Puducherry (Union Territory)

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Puducherry - புதுச்சேரி
Seal of Puducherry.svg
status Union Territory
Capital Pondicherry
surface 479 km²
Residents 1,244,464 (2011)
Population density 2,598 inhabitants per km²
languages Tamil , Telugu , Malayalam , English
governor Kiran Bedi
Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy ( INC )
Website py.gov.in
ISO code IN-PY
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Puducherry ( Tamil : புதுச்சேரி , Telugu : పుదుచ్చేరి , Malayalam : പുതുച്ചേരി ), formerly Pondicherry , is a union territory in India . It was founded in 1963 and comprises the four former French colonies of Puducherry , Karaikal , Mahe and Yanam , which are located as unconnected exclaves on the east and west coast of southern India. The capital is the eponymous city of Puducherry. The area of ​​the Union territory is a total of 479 square kilometers, the population is a good 1.2 million (2011 census).


The Union Territory of Puducherry consists of four small, unconnected enclaves on the west and east coast of southern India. The district of Puducherry , which includes the capital Puducherry and some surrounding areas, is an enclave in the state of Tamil Nadu on the Coromandel Coast . Also surrounded by the Tamil Nadu area is the Karaikal district , about 130 kilometers south of Puducherry on the coast of the Kaveri Delta . Yanam is located 870 kilometers north of Puducherry in the mouth of the Godavari River as an enclave in the state of Andhra Pradesh . Mahe is located on the Malabar Coast, surrounded by the territory of the state of Kerala, 630 kilometers west of Puducherry.

In total, the Union Territory of Puducherry has an area of ​​479 square kilometers, of which 293 square kilometers are Puducherry, 160 square kilometers Karaikal, 17 square kilometers Yanam and 9 square kilometers Mahe.

area surface Population
Pondicherry 293 km² 946,600
Karaikal 160 km² 200.314
Mahe 009 km² 41,934
Yanam 017 km² 55,616
total 479 km² 1,244,464


The Union Territory of Puducherry arose from the former French possessions in India. After the French had acquired Puducherry in 1673, they fought several colonial wars with the British in the 18th century for supremacy in India. Ultimately, French India remained limited to the five branches Puducherry (Pondichéry), Karaikal (Karikal), Mahe, Yanam (Yanaon) and Chandannagar (Chandernagor).

After India gained independence in 1947, a year later a referendum was held in French India to remain with France or join India. The residents of Chandannagar opted for India, but the other French possessions initially remained with France. In the years that followed, however, the pro-Indian movement gained ground, so that on November 1, 1954, Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam de facto joined India. The treaty in which France ceded its colonies to India was signed in 1956, but only came into force de jure in 1962 after ratification by the French parliament . Then in 1963 the Union Territory of Puducherry was founded.

The Union Territory was named after its capital, Puducherry. Originally the name was Pondicherry , in 2006 the city and union territory were renamed Puducherry (see the article Puducherry ).



Young women on the Pondicherry seafront

According to the 2011 Indian census, the union territory of Puducherry has 1,244,464 inhabitants. Over three quarters of them live in the Puducherry district, followed by Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. The Union Territory is largely urban-structured: At 68.3 percent, the urbanization rate is one of the highest of all states and Union territories in India. The population density is correspondingly high with 2,598 inhabitants per square kilometer, which is only exceeded by the city-states of Delhi and Chandigarh .

The population growth of the Union Territory of Puducherry is higher than in the surrounding states, which is mainly explained by the immigration to the urban centers. Between 2001 and 2011, Pondicherry's population grew by 27.7 percent.

The gender ratio is balanced: for every 1,000 men in Puducherry there are 1,038 women. At 86.6 percent (men 92.1 percent, women 81.2 percent), the literacy rate is well above the overall Indian average of 74.0 percent.


Bilingual road signs (Tamil and French) and monolingual English road signs in Puducherry

In the different districts of the Union Territory of Puducherry the same language is spoken as in the surrounding state. The most common language is Tamil with almost 90 percent , which is spoken in the most populous district of Puducherry and in Karikal. In Yanam Telugu is the predominant language, in Mahe Malayalam is spoken. All three languages ​​belong to the Dravidian language family.

As a relic of the colonial era, around 2000 - mostly elderly - people still speak French as their first or second language. It is the language of instruction at the Lycée français de Pondichéry . French is also still present on public signs such as street names.

Tamil and English are the official languages ​​throughout the Union . Additional official languages ​​are in Yanam Telugu and in Mahe Malayalam. With the Indo-French Treaty (Traité de Cession) of 1956, it was determined that French would remain the official language of the territories ceded by France to India, as long as the elected representatives do not decide otherwise. This was confirmed with the Government Of Union Territories Act, 1963 , but French is no longer mentioned in the Pondicherry Official Language Act 1965 (Act No. 3 of 1965) , which is still in force today , and has thus lost its official status. According to this, Tamil is the official language in the entire territory, in Yanam also Telugu and in Mahe Malayalam, while English can also be used for official purposes throughout the territory.

Languages ​​in Puducherry (2011)
language speaker proportion of
Tamil 1,100,976 88.2%
Telugu 74,347 6.0%
Malayalam 47,973 3.8%
Others 24,657 2.0%
total 1,247,953 100%


Hindus make up the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Union Territory of Puducherry with 87 percent (2011 census). There are also minorities of Christians and Muslims (6 percent each).

Religions in Puducherry (2011)
religion Relatives proportion of
Hinduism 1,089,409 87.3%
Christianity 78,550 6.3%
Islam 75,556 6.1%
Others 4,438 0.4%
total 1,247,953 100%


Political system

Building of the Puducherry Legislative Assembly

As a union territory of Pondicherry reports directly to the Indian central government, represented by a lieutenant governor ( lieutenant governor ). The current Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry has been Virendra Kataria since July 10, 2013 . The Union Territory of Puducherry, like the capital city of Delhi , has a special status that allows it a certain degree of self-government. Puducherry has its own parliament and government. The Legislative Puducherrys consists of a unicameral parliament , the Puducherry Legislative Assembly . The 30 members of parliament are elected by direct election every five years. The Puducherry District sends 21, the Karaikal six, Mahe two and Yanam one representative. The government of Puducherry is headed by a chief minister elected by parliament . The highest court responsible for the Union territory of Puducherry is the Madras High Court , based in Chennai .

In the elections for Lok Sabha , the Indian lower house, the entire Union territory of Puducherry forms the constituency of Puducherry , in which one of 543 members is elected. Puducherry also sends a member to the Rajya Sabha , the upper house of the Indian parliament.


Distribution of seats after the
2016 general election
INC 15th
Independent 1
total 30th

Puducherry is traditionally a stronghold of the Indian National Congress (INC). In 2011 the splinter group All India NR Congress (AINRC) split off from the congress party under the leadership of former Chief Minister N. Rangasamy and has since established itself as the strongest political force. In addition, the so-called "Dravidian parties" Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) play an important role in the politics of Puducherry, as in neighboring Tamil Nadu . These Tamil nationalist regional parties only run for elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

In the first decade after the annexation to India, the politics of Puducherry was still dominated by the Congress party. In 1974, however, the AIADMK, which had emerged only two years earlier as a spin-off from the DMK, won the elections in Puducherry and thus achieved its first major electoral success. In 1980, the DMK for its part came to power and took turns in government with the Congress party over the next two decades. After the congress party had been in government again in 2000, the newly founded AINRC was able to strike the alliance between the congress and the DMK in an alliance with the AIADMK. As a result of the election, N. Rangasamy came to the office of Chief Minister for the second time after 2001-2006. The AINRC also won the Puducherry constituency in the 2014 all-India parliamentary elections . The party was part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a party alliance led by the nationwide victorious Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The election to the parliament of Puducherry on May 16, 2016 was won by the congress party in the electoral alliance with the DMK. The congress party won - benefiting from the current relative majority voting system - with 30.6% of the vote 15 out of 30 constituencies. The second strongest party in terms of votes and constituencies was AINRC with 28.1% and 8 constituencies. On May 19, 2016, the previous Chief Minister N. Rangasamy resigned. On May 28, 2016, V. Narayanasamy was named as the new Chief Minister-designate by the Congress Party. The decision was not without controversy within the Congress party, also because V. Narayanasamy did not win any constituency in the election and therefore does not have a seat in the newly elected parliament. On June 6, 2016, Narayanasamy took the oath of office as the new Chief Minister.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Census of India: Provisional Population Totals - Census 2011: Puducherry UT. Distribution of Population, sex ratio, density and decadal growth rate of population: 2011. ( MS Excel ; 349 kB)
  2. ^ Census of India 2011: Provisional Population Totals - India - Rural-Urban Distribution. (PDF; 8.1 MB)
  3. ^ Census of India 2011: Provisional Population Tables and Annexures. ( Memento from January 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  4. Census of India 2011: Literates and literacy rates by sex: 2011. ( Memento of April 9, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  5. English to continue as link language in Puducherry: Court . In: The Times of India , September 14, 2014. Retrieved December 6, 2015. 
  6. Treaty of Cession (Traité de Cession) , 1956. The French language shall remain the official language of the Establishments so long as the elected representatives of the people shall not decide otherwise.
  7. ^ The Government Of Union Territories Act, 1963. Section 34. online .
  8. ^ The Pondicherry Official Language Act 1965 (Act No. 3 of 1965). Official Language of the Union Territory. 3. With effect from such date as the Administrator may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint on this behalf, the Tamil Language shall, subject to the provisions of Section 34 of the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 (Central Act 20 of 1963) be the language to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the Union Territory and different dates may be appointed for different official purposes or for different areas in the Union Territory.
    Provided that the Administrator may, by like notification, direct that in the case of Mahe area, the Malayalam language and in the case of Yanam area, the Telugu language may be used for such official purposes and subject to such conditions as may be specified in such notification.
    Not withstanding anything contained in Section-3, as from the commencement of this Act, the English language may be used for all of the official purposes of the Union Territory. online .
  9. Census of India 2011: C-16 Population By Mother Tongue. Pondicherry.
  10. ^ Census of India 2011: C-1 Population By Religious Community. Pondicherry.
  11. a b Puducherry Result Status. Indian Electoral Commission, accessed June 4, 2016 .
  12. V. Bharathkumar: Puducherry CM Rangasamy resigns. The Hindu, May 20, 2016, accessed June 4, 2016 .
  13. ^ V Narayanasamy named Puducherry CM despite not contesting polls. Hindustan Times, May 16, 2016, accessed June 4, 2016 .
  14. ^ S. Prasad: Narayanasamy sworn in as Puducherry CM. The Hindu, June 6, 2016, accessed June 8, 2016 .

Web links

Commons : Puducherry (union territory)  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 11 ° 55 '  N , 79 ° 48'  E