Union territory

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A union territory is a type of administrative division in the Republic of India. Unlike the states of India, which have their own governments, union territories are federal territories governed directly by the union government (central government), hence the name Union Territory.

The administrative divisions of India are subnational administrative units of India; they compose a nested hierarchy of country subdivisions. Indian states and territories frequently use different local titles for the same level of subdivision.

India Country in South Asia

India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

A federal territory is an area under the direct and usually exclusive jurisdiction of a federation's central or national government. A federal territory is an area that is part of a federation but not part of any federated state. The federated states constitute the federation itself and share sovereignty with the federal government, while a territory does not have sovereign status.

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Union territories

When the Indian Constitution was adopted in 1949, there was only one union territory: Andaman and Nicobar Islands. [1] The National Capital Territory of Delhi, Chandigarh and Lakshadweep were formed by separating each territory from pre-existing states. Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Pondicherry were formed from acquired territories that formerly belonged to Portuguese India or French India.

Constitution of India Supreme law of India

The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. The document lays down the framework demarcating fundamental political code, structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens. It is the longest written constitution of any country on earth. B. R. Ambedkar, chairman of the drafting committee, is widely considered to be its chief architect.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands Southeast Union Territory of India

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, one of the seven union territories of India comprising 572 islands of which 37 are inhabited, are a group of islands at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.

Delhi Megacity and union territory of India, containing the national capital

Delhi, officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), is a city and a union territory of India containing New Delhi, the capital of India. It is bordered by Haryana on three sides and by Uttar Pradesh to the east. The NCT covers an area of 1,484 square kilometres (573 sq mi). According to the 2011 census, Delhi's city proper population was over 11 million, the second-highest in India after Mumbai, while the whole NCT's population was about 16.8 million. Delhi's urban area is now considered to extend beyond the NCT boundaries and include the neighboring satellite cities of Faridabad, Gurgaon, Sonipat, Ghaziabad and Noida in an area now called Central National Capital Region (CNCR) and had an estimated 2016 population of over 26 million people, making it the world's third-largest urban area according to United Nations. As of 2016, recent estimates of the metro economy of its urban area have ranked Delhi either the most or second-most productive metro area of India. Delhi is the second-wealthiest city in India after Mumbai and is home to 18 billionaires and 23,000 millionaires. Delhi ranks fifth among the Indian states and union territories in human development index. Delhi has the second-highest GDP per capita in India.

The Parliament of India can pass a law to amend the Constitution and provide a Legislature with elected Members and a Chief Minister for a union territory, as it has done for Delhi and Pondicherry. In general, the President of India appoints an administrator or lieutenant-governor for each UT. [2] There are seven union territories, including Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana.

Parliament of India National bicameral legislature of the Republic of India

The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body of the Republic of India. It is a bicameral legislature composed of the President of India and the two houses: the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. The President in his role as head of legislature has full powers to summon and prorogue either house of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha. The president can exercise these powers only upon the advice of the Prime Minister and his Union Council of Ministers.

President of India Ceremonial head of state of India

The President of India is the ceremonial head of state of India and the commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed Forces.

Delhi and Puducherry (Pondicherry) operate somewhat differently from the other five. Delhi and Puducherry were given partial statehood and Delhi was redefined as the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT) and incorporated into a larger area known as the National Capital Region (India) (NCR). Delhi and Puducherry have an elected legislative assembly and an executive council of ministers with partially state-like function.

National Capital Region (India) Region in India

The National Capital Region (NCR) is a central planning region centred upon the National Capital Territory in India. It encompasses the entire NCT of Delhi and several districts surrounding it from the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The NCR and the associated National Capital Region Planning Board were created in 1985 to plan the development of the region and to evolve harmonized policies for the control of land-uses and development of infrastructure in the region. Prominent cities of NCR include Delhi, Gurugram, Noida and Faridabad.

A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. Legislatures form important parts of most governments; in the separation of powers model, they are often contrasted with the executive and judicial branches of government.

Cabinet (government) Group of high ranking officials, usually representing the executive branch of government

A Cabinet is a body of high-ranking state officials, typically consisting of the top leaders of the executive branch. Members of a cabinet are usually called Cabinet ministers or secretaries. The function of a Cabinet varies: in some countries it is a collegiate decision-making body with collective responsibility, while in others it may function either as a purely advisory body or an assisting institution to a decision making head of state or head of government. Cabinets are typically the body responsible for the day-to-day management of the government and response to sudden events, whereas the legislative and judicial branches work in a measured pace, in sessions according to lengthy procedures.

The seven union territories are: [3] [4]

Union territories without their own legislatures:

Chandigarh Union territory and capital city of Punjab and Haryana states in northern India

Chandigarh is a city and a union territory in India that serves as the capital of the two neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. The city is unique as it is not a part of either of the two states but is governed directly by the Union Government, which administers all such territories in the country.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli Union Territory in Western India

Dadra and Nagar Haveli is a union territory in western India. It is composed of two separate geographical entities: Nagar Haveli, wedged between Maharashtra and Gujarat, and, 1 km to the northwest, the smaller enclave of Dadra, which is surrounded by Gujarat. Silvassa is the capital of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Unlike the surrounding areas, this was ruled by the Portuguese from 1783 until the mid-20th century.

Daman and Diu Union Territory in Western India

Daman and Diu is a union territory in western India. With an area of 112 km2, it is the smallest federal division of India on the mainland. The territory comprises two distinct regions—Daman and Diu—that are geographically separated by the Gulf of Khambhat. The state of Gujarat and the Arabian Sea border the territory. A Portuguese colony since the 1500s, the territories were annexed by India in 1961. It was ruled by Kolis.

Union territories with their own legislatures:

Due to existence of union territories, many critics have resolved India into a semi-federal nation, as the central and state governments each have their own domains and territories of legislation. Union territories of India have special rights and status due to their constitutional formation and development. The status of "union territory" may be assigned to an Indian sub-jurisdiction for reasons such as safeguarding the rights of indigenous cultures, averting political turmoil related to matters of governance, and so on. These union territories could be changed to states in the future for more efficient administrative control. [5]

The Constitution does not stipulate how tax revenue is to be devolved to the union territories, unlike for the states. The funds devolution to union territories by the union government have no criteria where all the revenue goes to the union government. Some union territories are provided more funds, while others are given less, in an arbitrary manner by the union government. [6] As union territories are directly ruled by the union government, some union territories get more funds from the union government than entitled on per capita and backwardness basis when compared to states.

After the introduction of GST, UT-GST is applicable in union territories which are not having legislative assembly. UT-GST is levied at par with the applicable state GST in rest of the country which would eliminate the previous lower taxation in the union territories. [7]

Constitutional status

Article 1 (1) of the Indian constitution says that India shall be a "Union of States", which are elaborated under Parts V (The Union) and VI (The States) of the constitution. Article 1 (3) says the territory of India comprises the territories of the states, the union territories and other territories that may be acquired. The concept of union territories was not in the original version of the constitution, but was added by the Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956. [8] In the constitution wherever it refers to Territories of India, it is applicable to whole country including union territories. Where it refers to only India, it is applicable to all states only but not to union territories. Thus, citizenship (part II), fundamental rights (part III), Directive Principles of State Policy (part IV), Judiciary role, the Union Territories (part VIII), Article 245, etc. are applicable to union territories as it refers specifically to Territories of India. The executive power of Union (i.e. union of states only) rests with President of India. President of India is also chief administrator of union territories per Article 239. Union public service commission role is not applicable to all territories of India as it refers to India only in Part XIV.

Per Article 240 (2), supreme power is accorded to the President in regulating the affairs of the all the union territories except Chandigarh, NCT and Puducherry, including powers to override the laws made by Parliament and the constitution of India.

Just two of the union territories have representation in the upper house of the Indian Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, Delhi and Puducherry which are also exceptional among union territories in that each has its own locally elected legislative assembly.

See also

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The acronym DANICS refers to the "NCT of Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service". Officers of the service are recruited directly through the Civil Services Examination and are responsible for the diverse administrative functions of the National Capital, Delhi and the Union Territories. They form a feeder cadre of the Indian Administrative Service.

Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of India incorporated Dadra and Nagar Haveli

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The acronym DANIPS stands for "NCT of Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service". It is a federal police service in India, administering Delhi and the Union Territories of India. It was earlier called the Union Territories Police Service. It is a civil service of the Government of India. Officers of the service are recruited directly through the Civil Services Examination and are responsible for the law & order and policing functions of the National Capital, Delhi and the Union Territories. They form a feeder cadre of the Indian Police Service.

Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of India

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Telangana Pradesh Mahila Congress Committee Indian political group

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References

  1. "Original unamended constitution of India, January, 1950" . Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  2. Union Territories. Know India: National Portal of India Archived 26 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  3. "States and Union Territories". KnowIndia.gov.in. Archived from the original on 24 October 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  4. "Union Territories of India".
  5. "Supreme Court judgement, New Delhi Municipal Corporation ... vs State Of Punjab Etc.Etc on 19 December, 1996" . Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  6. "Puducherry CM N Rangasamy seeks 'clear formula' for devolution of Central funds" . Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  7. "Why Union Territory GST law (UTGST) is important?" . Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  8. "The Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956". Archived from the original on 1 May 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2017.