Reorganization of States

Union of States

Article 1 describes India, that is, Bharat as a 'Union of States' rather than a 'Federation of States'. This provision deals with two type of polity. There was no unanimity in the Constituent Assembly with regard to the name of the country. Some members suggested the traditional name (Bharat) while other advocated the modern name (India). Hence, the Constituent Assembly had to adopt a mix of both ('India, that is, Bharat').

Secondly, the country is described as 'Union' although its Constitution is federal in phrase 'Union of States' has been preferred to 'Federation of States' for two reasons: one, the Indian Federation is not the result of an agreement among the states like the American Federation; and two, the states have no right to secede from the federation. The federation is an Union because it is indestructible. The country is an integral whole and divided into different states only for the convenience of administration.

According to Article 1, the territory of India can be classified into three categories:

  1. Territories of the states
  2. Union territories
  3. Territories that may be acquired by the Government of India at any time

Evolution of States and Union Territories

Integration of Princely States

The Indian Independence Act (1947) created two independent and separate dominions of India and Pakistan and gave three options to the princely states - joining India, joining Pakistan or remaining independent. Of the 552 princely states situated within the geographical boundaries of India, 549 joined India and the remaining 3 (Hyderabad, Junagarh and Kashmir) refused to join India. However, in course of time, they were also integrated with India - Hyderabad by means of police action, Junagarh by means of referendum and Kashmir by the Instrument of Accession.

Dhar Commission and JVP Committee

The integration or princely states with the rest of India has purely and ad hoc arrangement. There has been a demand from different regions, particularly South India, for reorganization of states on linguistic basis. Accordingly, in June 1948, the Government of India appointed the Linguistic Provinces Commission under the chairmanship of S K Dhar to examine the feasibility of this.

The commission submitted its report in December 1948 and recommended the reorganization of states on the basis of administrative convenience rather than linguistic factor. This created much resentment and led to the appointment of another Linguistic Provinces Committee by the Congress in December 1948 itself to examine the whole question afresh. It consisted of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallahbhai Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramayya and hence, was popularly known as JVP Committee.

It submitted its report in Arpil 1949 and formally rejected language as the basis for reorganization of states. However, in October 1953, the Government of India was forced to create the first linguistic state, known as Andhra state, by separating the Telugu speaking areas from the Madras state. This followed a prolonged popular agitation and the death of Potti Sriramulu, a Congress person of standing, after a 56 day hunger strike for the casue.

Fazi Ali Commission

The creation of Andhra state intensified the demand from other regions for creation of states on linguistic basis. This forced the Government of India to appoint (in December 1953) a three-member States Reorganization Commission under the chairmanship of Fazi Ali to reexamine the whole question. Its other two members were K M Panikkar and H N Kunzru.

It submitted its report in September 1955 and broadly accepted language as the basis of reorganization of states. But, it rejected the theory of 'one language-one state'.

Gujarat

Gujarat was established as the 15th state of the Indian Union in the year 1960.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli

The Portuguese ruled this territory until its liberation in 1954. Subsequently, the administration was carried on till 1961 by an administrator chosen by the people themselves. It was converted into a union territory of India by the 10th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1961.

Goa, Daman and Diu

India acquired these three territories from the Portuguese by means of a police action in 1961. They were constituted as a union territory by the 12th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1962. Later, in 1987, Goa was conferred a statehood.

Consequently, Daman and Diu was made a separate union territory.

Pondicherry

The territory of Pondicherry comprises the former French establishments in India known as Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. The French handed over this territory to Inida in 1954. Subsequently, it was administered as an 'acquired territory', till 1962 when it was made a union territory by the 14th Constitutional Amendment Act. 

Nagaland

In 1963, the State of Nagaland was formed by taking the Naga Hills and Tuensand area out of the state of Assam. This was done to satisfy the movement of the hostile Nagas. However, before giving Nagaland the status of the 16th state of the Indian Union, it was placed under the control of governor of Assam in 1961.

Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya

In 1972, the political map of Northeast India underwent a major change. Thus, the two Union Territories of Manipur and Tripura and the Sub-State of Meghalaya got statehood and the two Union Territories of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh (originally known as North-East Frontier Agency NEFA) came into being. With this, the number of states of the Indian Union increased to 21 (Manipur 19th, Teipura 20th and Meghalaya 21st).

Sikkim

Till 1947, Sikkim was an Indian princely state ruled by Chogyal. In 1947, after the lapse of British paramountcy, Sikkim became a 'protectorate' of India, whereby the Indian Government assumed responsibility for the defence, external affairs and communications of Sikkim. In 1974, Sikkim expressed its desire for greater association with India. Accordingly, the 35th Constitutional Amendment Act (1974) was enacted by the parliament.

Mizoram, Arunahcal Pradesh and Goa

In 1987, three new States of Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa came into being as the 23rd, 24th and 25th states of the Indian Union respectively.

The Union Territory of Mizoram was conferred the status of a full state as a sequel to the signing of a memorandum of settlement (Mizoram Peace Accord) in 1986 between the Central government and the Mizo National Front, ending the two-decade-old insurgency. Arunachal Pradesh had also been a union territory from 1972. The State of Goa was created by separating the territory of Goa from the Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu.

Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal and Jharkhand

In 2000, three more new States of Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal and Jharkhand were created out of the territories of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar respectively. These became the 26th 27th and 28th states of the Indian Union respectively.

Telangana

In 2014, the new state of Telangana was carved out from the North-Western regions of the state of Andhra Pradesh. The city of Hyderabad became the joint capital of the two states.