Punjab’s Claim on Chandigarh

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    In News

    • Recently, the Punjab Assembly passed a resolution reiterating the state’s claim on Chandigarh.

    About

    • Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification stating that employees of Chandigarh UT administration will get the same pay and other benefits as those working under the central government. 
    • Under the rules, the retirement age of Chandigarh employees will increase from 58 to 60 years and women employees will get childcare leave of two years instead of the current one year.
    • Punjab’s stand: 
      • The State accused the Centre of “trying to upset this balance” in the administration of the Union Territory and other common assets “through many of its recent actions.
      • Federalism is being hurt by superseding the powers of the Centre.

    Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966

    • The resolution states that the reorganisation of Punjab was done through the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966. 
    • Further, Punjab was reorganised into the state of Haryana, UT of Chandigarh and parts of it were also given to then UT Himachal Pradesh.
    • In administration, the balance was maintained for common assets including Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) by providing management positions in some proportion to nominees of both the states. 
      • Recently, the Centre advertised the BBMB posts to officers of all states and the central government. The issue is that earlier these posts were filled up by officers from Punjab and Haryana. This is being taken as that the centre is intervening in this maintained balance.
    • Chandigarh is administered with a ratio of 60:40 officers of Punjab and Haryana

    How Chandigarh came into being?

    • Nehru’s idea: 
      • Before Chandigarh, the temporary capital of Indian Punjab was Shimla but PM Jawaharlal Nehru wanted to have a modern city as the capital. Thus, the idea of Chandigarh came into existence.
    • Punjab Government + Central Government: 
      • The Punjab government, in consultation with the Centre, decided the picturesque foothills of the Shivaliks to be the new capital of Punjab. 
    • Official capital: 
      • In 1953, Chandigarh became the official capital of Punjab and was also inaugurated by then President Rajendra Prasad. 
    • Birth of Haryana:
      • Haryana was created through the Punjab Reorganisation Act of 1966. 
      • Haryana was born on a linguistic basis.
      • Through the act, the centre took direct control over Chandigarh by creating a new Union Territory. 
      • The hill territories of Punjab were transferred to Himachal Pradesh by the central government. 
      • Technically, The Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952 identifies Chandigarh as the Capital of Punjab. The arrangements of the 1952 act were not changed even after the arrival of the States Reorganisation Act, 1966.
    • Aggressive Movements Claiming Chandigarh:
      • Prime Minister Indira Gandhi announced that Haryana would get its own capital and Chandigarh would be given to Punjab. 
      • Gandhi had to take the decision after a leader of the Punjabi Suba movement Fateh Singh threatened self-immolation if Chandigarh was not transferred to Punjab. 
      • The partition of Chandigarh was also considered by the centre but later opposed. 
      • Haryana was given office and residential accommodation in Chandigarh for use for 5 years until having its own capital.
    • Rajiv-Longowal Accord,1985:
      • In 1985, the Rajiv-Longowal Accord was signed between then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Akali leader Harchand Singh Longowal. 
      • One among other things was the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and the date of transfer was also fixed on 26 January 1986. 
      • Before the event took place, militants assassinated Harchand Singh Longowal.

    Way Ahead

    • The dispute needs a solution that will satisfy all the stakeholders without any biases.

    Union Territories

    • Unlike the states of India, which have their own governments, Union Territories (UTs) are federal territories, administered by the union government of India. 
    • In UTs, the central government appoints the Lieutenant Governor, who is the administrator and the representative of the President of India.
    • However, as an exception, Puducherry and Delhi have an elected legislature and government, as they were granted partial statehood, under the special Constitutional amendment.
    • Currently, India has eight Union Territories including, Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry.

    Differences between State & Union Territory (UT)

    State 

    Union Territory

    A state is a constituent division that has a separate government. States have their own elected government that is vested with the powers to frame the laws.

    A union territory is a small administrative unit that is ruled by the union. The union territories are administered and controlled directly by the Central Government of India.

    States enjoy a federal relationship with the central government. The legislative and executive powers are distributed.

    Union territories have a unitary relationship with the central government which means all the legislative and executive powers rest with the Union.

    The Governor is the constitutional head of the state.

    The president of India is the executive head of the union territory.

    The chief minister duly elected by the people administers the state.

    Union territory is governed by an administrator who is appointed by the president.

    States are much larger in size than the union territories.

    Union territories are much smaller in size when compared to the states.

    States have autonomous powers.

    Union territories do not have autonomous powers.

    Source: IE