The Concept and Evolution of Indian Union Territories

Home   »  The Concept and Evolution of Indian Union Territories

January 9, 2024

The Concept and Evolution of Indian Union Territories


  • The conception and execution of Indian Union Territories have a fascinating history shaped by linguistic, historical, and geopolitical factors. From the early 20th century to recent developments like the creation of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as separate Union Territories in 2019, this article explores the evolution of Union Territories in India.

Linguistic Movement and States Reorganisation

Language as a Catalyst (1948-1955)

  • The post-Independence period saw linguistic movements demanding separate administrative units.
  • The creation of Andhra Pradesh in 1953 intensified the need for a systematic approach to linguistic divisions.
  • Prime Minister Nehru, recognizing the urgency, appointed the States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) in 1955.

SRC’s Recommendations (1955)

  • The SRC recommended the reorganization of India’s administrative units, proposing 14 states on linguistic lines and six centrally administered territories.
  • The term “Union Territory” (UT) was introduced, with the original six UTs including Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Delhi, Manipur, Tripura, and Himachal Pradesh.

British Legacy and Integration of Princely States

British India and Princely States (Pre-1947)

  • At Independence, 60% of India was under British rule, while 40% comprised 565 princely states.
  • Vallabhai Patel and VP Menon played a crucial role in integrating princely states into the Union.

Legacy of British Provincial Organization

  • The State Reorganisation Commission delved into the historical context, highlighting the imperial origins of state boundaries in British India.

From Part A, B, C States to Union Territories

Post-Independence Administrative Structure (1947-1951)

  • Post-Independence, states were categorized into Part A (Governor states), Part B (elected legislature), Part C (Chief Commissioner), and later Part D (administered by the central government).

Controversial Provisions (1951-1956)

  • Provisions for centrally administered states faced criticism for being undemocratic and financially burdensome.
  • Despite criticism, the Government of the Part ‘C’ States Act in 1951 led to the creation of legislatures and Councils of Ministers.

Birth of Union Territories

Linguistic Diversity and National Unity (1956)

  • Post-SRC, Nehru and the SRC acknowledged the unequal nature of states and proposed abolishing Part B and Part C states.
  • The Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956, officially declared territories as Union Territories.

Evolution and Changes (1956 Onwards)

  • Over the years, Union Territories evolved, witnessing changes such as Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, and Manipur attaining full statehood.
  • French and Portuguese colonies, Goa’s statehood in 1987, and recent developments like Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh becoming Union Territories showcase the dynamic nature of this administrative structure.


  • The journey from linguistic movements to the present configuration of Union Territories in India reflects a nuanced blend of historical legacies, linguistic considerations, and evolving geopolitical dynamics. Understanding this evolution provides insights into the diverse administrative landscape of the Indian Union.

Get In Touch

B-36, Sector-C, Aliganj – Near Aliganj, Post Office Lucknow – 226024 (U.P.) India

+91 8858209990, +91 9415011892


Subscribe now for latest updates.

Follow Us

© All Rights Reserved.

The Concept and Evolution of Indian Union Territories | Vaid ICS Institute