12:53 pm: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today responded to a notice regarding the release of Masarat Alam after the PDP leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed assured Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh that no more separatists will be released without consulting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Earlier in the day, a letter claimed that the decision not to file fresh charges against Alam was taken during the 49-day Governor’s Rule in the state, much before Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took over as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister.
6.15 pm: Send Land Act amendments to Standing Committee, says Kharge
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that his party would want the ordinance for amendments to the existing Land Acquisition Act to be studied by a parliamentary Standing Committee if the present government seeks any changes in the 2013 version.
“When an Act was passed unanimously by the last government and suggestions including yours were included in it why are you making changes now,” Kharge said.
The Congress leader said that by pushing for amendments the government is ignoring what their own leaders had said earlier.
“If you give so much importance to opinions of the members of the House, why do you ignore the opinion given by your own Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. We are insisting that it should be referred to the Standing Committee if there are any changes made to the 2013 version,” Kharge said.
To this, Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said that the ordinance would have to be converted to an Act before 5 April or else it would lapse.
5.35 pm: Land acquisition critical to nation’s progress, says Venkaiah Naidu
Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu assured Lok Sabha that the Land Ordinance would not only take care of the farming community but also allow development of the country.
The minister refuting allegations made by the opposition that the ordinance is anti-farmers said, “The Narendra Modi government would not allow a single act against the farming community, women and the weaker sections of the society. Even before going through the bill, people complain against it.”
Naidu said that land acquisition is critical to the progress of the nation.
“We can’t do developmental work without acquiring land. We need land for new railway tracks, ports and even irrigation projects. Without industry and business, a country cannot prosper. Industry and agriculture are like two eyes of a human being. We should have infrastructure for the general good of the country,” he said.
Lambasting the Congress for opposing the ordinance, Naidu said, “You carried the Land Act of 1894 till 2012 when you realised that it is wrong and harasses the farmers. Then you made a law and we supported it. Now we have made an ordinance and some of you have even provided with amendments. There are 52 amendments which the government has received and is even willing to adopt some. There should not be a practice to justify your actions and condemn ours.”
He also referred to observations made by Congress leader and former Union commerce minister Anand Sharma on the demerits of the earlier 2012 law.
“The government of the day felt that there has to be some changes. Former commerce minister Anand Sharma also had some issues with the present form of the Land law,” the minister said.
Naidu also allayed fears that the farmers whose land may be acquired for development purpose will not get sufficient compensation.
“We have not touched the compensation. It is four times the market value as was decided earlier and it remains unaffected,” he said.
The minister also said that “farming has been slowly becoming unviable”.
Naidu assured that the sense of the House would be reflected in the ordinance on which voting would be held tomorrow to convert it into an Act.
“No act is cast in stone forever. If there is the need changes would be made as per the need of the time.
We would refine the law in accordance to the collective wisdom of the House. We don’t want India to become a land of incomplete projects. Trying to understand the practical problems of the farming community. There should be a sense of participation that should be instilled in the mind of the farmers,” he said.
4:10 pm: Shiv Sena also criticises Land Bill
The BJD has criticised the law as expected and the Shiv Sena also struch true to its word on opposing the legislation.
Arvind Sawant of the Shiv Sena made a strong case for the new Land Bill to be junked saying that there were many cases where the law had failed to get the desired results.
The MP sought that amendments be brought in to make the legislation more farmer friendly.
3:30 pm: AIADMK joins Congress, TMC in criticising Land Bill
The Congress, AIADMK and TMC came out in opposition to the Land Acquisition process. While the Congress and TMC were expected, the opposition from the AIADMK couldn’t have been as expected.
The AIADMK has said that they have a better land acquiring process in Tamil Nadu. And obviously the credit goes to Jayalalithaa for it.
3:10 am: Won’t compromise on security, Rajnath tells Rajya Sabha
Rajnath Singh defended the centre’s stand on the case of Alam saying that they would not allow the unity of the nation to be affected in any way.
Singh said that the government was attempting to understand the logic of the state government in releasing Alam.
2:20 pm: Lok Sabha starts debating Land Bill, while govt faces heat in Rajya Sabha over Alam’s release
The Lok Sabha has begun debating the Land Acquisition Bill while the Rajya Sabha is criticising the Modi government for the release of separatist Masarat Alam.
MPs from the JD(U), CPM and others attacked the government over the release of the separatist leader.
12:30 pm: Don’t teach us about patriotism, PM Modi tells Opposition
The Prime Minister said that Parliament had never compromised on matters related to national security. And also issued a full denial about knowing anything about the state government’s move to release Masarat Alam.
“I assure the nation that after coming to power, what ever developments have taken place are not taking place in consultation with the Centre. Nor is it being done after informing us,” Modi said.
The PM appealed to MPs that when the time came they should make political statements.
“The BJP is a part of the state government there and it is your right to criticise it,” he said.
However, we should not send a message to the state or outside the nation that we are divided in this matter, Modi said.
“We do not accept such matters. We will not accept anything that is against national unity,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister promised the Lok Sabha that he had no reason to stay silent. He said that the party had lost Syama Prasad Mookherjee in the battle for national unity.
“Please do not teach us patriotism,” he told the opposition to yells of protest.
The PM said that they had sought clarifications and they would take action based on it. “This anger is not just of a political side but of the nation. In one voice we express our anger about separatists and those supporting them,” Modi said.
He promised that the government would take up any matter related to national unity very strongly in the future.
The Congress retaliated by saying that the BJP should quit the alliance in Jammu and Kashmir.
12:20 pm: Have sought clarifications, will issue clarification if needed, says Rajnath Singh
He was drowned out briefly by the opposition until Speaker Sumitra Mahajan got on her feet to restore order. But Home Minister Rajnath Singh finally got to make his statement.
“I want to reassure Parliament…” he said only to be drowned out and promised that if needed the PM would also respond.
“We have asked for a full report on the matter from the J&K government’s home department…And that report has arrived. I want to assure everyone on behalf of the government that we will not compromise on national security and safety,” Singh said to protests.
“We are making laws for nation building. What information we have received from J&K home department I want to share with Parliament,” Singh said.
Singh said that Alam had been arrested for his involvement in the unrest in 2010 and had been arrested in connection with 27 cases that included murder and conspiracy.
“The home department has said that in all the 27 cases against him, Alam has received bail,” Singh said.
Singh said that Alam had been detained 10 times under the Public Safety Act and said that under the legislation a person could be detained only for two years as interpreted by the high court. Without fresh charges he cannot be detained, Singh said.
“We are not fully satisfied and have sought clarifications…After getting clarifications I will inform this House. I would like to reassure the house that we have taken the matter very seriously and if needed we will issue a strong clarification,” Singh said.
12:00 pm: TMC demands BJP quit the J&K government
The TMC started proceedings by attacking the statements by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed that he said went against the interests of the nation.
“The BJP-PDP government is in power in the state and the Chief Minister keeps making statements against national interest,” the TMC’s MP Kalyan Banerjee said.
He claimed that the state government had a tacit understanding with the central government to release Alam.
“We have heard a lot from you. Now do some work. BJP should resign from the J&K government,” the TMC MP said.
11:50 am: Home Minister meets Prime Minister
According to Times Now, the Home Minister met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi just ahead of making a statement in the Lok Sabha and another one in the Rajya Sabha later today.
11:40 am: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 12 pm
Despite claiming that he wouldn’t, Kurien was finally forced to adjourn the Rajya Sabha till 12 pm.
11:35 am: You shout, will not adjourn House, says PJ Kurien in Rajya Sabha; Home Minister statement at 12 pm
After the adjournment, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkiah Naidu returned to say that the Home Minister would make a statement at 12 pm and the PM would also be present in the Upper House.
Meanwhile deputy chairman PJ Kurien is hitting out at opposition MPs over shouting of slogans saying ” You shout. I am not going to adjourn the house,” he said angrily.
He also warned the opposition MPs that this behaviour “would not be good for them” because they were disrupting the functioning of the House.
11:20 am: Will never compromise on national security, says Arun Jaitley
TMC’s Derek O’Brien accused the Central government had compromised on national security and demanded that the PM make a statement.
Then it was the turn of Arun Jaitley who said that as far as the government was concerned it would never compromise on national security.
“The Home Minister will come to the House and make a statement,” he said.
11:15 am: BJP gets flak in Rajya Sabha
Mayawati took the attack to the BJP in the Rajya Sabha over separatist Masarat Alam’s release.
“BJP has become greedy and it shouldn’t make deals with terrorists,” Mayawati said. She also took the opportunity to remind everyone about how the BSP and BJP had split up in Uttar Pradesh and said she always stood for the highest values.
Meanwhile the Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 11:30 am.
11:10 am: Home Minister to make statement in Lok Sabha
Before the Land Bill was taken up for debate, the Congress has attacked the government over the release of separatist Masarat Alam by the Jammu and Kashmir government.
Mallikarjuna Kharge questioned why ‘anti-nationals’ like Alam were being released and also questioned why the Prime Minister had made no statement on the matter or Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s statement on elections being permitted in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkiah Naidu said it was a serious issue and they would ask the Home Minister to make a statement/
“The issue is a very serious issue and concerning the entire country and not just the government. I will request the home minister to make a statment on this. The Centre has nothing to do with this,” he said, to shouts of protest.
Opposition MPs shouted “Pradhan Mantri jawab do (PM should answer)” even as the Lok Sabha speaker attempted to conduct Question Hour.
10:15 am : Eight hours have been allotted for debating the controversial Land Bill today
Eight hours have been allotted for the discussion on the controversial Land Acquisition amendment Bill which is likely to come up for consideration and passage in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
Financial business, including the discussion on railway and general budgets for 2015-15 and consideration and passing of the Bills to replace the ordinances will be the main focus of the business before both the Houses of Parliament during the third week of the budget session of Parliament beginning 9 March, the government said on Saturday.
Government business in the Lok Sabha for the next week includes consideration and passing of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, besides discussion and voting on Railway Budget, Demands for Grants on Account(Railways) and consideration and passing of related Appropriate Bills and discussion and voting on general budget for 2015-16.
Eight hours have been allocated for discussion on the LARR (Amendment) Bill,2015 in the Lok Sabha. The House will also take up discussion on the agrarian situation in the country next week, a statement by Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs said.
In the Rajya Sabha, two Bills to replace Ordinances — The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 and Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2015, both as passed by Lok Sabha, have been listed for consideration and passing on Monday.
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