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What is the States Reorganization Act of 1956?

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What is the States Reorganization Act of 1956

After independence, India inherited a complex mess of States from the British rule and the princely states. Furthermore, for the reorganization of the States and the country, a Committee in 1953 recommended redrawing State borders based on language and culture. Therefore, this led to the States Reorganization Act of 1956, which reshaped India’s map into more unified States. Read on to learn more about the States Reorganization Act, the Important Provisions of the Act, the Classification of the States as well as the important Events from 1948 to 2000. 

State Reorganization Commission

The States Reorganization Commission was formed in 1953 under Fazal Ali. 

  • Moreover, the Commission replaced an earlier commission that focused on language. 
  • This new Commission considered language, culture, and administrative needs. 
  • Additionally, their 1955 report led to the States Reorganization Act of 1956, hence redrawing India’s map to create more unified States. 

Also Read: What is State Autonomy in India?

Important Provisions of the States Reorganization Act of 1956

Furthermore, here are the important Provisions of the States Reorganization Act of 1956:

  • Merged states: Telugu-speaking regions joined to form Andhra Pradesh.
    • Kannada-speaking areas came together to form a bigger Mysore state.
  • Reshaped states: Bombay gained Marathi-speaking areas but lost some southern districts to Mysore.
    • Moreover, Madhya Pradesh absorbed several smaller states. 
    • Punjab was enlarged.
  • Created new states: Kerala was formed by merging regions with Malayalam as the main language.
  • Union Territories: Some smaller States and territories became Union Territories and are directly governed by the central government.

Also Read: Who is a Governor of a State in India?

Classification of States of India

The Indian Constitution of 1950 divided the States into four categories which are Part A, B, C, and D States. 

Classification of States of India
TypeDescriptionExamples
Part AFormer governors’ provinces of British IndiaBihar, Assam, Bombay, Madras, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh
Part BFormer princely states or unions of princely statesRajasthan, Saurashtra, Mysore, Patiala, East Punjab States Union, Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Bharat, Travancore-Cochin
Part CSome princely states and former chief commissioners’ provincesBhopal, Ajmer, Tripura, Vindhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Bilaspur, Coorg, Cutch, Manipur
Part DAndaman and Nicobar IslandsAndaman and Nicobar Islands
Classification of States of India in 1950

Also Read: What is National Integration in India?

States and UT Formed by the States Reorganization Act of 1956

In addition, here is a table listing the changes and formations of States in 1956:

Changes and Formations of States by the States Reorganization Act of 1956
StateFeature 
Andhra PradeshFormed by merging Telugu-speaking regions of Hyderabad with Andhra state.
AssamSubsequently divided into Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Meghalaya.
BiharReduced by transferring small territories to West Bengal.
Bombay StateExpanded by adding Marathi-speaking region of Berar Division, Nagpur Division, Saurashtra state, Kutch state, and Marathwada region of Hyderabad state.
Jammu and KashmirExpanded by adding the Marathi-speaking region of Berar Division, Nagpur Division, Saurashtra state, Kutch state, and Marathwada region of Hyderabad state.
KeralaFormed by merging Travancore-Cochin state with Malabar district and Kasaragod taluk of South Canara district.
Madhya PradeshExpanded by merging Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh, and Bhopal State.
Madras StateExpanded by adding Sengottai Taluk, Kanyakumari district, and southern parts of Travancore Cochin.
Mysore StateEnlarged by adding Coorg state and Kannada-speaking regions from Madras Presidency, Bombay Presidency, and Hyderabad state.
OrissaNo boundary changes were observed in 1956.
PunjabExpanded by adding Patiala and East Punjab States Union.
RajasthanAdded Ajmer state, parts of Bombay, and Madhya Pradesh States.
Uttar PradeshNo changes in boundaries.
West BengalAdded Purulia district from Bihar.
Changes and Formations of States by the States Reorganization Act of 1956

Notably, 5 leftover territories from the State Reorganization became India’s Union Territories: 

  • Delhi
  • Manipur
  • Andaman & Nicobar
  • Tripura
  • Himachal Pradesh

Also Read: What is the Difference Between States and Union Territories of India?

Important Events 

The 1950 Constitution classified States into four types. To create Permanent States, the Dhar Commission in 1948 focused on language but also considered history, economy, and geography. Interestingly, the Commission favoured administrative needs over pure language in redrawing State boundaries. 

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