The Lok Sabha has passed the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories Bill, 2019). The bill which contains provisions for the merger of two Union Territories into one after being passed by the Lower House, now awaits the approval of Rajya Sabha. The move comes three months after Jammu and Kashmir was divided into two separate Union Territories – Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
AS per the Ministry of State for Home Affairs, G. Kishen Reddy, who introduced the bill in Lok Sabha said that the merger of two Union Territories is being done for better administration and check duplication of various works.
“For the government to have Minimum Government, Maximum Governance, and considering small population and limited geographical area of both the Union Territories and to use the services of officers efficiently, it has been decided to merge the UTs of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman Diu into a single UT,” he further added.
While the bill will streamline administration across both UTs, till now, both UTs, which are situated along the western coast of Gujarat, the UTs have separate budgets and secretariats.
About the Union Territories
Dadra and Nagar Haveli:
- It is a union territory and district in western India. It is composed of two separate geographical entities: Nagar Haveli wedged between Maharashtra and Gujarat, and, 1 km to the northwest, the smaller enclave of Dadra, which is surrounded by Gujarat.
- Silvassa is the capital of Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Unlike the surrounding areas, this was ruled by the Portuguese from 1783 until the mid-20th century.
- From 1954 to 1961, Dadra and Nagar Haveli were administered by a body called the Varishta Panchayat of Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli, with administrative help from the government of India. Although it enjoyed de facto independence, Dadra and Nagar Haveli were still recognized internationally (e.g. by the International Court of Justice) as Portuguese possessions.
- In 1961, amidst Indian preparation for the invasion of Goa, Daman, and Diu, K.G. Badlani, an officer of the Indian Administrative Service was, for one day, designated the Prime Minister of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, so that, as Head of State, he could sign an agreement with the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and formally merge Dadra and Nagar Haveli with the Republic of India. The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of India was passed to incorporate Dadra and Nagar Haveli as a union territory, effective 11 August 1961.
- On 31 December 1974 a treaty was signed between India and Portugal on recognition of India’s sovereignty over Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Daman and Diu:
It is a union territory in western India. With an area of 112 km2, it is the smallest federal division of India on the mainland. The territory comprises two distinct regions—Daman and Diu—that are geographically separated by the Gulf of Khambhat. The state of Gujarat and the Arabian Sea border the territory. A Portuguese colony since the 1500s, the territories were annexed by India in 1961. It was ruled by Kolis.