Union Territories

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Union Territories

Refers to areas directly administered by the Central Government.

They are administered by the President through an administrator appointed by him with a suitable designation.

In Delhi, Daman – Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Pondicherry – Lieutenant Governor.

Andaman & Nicobar and Chandigarh – Chief Commissioner.

Lakshadweep – Administrator

There are Legislative assemblies and council of ministers in Pondicherry & Delhi.

Total no. is 6 + 1 at present – Andaman & Nicobar Island, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Delhi (National Capital Territory), Daman – Diu, Lakshadweep & Pondicherry.

According to the 69th Amendment Act, 1991, Union Territory of Delhi shall be called the National Capital Territory and it shall have a Legislative Assembly to which members shall be directly chosen by the people.

The Assembly shall make laws on the matters enumerated in State List (except on matters relating to Public order, Police, Land).

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A. Legislative Relations

The Constitution divides the subject into the :

  • Union List : (97 subjects)
  • State List : (66 subjects)
  • Concurrent List : (47 subjects)

Parliament has exclusive power on Union list (contains subjects like defence, foreign affairs, currency, communication, citizenship, inter – state trade & commerce, banking, atomic energy, posts and telegraphs, etc).

The State List contains subjects on which ordinarily the States alone can make laws.

These include public order, police, administration of justice, prisons, local government, agriculture, public health and sanitation, irrigation, etc. but under certain conditions the Constitution authorizes the Central Government to extend its jurisdiction over matters formally included in the State List.

In fact, when a proclamation of emergency is in operation, Parliament can legislate on matters enumerated in all the three lists.

Both Parliament & State Legislature can legislate on subjects contained in the concurrent list, (contains subjects like criminal and civil law, forest, education, marriage & divorce, drugs, trade unions, labour welfare, newspapers, books & printing press, population control and family planning, etc).

Residual powers (i.e. subjects not included in any of the lists) rest with union government.

Article 200 directs the Governor to reserve a Bill passed by the State Legislature for the consideration of the President, if in his opinion, if passed into law, would derogate the powers of the High Court.

B. Administrative Relations

The Indian Constitution has a strong bias towards the Centre to make it strong. The Central administration prevails over the State administration.

The executive powers of the State should be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws of the Union Parliament and not impede or prejudice the executive power of the Union.

If the State does not comply with the directives of the Centre, the latter may invoke Art. 356 and take – over the administration of the State to itself.

C. Financial Relations

States are greatly dependent on the Centre. Constitution provides inadequate sources of revenue to States. Therefore, they have to depend on the Centre for subsidies & contributions.

Union exercises control through Comptroller arid Auditor General of India, who audits State accounts. Appointment of Finance Commission by President every 5 years also adds to it.

Scheme of Distribution of Revenue

Article 268 provides the scheme of the distribution of revenue between the Union and the States. The States possess exclusive jurisdiction over taxes enumerated in the State List

The Union is entitled to the proceeds of the taxes in the Union List. The Concurrent List includes no taxes.

The Constitution mentions four categories of Union taxes which are wholly or partially assigned to the States :

  • Duties levied by the Union but collected and appropriated by the States : Stamp duties and duties of excise on medicinal and toilet preparations mentioned in the Union List.
  • Taxes levied and collected by the Union but assigned to the States : Duties in respect of succession to property other than agricultural land, estate duty in respect of property other than agricultural land, terminal taxes o goods or passengers carried by railways, sea or air, taxes on railway fares and freights, taxes on stock exchange other than the stamp duties, taxes on inter – State consignment of goods, and taxes on the sale or purchase of the newspapers and on advertisements therein.
  • Taxes levied and collected by the Union and distributed between the Union and the States : Income tax not including Corporation Tax.
  • Taxes levied and collected by the Union and may be distributed between the Union and the States : Customs and Excise duties other than those on medicinal and toilet preparations as are mentioned in the Union List.

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