Bill if passed will make acquisition of land easier for industries, where projects are stuck because of stringent acquisition norms

Villagers listen to PM Narendra Modi explaining the Land Acquisition Bill on his radio show Mann ki Baat (Pic for representation)

Union Cabinet chaired by prime minister Narendra Modi re-promulgated the land acquisition ordinance for the third time on Saturday. The ordinance that was introduced by the government in December last year was due to lapse on June 4. Despite an extended budget session and bringing amendments the BJP could not get the bill passed in the Rajya Sabha. The party does not have a majority in the Upper House. “The land ordinance has been cleared again by the cabinet to maintain continuity and we will ensure that farmers don’t face hardship on compensation,” cabinet minister Ravishankar Prasad said. The new ordinance approved by the cabinet will be replacing an existing ordinance that implemented the bill pending parliamentary approval, and needs the president’s signature to take effect.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> To build a consensus over the bill, the government had introduced several amendments. After having failed to bring the opposition on board, during the budget session, 30 member joint parliamentary committee was set up to examine the clauses of compensation and resettlement of farmer. The bill if passed will make acquisition of land easier for industries, where projects are stuck because of stringent acquisition norms. The 2013 law required the consent of 80 per cent of land owners was obtained for private projects and the consent of 70 per cent of land owners be obtained for PPP projects. The present bill exempts five categories from this provision. Land acquisition for purposes of defence, rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects including public private partnership (PPP) projects where the government owns the land. The social impact assessment that was to be conducted in the 2013 bill too has been done away with in the new ordinance. Opposition parties including Congress, BJD, TMC and the Left have called the bill ‘anti farmer’ and have opposed and stalled the bill both inside and outside the parliament. The opposition have been challenging the rationale of doing away with the consent clause while acquiring land. The Congress, which has led the Opposition’s campaign against the bill, on Saturday dubbed the Cabinet’s decision as an “affront to Parliament” and condemned what it called the “sinister design” of the Modi government to “surreptitiously push through” the ordinance after agreeing to get it re-examined through the joint parliamentary panel.

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Land ordinance re-promulgated for third time