States and union territories of India

States and union territories of India

Indian national administrative sub-divisions

India is a federal union comprising 28 states and 8 union territories, for a total of 36 entities.[1] The states and union territories are further subdivided into districts and smaller administrative divisions.

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The states of India are self-governing administrative divisions, each having a state government. The governing powers of the states are shared between the state government and the union government. On the other hand, the union territories are directly governed by the union government. Though some of the union territories have their own territorial government, they do not have police forces.



Administrative divisions of the Indian Empire in 1909

British India was a very complex political entity consisting of various imperial divisions and states and territories of varying autonomy. At the time of its establishment in 1876, it was made up of 584 constituent states and the directly ruled territories of the Crown. The entire empire was divided into provinces and agencies.

A province consisted of territory under the direct rule of the Emperor of India (who was also the King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions) and a few minor states, ruled by Indian princes under the suzerainty of the Emperor. A Governor or Lieutenant-Governor acted as the representative of the Emperor to that province and head of government of the directly ruled territories in the province. The governor or lieutenant-governor also served as the Emperor's representative to the constituent states of the province. The first three of the lieutenant-governorships were territories annexed to India from other powers and temporarily governed by the erstwhile Bengal Presidency before being made into their own separate provinces. Agra and Bengal were still considered de jure parts of the defunct Bengal Presidency for judicial and legal purposes. Agra was finally separated in 1878 and merged with Oudh. The Bengal Presidency was re-established in 1912 as a governorship. All these provinces had their own legislatures established by the Indian Councils Acts and high courts established by Indian High Courts Acts. Laws passed by these legislatures needed the dual ascent of the governor or lieutenant-governor of the province and the governor-general of India who functioned as the representative of the Emperor.

In addition to these, there were certain territories ruled directly by the Government of India through nominated chief commissioners. These were former independent states annexed to India and since ruled directly by the Supreme Government.

  • There were the three chief commissioner's provinces. These did not have a legislature or a high court. These were:

A vast majority of the Indian states in the late nineteenth century were, in terms of imperial divisions, organised within the provinces. However a good amount of states were organised into imperial structures called agencies (or residencies). An Agent to the Governor-General (AGG) functioned as the Emperor's representative to all the states in the agency.


In 1919, the fourth Government of India was enacted by the Crown. This saw many major changes. The legislatures of the provinces were made elected ones rather than nominated ones. Some provinces were given bicameral legislatures. All provinces were elevated to governorships and all lieutenant governors were made governors. Burma was given a special status and made an autonomous province.

The Chamber of Princes was established by Emperor George V in 1920. One the major consequences of this was the creation of many more agencies from the states of the provinces, thus granting them direct relations with the Emperor instead of with the Governors.

This saw the separation of all the states from the provinces and addition to before-mentioned agencies. This left all the provinces with only territories under direct Crown rule.


The latter years of the Indian Empire saw the enactment of the last Government of India Act by the Crown. This act granted full autonomy to Indian provinces. Provincial laws no longer needed the ascent of the governor-general. This act also created the office of a Premier in each province who functioned as the new head of government and was responsible to the provincial legislature. Bengal, Madras and Bombay which had been till now styled Presidencies, were now officially styled as provinces. The provinces of Orissa and Sind were created from Bihar and Bombay respectively. The Province of Burma which had previously functioned as an autonomous province of India was now separated from the Indian Empire and established as the Crown Colony of Burma.

In 1947, the last Act of the Crown was passed. The act dissolved the Indian Empire, the Imperial Legislative Council and the Chamber of Princes and the Union of India was consequently established from 9 former Indian provinces (East Punjab, United Provinces, Central Provinces, Madras, Bombay, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal and Assam) and 562 former Indian states.


Administrative divisions of the Union of India in 1949

Between 1947 and 1950 the territories of the princely states were politically integrated into the new Indian Union. Most were merged into existing provinces; others were organised into new provinces and states, such as Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Malwa Union, Baghelkhand and Bundelkhand States Union, and Patiala and East Punjab States Union, made up of multiple princely states; a few, including Mysore, Hyderabad, Bhopal, and Bilaspur, became separate states. The new Constitution of India, which came into force on 26 January 1950, made India a sovereign democratic republic. The new republic was also declared to be a "Union of States". The constitution of 1950 distinguished between three main types of states:[2]

States reorganisation (1951–1956)

Andhra State was created on 1 October 1953 from the Telugu-speaking northern districts of Madras State.[3]

The French enclave of Chandernagore was transferred to West Bengal in 1954. In the same year Pondicherry, comprising the former French enclaves of Pondichéry, Karikal, Yanaon and Mahé, was transferred to India; this became a union territory in 1962.[4]

Also in 1954, pro-India forces liberated the Portuguese-held enclaves of Dadrá and Nagar Aveli, declaring the short-lived de facto state of Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli. In 1961, India annexed it as the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.[5][6][7][8]

The States Reorganisation Act, 1956 reorganised the states based on linguistic lines resulting in the creation of the new states.[2]

As a result of this act:


Bombay State was split into the linguistic states of Gujarat and Maharashtra on 1 May 1960 by the Bombay Reorganisation Act.[9] The former Union Territory of Nagaland achieved statehood on 1 December 1963.[10] The Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 resulted in the creation of Haryana on 1 November and the transfer of the northern districts of Punjab to Himachal Pradesh.[11] The act also designated Chandigarh as a union territory and the shared capital of Punjab and Haryana.[12]

Madras State was renamed Tamil Nadu in 1969. The north-eastern states of Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura were formed on 21 January 1972.[13] Mysore State was renamed Karnataka in 1973. On 16 May 1975, Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union and the state's monarchy was abolished.[14] In 1987, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram became states on 20 February, followed by Goa on 30 May, while erstwhile union territory of Goa, Daman and Diu's northern exclaves Damão and Diu became a separate union territory as Daman and Diu.[15]

In November 2000, three new states were created, namely:

Pondicherry was renamed Puducherry in 2007 and Orissa was renamed Odisha in 2011. Telangana was created on 2 June 2014 from ten former districts of north-western Andhra Pradesh.[20][21]

In August 2019, the Parliament of India passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which contains provisions to reorganise the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories; Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, effective from 31 October 2019.[22] Later that year in November, the Government of India introduced legislation to merge the union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli into a single union territory to be known as Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, effective from 26 January 2020.[23][24][25]

Current proposals

States and Union territories


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  1. Nava Raipur is planned to replace Raipur as the capital city of Chhattisgarh.
  2. Andhra Pradesh was divided into two states, Telangana and a residual Andhra Pradesh on 2 June 2014.[40][20]Hyderabad, located entirely within the borders of Telangana, is to serve as the capital for both states for a period of time not exceeding ten years.[41] The Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Andhra Pradesh Legislature completed the process of relocating to temporary facilities in the envisaged new capital city Amaravati in early 2017.[42]
  3. Bengali and Nepali are the official languages in the Darjeeling and Kurseong sub-divisions of the Darjeeling district.

Union territories

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Former states and union territories

Former states

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Former union territories

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Responsibilities and authorities

The Constitution of India distributes the sovereign executive and legislative powers exercisable with respect to the territory of any state between the Union and that state.[60]

See also


  1. "States and Union Territories". Know India Programme. Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  2. Constitution of India (PDF). Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 October 2023. Retrieved 2 April 2023.
  3. Andhra State Act, 1953 (PDF). Parliament of India. 1953. Retrieved 15 October 2023.
  4. Reorganisation of states (PDF) (Report). Economic Weekly. 15 October 1955. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 February 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  5. "Dadra and Nagar Haveli Celebrated Its 60th Liberation Day". Jagran Josh. 2 August 2013. Archived from the original on 29 February 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  6. Dasgupta, Reshmi R. (10 August 2019). "Dadra and Nagar Haveli: When an IAS officer became the instrument of accession". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 17 February 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  7. "When an IAS Officer Was The Prime Minister of Dadra & Nagar Haveli". The Better India. 28 March 2018. Archived from the original on 21 March 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  8. "Constitutional Amendment". Government of India. Archived from the original on 29 February 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  9. J.C. Aggarwal; S.P. Agrawal (1995). Uttarakhand: Past, Present, and Future. New Delhi: Concept Publishing. pp. 89–90.
  10. "Nagaland History & Geography-Source". Government of India. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  11. Himachal Pradesh Tenth Five Year Plan (PDF) (Report). Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 May 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  12. The Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966 (PDF). Parliament of India. 1966. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
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  25. The Dadra And Nagar Haveli And Daman And Diu (Merger Of Union Territories) Bill (PDF). Parliament of India. 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 February 2021. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
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  27. "Census 2011: Population in States and Union Territories of India". Jagran Josh. 14 October 2016. Archived from the original on 30 April 2023. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
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