The main difference between state and union territory is that states have their own governments, while union territories are governed by the central government .
In particular, states and union territories are two administrative units in the Republic of India. There are twenty-eight states and eight Union Territories comprising thirty-six units. These states and union territories are further subdivided into smaller administrative units.
Key areas covered
1. What is a state - definition, administration 2. What is a union territory - definition, administration 3. What is the difference between state and union territory - comparison of the most important differences
Key areas covered
Indian government, state, union territory
What is a state
A state is a territory that is considered an organized political community under one government. In the Republic of India, a state is an independent administrative unit that functions as its own elected government. It has its own legislative assembly, elected representatives and a prime minister for administrative duties. In addition, the state government takes on the basic administrative functions such as health care, safety, governance, revenue generation, etc.
In fact, there are twenty-eight states in India; each of them vary in size, demographics, culture, language, history, etc.
List of states
- Andhra Pradesh
- Arunachal Pradesh
- Himachal Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh
- Tamil Nadu
- Uttar Pradesh
- West Bengal
Rajasthan is the largest state in India in terms of area, while Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state. Meanwhile, Goa is the smallest state in terms of area while Sikkim is the smallest state in terms of population.
What is a Union Territory?
Union territory, on the other hand, is federal territory that is governed directly by the central government of India. There are eight Union Territories:
- Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu
- Jammu and Kashmir
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Jammu and Kashmir are the largest union territories while Lakshadweep is the smallest. In terms of population, Delhi is the largest union territory while Lakshadweep is the smallest. In general, the president has the power to appoint an administrator or a lieutenant governor for each union territory.
In addition, these Union Territories can be divided into two types: Union Territory with Legislature and Union Territory without Legislature . Delhi, Puducherry and Jammu and Kashmir are the three territories with their own elected legislatures and governments. They are also represented in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament. Hence they have partial state-like functions. Other union territories do not have elected legislatures and are governed directly by the central government. Parliament can, however, pass a law amending the Constitution to provide a legislative body with elected members and covering a territory of the Union, as was the case for three territories.
Difference between state and union territory
A state is an independent administrative unit that acts as its own elected government, while a union territory is federal territory that is governed directly by the central government of India.
A state is usually much larger than a union territory.
In addition, there are 28 states and 8 union territories.
A state has its own legislative assembly, elected representatives and a prime minister. In contrast, a union territory that is ruled directly by the central government of India (with the exception of Delhi, Puducherry as well as Jammu and Kashmir).
The governor is the constitutional head of a state, while the president is the executive head of a union territory.
Appointment of administrators
The Prime Minister of the States is elected by the people, while the Chief Administrator is appointed by the President.
In short, states and union territories are two administrative units in the Republic of India. The main difference between state and union territory is that states have their own governments, but union territories do not. In fact, it is the central government that rules the Union's territories.
1. "States and Union Territories of India". Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, May 6, 2020, available here .