NEW DELHI: The Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill to merge two Union territories Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli into one unit.
The Rajya Sabha passed the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019 through voice vote.
Lok Sabha has already passed this bill on November 27.
Responding to the bill, Minister of State for Home G Kishen Reddy said that the measure will help in strengthening administrative efficiency and fast track the development of the two union territories.
Merging will also help in cutting down administrative cost, he said, adding the move was supported by civil societies along with the elected member of Parliament of that area.
"The local administration also requested for integration, hence we have taken this step," said Reddy.
The merged Union Territory will be named as Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
"The name is long but we have taken this keeping in the sentiments of the local people there," said Reddy.
Replying to the concerns of some members, Reddy said that the merged UTs would officially function in the same language in which they were working.
Moreover, it would also continue the reservation provided to people in the two union territories and the Bombay High Court will continue its jurisdiction over the merged UTs.
Participating in the debate, CPI(M)'s K K Ragesh asked whether such bill requires two-third majority of the house as it is amending the first schedule of the Constitution.
Replying to him, Home Minister Amit Shah said this is not a constitutional amendment.
It is changing the Union Territories, hence it is not required.
Ragesh also highlighted the problems faced by the residents of Union Territory of Lakshadweep and requested the government to consider granting it status of a state with a mini assembly.
CPI's Binoy Viswam also said that there is lack of development in Lakshadweep as there are no basic facilities such as hospitals, colleges etc and asked the government to consider an assembly there as the earliest.
While BPF's Biswajit Daimary requested the Centre to consider granting UT status to the area under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which administers the local tribal dominated areas of the Tripura.
RJD's Manoj Kumar Jha said there is a need of small states in the country for governance and creation of small states as Bundelkhand and Mithalanchal should be considered.
INC's Amee Yajnik said the government should also consider the social indicators of the two UTs which they are going to merge.
According to her, the sex ratio is one of the worst in the country there.
RCP Singh of JDU and Sushil Kumar Gupta of AAP also participated in the debate.
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.