The Union Territories of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli will become a single UT on January 26, the Home Ministry announced on Thursday.
The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019 was passed by both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the just concluded winter session of Parliament.
"In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (a) of section 2 of the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Act, 2019 (44 of 2019), the central government hereby appoints the 26th day of January, 2020, as the appointed day for the purposes of the said Act," according to a Home Ministry notification issued by additional secretary Govind Mohan.
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 being done for better administration and to check duplication of various works, Union minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy had said.
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 Portuguese rule for a long time and were liberated in December, 1961. From 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 themselves liberated from Portuguese rule on August 2, 1954. From 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 Act, 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.