New Delhi: Battling strident opposition to the Land bill in Rajya Sabha where it lacks numbers, the government on Friday decided to prorogue Rajya Sabha and repromulgate the Land Ordinance, which lapses on 5 April.
“The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs day met and has decided to recommend prorogation of the Rajya Sabha with immediate effect,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters after the CCPA meet.
Asked when will the government bring the ordinance on land again as the existing ordinance will lapse on April 5, the minister said,”you will come to know when the decision is taken.”
Those who attended the meeting that took place at the residence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who chairs the CCPA, included External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbsas Naqvi besides Naidu.
Sources said that party strategist and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who could not attend the meeting, was also earlier taken on board on the decision by his ministerial colleagues.
Parliament, in its Budget session, is currently on a month-long recess. For issuing an ordinance when the Parliament is in session, at least one of the Houses has to be prorogued.
The new ordinance may carry the nine official amendments moved by the government during passage of the Bill in Lok Sabha, which seeks to replace the executive order. A meeting of the Union Cabinet on Wednesday had given “post facto approval” to those amendments.
Sources said that senior ministers assigned responsibility to consult leaders of the various political parties have reached out to key leaders and the government will try its best to bring the Land bill in Rajya Sabha to replace the Ordinance in the second half of the Budget session after it reconvenes on 20 April.
There is buzz in government circles that the ruling dispensation may accept some tweaking of the consent clause, which was done away with in the Ordinance that was promulgated in December last year.
It may agree to reintroduce the provision of taking farmers’ consent for acquiring land. The earlier 80 per cent consent requirement can be reduced to 51 percent.
Similarly, instead of the earlier social impact assessment (SIA), the government may involve expert groups to examine the land deals to find out whether excess land has been acquired for a project and whether it has affected the original inhabitants.