India and the Administrative Units; the States and Union Territories

STUDY MATERIAL
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The administrative unit is a portion of a country or the region delineated for the purpose of administration and to administer a region, it is essential to know about the geography and the territorial boundaries of that region. The administrative divisions of India are subnational administrative units of India. They are made in a hierarchical manner of a country’s subdivisions.

India and the Administrative Units; the States and Union Territories

To know about the administrative units better, let us have a glance at the geographical aspects of India in brief.

a. Physiography of India

• India lies on the Indian Plate, which is the northern part of the Indo Australian Plate. The continental crust of the Indo-Australian Plate forms the Indian subcontinent.

• India lies in the northern hemisphere of the globe between 8° 4′ N and 37°6′ N latitudes and 68°7′ E and 97°25′ E longitudes.

• The southern extent goes up to 6°45′ N latitude to cover the last island of the Nicobar group of islands. The southern extreme is called Pygmalion Point or India Point.

• The Tropic of Cancer passes through the middle part of India and crosses the eight states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Tripura and Mizoram.

• The total land frontier of 15,200 km passes through marshy lands, desert, plains, mountains, snow covered areas and thick forests.

• The maritime boundary of 6100 km along the main landmass which increases to 7516 km of the coastlines of Andaman-Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands are added to it

• India Command a total geographical area a of 32,87,263 sq.km which is roughly 0.57% of the area of the earth and 2.4% of the total area of the land hemisphere.

• India is the seventh-largest country in the world after Russia, Canada, USA, China, Brazil and Australia (all are mentioned in the descending order).

India’s area is almost equal to the area of Europe (excluding Russia), one-third of Canada, one-fifth of Russia, eight times of Japan and twelve times of the United Kingdom.

India has roughly a quadrangular shape. It measures about 3,214 km from north to south and about 2933 km from east to west, the difference between the two is just 281km.

b. Land frontiers of India

As mentioned earlier, the total land frontier is 15, 200 km passes through marshy lands, desert, plains, rugged mountains, snow-covered areas, and thick forests. The land frontier is provided by the high Himalayan Mountains, which are the world’s most elevated ranges.

• The Himalayan ranges from a natural frontier between India and China. In the north-west, Jammu and Kashmir share the international border with Sinkiang and Tibet in China.

• In the east, Himachal Pradesh and the mountain region of Uttarakhand have a common frontier with Tibet.

•Nepal has its border with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

• West Bengal and Sikkim also touch the Nepalese border for a small distance.

•India-Afghanistan and Pakistan Afghanistan international boundary are called the Durand Line, determined as a ‘military-strategic border’ between British India and Afghanistan.

The boundary between Pakistan and Bangladesh (East Pakistan) was finalized at the time of partition in 1947 through the ‘Radcliff Award’.

• In Punjab, the frontier runs through a smooth and fertile plain, which is purely man-made. The Indian frontier with Pakistan in Kashmir is still disputed and has led to strained relations between the two countries since partition in 1947.

• The eastern boundary of India is formed by a complex chain of the Himalayan offshoots consisting of the Mishmi, the Patkai, the Naga hills, the Barail range, the Mizo hills and finally the Arakan Yoma mountain range.

The Arakan Yoma is submerged in the Bay of Bengal for a sufficiently long stretch and emerges again in the form of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

• The boundary line between India and Bangladesh crisscrosses the vast Ganga-Brahmaputra delta. This boundary runs through an entirely flat country in which there is not even a small mount or hill which could be used for demarcating the boundary between two countries.

•Bangladesh and India share the fifth-longest land border in the world, including Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, and West Bengal.

• There is a maritime boundary of 6100 km along with the main landmass which increases to 7156 km if the coastlines of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are added to it.

•The nearest neighbour in the south across the seas is Sri Lanka which is separated from India through the narrow channel of Palk Strait.

• Similarly, Eight Degree Channel forms the boundary between the Lakshadweep and Maldives islands.

As seen earlier, India has 15,106.7 Km of land border and a coastline of 7,516.6 Km including island territories. The data shared in the table is as per the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India. [Click here]

Name of CountryLength in Km
Bangladesh4,096.7
China3,488
Pakistan3,328
Nepal1,751
Myanmar1,643
Bhutan693
Afghanistan106
Total15,106.7

The states having a common boundary with the neighbouring countries.

Country States
Pakistan4 States: Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujrat
Afghanistan1 States: Jammu and Kashmir
China5 States: Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh
Nepal5 States: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim
Myanmar4 States: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram
Bhutan4 States: Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh
Bangladesh5 States: West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram

Quick Glance at States Area-wise:

List of Indian States and Union Territories and Their Capitals

StateCapitalAreaPopulationOfficial LanguagesLargest CitiesDistricts/Admin divisionsLiteracy Rate%Urban Pop.%Sex RatioEstd Year
Andhra PradeshAmaravati1,60,200 km249,386,799TeluguVisakhapatnam1367.0449.679931. Nov. 1956
Arunachal PradeshItanagar83743 km21,383,727EnglishItanagar2565.3822.6793820. Feb. 1987
AssamDispur78438 km23,12,05,576AssameseGuwahati, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Nagaon3372.1914.0895826. Jan. 1950
BiharPatna94163 km210,40,99,452HindiPatna, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Biharsharif3861.811.391826. Jan. 1950
ChhattisgarhNaya Raipur1,35,192 km22,55,45,198ChhattisgarhiRaipur, Bhilai Nagar, Korba, Bilaspur2770.2823.2499111. Nov. 2000
GoaPanaji3702 km214,58,545KonkaniPanaji288.762.1797330. May. 1987
GujaratGandhinagar1,96,244 km26,04,39,692GujaratiAhmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar3378.0342.589191. May. 1960
HaryanaChandigarh44212 km22,53,51,462HaryanviFaridabad, Gurgaon, Rohtak, Hisar, Panipat2275.5524.258791. Nov. 1966
Himachal PradeshShimla55673 km268,64,602HindiShimla1282.810.0497225. Jan. 1971
JharkhandRanchi79716 km23,29,88,134HindiDhanbad, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bokaro Steel, Mango2466.4124.0594815. Nov. 2000
KarnatakaBangalore1,91,791 km26,10,95,297KannadaBangalore, Hubli and Dharwad, Mysore, Gulbarga, Belgaum3075.3638.579731. Nov. 1956
KeralaThiruvananthapuram38852 km23,34,06,061MalayalamTrivandrum, Kochi, Kozhikode, Kollam, Thrissur149447.7210841. Nov. 1956
Madhya PradeshBhopal3,08,252 km27,26,26,809HindiIndore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Gwalior, Ujjain5269.3227.639311. Nov. 1956
MaharashtraMumbai3,07,713 km211,23,74,333MarathiMumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Thane, Pimpri and Chinchwad3682.3445.239291. May. 1960
ManipurImphal22327 km228,55,794Meiteilon (Manipuri)Imphal1676.9420.2198521. Jan. 1972
MeghalayaShillong22429 km229,66,889EnglishShillong1174.4320.0898921. Jan. 1972
MizoramAizawl21081 km210,97,206MizoAizawl891.3351.5197620. Feb. 1987
NagalandKohima16579 km219,78,502EnglishDimapur1279.5528.979311. Dec. 1963
OdishaBhubaneswar1,55,707 km24,19,74,218OriyaBhubaneswar, Cuttack, Brahmapur Town, Raurkela, Puri Town3072.8716.6897926.Jan.1950( 1 April 1936 – Utkala Dibasa)
PunjabChandigarh50362 km22,77,43,338PunjabiLudhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala, Bathinda2275.8437.498951. Nov. 1956
RajasthanJaipur3,42,239 km26,85,48,437HindiJaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Bikaner, Ajmer3366.1124.899281. Nov. 1956
SikkimGangtok7096 km26,10,577NepaliGangtok481.4224.9789016. May. 1975
Tamil NaduChennai1,30,060 km27,21,47,030TamilChennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Salem3780.0948.4599626. Jan. 1950
TelanganaHyderabad114840 km235,193,978Telugu, UrduHyderabad3366.4638.649882. Jun. 2014
TripuraAgartala10486 km236,73,917Bengali And KokborokAgartala887.2226.1896021. Jan. 1972
Uttar PradeshLucknow2,40,928 km219,98,12,341HindiLucknow, Kanpur, Ghaziabad, Agra, Meerut7567.6822.2891226. Jan. 1950
UttarakhandDehradun, Gairsain (Summer)53483 km21,00,86,292HindiDehradun, Haridwar, Haldwani and Kathgodam, Rudrapur1378.8230.559639. Nov. 2000
West BengalKolkata88752 km29,12,76,115BengaliKolkata, Haora, Durgapur, Asansol, Siliguri2376.2631.899

8 Union Territories of India

Union TerritoriesCapitalAreaPopulationOfficial LanguagesLargest CitiesDistricts/Admin divisionsLiteracy Rate%Urban Pop.%Sex RatioEstb Year
Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPort Blair8249380581EnglishPort Blair386.6335.678761. Nov. 1956
ChandigarhChandigarh11410,55,450PunjabiChandigarh186.0597.258181. Nov. 1966
Dadra Nagar Haveli and Daman DiuDaman603585,764Konkani, Gujarati, Hindi 3   26. Jan. 2020
DelhiNew Delhi14831,67,87,941Hindi, Punjabi and UrduDelhi1186.2197.5868 
Jammu and KashmirSrinagar (Summer), Jammu (Winter) 12,267,013  20   31. Oct. 2019
LadakhLeh 274,289Ladakhi 2   31. Oct. 2019
LakshadweepKavaratti3064473EnglishKavaratti191.8578.089461. Nov. 1956
PuducherryPuducherry49012,47,953Tamil,EnglishOzhukarai, Puducherry485.8568.3110371. Nov. 1954

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