Union Territory of Puducherry

Introduction : 

Puducherry is a Union Territory of India spanning 490 square kilometers and governed and administered by the federal authorities (represented by the Lieutenant Governor’s office). Pondicherry was formed on January 7, 1963 by the merger of four French enclaves located in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala. With decades of Dutch, English, and French experience running through its history, Puducherry was a port-side trading hub and continues to be an animated tourist destination (especially for French tourists to the country). The territory was renamed renamed Puducherry in 2006, and officially comprises the municipalities of Karaikal, Mahe, Yanam, and Puducherry.

Demographics :

As per the latest census (2011), Puducherry has a population of 1,247,953, which comprises 612,511 males and 635,442 females. The male and female literacy ratios are 91.26% and 80.67% respectively. The population is composed of 1,089,409 Hindus, who account for 87.3 per cent% of the population. There are 75,556 Muslims, 78,550 Christians, 1,400 Jains, 451 Buddhists, and 227 Sikhs in the population. 68.33 per cent% of the population lives in urban areas, marking a 31 per cent% increase since 2001. 31.67% of the population residecan be found in rural areas. 9.69 of the popluation lives below the poverty line.

The UT borrows geography and culture from its neighboring states, which translates to the principal languages spoken in the region: English, French, Tamil, Malayalam, and Telugu... 

Economy :

Puducherry’s economy has been dependent on tourism and a variety of small industries, including auto components and textiles. While its proximity to the coastline enables it to be a hotbed of agriculture and fisheries, Puducherry has historically relied more on the non-agricultural sector for employment. Being 160 kms south of Chennai also draws in businesses hoping to lower costs and expand down south.

Clocking in a high rate of GDP growth (10.38 per cent% in 2013-14), Puducherry displays a GSDP result of Rs. 25,819.35 crores (in current prices) and Rs. 15,701.41 crores (in constant prices) for 2014-15. Its GDP is primarily driven by the growth of the tertiary sector, which contributes Rs. 15,018.75 crore and makes up 58.17 per cent% of the GDP. Gaining prominence as a popular tourist destination, Puducherry has experienced a boom in hotels, restaurants, railways, and real estate markets. The Net State Domestic ProductNSDP per capita income for 2014-15 is estimated at Rs. 1,75,006. As of 2009-10, the UT had an unemployment rate of 16.5%.

Politics :

Politics in Puducherry has largely been dominated by one man,Puducherry politics has been largely dominated by one man, the Chief Minister, Mr. N. Rangaswamy. Once a member of the Congress-DMK alliance party, he has retained his position and popularity for more than a decade and a half. In 2011, Mr. Rangaswamy quit the Congress alliance and started his own party All India NR Congress (AINRC), which went on to win 15 out of 17 seats in the Legislative Assembly. The AINRC, after a brief alliance with the Jayalalitha-led All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), became its own powerful entity in Puducherry’s political circuit. This yielded massive gains for Mr. Rangaswamy, who used his platform to oversee the centrally-sponsored mid-day meal scheme and a wheat distribution scheme for poor diabetics over the age of 60. Today, he stands tall before the coming assembly elections. Feteing the BJP-led central government in a loose coalition, Mr. Rangaswamy hopes to draw more federal funding and bolster efforts to strengthen Puducherry’s bid for full statehood.  

As far as administrative structure is concerned, Puducherry shares its Lieutenant Governor (LG) with the Andaman and Nicobar islands. After Mr. Rangaswamy’s spat with the previous LG Mr. Virendra Kataria, the Center appointed Mr. Ajay Kumar Singh as the administrator in July 2014.

Issues :

On the docket are issues of job creation, organic farming, and free education for youths up to graduation. Do note that the state already has a high literacy rate of 85.9%. The Congress opposition in the UT has alleged that the Chief Minister’s office hasn’t done enough to curb unemployment, administer flood relief or develop infrastructure in coastal areas. While Puducherry’s development indicators remain high, CM Rangaswamy, in the past, has come under fire for neglecting to tighten law and order in the area or showing interest in developing small businesses. The UT also suffers from issues of mental health, with  a climbing rate of suicides, as found by researchers in 2015.  

The results of the 2016 state elections, which came out on May 19, 2016, are as follows:

Image source: http://www.ndtv.com/elections