India is a large and highly diverse country both in terms of physical features as well as cultural aspects. At the time of independence a large number of small princely states existed along with larger British Controlled territories. There arose a big problem to integrate them into administratively viable states of the union. Various committees for this purpose suggested different measures but eventually, linguistic basis for the classification of states was agreed upon.
It led to recorganisation of state in 1956, after formation of Andhra Pradesh comprising Telugu speaking area of region.14 states and 6 Union Territories were formed initially. The linguistic division and create some administrative problems, but most of them got sorted out with time.
Subsequently, various criteria for administrative divisions were evolved and a number of new states carved out in order to meet aspirations of the native people, Presently, the country is divided into 36 administrative units comprising 29 states, 6 Union territories and a national capital Territory of Delhi. The powers have been divided between center and states by the constitutional statutes giving India a federal structure, but with a strong center. States are further divided administratively into districts and districts into block , Tehsils and Villages.
There are 640 districts in all according to census 2011. The responsibility of planning and development has been delegated at the grassroots levels to village panchayats. which is then looked over by the higher hierarchical levels.
A large size and the accompanying variations in relief, climate and other natural features make India a land of great diversities. These diversities find an expression in differences in human and socio-economic characteristics in different parts of Country.
The States have been grouped into six zones as advisory councils to develop the habit of cooperative working among sates. Six zones were set vide part 3rd of the states Re-organisation Act, 1956. Presently , the zonal composition of councils is as under.
The Northern Zonal Council Harayana, Himachal pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and the Union territory of Chandigarh
The Northern-Central Zonal Council Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Utter Pradesh, Uttrakhand, and National capital territory Delhi
The Northern-Eastern Zonal Council Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur,Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland,and Tripura
The Eastern Zonal Council Chhattisgarh,Jharkhand, Odisha, Sikkim,West Bengal and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Western Zonal Council Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and the union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
The Southern Zonal Council Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka,Kerala,Tamil Nadu, Telangana and the Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Punducherry.
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