Difference Between State and Union Territory


Main Difference

The main difference between State and Union Territory is that the State is in the relationship with the federal system, whereas in Union Territory, all powers are invested in the hands of the union.

State vs. Union Territory

The state is known to be a separate governing body. The central government controls the union territory. The state is a command of a state official. The union territory is a command of the primary or national official. Governor is the constitutional head of the state. The elected president is known as the executive head of union territory. A state has its autonomous power. However, union territories don’t have their self-sustaining ability. The state is vast as compared to union territories. The union territory is not as large as a state. It is comparatively small.


The state is having its frame of law, and with its own rules and regulation, it also has the right to amend its constitution. The union territory is ruled by the union following the standards and requirements regulated by the central government. For administration, the state has its CM and legislative assembly. The whole administration is looked after by the central government and is ruled by the union itself. States possess a governing body of its own. A union territory doesn’t possess a separate ruling body.

The state is an electorate division ruled by the unconnected government. An administrative unit of the union rules the union territory. States have a federal relationship. Union territory exhibits a central connection. In a state, the Governor is the head of the executive. In union, territory president is the head of the executive. The state handles different functions like security, healthcare, governance, generation revenue, etc. all. These all functions are controlled by the central government itself in the union territory.


Comparison Chart

StateUnion Territory
Has their own appointed governmentRegulated by the union government
DistributedIn the hands
Relationship With Central Government
Large in areaComparatively small
Administered By
Chief ministerSpecial administrator

What is State?

A state is known as a constituent division with its particular government. It has its legislative assembly and for administration a Chief Minister. A state is an administrative unit with its elected government and the right to amend the laws. The word state is derived from the Latin word “status,” which means conditions and circumstances. In a state, the Governor plays the role of a Representative President. Legislative and executive powers are distributed between the center and state.

States are varying in size, culture, history, dressing, style, language, traditions, etc. In Indian division, the state is under the control of Indian constituency. Politically a state is accustomed as a central organization. In American English terms state and union, both are used as a synonym of each other. The first state came into being about 5500 years ago. There is no proper definition of state because of no academic consensus.

The first state was created in India, Mesoamerica, China, and Fertile Crescent. In prehistory, people used to live in stateless societies. Due to the rapid growth of cities and inventions of new forms of religion, states are starting to arise. With time, different social forums and social contracts are derived. The term state is mainly used for the federal state. In the federation state, predominance is shared between the federal body and the member of a state. There are two types of states, i.e., provinces and princely states.

What is a Union Territory?

A union territory is a small unit that is regulated by the union. Union territories are legislative territories that are directed and managed by the Central Government. In India, union territories are the same as the federal territories which are governed by the Central Government of India. India possesses a total of seven territories, out of which two territories have their selected Chief Minister (CM). These union territories are allowed with regional autonomy by making amendments to the constitution.

In India, two union territories like Delhi and Puducherry are both regulated by the elected parliamentary government. These two states of India have their judicial assembly and interlocking directorate and behave like states. However, other union territories are administrated by the union of its country and hence named as a union territory. There is another reason why union territory is designated as a territory is that because the geographical expansion of territory is much lesser as compared to the area occupied by a state.

Union territories have their exclusive rights and status in the community. It is also said that union territories are those regions that are too small to become a state and too distinctive to be united with other states. Although some union territories are special status in the assembly but not appear as a state, for example, Delhi possesses a large area and can be a separate state but still act as a union territory.

Key Differences

  1. The state has its own elected government, whereas the present government appoints union territory government.
  2. The state is affiliated with federal on the other hand; union territory is not affiliated with federal.
  3. Executive head of state is Governor conversely head of the union territory is president.
  4. In a state, the administration is elected by the people on the flip side in union territory; the president elects the administration.
  5. The state is supervised by the chief minister, while union territory is managed by the president.
  6. The state holds self-government; on the contrary, union territory doesn’t possess autonomy.
  7. The state is comprised basically in a large area as compared to union territory.
  8. Powers are distributed in states; on the converse, the union territory is not distributed.
  9. The state possesses defined territory; on the other side, union territory doesn’t maintain an assigned territory.
  10. A state is an independent unit. However, union territory is a dependent unit.


State and union territory are the two distinct terms. The state is under the control of governor and union territory is under the power of the president.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson