New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) Parliament on Tuesday passed the bill to merge the two Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu with the Rajya Sabha approving the measure by voice vote.
The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019 seeks to provide better delivery of services to the citizens of both the UTs by improving efficiency and reducing paper work. It is aimed at reducing administrative expenditure.
The bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.
Replying to members on the bill, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said that the bill was brought after discussing it with all the stakeholders concerned, including civil society.
“The bill was prepared keeping the sentiments of local people in mind,” he said.
Reddy said that the merged Union Territories would continue to be under the jurisdiction of Bombay High Court as it is closer (250 km) compared to Ahmedabad which is about 400 km away.
He noted that there would not be any change in administration, employment conditions, reservation etc following the merger. Further, the service conditions for Class 3 and 4 employees would also remain unchanged.
Participating in the discussion on the bill, Amee Yajnik of the Congress said that the statement, object and reasons of the bill says that there would be ‘minimum government and maximum governance’ and talks about reduction in administrative expenditure but it has not taken into account various social indicators of the two UTs.
“Sex ratio is the lowest in both the two UTs. Roads absolutely not in good condition and healthcare system has collapsed. If statement and object and reasons don’t take this particular aspect into consideration, then what is the use of saying costcutting?” she said.
Most members supported the bill. Sasmit Patra of the BJD said that the merger would definitely be better. He said it will bring financial discipline too.
“The question is if the two UTs would be merged, would it be better? It will definitely be better,” he said.
Congress’ Madhusudan Mistry expressed reservations over keeping the merged UTs under the jurisdiction of Bombay High Court while most people in the area spoke Gujarati language. He doubted if the merger of the two UTs would bring much benefits.
Mistry also said that while on one hand, the government had divided one state into two UTs, on the other hand it is merging the two UTs into one.
Manish Gupta of the Trinamool Congress expressed concern about uncertainty around future of Group C and Group D employees as the bill says that they will continue till further order.
“There are some fearful words used in the initial documents, objects and reasons, which is people working there will continue till further order. This means there is a threat that they will be moved. Now, Group C and D services people have smaller income, children studying in school etc. Uncertainty has been introduced by the bill,” he said.