The state of J-K: Differences between state and UT

Centre proposes to convert Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh into Union Territories

The Indian government on August 5 rushed through a presidential decree to scrap a special status for disputed Kashmir, hours after imposing a major security clampdown in the region. (Photo by AFP)

Home Minister Amit Shah put forth a motion that Article 370 of the Constitution be revoked in the Rajya Sabha on Monday. The Article grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir. Simultaneously, the Centre proposed the conversion of the Jammu and Kashmir state into two Union Territories (UTs) -- the UT of Ladakh and UT of Jammu and Kashmir. The UT of Ladakh will not have a legislature.

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Here are the basic differences between a state and a UT:

India’s administrative division comprises 29 states and seven UTs, after the division of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in 2014. The divisions are a way to preserve the cultural heritage and to better manage the affairs of every region.

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What is a state?


A state is a defined political territory that has its own chief minister elected by the people of the state. The State Government, headed by the chief minister, handles basic functions and services such as security, healthcare, governance and revenue generation.

What is a Union Territory?


A UT is a 'territory' that is controlled by the Central Government and usually does not have a separate Legislative Assembly or government of its own. The president of India appoints an administrator or lieutenant-governor for the UTs. Article 240(2) of the Constitution confers supreme power to the president of India to regulate the affairs of all union territories. Ladakh would fall under this category.

What about UTs with a legislature?

The Indian Constitution allows for the setting up of a Legislative Assembly with elected members in UTs as a proviso to the above rule. This is the case in the National Capital Territory of Delhi and in Puducherry. Jammu and Kashmir would fall under this category. 


Union Territory

Defined as administrative units with its own elected government.

A constituent unit controlled and administered by the Central Government.

According to the Constitution of India, a federal system of governance is practised, where power is divided between the Central Government and local and regional governments under it. 

Unitary governance is followed where the Central Government is supreme. The administrative divisions can only exercise the powers authorised by the Centre.

The governor is the head of the state.

The president of the country is the head of the Executive Union.

It's governed by a chief minister elected by the people.

It's governed by an administrator or lieutenant governor appointed as a representative by the president.

Of the seven union territories, Delhi and Puducherry have their own Legislative Assembly and Executive Council and operate like states.

The remaining UTs are controlled and regulated by the Union of the country and that's where the name comes from.

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