors & Administrators. 

  • Union Territories – Chandigarh, Lakshwadeep, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu have Administrators, 

  • Other Union Territories – Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, and Puducherry have Lieutenant Governors (LG).

Executive Head


Lt. Governor

Centre’s relationship

Federal nature

Unitary nature


Chief Minister is elected

An Lieutenant Governor/Administrator is appointed by the President



Does not exist


Evolution of States and Union Territories in India

Before1956, the 28 states and 8 Union Territories were carved out from the two categories of political units:

  1. The British Provinces- Provinces were British territories directly administered by the colonial government of British India. 

  2. The Princely States- Princely states were states with native rulers that had entered into treaty relations with the British.

India as an independent nation started with a total of 29 states that are classified into four categories:

  1. Part A: 9 erstwhile governor’s provinces of British India

  2. Part B: 9 erstwhile princely states with legislatures

  3. Part C: Erstwhile chief commissioner’s provinces of British India and some of the erstwhile princely states. These Part-C states (a total of 10) were centrally administered

  4. Part D: The Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Here’s a table distinguishing the four categories:

Part A States

Part B States

Part C States

Part D States




Andaman & Nicobar Islands


Jammu & Kashmir



Madhya Bharat


Madhya Pradesh




Patiala & East Punjab







Himachal Pradesh

United Provinces



West Bengal

Vindhya Pradesh




History of Union Territories

Later, with the States Reorganisation Act (1956) and the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act (1956), the distinction between Part-A and Part-B states was taken away, and Part-C states were abolished. Some of them were merged with adjacent states, while some others were designated as Union territories. So, India came up with 29 states and 7 Union territories.

While discussing the reorganization of states in 1956, the States Reorganization Commission recommended the creation of a different category for these territories (that are now Union territories) as they neither fit the state model nor follow a uniform pattern when it comes to governance. These territories were economically unbalanced, financially weak, and administratively & politically unstable, so they couldn’t survive as separate administrative units without depending heavily on the Centre. Hence, because of all these reasons, union territory was formed.

Did you Know?

Andaman and Nicobar island was the first union territory of India, and Chandigarh is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana states of India.

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 230 Post(s)

Kakoli Nath is a legal Content Manager at Finology Legal who pursued BBA.LL.B (5 years integrated course). She is a patent analyst & had also done advanced certification in Forensics Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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