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What is a Union Territory ?

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The concept of Union Territories (UTs) was introduced through the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, and it was formally incorporated into the Constitution through the Seventh Amendment Act of 1956. The establishment of Union Territories was driven by various factors, including the small size of certain regions, their distinctiveness in terms of economics, culture, and geography compared to neighboring states, financial weakness, or political instability. These circumstances made it impractical for them to function as independent administrative entities, necessitating governance by the Central Government. Some UTs were designated as such due to their unique geographical locations or special statuses. For instance, Daman and Diu were under Portuguese rule, while Puducherry was under French control, and they possessed distinct cultural identities that required preservation and effective governance. Additionally, islands like Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, due to their remote locations and strategic significance, warranted control by the Union government from a national security perspective. Delhi serves as the administrative capital of India, and Chandigarh is jointly administered by both Haryana and Punjab. Given Delhi’s pivotal role in India’s governance, it was essential for the Union government to have authority over it. Initially, in 1956, India had 14 states and six UTs. However, over time, the number of states increased to 28, and the number of UTs grew to eight. Some UTs, such as Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Sikkim, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, and Mizoram, have transitioned into full-fledged states since the 1960s.

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