Live Mint, Oct 06 2015, New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday indicated that it was open to different options on the land bill issue but insisted that “we can move forward” only after the Joint Committee of Parliament looking into the matter submits its report.
“We have no objection if a report comes with consensus. This is what I have said earlier too,” Union rural development minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said, when asked about the fate of the land bill, amid reports that the Joint Committee of Parliament looking into the contentious legislation would resume its meetings only after the Bihar assembly elections.
Asked repeatedly whether the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) dispensation would push for changes in the United Progressive Alliance legislation despite allowing the land ordinance to lapse, Singh said, “The Joint Committee of Parliament is still alive. Let the committee give its report. If the report is good and it is unanimous, we can move forward. Let the report come.”
The parliamentary panel, headed by BJP MP S.S. Ahluwalia, is expected to submit its report in the beginning of the next session, he said. The land ordinance of the NDA government, effecting key changes in the UPA legislation like removing provisions for consent clause and social impact assessment, was allowed to lapse in August.
The Union minister said that a number of chief ministers, during a recent meeting of NITI Aayog, had expressed desire to enact land acquisition laws according to their need, to which the Centre agreed. Singh was talking to reporters after releasing training manuals for MGNREGA and Impact Assessment Study of PMGSY roads, which was carried out in collaboration with the International Labour Organization.
Faced with stiff resistance from opposition parties, NDA constituents, RSS affiliates and farmers’ organisations, the BJP-led Centre had in the last week of August decided not to repromulgate the controversial ordinance, which introduced changes in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, brought in by the erstwhile UPA government.
The NDA dispensation had instead issued a government order to extend benefits of compensation, relief and rehabilitation provided to farmers under the UPA land law to 13 other Acts under which land is acquired.
Addressing people in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had then said that the government decided the ordinance should be allowed to expire, which means restoration of the situation that prevailed before his government took over.