The Union Territory of lakshadweep comprises of group of islands in the Arabian Sea between 8° - 30' and 12° 30' North Latitude aand between 71° and 74° East Longitude at a distance ranging from 200 Kms (111 nautical miles) to 400 Kms (222 nautical miles) from mainland.
There are in all 27 islands 3 reefs and 6 submerged sand banks. Only 10 islands are inhabited. The islands lie directly in the trade route between Africa Arabia and Malabar. The islands have been formed by polyps who are the architects and engineers of these atolls (a chain of islands formed of coral). The total area of the territory is 32 sq.kms. The erstwhile group of islands knows as the Laccadive, Amindivi and Minicoy group of islands was constituted into a Union Territory in 1956 and renamed as Lakshadweep in the year 1973. It is a uni-district territory with its headquarters at Kavaratti.
Malayalam is spoken in all the islands except Minicoy where people speak Mahl, which is written in Divehi script and is spoken in Maldives also. The entire indigenous population because of their economic and social backwardness has been classified as Scheduled Tribes. According to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes list (Modification Orders), 1956, the inhabitants of Lakshadweep who and both of whose parents are born in these islands are treated as Scheduled Tribes. There are no Scheduled castes in this Union Territory.
According to the 2001 Census, Lakshadweep has a population of 60650 persons, 95% are follower of Islam and classified as scheduled Tribe due o geographic isolation and economic backwardness. This U.T. is unidistrict & has one Parliamentary seat i.e. in Lok Sabha and is reserved seat for Scheduled Tribe. Out of the total population of 60650, 31131 are males and 29519 females.
Prior to the formation of this Union Territory on 1st November, 1956, these islands formed part of the erstwhile Madras State. The entire group of islands is considered as Single District.
The Headquarter of the Administration was shifted from Calicut (Kerala State) to Kavaratti Island in March 1964. The Administrator, appointed under Article 239 of the constitution is the head of this Union Territory. The Collector-cum-Development Commissioner is the District Head and also ex-officio Secretary to various departments of the Administration.
To bring the Administration closer to the people, all the inhabited islands, along with their attached islands and islets were divided into Subdivisions. Each sub division is under the charge of a Sub Divisional Officers. The island of Kavaratti,Minicoy and Agatti is under the charge of a Deputy Collector. They are also Executive Magistrates for their respective islands and function as Block Development Officers for these islands.