Union Territories

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Introduction

 Article 1 of the Indian Constitution says that India shall be a Union of States. The territory of India shall comprise the territories of the States; the Union territories specified in the First Schedule; and such other territories as may be acquired.

And the Union Territories are administered by the President through an Administrator appointed by him/her.

UTs are ruled directly by the Central Government through the Lieutenant Governor as the administrator. He is appointed by the Central government and is also a representative of the President of India.

Although UTs have the option of forming respective governments and having a Legislature with elected Members and a Chief Minister (like New Delhi and Puducherry), yet the powers of such governments are lesser than the state governments.

Creation of Union Territories

As far as history goes, the Union Territories were either not a part of India during independence or they were too small to be made into a state as per the provision of the Constitution.

During the discussion on Reorganization of States in 1956, the States Reorganisation Commission recommended 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 would not survive as separate administrative units without depending heavily on the Union government. Thus the Union Territories were formed.

In certain cases, the government of India deliberately chose not to merge smaller territories with the neighbouring states due to a host of reasons. While in some cases the status of “Union Territory” was assigned to a region for safeguarding the rights of indigenous cultures, there had been other instances wherein a portion of geographical landmass was made into a union territory to maintain military prowess and also to avert political turmoil.

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