The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union territories) Bill, 2019, by voice vote.
The Bill introduced by the Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah proposes to merge the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, which presently has only one district with the UT of Daman and Diu, which has two districts. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on November 27.
The merged UT will be named as the "Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu". Further, when the Bill comes into force, the assets and liabilities of both the UTs will stand merged and will belong to the new territory. Further, it will be allocated two seats in the Lok Sabha. Furthermore, jurisdiction of the High Court of Bombay will continue to extend to the proposed UT.
The Bill has been moved in furtherance of the "Minimum Government, Maximum Governance" policy. As per the Statement of Objects and Reasons annexed to the Bill, the two UTs share a lot in terms of administrative set up, history, language and culture and in such circumstances, maintaining two separate secretariats and parallel departments only burdened the State exchequer and wasted manpower.
"The Administrator, Secretaries, and Heads of certain departments functions in both the Union territories on alternate days affecting their availability to people and monitoring functioning of subordinate staff...Having two separate constitutional and administrative entities in both the Union territories leads to lot of duplicacy, inefficiency and wasteful expenditure. Further, this also causes unnecessary financial burden on the Government," the statement read.
The Bill aims to:
During the discussion on the Bill, AITC MP Manish Gupta suggested that the government should consider the establishment of a separate high court for the merged UTs since it was difficult for ordinary residents of the area to travel to Mumbai.
While supporting the Bill, BJD MP Dr. Sasmit Patra said that the UTs had great potential for tourism and that the government should focus on the same. He also urged the government to boost the infrastructure in the area.
The Bill was opposed by Congress MP Madhusudan Mistry who said he did not agree with the government's assessment that converging two UTs will lead to administrative ease or will save funds. He exclaimed that smaller units were rather easier to manage. Backing his remarks, Congress MP Amee Yajnik said that the health care system in both the UTs was near collapse and that the government had failed to consider what was more favorable for social welfare of the residents.
The Bill will now be placed before the President for his assent.
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