India is a federal union comprising twenty-nine states and seven Union Territories. The states and union territories are further subdivided into districts and further into smaller administrative divisions. For most practical purposes, Union Territories are like states; the main difference is direct rule by the national government.

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Responsibilities and authorities

The Constitution of India distributes the sovereign executive and legislative powers exercisable with respect to the territory of any State between the Union and that State.



The Indian subcontinent has been ruled by many different ethnic groups throughout its history, each instituting their own policies of administrative division in the region. During the British Raj, the original administrative structure was mostly kept, and India was divided into provinces (also called Presidencies) that were directly governed by the British and princely states which were nominally controlled by a local prince or raja loyal to the British Empire, which held de facto sovereignty (suzerainty) over the princely states.


Between 1947 and 1950, the territories of the princely states were politically integrated into the Indian Union. Most were merged into existing provinces; others were organised into new provinces, such as Rajputana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Bharat, and Vindhya Pradesh, made up of multiple princely states; a few, including Mysore, Hyderabad, Bhopal, and Bilaspur, became separate provinces. The new Constitution of India, which came into force on 26 January 1950, made India a sovereign democratic republic. The new republic was also declared to be a "Union of States".[12] The constitution of 1950 distinguished between three main types of states:

Administrative division of India in 1951

  • Part A states, which were the former governors' provinces of British India, were ruled by an elected governor and state legislature. The nine Part A states were Assam, Bihar, Bombay, Madhya Pradesh (formerly Central Provinces and Berar), Madras, Orissa, Punjab (formerly East Punjab), Uttar Pradesh (formerly the United Provinces), and West Bengal.
  • The eight Part B states were former princely states or groups of princely states, governed by a rajpramukh, who was usually the ruler of a constituent state, and an elected legislature. The rajpramukh was appointed by the President of India. The Part B states were Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Bharat, Mysore, Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), Rajasthan, Saurashtra, and Travancore-Cochin.
  • The ten Part C states included both the former chief commissioners' provinces and some princely states, and each was governed by a chief commissioner appointed by the President of India. The Part C states were Ajmer, Bhopal, Bilaspur, Coorg, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Cutch, Manipur, Tripura, and Vindhya Pradesh.
  • The only Part D state was the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which were administered by a lieutenant governor appointed by the central government.

States reorganization (1951–1956)

The Union Territory of Puducherry was created in 1954 comprising the previous French enclaves of Pondichéry, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahé.[13] Andhra State was created on 1 October 1953 from the Telugu-speaking northern districts of Madras State.

The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 reorganised the states based on linguistic lines resulting in the creation of the new states.[15] As a result of this act, Madras State retained its name with Kanyakumari district added to from Travancore-Cochin. Andhra Pradesh was created with the merger of Andhra State with the Telugu-speaking districts of Hyderabad State in 1956. Kerala was created with the merger of Malabar district and the Kasaragod taluk of South Canara districts of Madras State with Travancore-Cochin. Mysore State was re-organized with the addition of districts of Bellary and South Canara (excluding Kasaragod taluk) and the Kollegal taluk of Coimbatore district from the Madras State, the districts of Belgaum, Bijapur, North Canara and Dharwad from Bombay State, the Kannada-majority districts of Bidar, Raichur and Gulbarga from Hyderabad State and the province of Coorg. The Laccadive Islands which were divided between South Canara and Malabar districts of Madras State were united and organised into the union territory of Lakshadweep.

Bombay State was enlarged by the addition of Saurashtra State and Kutch State, the Marathi-speaking districts of Nagpur Division of Madhya Pradesh and Marathwada region of Hyderabad State. Rajasthan and Punjab gained territories from Ajmer and Patiala and East Punjab States Union respectively and certain territories of Bihar was transferred to West Bengal.


Bombay State was split into the linguistic states of Gujarat and Maharashtra on 1 May 1960 by the Bombay Reorganisation Act. Nagaland was formed on 1 December 1963. The Punjab Reorganisation Act of 1966 resulted in the creation of Haryana on 1 November and the transfer of the northern districts of Punjab to Himachal Pradesh. The act also designated Chandigarh as a union territory and the shared capital of Punjab and Haryana.

Madras state was renamed Tamil Nadu in 1968. North-eastern states of Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura were formed on 21 January 1972. Mysore State was renamed as Karnataka in 1973. On 16 May 1975, Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union and the state's monarchy was abolished. In 1987, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram became states on 20 February, followed by Goa on 30 May, while Goa's northern exclaves of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli became separate union territories.

In November 2000, three new states were created namely, Chhattisgarh from eastern Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal from northwest Uttar Pradesh (renamed Uttarakhand in 2007) and Jharkhand from southern districts of Bihar. Orissa was renamed as Odisha in 2011. Telangana was created on 2 June 2014 as ten former districts of north-western Andhra Pradesh.



Main article: States of India
State Capital Largest City Statehood Area
Official Language
Andhra Pradesh Hyderabad(de jure)
Amaravati (de facto)
Visakhapatnam 1 October 1953 160,205 Telugu
Arunachal Pradesh Itanagar 20 February 1987 83,743 English
Assam Dispur Guwahati 26 January 1950 78,550 Assamese
Bihar Patna 26 January 1950 99,200 Hindi
Chhattisgarh Naya Raipur Raipur 1 November 2000 135,194 Hindi
Goa Panaji Vasco da Gama 30 May 1987 3,702 Konkani
Gujarat Gandhinagar Ahmedabad 1 May 1960 196,024 Gujarati
Haryana Chandigarh Faridabad 1 November 1966 44,212 Hindi
Himachal Pradesh Shimla 25 January 1971 55,673 Hindi
Jammu and Kashmir Srinagar(Summer) Jammu (Winter) Srinagar 26 January 1950 222,236 Urdu
Jharkhand Ranchi Jamshedpur 15 November 2000 74,677 Hindi
Karnataka Bengaluru 1 November 1956 191,791 Kannada
Kerala Thiruvananthapuram Kochi 1 November 1956 38,863 Malayalam
Madhya Pradesh Bhopal Indore 1 November 1956 308,252 Hindi
Maharashtra Mumbai 1 May 1960 307,713 Marathi
Manipur Imphal 21 January 1972 22,347 Manipuri
Meghalaya Shillong 21 January 1972 22,720 English
Mizoram Aizawl 20 February 1987 21,081 Mizo, English, Hindi
Nagaland Kohima Dimapur 1 December 1963 16,579 English
Odisha Bhubaneswar 26 January 1950 155,820 Odia
Punjab Chandigarh Ludhiana 1 November 1966 50,362 Punjabi
Rajasthan Jaipur 1 November 1966 342,269 Hindi
Sikkim Gangtok 16 May 1975 7,096 English
Tamil Nadu Chennai 26 January 1950 130,058 Tamil
Telangana Hyderabad 2 June 2014 114,840 Telugu, Urdu
Tripura Agartala 21 January 1972 10,492 Bengali, English, Kokborok
Uttar Pradesh Lucknow Kanpur 26 January 1950 243,286 Hindi
Uttarakhand Dehradun 9 November 2000 53,483 Hindi
West Bengal Kolkata 26 January 1950 88,752 Bengali, Nepali

Union territories

State Capital Largest City Area
Official Language
Andaman and Nicobar Islands Port Blair 160,205 English, Hindi
Chandigarh Chandigarh __ 114 English
Dadra and Nagar Haveli Silvassa 491 Gujarati, Hindi
Daman and Diu Daman 112 English,Gujarati, Hindi, Konkani
Delhi New Delhi __ 1,490 Hindi
Lakshadweep Kavaratti 32 English
Puducherry Pondicherry 492 English, Tamil

See also


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