Difference Between State and Union Territory

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 27, 2022, 12:41

India is a large country with several states and Union Territories. Maintaining law, order, and managing development programs can become difficult for one central government. India being a federal country, can distribute the power among several units.

The recent announcement from the government on the repudiation of the special status of J&K under Article 370 included the Union Territories. Daman, Diu, and Nagar Haveli have been merged to form one Union Territory. With these developments, India currently has 28 states and 8 Union Territories.

In this blog, we will explore the concept of State, U.T., and the Difference Between State and Union Territory.

State and Union Territories - Overview

India was under the rule of the British and attained its Independence in 1947. Earlier, the regions of the country were divided into provinces and princely states. The British ruled the provinces, while the kings ruled the princely states.

After Independence, the government formed in India had to work on a mammoth task of integrating the princely states into the Indian Union. Most princely states were either formed as new separate states or were merged with the existing provinces.

States -

  • In 1956, under the States Reorganization Act, states in India were divided based on language
  • This resulted in the merging of Andhra Pradesh with Hyderabad, Travancore with Malabar to form Kerala, Vindhya Pradesh and Bhopal to form Madhya Pradesh
  • Later several new states were formed due to social and cultural preferences
  • States are divisions with separate governments
  • These administrative sections have their own legislative assembly, laws, and Chief Minister for carrying out the administrative work
  • Powers are shared between the states and the Center
  • Different states vary in size, culture, history, language, and traditions

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Union Territories -

  • Union Territories are ruled by the Central Government
  • The Lieutenant Governor works as a representative of the President of India and also works as the administrator of the Union Territory
  • Union Territories include the regions which do not fit into the category of a state, are financially unbalanced and weak, and are politically unstable

These factors resulted in the Difference Between State and Union Territory, explained in the table below.

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Important Differences Between State and Union Territories



Union Territories


The state has its own independent administration and government

Union Territories are governed by the Central Government

Area Covered

Large areas are covered in states

Small areas are covered in Union Territories


28 States

8 Union Territories


Governor is the head of a state

The President has the supreme power as per Article 240 (2) and he directly looks into the matter of the Union Territories as ahead.

Administrator election

The people elect the chief minister of the state

The administrator of the Union Territory is selected by the President.

Power to make an autonomous decision



State and union territories were formed after the independence of India. Several factors like size, language and history played a role in India's division of states and union territories. Later, there were many changes in the number of states and union territories based on preferences and national benefits.

There is a Difference Between State and Union Territory, including numbers, powers, and heads.

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FAQs on Difference Between State and Union Territory

Q.1. What is the Main Difference Between State and Union Territory?

The Main Difference Between State and Union Territory is that the states have their separate government while the central government governs the union territories.

Q.2. What is the Difference Between State and Union Territory in terms of powers?

The Difference Between State and Union Territory in terms of powers is that the State has the power to make autonomous decisions while the union territories do not have this power.

Q.3. What is the Difference Between State and Union Territory in terms of formation?

The Difference Between State and Union Territory in terms of formation is that the princely states were converted into states, while regions that did not fit into the criteria of a state or were politically weak were made union territories.

Q.4. What is the Difference Between State and Union Territory in terms of administration?

The Difference Between State and Union Territory in terms of administration is that the state administration is looked after by the chief minister elected through an election, while the lieutenant governor appointed by the President looks after the administration of the union territory.