Difference Between State and Union Territory – State vs Union Territory

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Difference between State and Union Territory: A significant difference between state and union territory is that the states have their own legislative assembly and Chief Minister, while the Central Government governs the union territories. India is a large country with several states and Union Territories. Maintaining law and order and managing development programs can become difficult for one central government. India is a federal country and can distribute power among several units. Another significant difference between state and union territory is that the states cover large areas while the union territory covers lesser areas.

Difference Between State and Union Territory PDF

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. The article explores the concept of state, U.T., and the difference between state and Union Territory.

Difference Between State and Union Territory

The major difference between the state and the union territories is that the states cover larger areas, whereas union territories cover small areas. Numerous significant differences have been highlighted in the table presented below. This will aid you in gaining an in-depth knowledge of the states and union territories to understand the dynamics and the essential concept.

State vs Union Territory

Difference Between State and Union Territory



Union Territories


The state has its own independent administration and government

The Central Government governs union Territories

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 President selects the administrator of the Union Territory.

Power to make an autonomous decision



State and Union Territory

India was under the rule of the British and attained its Independence in 1947. Earlier, the country’s regions 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 the 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.

What is a State?

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.
  • 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.

What is Union Territories Meaning?

The Central Government rules union Territories. The Lieutenant Governor works as the President of India’s representative and the Union Territory administrator.

  • 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.


Key Difference Between State and Union Territory

Several points highlight the key difference between State and Union Territory, including numbers, powers, and heads. 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.

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