In a landmark move aimed at administrative streamlining, the Indian government introduced ‘The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019’ also called Merger Bill. The Bill aimed to merge Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu territories and make it one Union Territory.
The Bill ensures ‘Minimum Government and Maximum Governance’. The proposed merger sought to unlock synergies, optimise resources, and enhance regional governance effectiveness.
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Status of Both the Union Territories Before and After the Merger Bill
Before Passing the Bill
Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Dadra and Nagar Haveli, spanning 491.00 sq. km, is a landlocked Union Territory between Southern Maharashtra and Northern Gujarat. The area gained independence from Portuguese rule on 2nd August 1954. Initially independent, Dadra and Nagar Haveli were eventually amalgamated in 1961 into the Union of India.
As of the 2011 census, the total population of Dadra and Nagar Haveli was 343,709. Approximately 94% of the population adhered to Hinduism, with Hindi and Gujarati as official languages.
Daman and Diu
Portuguese rulers dominated Daman and Diu for over four centuries until 19th December 1961. Initially, the territory was a part of the Union Territory of Goa. However, when Goa attained statehood, Daman and Diu emerged as a separate Union Territory on 30th May 1987.
Daman served as the capital, encompassing an area of approximately 112 sq. km. As per the 2011 census, the total population was approximately 242,911. Residents were mainly Hindus, constituting approximately 90% of the population and 8% of Islamic people.
The people of Daman and Diu mostly speak Gujarati—50% using it as their mother tongue. Approximately 36% of the people speak Hindi.
After Passing the Bill
On 26th January 2020, both the union territories merged to form a new Union Territory named Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. The merger consolidated the two UTs into a single entity.
The enactment of the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019, received approval from both houses of the Parliament. Two union territories were clubbed into one.
The key provisions of the Bill include essential administrative and governance aspects that ensure a cohesive and efficient functioning of the newly formed Union Territory.
The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019
Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman Diu, which were former Portuguese colonies, became part of India in 1961. Both territories had unique cultural identities and have made significant strides in socioeconomic development. However, administering two union territories with similar socioeconomic characteristics posed challenges in terms of efficient resource allocation and governance. Recognising the need to address these challenges, the government initiated the Merger Bill to create a powerful administrative structure.
Enactment of the Bill
- This Bill came into force on the date (26th January 2020) as specified by the Central Government by notification in the official gazette (as per Section 1 of the Bill).
- Section 2 of the Bill provides details such as the appointment day, existing union territories, law.
Procedure for Passing the Bill
The Home Affairs Minister of India, Amit Shah, introduced the Bill in Lok Sabha on 26th November 2019. The Bill proposes the merging of the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to make it a single Union Territory. Lok Sabha passed the Bill on 27th November 2019, and Rajya Sabha passed the bill on December 3 2019. Finally, the bill came into force on 26th January 2020.
26th November 2019 (Introduction of the Bill in Lok Sabha)
27th November 2019 (Bill passed in Lok Sabha)
3rd December 2019 (Bill passed in the Sabha)
26th January 2020 (Bill came into force)
Minimum Government and Maximum Governance
One of the essential visions for the enactment of this bill was to provide for Minimum Government and Maximum Governance. As the word suggests, minimum government is the use of a single government for administering two or more territories to achieve the following:
- Efficient governance so that the complexities of different governments are removed, and a single administration is set up. The concept reduces the size of the government, thereby reducing the interference of one government with the functioning of the other government.
- A balanced governmental functioning, maintaining transparency, and responsiveness. This is the best method to govern a state with a small population and limited geographical area.
- This form of governance helps in economic growth and development and improves public–private partnerships, which helps in overall societal development and reduces expenses for two different territories.
Salient Features of the Bill
The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019, included several key provisions to facilitate a seamless merger. The salient features of the Merger Bill are as follows:
1: Consolidation and Amendments of Administrative Bodies
The Bill consists of 23 articles and seven parts. The bill merged the two regions, that is, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu Union Territories of India. The act also amended Article 240(1) of the Constitution and merged the two Union Territories with the combined territories.
Including necessary amendments, the Bill called for consolidating administrative bodies—the legislative assemblies, councils of ministers, and bureaucratic structures.
Furthermore, the Bill amended the First schedule of the Constitution that specified various territories under different States and Union Territories.
2: Transfer of Assets and Liabilities to the Newly Formed Entity
According to Section 20 of the Bill, the newly formed entity will have all the assets, liabilities, and existing legal agreements of both territories without any loss or compromise.
3: Continuance of the Laws and Governance
The Bill ensured that existing laws, regulations, and policies continue along with the provisions for necessary amendments to align them with the requirements of the merged entities.
4: Services of the United Territories
The persons employed in the affairs of the two United Territories will also serve the merged Union Territory. The Bill promises the employment of persons employed under the control of its service, as per the instruction of the Central Government. The Bill empowers the Central Government to treat individuals affected by merging the Union Territories and who made their representations fairly. However, these provisions do not apply to all Indian Services officers.
5: Jurisdiction of the High Court
The High Court of Bombay shall have the same powers on the merged territories. The Bombay High Court’s jurisdiction will persist and extend to the merged UT.
6: Representation and Governance of the Parliament
The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019, addressed the representation of the merged territory in the Parliament for appointing an administrator to oversee the governance transition.
The Bill also amended the Representation of the People Act, 1950, providing one seat in Lok Sabha to the Union Territories. After passing the Bill, the act was amended to allocate two seats in Lok Sabha.
Benefits of The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019
The following are the benefits of the Merger Bill:
1: Efficient Administration
The merger strives to strengthen administrative processes and eliminate the duplication of efforts. A single administrative entity will optimise resource distribution and reduce bureaucratic traps. The act also helped deliver services to the citizens more effectively and with reduced technicalities.
2: Economic Development
The merger aimed to boost economic development by providing a supportive environment for investment and entrepreneurship. A single entity will present a more coherent economic scenario, attracting businesses and industries seeking growth opportunities.
By merging two territories together, the Merger Bill aimed to foster regional development by maximising the strengths and resources of both regions. The Bill led to a more balanced and inclusive development approach.
3: Infrastructure Development in the Merged Nation
Merging the resources of both territories provides a stronger foundation for infrastructure development, such as improved transportation networks, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions.
4: Cultural linkage between the Union Territories
While Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu have distinct cultures, the merger promoted cultural linkage and exchange, fostering a sense of unity among the residents of both Union territories.
5: Resource Optimisation
The merger provides the resources and infrastructure, leading to superior utilisation and optimisation of resources. Sharing resources could lead to cost savings and efficient use of public funds.
6: Enhanced Governance
The single government facilitates superior coordination and communication among government departments and other officials of both union territories. This enhanced governance would enable effective decision-making and policy implementation.
The Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Daman, and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019, was introduced to merge two Union Territories, namely Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. This merger aimed to optimise resources, improve governance, and promote economic development.
The merger helps policy implementation, as policies and regulations would be the same across the merged territory. The merger would lead to an efficient and consistent governance and superior development initiatives.
What is the Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Daman, and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Act?
The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Act is the legislation passed by the Indian government in 2019 to merge two union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu into a single administrative entity.
When was the merger of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu officially enacted?
Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Daman, and Diu were officially merged into a single union territory on 26th January 2020.
What were the key objectives of the merger of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu?
The Merger Bill aimed to achieve administrative efficiency, economic development, cultural cohesion, and improved governance for the two territories.
How does the merger impact the region's representation in the Indian Parliament?
The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Act addresses the representation of the merged territory in the Indian Parliament. A single Member of Parliament (MP) in the Lok Sabha (House of the People) represents the region.
Were there any changes to the legal framework of the merged territory?
The merger ensured the continuity of both territories' existing laws, regulations, and policies. However, the government made necessary amendments to align the legal framework with the requirements of the merged entity.