Saturday, March 28, 2015

NDA govt presses ahead with reform agenda 
[Editor: I know that, if this bill becomes an act, then it will give a solid push to the infrastructure of India. However, I am sure that if NDA were in opposition, then they would have done the same thing, what some of opposition parties are doing now. This is the nature of "DIRTY POLITICS", being played in India. It true but a sad fact that none of the Political Parties are concerned about India or Indians; they are more busy discrediting the other, so that they can rule for longer durations. 
We should understand that "Politics is a business". And the political parties in India would do anything which will boost their "business"--this has nothing much to do with the development of a state or the country] 
New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government on Friday decided to prorogue the Rajya Sabha, where it is battling strident resistance by opposition parties against the land acquisition bill, and extend an executive order in a signal of its resolve to push forward its reform agenda. 

“The cabinet committee on parliamentary affairs recommends proroguing the Rajya Sabha with immediate effect,” parliamentary affairs minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said after a meeting of the committee. 

The step will allow repromulgation of the 31 December ordinance on land acquisition, which will give time to the government to take up the bill for passage at a later date. The ordinance is due to lapse on 5 April. 

Mint was the first to report on 23 March that the government would repromulgate the land ordinance. 

The NDA is in a minority in the Upper House where the Congress and other opposition parties have staunchly resisted the amended land acquisition bill that they say is anti-farmer because it makes it easier for businesses to acquire land. 

Changes introduced in the legislation by the government do away with the need for developers of projects related to defence, rural electrification, housing for the poor and industrial corridors to acquire the approval of a majority of affected landowners. 

Nor would they need a social impact study involving public hearings, as prescribed in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. 

Parliament in its budget session is on a month-long recess. For issuing an ordinance when Parliament is in session, at least one of the Houses has to be prorogued.

“There have been five instances when one House was prorogued and bills have been repromulgated,” said a minister who was part of the decision-making process. 

“The first instance was in 1957 when Lok Sabha was in session and Rajya Sabha was prorogued. There have been other instances in 1964, 1987, 1994 and 1996. The government will now have to repromulgate the land acquisition ordinance and bring it in Parliament later.” The minister didn’t want to be named. 

The original Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2013, was passed by both Houses of Parliament and notified on 1 January 2014. It was shepherded by the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government to replace a law dating back to 1894. 

A key provision of the 2013 law was seeking the consent of 80% of farmers for private acquisition of land and 70% for public-private partnerships. It also sought a social impact study involving public hearings. 

Meanwhile, two people in the rural development ministry said on condition of anonymity that the central government was mulling when to re-issue the ordinance—before or after 5 April. 

The text of the re-promulgated ordinance is likely to be the same as the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015, approved by the Lok Sabha on 10 March and the cabinet on Wednesday. 

The government sought cabinet approval for the bill again this week as it had incorporated nine amendments aimed at blunting opposition criticism that the bill was anti-farmer. 

The amendments include mandatory employment for at least one member from each family displaced by land acquisition. Another provides for the government to ensure that the land acquired is the bare minimum required for a project and a third calls on the government to undertake a survey of wastelands. 

Rural development minister Chaudhary Birender Singh had on Wednesday indicated that the government would make another effort to forge consensus on the land bill. 

“We will get in touch with the opposition parties so that a consensus is arrived at, which is in the country’s interests and farmers’ interests. We are hopeful that we will be successful and the Act with new amendments will take the shape of a law,” PTI quoted the minister as saying. 

The minister also indicated that the government was likely to yield on the consent clause that the 2015 bill does away with.

“But we want to take farmers on board for this. I don’t think 70-80% will be possible. If consensus is there (with other parties), we may think of lowering it to 50-60%, but the consent should be of the landowners and not those who may be occupying that piece of land,” the minister had said last week. 

Meanwhile, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday rejected the offer of an open debate on the land bill issued in a letter by transport minister Nitin Gadkari on 19 March. 

“Proposition of a post-facto debate after unilateral imposition of anti-farmer law is mockery of building partisan consensus,” Gandhi said in her response to Gadkari. 

Slamming the government for depicting critics of the land bill as anti-national, she asked the government to “rise above its narrow-minded politics”. 

The government needs to coordinate with opposition parties to get the land acquisition bill passed in the Rajya Sabha, said Sanjay Kumar, a political analyst and director of Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. 

“This step of the government will destroy the cordial relation between the government and opposition parties. It may not be a clever move,” he said. “Talking to farmers will not get the bill passed in Parliament, it will only get passed by the members of Parliament. Even if farmers listen to the Prime Minister and start to support him on the bill by not protesting, this process will take a very long time and it will not be an easy task.”

Courtesy: Live Mint
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