BILL TO MERGE DADRA & NAGAR HAVELI AND DAMAN & DIU

BY – KOSHA DOSHI

BACKGROUND – ( Dadra Nagar Daman Diu )

   The Union Territory of Dadra And Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu lies on the Western region of the country. These two UTs lie at a distance of about 35 km. Both the Union Territories had been subject to the Portuguese rule. Daman & Diu had been ruled by the Portuguese from 1961 to 1987. In 1987 Daman & Diu was liberated by the Portuguese and became a part of Goa. Similarly, Dadra & Nagar Haveli was liberated in 1954. 3 months after the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir, a bill was passed on Wednesday for merging Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu. This bill if passed would provide fast track development and decrease the Union Territory numbers from nine to eight.

CURRENT ISSUE-

  • On Wednesday, 27th of November, 2019, a bill was introduced by Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah along with the Union Minister for Home, G Kishan Reddy.
  • The bill was introduced for merger of two union territories Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu.
  • The bill introduced is called the Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019.
  • The 2 districts of Daman & Diu long with 1 district of Dadra & Nagar Haveli are proposed to be merged.

   During the discussion an independent MP for Dadra & Nagar Haveli stated that this bill would unite the 2 Houses. In support of the bill, BJP MP Lalubhai Patel suggested the establishment of Vidhan Sabha in the new Union Territory similar to the one established in Pudducherry.

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QUESTION OF LAW- ( Dadra Nagar Daman Diu )

   The policy of “minimum government, maximum governance” was the main objective for this merger being introduced. The Statement of objectives and reasons states that the two Union Territories share a lot in common. Ranging from history, language, culture to the administrative set up the two Union Territories have duplicity. Maintaining two different secretariats would only cause a burden on the State exchequer bringing about wastage of manpower, inefficiency, wasteful expenditure and a financial burden.

   The bill consists of a few provisions in regard to the merger of the two Union Territories. The bill when comes to force would be notified in the Official Gazette. An amendment would be brought about in Article 240 of the Constitution. Clause 1 of Article 240 (i) (c) would be amended in the following way: Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu along with omission of (ii) (d). Part II of the First Schedule consisting of Union Territories would also be amended where sub-point 4 & 5 would be complied into Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu. Mr. Reddy further stated that the Representation of the People Act, 1950 would also be amended reserving 2 seats in the Lok Sabha for the new Union Territory. Provisions as to the seating members under Section 5 were also introduced in the bill.

   The assets and liabilities are also mentioned in the bill. Land, stores and goods would be under the new Union Territory. Land included all the immovable property and goods excluded coins, banknotes and currency notes. The total cash balance in all the treasuries from RBI, SBI or any other national bank would be merged into the new Union Territory. The right to recover arrears of any tax or duty on property would be vested in the new Union Territory. Right to recover loans and advances along with the rights and liabilities in regard to the commercial undertakings would also be vested in the new Union Territory. The liability of the Union to refund tax duty on property, excess land revenue or any other tax would be given to the new Union Territory.

   Provisions relating to All India Services and other services were introduced in accordance to the merger. The extension of laws and jurisdiction of the Bombay High Court would apply to the new Union Territory. Power to construct laws under Section 17, legal proceedings, transfer of pending proceedings would be complementing the merger. In difficulty, the power to remove it would be vested in publish of the bill in the Official Gazette.

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CONCLUSION- ( Dadra Nagar Daman Diu )

   The aim of the bill is to better the delivery of services to the citizens, increase efficiency and reduce paper work. This merger would help in decreasing the administrative expenditure and bring about uniformity in policies. Monitoring scheme and projects would improve and managing of cadres of various employees would become possible. The bill has now been put forth to the Rajya Sabha for further approval procedure