The government on Tuesday introduced in the Lok Sabha a bill to merge Union Territories Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli into one.
The proposed legislation -- The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill 2019 -- was introduced in the House by Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy.
The move comes three months after Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
"In view of the policy of the government to have ''Minimum Government, Maximum Governance", 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," Reddy said.
The merged Union Territory will be named as Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
The merger of the two UTs, located along the western coast near Gujarat, is done for better administration and check duplications of various work.
So far, both the Union Territories have separate budgets and different secretariats even though they are just 35 km apart.
Dadra and Nagar Haveli has just one district while Daman and Diu has two.
Both UTs were under the Portuguese rule for a long time. They were liberated from Portuguese rule in December, 1961. Since 1961 to 1987, Daman and Diu was part of the UT of Goa, Daman and Diu. In 1987, when Goa got statehood, Daman and Diu was made a separate UT.
Dadra and Nagar Haveli was occupied by the Portuguese in June 1783. Residents of Dadra and Nagar Haveli got liberated themselves from the Portuguese rule on August 2, 1954. Since, 1954 to 1961, the territory was administered by a citizen''s council called the Varishta Panchayat of Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
In 1961, it was merged with the Republic of India and made a Union Territory.
According to the bill, on and from the appointed day, there shall be allocated two seats to the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu in the House of the People (Lok Sabha).
The Bombay High Court shall continue to extend to the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
The members of each of the All India Services borne on the existing Union territories cadre immediately before the appointed day shall continue to be in the cadre of the same service of the existing Union territory in which they stand allocated before the appointed day.
Every person employed in connection with the affairs of the existing Union territories and serving immediately before the appointed day in the existing Union territories shall, on and from that day continue to serve in connection with the affairs of the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
On August 5, the central government had announced the abrogation of the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and its division into two Union Territories.
The country currently has nine Union Territories after the creation of the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. However, with the merger of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the number of UTs will come down to eight.