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Juvenile Justice Bill: Ramdas Athawale claims those with sexual urges should be forcibly married

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“Those who have sexual urges… they should be taught a lesson. They should get married. And if they have sex, then it should be consensual.”

File Photo

On Tuesday, veteran lawmaker Ramdas Athawale, the president of the Republic Party of India made some bizarre remarks before passing the Juvenile Justice Act in parliament. He was quoted saying by NDTV, “Those who have sexual urges… they should be taught a lesson. They should get married. And if they have sex, then it should be consensual.”He also used an expletive that was expunged from the remarks. He also claimed that during the times of Shivaji, no one would commit such crimes as their hands and legs were broken and the law should allow a modern democracy like India to do the same. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi thanked the opposition for passing the much-expected Juvenile Justice Bill under which juveniles aged 16 years and above will now be tried under laws for adults for heinous crimes.”This is a Bill that everyone feels strongly about and I am happy that everyone supported it,” Gandhi said as she stepped out of Parliament. Congress leader Renuka Chaudhary said her party was the architect of the Bill in many ways and just wanted an intense debate on various aspects of the Bill. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the walkout by the Left parties was not in protest of the Bill, but because they wanted the Bill to go to a Select Committee so that all aspects are looked into. “If tomorrow you catch hold of a young ISIS terrorist, you will say bring down the age by another two years. The question is not about the age but the kind of crime that has been committed,” he said. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, which provides for lowering the age for trial from 18 years, was passed by Rajya Sabha with a voice vote after a walkout by Left parties which wanted it to be sent to a Select Committee. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha earlier.

Juvenile Justice Bill passed in Rajya Sabha; Nirbhaya’s parents welcome the Bill

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The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, which provides for lowering the age for trial from 18 years, was passed by Rajya Sabha with a voice vote after a walkout by Left parties which wanted it to be sent to a Select Committee.

Parents of the December 16 gangrape victim welcomed the passage of the long-pending Juvenile Justice Bill.
File Photo
PTI
Juveniles aged 16 years and above will now be tried under laws for adults for heinous crimes as Parliament on Tuesday passed a much-expected bill in this regard against the backdrop of a juvenile convict being released in the gangrape-cum-murder case of December 2012.The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, which provides for lowering the age for trial from 18 years, was passed by Rajya Sabha with a voice vote after a walkout by Left parties which wanted it to be sent to a Select Committee. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha earlier.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Replying to the debate on the bill, Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Maneka Gandhi said the legislation was a “nuanced” one and was much needed to act as a “deterrent”. She said the incidents of heinous crimes by juveniles of the age of 16 years and above were on the rise and cited statistics to support her contention.Allaying concerns expressed by members about the implications of the proposed legislation, Gandhi said it was “not against children but rather provides for, protects, nurtures and keeps them safe.” While CPI(M) members led by Sitaram Yechury staged a walkout demanding that the Bill be sent to a Select Committee, most of the other parties including Congress welcomed the passing of the legislation.The bill was taken up against the backdrop of uproar over release of juvenile convict in the heinous gangrape-cum-murder of a 23-year-old girl on December 16, 2012. Parents of the victim have said that the convict could escape after spending three years in a correction home only because the law is weak.Parents of the December 16 gangrape victim today welcomed the passage of the long-pending Juvenile Justice Bill saying that it will deter juveniles from committing such crime against women even though they rued that their daughter has been denied justice.”Although we are satisfied that the amendments have been passed as these will help victims of heinous crime get justice, there is grief that our daughter Jyoti was denied justice. The juvenile convict who was the most brutal was set free despite our repeated pleas and demands,” said the mother Asha Devi outside Parliament.”This was a good thing that happened. Our efforts at least produced some results. By releasing the juvenile convict in this case, authorities had given out a wrong message but the new law will deter juveniles from committing heinous crimes against women,” said the father, Badri Singh Pandey.The parents watched the proceedings from the visitor’s gallery in Rajya Sabha throughout the day as lawmakers debated the bill.

Juvenile Justice Bill: Here are 7 things you should know about the Bill

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The bill was taken up against the backdrop of uproar over release of juvenile convict in the heinous gangrape-cum-murder of a 23-year-old girl on December 16, 2012.

The juvenile convict in the Nirbhaya rape case has been released.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Juveniles aged 16 years and above will now be tried under laws for adults for heinous crimes as Parliament today passed a much-expected bill in this regard against the backdrop of a juvenile convict being released in the gangrape-cum-murder case of December 2012.The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, which provides for lowering the age for trial from 18 years, was passed by Rajya Sabha with a voice vote after a walkout by Left parties which wanted it to be sent to a Select Committee. The bill was taken up against the backdrop of uproar over release of juvenile convict in the heinous gangrape-cum-murder of a 23-year-old girl on December 16, 2012.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here are 7 salient features of the Bill: 1) The Juvenile Justice Bill was introduced in the Parliament for the first time in 2014. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha earlier.2) The Bill replaces the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 which addresses children in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection.3) The Bill will permit juveniles between the ages of 16-18 years to be tried as adults for heinous offences. 4) Any 16-18 year old, who commits a ‘serious offence’ (not heinous), maybe tried as an adult only if he is apprehended after the age of 21.5) Juvenile Justice Bill and Child Welfare Committees (CWC) will be constituted in each district. The JJB will determine whether to send offender for rehabilitation or will be tried as an adult. CWC will determine institutional care for children in need of care and protection.6) Rules for eligibility of adoptive parents and procedure for adoption have been included in the Bill; Penalties for cruelty against a child, offering a narcotic substance to a child, and abduction or selling a child have been prescribed. 7) This bill is not in accordance with United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), as ratified by India. The UNCRC states that signatory countries should treatevery child under the age of 18 years in the same manner and not try them as adults. It recommends that thosecountries that treat or propose to treat 16-18 year olds as adult criminals, change their laws to align with theprinciple of non-discrimination towards children. 8) The bill faces criticism for the possible violation of Articles 14, 21 and 20(1) of the Constitution.

BJP assures Nirbhaya’s parents over Juvenile Justice Bill

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“We have been assured that Juvenile Justice Bill will be passed in Rajya Sabha today. He (juvenile) would not have been released if this bill had passed six months ago. Be it delayed, but we want this bill to be passed in Parliament,” Nirbhaya’s mother said.

Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi

ANI
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday assured disappointed Nirbhaya’s parents that the Juvenile Justice Bill would be on Tuesday passed in the Parliament.”We have been assured that Juvenile Justice Bill will be passed in Rajya Sabha today. He (juvenile) would not have been released if this bill had passed six months ago. Be it delayed, but we want this bill to be passed in Parliament,” Nirbhaya’s mother said.After meeting Nirbhaya’s parents Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi asserted that there should not be any delay in the passing of this bill. “We salute the initiative that has been taken by Nirbhaya’s parents. We had listed the Juvenile Justice Bill 12 times in the Monsoon Session but unfortunately, the Parliamentary proceedings could not take place and eventually the bill was not passed,” Naqvi told media after meeting Nirbhaya’s parents.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”So far, we have listed this bill for five times in the ongoing Winter Session. We are confident that this bill would be passed by the Rajya Sabha today. We believe that there should not be any delay to bring a stringent law,” he added.With the Supreme Court showing its inability to prohibit the release of the juvenile in the Nirbhaya gangrape case in the absence of laws, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had on Monday said the ruling dispensation at the Centre is keen to pass the Juvenile Justice Bill and was also ready to bring supplementary agenda on it in the Parliament.The apex court had dismissed the petition of Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal against the release of the juvenile offender in the December 16 gang rape case, saying ‘there has to be a clear legislative sanction’ in this regard. Rejecting the DCW’s petition, the apex court earlier said that under existing law detention cannot go beyond three years.

Proposed Bill to lower culpability age violates international treaties: Experts

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Currently, under the Indian law, juveniles cannot be tried as per adult laws, and the minimum age under which a juvenile can be charged for an offence under the Indian Penal Code is seven years.

As the debate to pass the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Bill, 2000, hots up in Parliament, with the Bill most likely to come up for discussion on Tuesday, several voices have come up against the Bill’s passing. Many experts argue that it needs an afterthought as it violates several international treaties.Currently, under the Indian law, juveniles cannot be tried as per adult laws, and the minimum age under which a juvenile can be charged for an offence under the Indian Penal Code is seven years. The juvenile offender, as per present law, can’t be sent to jail. If the Bill is passed, juveniles involved in cheating, theft, etc, will serve anywhere between three and seven years in prison. And for heinous crimes (murder, rape and robbery), punishments will be the same as for adults — life imprisonment with a possibility of release. There will be, however, no death penalty for juvenile offenders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the United States, those aged under 13 committing assault, murder, robbery, aggravated sexual abuse and drug abuse are punishable like adults, with the exception of life imprisonment and death penalty. In England, the juvenile culpability starts at 17, with those involved in murder, rape and causing explosions endangering life or property facing the same punishment as adults, without life imprisonment or death penalty.In Germany, however, children above 14 who commit sexual abuse, child abuse leading to death, and abuse of the disabled are punishable for up to 10 years. In France, children above 16 who commit murder, armed robbery, serious drug offences and rape are punishable on case by case basis with the maximum punishment being life imprisonment. In Australia, Pakistan, Syria and Thailand among others, the minimum age of criminal culpability is seven. While in Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay, the age is 18.The Justice Verma Committee, formed in the aftermath of the December 16 gang rape, recommended that the age of juvenile culpability should not be lowered to 16.Article 37 (A) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that no child aged under 18 should be subjected to capital punishment or life imprisonment without the possibility of release. India became a signatory to it and ratified it in 1992. The Bill also violates Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 21 (requiring that laws and procedures are fair and reasonable) of the Indian Constitution.The Bill has also been criticised because of the number of rapes committed by juveniles formed 3.1% of all rapes, and the number of murders constituted 1.2% of all murders.

Seeing fury of agitation, Rajya Sabha to take up Juvenile Bill today

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Derek O’ Brien of the Trinamool Congress asked the government to pay heed to the public sentiment and discuss the Bill on an express basis.

Under pressure amid growing public protests that sparked off over the release of Delhi gang rape convict, political parties on Monday agreed to take up the Juvenile Justice Bill in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill seeks to amend the law to try those aged over 16 and accused of heinous crimes as adults.After the apex court rejected the petition seeking stay on the release of the convict, who was a few months short of 18 when he and five others attacked the victim in a moving bus, her mother Asha Devi said, “What kind of crime will make them amend the law?”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Derek O’ Brien of the Trinamool Congress asked the government to pay heed to the public sentiment and discuss the Bill on an express basis.Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress said the party would support the Bill in the Upper House if brought on Tuesday.Both parties had earlier favoured sending the Bill to a parliamentary committee for further scrutiny, but the fury of protests changed their mind.The government pointed out that the Bill was listed on three days in the ongoing winter session. “The government is ready to bring it today, but the Congress is not allowing the House to function,” said union minister Prakash Javadekar.Replying angrily, Azad said, “It is brazen mischief by the government to defame the Opposition and divert attention from the (Arun) Jaitley issue.” He also criticised the government for bringing it through supplementary agenda.The Upper House is expected to discuss the Bill in detail on Tuesday and pass it without any hurdles.

Govt hopes for Juvenile Justice Bill’s passage in Rajya Sabha today without ‘obstructionist politics’ by Congress

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oting that the bill was listed in this session on three occasions on December 8, 10 and 11, Venkaiah Naidu said that the same was also listed for 12 days in a row in the last session.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
As pressure mounted on it for early passage of the Juvenile Justice Bill, government on Monday listed the crucial legislation in Rajya Sabha for passage on Tuesday and blamed Congress for blocking it in the past due to its “obstructionist politics” even when it was listed on 15 occasions.Alleging that important bills of national interest are not being passed due to “obstructionist” politics of Congress, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said, “This government was serious to amend the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015. That’s why we brought this Bill and listed several times in the last session as well as this session.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that the bill was listed in this session on three occasions on December 8, 10 and 11, Naidu said that the same was also listed for 12 days in a row in the last session.”This government had made attempts to pass this Bill by listing several times in Rajya Sabha but could not succeed,” he said and blamed it on obstructions by Congress.Also read: Nirbhaya’s parents meet Ghulam Nabi Azad, seek passage of Juvenile Justice Bill in Rajya Sabha”Tomorrow as Congress agreed, I hope this Bill will come up for discussion. The passage of this Bill will be a tribute to Nirbhaya. We should pass this Bill so that in future such things do not re-occur and it acts as a deterrent. I am hopeful the Bill will be passed tomorrow,” Naidu said.

This shows degree of intolerance in sections of BJP: Tharoor on rejection of bill to amend Sec 377

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Sushma Swaraj to make statement on Indo-Pak ties on December 10

The National Security Advisors (NSAs) of India and Pakistan, accompanied by Foreign Secretaries of their respective nations, met in Bangkok on Sunday and held discussions on various issues of mutual interest, including terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir.

Sushma Swaraj will travel to Islamabad on December 8 to attend the Heart of Asia Security Conference.
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dna Research & Archives
Upon her returns from Islamabad, Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on December 10 will be making a statement on the latest developments that have taken place in diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan. This was informed to the members of the Upper House on Monday after they raised their concerns over the latest developments.The National Security Advisors (NSAs) of India and Pakistan, accompanied by Foreign Secretaries of their respective nations, met in Bangkok on Sunday and held discussions on various issues of mutual interest, including terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir. Both the nations agreed to carry forward the constructive engagement, stated a joint press statement issued following the meeting.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Swaraj will travel to Islamabad on December 8 to attend the Heart of Asia Security Conference. She will be accompanied by foreign secretary S Jaishankar. Taking up legislative business, the House decided to refer the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill to its one of the Select Committees for examination.The Bill makes giving of a bribe and offence for individuals and commercial organisation, and enlarges the definition of taking a bribe. There are some issues that require consideration, which can be found here.Discussion on the Whistle Blowers Protection (Amendment) Bill was initiated in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill prohibits the reporting of a corruption-related disclosure if it falls under any 10 categories of information. Members of the opposition argued that the Bill should be referred to a committee for detailed scrutiny and should be passed after taking the House into confidence.During the debate on the Bill, several members pointed out that while the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill states that the 10 prohibited categories are modelled on those under the RTI Act, such a comparison may not be appropriate. Unlike the RTI Act, disclosures under the Bill are not made public, but in confidence to a high-level constitutional or statutory authority.A discussion was also held on the situation in Nepal and the state of Indo-Nepal relations. The discussion was initiated by Pavan Verma, while Swaraj replied at the end of the debate. The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Bill was passed by the Upper House. The Bill specified territorial jurisdiction of courts for filing cases of cheque bouncing. The Bill has been passed by the Lower House previously.Meanwhile, four bills — Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill, Industries (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, Atomic Energy (Amendment) Bill and Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Bill — were introduced in the Lok Sabha. The Standing Committee examining the Lokpal and Lokayuktas and other related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014 submitted its report.The amendment is proposed to provide that the Leader of Opposition recognised as such in the Lok Sabha or where there is no such Leader of Opposition, the leader of the single largest opposition party in that House shall be a Member of the Selection Committee. The Committee is of the view that the amendment is both necessary and appropriate and accordingly recommends it.The Lok Sabha passed the High Court and the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill. The Lower House also took up a discussion on the drought situation in various parts of the country.

AAP’s VAT amendment bill proposes paying in advance for imported goods, heavy penalty for tax evaders

Industry experts say prices of imported goods may go up, govt dismisses claims saying there is no increase in tax percentage.

The Arvind Kejriwal government is likely to table a new Value Added Tax (Third) Amendment Bill, 2015, in the assembly this session to enable collection of tax in advance on goods imported from outside India. According to a provision in the bill, the government can collect a certain percentage of the value added tax on imported goods at the time of customs clearance, while the rest of the tax can be collected later after further calculation, sources said. The tax will also have to be paid in advance on goods not meant for sale or consumption in Delhi, which will be later adjusted or refunded by the government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Industry sources claimed that prices of imported goods will go up, since dealers have to pay a lump sum amount of money on goods even before they are sold. Delhi government officials, however, dismissed the claim saying the bill doesn’t propose an increase in taxes and that dealers will pay the same amount of taxes, just in different phases. At present, goods worth Rs 10,000 crore are imported every month through the three land ports and the international airport of Delhi. A major quantity of liquor, chocolates and perfumes, among other items of regular use are imported by the country.The bill has a provision to impose strict punishment on tax evaders, with an imprisonment of a year if the tax evasion amount is more than Rs 1 crore, and a fine of minimum Rs 50,000, which can also go up four times the evaded tax amount. The bill was cleared by the Delhi cabinet on Wednesday and is likely to be tabled in the assembly on Thursday. The winter session of the Delhi assembly is set to go on till Friday.The bill proposes to set up special courts and special public prosecutors for tax evasion cases. It also proposes a provision where officials of trade and taxes department can carry out investigations on tax evasion cases and also prosecute offenders before the metropolitan magistrate court without referring complaints to the police. “The bill, once cleared by the assembly, will solve two purposes. Firstly, Delhi government will have an authentic information of the exact number of companies in Delhi which import goods and what goods they import,” said a government official, adding that it will empower the government officials who will not have to depend on the Delhi police to investigate and prosecute a tax evader.The bill will also enable the government to ensure dealers install a point-of-sale device to keep a tab on tax evaders.

Parliament braces for stormy session

India’s parliament is due to begin a winter session, where the government will seek to push a key bill on an uniform countrywide goods and services tax.

Land bill faces another hurdle; opposition demands PM’s clarification

As soon as the meeting began on Monday, the Trinamool Congress members demanded that the bill be withdrawn as the ordinance had been allowed to lapse.

The story of the BJP-led NDA’s contentious land acquisition bill has taken a new turn. Just when the parliamentary panel examining the bill was to wrap up its report, some Opposition members flagged off a new demand– asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clarify in the wake of his “Mann ki Baat” declaration that the land ordinance will not be re-promulgated.As soon as the meeting began on Monday, the Trinamool Congress members demanded that the bill be withdrawn as the ordinance had been allowed to lapse.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the ruling side–BJP and Shiv Sena–rejected the demand saying the Joint Committee of Parliament was formed by the House and did not work under the direction of government. They also argued that just like a bill ‘s introduction and required the permission of the House, withdrawal of the bill also could be carried out only with the approval of the House. BJD’s B Mahtab also said the bill was the property of the House and that it was the ordinance which had lapsed.The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill had been passed in Lok Sabha and was pending in Rajya Sabha, where the NDA is in a minority.Congress member Jairam Ramesh then said that Modi should make a statement in Parliament in the first week on government’s plans on the issue. TMC’s Kalyan Banerjee said the panel should call the Prime Minister to appear before the committee, according to sources, which was also opposed by the BJP and Shiv Sena.With the meeting ending inconclusively, Committee’s Chairman SS Ahluwalia suggested that the panel get another extension till the end of the Winter Session on December 23. The government has prioritised the GST, among other bills, for the session beginning on November 26.Modi had said in his “Mann ki baat”that the government will not re-promulgate the land ordinance and that it was ready to examine any suggestions that would be in the interests of farmers.The government had attempted to build a consensus on three, of the 14 contentious clauses, on which there was no unanimity yet. One of them is Section 24 (2) of the UPA’s 2013 bill. The Congress is of the view that the proposed amendments by the NDA government diluted the retrospective applicability of the 2013 law passed by the UPA government. The section states that all land acquisition proceedings initiated under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, shall be deemed to have lapsed in case the award was made more than five years prior to the commencement of 2013 Act but the actual possession was not taken or compensation not paid. The NDA altered it to exclude any period of court stay or injunction from the computation of the five-year period.Another point of disagreement is the proposed amendment that will give the government overriding powers to make changes in any provision of the Act through executive orders for ‘removal of difficulty’. As per the 2013 Act, this power was limited to only a certain part of the Act and to a period of two years, which expires on December 31, 2015. It is now proposed to be increased by another five years.Committee members from opposition parties such as the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the Left are in no mood to concede to the Modi government’s stand on these three clauses.

BJP, Congress express scepticism over Jan Lokpal Bill

Both BJP and Congress have been protesting against AAP government demanding it to table the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Winter Session of Delhi Assembly which began on Wednesday

Opposition BJP and Congress on Wednesday expressed their scepticism over the Jan Lokpal Bill cleared by the Delhi government, and claimed it was brought by the AAP dispensation under their “sustained pressure”.BJP’s Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta said, “if it is true then its our victory as tabling of Jan Lokpal Bill has been one of our main demands.” “The AAP government did not intend to bring the Bill and it has acted under compulsion. There are always doubts about anything done under compulsion and so we will go through the Bill before any comment on it,” Gupta said. Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken too expressed reservations about the Bill approved by the government, adding, his party will not accept any “diluted” form of it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We want the same Jan Lokpal Bill that AAP government had introduced in the Assembly on its 49th day and then stepped down accusing Congress of blocking its passage,” Maken said. “Congress will strongly oppose if the Bill proved to be a diluted version of the previous Jan Lokpal Bill the then AAP government had brought in its first term,” he added.Both BJP and Congress have been protesting against AAP government demanding it to table the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Winter Session of Delhi Assembly which began today. While BJP MLAs raised the issue in the Assembly session, Congress workers led by Maken earlier staged a demonstration outside Vidhan Sabha demanding tabling of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Minimum qualifications set as Haryana passes Panchayati Raj Bill

The Bill fixes, matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting the Panchayat elections while the qualification for the women (general) and Scheduled caste candidate will be middle standard (VIII).

The State Assembly on Monday passed a Bill, fixing the minimum educational qualification for elections to the Panchayati Raj institutions besides laying down other conditions including making it mandatory for the candidates to have functional toilets.The Assembly on the concluding day of its monsoon session passed the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2015 after debating it for over an hour, amid a walkout by the Congress while main opposition INLD also raised concern on some points concerning the amendment.The House was informed that Haryana has become the second state after Rajasthan to fix educational and other qualifications for the candidates contesting PRI elections.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bill fixes, matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting the Panchayat elections while the qualification for the women (general) and Scheduled caste candidate will be middle standard (VIII).However, in case of a woman candidate belonging to SC category contesting election for the post of Panch, the minimum qualification shall be V pass.Earlier, the BJP government in the state had promulgated an ordinance fixing educational qualification and other criteria for elections to PRIs, which was recently withdrawn and the Bill now brought in its place.Moving the Bill, Agriculture Minister O P Dhankar termed the legislation as “historic”, saying it was as important as the Cow Protection Act enacted by the Assembly in its session earlier this year.The amendment proposed by Congress MLA Karan Singh Dalal with respect to some clauses pertaining to the Bill introduced today were defeated on the floor of the House, amid walkout by the Congress even before the fate of the legislator’s amendment was known and the Bill put to vote.”See the conduct of honourable Congress friends. Their CLP leader (Kiran Choudhary) did not come to the House. Their (Congress’) attitude towards their own MLA is not in good taste,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ram Bilas Sharma told the House even as other ruling BJP MLAs and Ministers cracked jokes on Congress walking out “leaving Dalal in a spot”.Dalal also left the House later before his amendment was defeated.As per an amendment in Clause (v) of Section 175 of the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, the minimum academic qualification for all levels of elected representatives of PRIs including Panches, Sarpanches, Block Samiti, Zila Parishad members has been fixed now.Earlier, Dalal said in the House that minimum qualification and other criteria barring the one that makes it mandatory to have functional toilets, as laid down in the present Bill, was not practical and if the government was keen on having it, then the same set of conditions should be made mandatory for MLAs and MPs fighting elections.

Human DNA Profiling Bill: New govt bill proposes collection of samples from private parts

New bill proposes collection of samples from pvt parts for DNA

dna Research & Archives
The Union Government has proposed to allow collection of samples from private parts of human body for DNA profiling and data preservation with the approval of a regulatory body, as per the draft Human DNA Profiling Bill. The bill has been uploaded on the website of the Department of Biotechnology for feedback from stake-holders. It suggests that a National DNA Profiling Board and a National DNA Bank be set up in Hyderabad, with every state having a regional DNA data bank. “Any intimate body samples from living persons shall be collected, and intimate forensic procedures shall be performed by a medical practitioner. Intimate body samples mean a sample of blood, semen or any other tissue, fluid, urine or pubic hair; or a swab taken from a person’s body orifice other than mouth; or skin or tissue from an internal organ or body part taken from a person living or dead,” the draft bill says.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Intimate forensic procedure means “procedures conducted on living individual such as external examination of genitals or anal area,” the bill says, adding that methods such as vacuum suction, scraping or “lifting by tape” would be employed for collection of tissue.The DNA Data Bank would maintain records of samples found at crime scenes, or from suspects, offenders, missing persons, volunteers, etc. The bill also makes it clear that no DNA Laboratory shall undertake DNA profiling without the prior approval of the DNA Board. If a foreign country requests DNA profiling, the DNA Bank will coordinate through CBI or a concerned department.The draft bill mandates that the DNA profiles or samples be kept confidential, and they should be used only for establishing identity of a person and nothing else. Government investigation agencies and judiciary, among others, can seek information from Data Banks. For unauthorised use of data, a stringent punishment is provided.

BJP fails to solve Land Bill deadlock, moves it to winter session

With the Bill deferred, the Centre may have to re-promulgate the Land Bill ordinance, which was first brought in last December. The Centre had a slim hope of bringing out a consensus report on the last day of monsoon session, following the August 3 meeting in which there was agreement to nullify six contentious amendments.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to resolve the deadlock over the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2015 in the joint parliamentary committee thus leaving it with no option but to defer the controversial Bill to winter session of Parliament.After arriving at a consensus in the last meeting to roll back six contentious amendments of the Bill, the committee was to discuss three more clauses and submit a report to the Parliament on August 13. But, on Monday, the meeting saw another round of heated discussion as committee chairman SS Ahluwalia tried to persuade opposition members for a consensus in the final report.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Members of the Congress and Trinamool Congress said that there would be no consensus until the Bill was restored to its original 2013 version, as was passed in the Parliament. Congress MP’s Jairam Ramesh and Rajeev Satav walked out of the meeting, as the Ahluwalia made remarks about tactical delays, but were immediately called back.Further, Trinamool Congress members told Ahluwalia that they need more time to study all the amendments. With too many differences in the committee and little or no time left to adopt the report before the monsoon session ends, Ahluwalia moved a proposal to defer the Bill. This was accepted by all except Samajwadi Party and Nationalist Congress Party.With the Bill deferred, the Centre may have to re-promulgate the Land Bill ordinance, which was first brought in last December. The Centre had a slim hope of bringing out a consensus report on the last day of monsoon session, following the August 3 meeting in which there was agreement to nullify six contentious amendments. These related to consent clause, social impact assessment, exemption of certain projects from provisions of the Bill, on prosecution of officers, definition of private entity and acquisition for industrial corridors. But, the Lok Sabha speaker suspended 25 members of the Congress for disrupting the House and in the subsequent meeting, on August 4, Congress members requested cancellation of the meeting.This left the committee with only Monday’s meeting to draw out a unanimous report.

As last resort to get GST Bill passed, government may call special session

The BJP and Congress have both issued a whip to its members asking them to be present in the House.

With just three days left of the monsoon session, the government is making a last -minute effort to find a way to get parliamentary approval for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill. The Constitution (122 Amendment) Bill, 2014, has been included in the Rajya Sabha’s revised list of business for Tuesday.The BJP and Congress have both issued a whip to its members asking them to be present in the House.With fissures in the Opposition coming to the fore, the government is planning to talk to the Congress on the pro-reform GST, according to sources. However, given the Congress stand, the government is mulling over other options to ensure that the GST timeline did not get disturbed. If the government is unable to ensure its passage in the ongoing session which ends on Thursday, it could consider implementing its Plan B– calling a short special session of both Houses of Parliament to pass the GST Bill, according to sources.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said the session could be called anytime after August 15. The Rajya Sabha is to take up the bill after it was examined by the Select Committee which has recommended some amendments. The Bill, seeking to replace all indirect taxes with a uniform levy, will then have to be referred back to the Lok Sabha.The Bill has already been passed in Lok Sabha. However, the biggest hurdle for the government is the Rajya Sabha where the Congress is 68 in strength and the BJP 44. Being a Constitution amendment, the House would need to be in order for the bill’s passage. The government is hoping to rope in parties like the 15-member Samajwadi Party, 12-member Trinamul Congress and AIADMK with 11 mps.Finance minister Arun Jaitley took on the Congress on Monday saying Sushma Swaraj and that in reality the Opposition party was unwilling to allow passage of the GST bill.Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the party was not against debating the GST bill on the floor of parliament, if government dropped its “arrogance” and reached out to opposition.Another Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said there were neither moves by the government to reach out to opposition nor by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence and address the issues raised by them. A senior Congress leader said, the government was trying to convey that they (Opposition) was coming in the way of passage of the GST Bill, by attempting to bring it amidst pandemonium.

HRD Ministry softens stand on draft IIM Bill; says ‘correcting inconsistencies’ in bill

In a written reply in Parliament last week, Irani had said the bill “intends to ensure greater synergy and financial autonomy along with commensurate accountability in academic and financial matters of the IIMs”.
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dna Research & Archives
Faced with criticism over the draft IIM Bill, government on Friday indicated “reviewing” and “correcting any inconsistencies” as it sought to reach out to the prestigious B-schools, making its first reaction to the controversy surrounding the legislation. The HRD Ministry’s apparent softening of stand came on a day when HRD Minister Smriti Irani held an hour long discussion with chairperson of IIM Bangalore’s board of governors Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.Accused of diluting IIMs autonomy through the draft legislation, Irani said the “fallacy” surrounding the bill needed to be “dispelled” and that they have put it in public domain for views. The government has also been accused of having some kind of control in almost every decision that the institutes take.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We will review the bill. If there is any inconsistency, typographical error, we will correct it,” Higher Education secretary V S Oberoi said, in an apparent indication that autonomy of the IIMs will not be compromised, flanked by both Irani and Shaw.Holding that a lot of concerns concerning the bill was “clarified” and that she was “satisfied” following her hour long meeting with the Minister, Shaw said she would be talking to other IIM directors and “explaining” the provisions. She said some of the concerns were “baseless” which needs to be “dispelled”.”We certainly want autonomy and hand in hand accountability. I think the bill has that considered. Government is trying to ensure we have an accountable structure without affecting autonomy,” she said, adding “some kind of rephrasing” could address their concerns. The bill seeks to give the IIMs the degree granting powers and convert them into institute of national importance.In a written reply in Parliament last week, Irani had said the bill “intends to ensure greater synergy and financial autonomy along with commensurate accountability in academic and financial matters of the IIMs”. Oberoi said the aim is to follow the other institutes of national importance like the IITs which are “tried and tested” models.

IIM Bill prepared by panel headed by ex-IIM chairman, says Smriti Irani

According to IIM-A Director Ashish Nanda, the government, through the bill, has proposed some kind of control in almost every decision that the institutes take.

In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, Smriti Irani added that the draft that evolved through the process was put up for public comments.
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dna Research & Archives
Amid a raging controversy over the draft IIM bill, government on Thursday said it was prepared by a committee headed by former chairman of IIM Trichy’s board of governors M Damodaran and finalised after considering the observations and suggestions of the IIMs.”The committee also included representatives of the IIMs. The draft prepared on the basis of the proposal of the committee was again circulated to the IIMs for consideration in August 2014. The observations and suggestions of the IIMs were considered and the draft was modified on that basis after going through inter-ministerial consulations process,” HRD Ministry Smriti Irani said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, she added that the draft that evolved through the process was put up for public comments. The opinions and suggestions of the stakeholders including the IIMs have been received and these “suggestions are being considered by the Ministry”, she said. Her reply came against the backdrop of vociferous opposition from IIM directors to the bill, contending it will compromise with the “autonomy” of the institutes.”We are deeply concerned that some provisions of the bill would seriously compromise the autonomy of the institute. We believe that this is an important bill for the future of management education and therefore requires critical review to ensure an optimal balance between autonomy and accountability of the institution,” IIM-Ahmedabad chairperson A M Naik had said in a letter to Irani last month.”If the bill turns out to be that a lot of decisions by the boards are subject to government approval, and the government has uniform norms, then that may or may not be best thing for certain IIMs,” said IIM Bangalore Director Sushil Vachani.According to IIM-A Director Ashish Nanda, the government, through the bill, has proposed some kind of control in almost every decision that the institutes take.”The draft bill proposes control of government in almost every matter such as selection of Chairman of board of Governors, fee structure, expenses, etc. They have covered almost everything from strategic to operational decisions,” Nanda said.

Cabinet likely to approve new Consumer Protection Bill tomorrow

The new bill, which will repeal the 29-year-old Consumer Protection Act, seeks to create a Consumer Protection Authority on the lines of the US and European countries for fast-tracking redressal of consumer grievances.
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The Cabinet is likely to approve a new Consumer Protection Bill 2015 on Wednesday, that seeks to replace the existing law and proposes setting up a regulatory authority to curb unfair trade practices.”The Cabinet is scheduled to meet tomorrow. The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015, is on the agenda,” sources said.After the Cabinet approval, the Consumer Affairs Ministry is aiming to introduce the bill in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The new bill, which will repeal the 29-year-old Consumer Protection Act, seeks to create a Consumer Protection Authority on the lines of the US and European countries for fast-tracking redressal of consumer grievances.To ensure safe products to consumers, the bill has a provision for product liability and provides enough powers to the regulatory authority to recall products and cancel licences if any consumer complaint affects more than one individual, sources explained.For speedy disposal of consumer court cases, the bill seeks to provide ‘mediation’ as an alternative route to resolve the disputes and also suggests simplified judicial process to ensure inexpensive justice.The bill provides for stringent penalty, including life imprisonment in certain cases and sufficient provisions for protection of consumers of online shopping, sources added.

Land bill: Government’s hopes hinged on Parliament panel

Alleging “political opportunism” behind Rahul Gandhi’s tirade against the land bill, Government on Sunday hinged hopes on a “consensus” in the Joint Committee of Parliament for passage of the contentious measure and claimed Congress alone is insisting on zero amendment in the 2013 law.

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Alleging “political opportunism” behind Rahul Gandhi’s tirade against the land bill, Government on Sunday hinged hopes on a “consensus” in the Joint Committee of Parliament for passage of the contentious measure and claimed Congress alone is insisting on zero amendment in the 2013 law.In an interview to PTI, Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh also stressed that amendments were required in the 2013 law to make it functional as it was passed by UPA in “haste” with an eye on 2014 Lok Sabha polls.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister expressed readiness to accept whatever “good suggestions are made in the interest of farmers” through the committee headed by BJP MP SS Ahluwalia.The Union Minister’s assertions have come in the wake of the government seeking to placate the Opposition on the vexed land acquisition bill by including a fresh section which will allow state governments to have provisions of consent clause and social impact assessment while implementing the law.To help break the impasse on the Bill, the Cabinet had last week decided on adding provision to enable the states to frame and pass their own laws.Congress and some other parties have, however, spurned the move dubbing it as a “new kind of conspiracy”.Asked how President Pranab Mukherjee can give assent to bills by different states on the same issue on which there is a central legislation and whether the government’s idea will not lead to over-lapping, Singh said there have been precedents.”No. It is not about over-lapping. States can bring some improvement in any central legislation on issues falling within the ambit of concurrent list. It is done. The President gives assent to their laws. There are many instances, where it has happened. There are many such laws,” he said, adding that the proposal will only be sent by the Central government to the President for his assent.”Moreover, the President’s assent will happen through us.The state government’s Act goes to President through the concerned ministry. Of course, the President is the final authority. There may also be special circumstances from state to state. If any provision is in the interest of the state, the President gives assent,” he said.Asked whether he is hopeful that the bill will be passed during the Monsoon session, Singh parried a direct answer.”It all depends on the Joint Committee report. I feel that it will come by August 3 as the panel was given extension till then. If there is a unanimity and consensus in this report, then I think that the bill will be passed,” he said.Amid indications of Samajwadi Party warming up to the government, the minister indicated that barring Congress other parties are not saying no to any amendment.”I feel that other parties may have some reservations against few things in the bill. But they are not saying do not bring any amendment in the 2013 law. Only the Congress party has this mindset,” he said.Singh also parried a question on whether the government will promulgate the land ordinance for the fourth time if no consensus is arrived.”We will see that later. There is still time for ordinance,” he said.Indications are that deliberations in the panel could continue for some more time as the government is unlikely to push for the passage of the bill before Assembly elections in politically crucial Bihar, an agrarian state.The rural development minister said that whatever good suggestions come in the interest of farmers through the committee, Government will certainly try to implement them.”But, we definitely want the process for the acquisition to be speeded up. This is our prime concern,” Singh said.Targeting the Congress Vice President, he said, “Rahul Gandhi’s remarks that we will not allow even an inch of land to be taken has no meaning. This can only be a political speech. Our bill is aimed at making the 2013 law applicable.If farmers have to be given any benefit of that law, then some shortcomings in it have to be rectified.”If there is no modification, then the Act will be non- functional. So saying such a thing is not in sync with democratic norms. There is some lack of understanding of democracy on part of Rahul when he says this.” The Union Minister, who has had a long association with Congress before he joined BJP last year and became a minister, suggested that there are multiple voices in Congress over the issue.”Yes that is there. When they were in power, Congress ruled states Maharashtra, Kerala and Haryana said this Act required amendments to make it functional and applicable.”But as soon as they were out of power, they are now saying that we are not ready for any amendment. This is political opportunism,” he said.Singh said this replying to a question on whether he thinks that Congress has multiple views on the issue and Rahul is alone driving the party to take the strident stand.The minister pointed out that Congress continued for over 50 years with the same 1894 Act for acquisition of land even-though it had many lacunae.”And when they made the new law in 2013, they did it in a hurry. It was not aimed at doing away with the lacunae of the old law and was brought due to political reasons keeping in mind the 2014 Lok Sabha election,” he said.

Dissent notes queer pitch for GST

Notwithstanding, opposition, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the government will go ahead with the GST legislation in Parliament that seeks to create a simplified tax structure across the country. He called it “revolutionary”.

Apart from disruptions, the dissent notes submitted by the Congress, the AIADMK and the Left parties to the Rajya Sabha select committee, have queered the pitch for the passage of the constitution amendment bill for rolling out a major economic reform programme related to Goods and Services Tax (GST). The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on May 6, 2015, but the opposition in Rajya Sabha forced it to be referred to a 21-member select committee headed by Bhupender Yadav. The aim of the legislation is to amend the Constititution to provide a common national market and subsume a number of indirect taxes being levied by the Centre and state governments.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Notwithstanding, opposition, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the government will go ahead with the GST legislation in Parliament that seeks to create a simplified tax structure across the country. He called it “revolutionary”.He said the government will try and build a consensus. The eight-point note of dissent given by Congress members in the panel — Madhusudan Mistry, Mani Shankar Aiyar and Bhalchandra Mungekar — says the party will not support the bill unless it incorporates the amendments the party proposes. “We are in favour of a Goods and Services Tax that is simple and comprehensive. The Constitution (122nd) Amendment Bill 2015 is neither. It is pitted with compromises, exclusions and exceptions that make it impossible for us to extend our support to the Bill in the absence of the amendments we have proposed being incorporated in the Bill,” the note said. The AIADMK has raised objections on the formation of the GST Council to look into disputes. It also wants cast iron guarantee that petroleum products will be kept totally outside the GST. “We strongly object to the provision for the GST Council. Ideally, it should not exist. The existing mechanism of empowered committee of state ministers which deals with VAT issue is adequate. No statutory GST Council is required,” said the dissent note moved by the AIADMK representative A. Navaneethakrishnan. He further said the proposed legislation has given an effective veto to the Central government in the GST Council, which impinges upon the fiscal autonomy of states. He wanted weightage of the vote of the Central government be reduced to one-fourth of the total votes cast and that of states increased to three-fourths. The AIADMK dissent note also wants states be empowered to levy higher taxes on tobacco and tobacco products. The CPI (M) MP K N Balagopal also submitted similar dissent note. He also alleged that GST will favour big corporate houses, who want a free flow of goods and services with the technology promoted and owned by them.The Congress representatives in a joint dissent note wanted an 18 per cent ceiling specified so that “in the pursuit of higher revenues the GST Council desists from crossing the ceiling”. It said 18 per cent was a “reasonable, moderate and adequately revenue-generating GST rate”. Secondly, the party wants scrapping of the proposal to levy an additional one per cent tax. The note says the proposal was “market distorting”, especially in view of the fact that “we have proposed 100 per cent compensation for a minimum of five years to states that might lose revenues. The party wants the compensation to be deposited in a fund under the administrative control of the GST Council.The Congress also wants inclusion of “tobacco and tobacco products, alcohol for human consumption and electricity supply and consumption”. “We propose that all three be included in Clause 12 of the Constitution Amendment Bill with the condition that the GST Council take a decision for their inclusion in GST within a period of five years,” the note said. The party also raised questions on the absence of a GST disputes settlement authority. It also sought that sources of revenue of the panchayats and municipalities be safeguarded.Meanwhile, the government on Wednesday criticised Congress for giving a dissent note in the Select Committee. “It is hardly a dissent note on the bill, it is a dissent against the Congress party’s own proposals which were originally given. Congress MPs are giving a dissent against the suggestions made by their own chief ministers,” he said, adding that “Congress is against the country’s progress…This it has established by giving this dissent note.”

IIM bill: Government to take decision after considering all opinions and suggestions

Lok Sabha Members such as Mallikarjun Kharge, Kamal Nath, M K Raghavan, Jyotiraditya Scindia, V Panneerselvam, P K Sreemathi Teacher and M K Raghavan had sought to know if the government proposes to bring forward the bill and whether the key provisions have been objected by the IIM directors and the suggestions received among others.
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dna Research & Archives
Facing open criticism over the draft IIM bill, Government on Wednesday said it has received opinions and suggestions from the stakeholders about the bill and will take a “decision” after taking them into consideration.”After consideration of all the opinions and suggestions, a decision will be taken by the Central Government,” HRD Minister Smriti Irani told Lok Sabha on Wednesday in a written reply without elaborating further.Lok Sabha Members such as Mallikarjun Kharge, Kamal Nath, M K Raghavan, Jyotiraditya Scindia, V Panneerselvam, P K Sreemathi Teacher and M K Raghavan had sought to know if the government proposes to bring forward the bill and whether the key provisions have been objected by the IIM directors and the suggestions received among others.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In its reply, the Minister said the bill “intends to ensure greater synergy and financial autonomy along with commensurate accountability in academic and financial matters of the IIMs”.Heads of these institutes have contended that the bill will compromise with the “autonomy” of the IIMs.”We are deeply concerned that some provisions of the bill would seriously compromise the autonomy of the institute. We believe that this is an important bill for the future of management education and therefore requires critical review to ensure an optimal balance between autonomy and accountability of the institution,” IIM-Ahmadabad chairperson A M Naik had said in a letter to Irani last month.”If the bill turns out to be that a lot of decisions by the boards are subject to government approval, and the government has uniform norms, then that may or may not be best thing for certain IIMs,” said IIM Bangalore Director Sushil Vachani.An IIM faculty member who was involved in drafting the bill, which was said to have undergone changes later, had expressed surprise seeing the final draft, saying some of the provisions were incorporated later without consultations.According to IIM-A Director Ashish Nanda, the government, through the bill, has proposed some kind of control in almost every decision that the institutes take.”The draft bill proposes control of government in almost every matter such as selection of Chairman of board of Governors, fee structure, expenses, etc. They have covered almost everything from strategic to operational decisions,” said Nanda.

Five bills that will ensure a stormy Monsoon Session

The government has the hard task of passing around 32 bills this Monsoon Session that will last just over 23 days.

Parliament building in New Delhi

PTI
In just over 23 days, the government is looking to pass around 32 bills in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament starting today.However, with the opposition planning to get the government on the back foot over various cases of impropriety and scams surfaced against the ruling regime in past couple of months, the future of the entire Monsoon Session is under dark clouds.Even if the government manages to broker peace with the opposition, some of the bills it wants to pass are most likely to hit a road block, specially in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in hopeless minority.Here are the five top bills the government is looking to pass in this session.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 or the more commonly known, land billThe government claims that this bill will give a push to the industry without trampling upon the right of the farmers.However, the opposition is far from satisfied. The most important bone of contention seems to be the removal of the consent clause and social impact assessment for five sectors. If the bill is passed, mandatory “consent” clause and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) will not be applicable for land acquired for national security, defence, rural infrastructure including electrification, industrial corridors and housing for the poor, including PPP where ownership of land continues to be vested with the government.Likely outcome: The government has already re-promulgated the land ordinance thrice, and according to a dna report, it is all set to do for a fourth time, if the bill is not passed. It has become more of an ego fight between the opposition and government. Currently the bill is with the Joint Parliamentary Committee, and the speaker hasgiven it an extension till August first week.2. The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Second Amendment) Bill, 2014 or GST bill:Government plans to implement GST by April 2016. Originally proposed by Congress, now the grand old party is proving to be the greatest obstacle in passing the bill.GST bill has been passed in the Lok Sabha and a Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Monday adopted a report endorsing majority provisions of the bill, though Congress hasfiled dissent on it. Government has agreed to fully compensate states for revenue loss for first 5 years. Many of the opposition parties like BJP and TMC are on board with GST bill.But Congress has raised the issue of composition of GST council and a core proposal to allow states levy 1% additional tax, presumably to guard the interest of the ‘producing states’.Likely outcome: It will need two thirds majority to pass GST bill and without Congress’ support, government will not be able to get it through. Congress has always maintained GST is their ‘baby’, so a last minute compromise can’t be ruled out.3. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) BillThe bill has been passed in the Lok Sabha, It provides for trying juveniles between 16-18 who have committed heinous crimes under adult laws. Even for 16-18 year olds who have committed a lesser.i.e not so heinous crime the individual can be tried under adult rules if the person is apprehended after he/she turns 21. It replaces Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.Opposition including Congress and the Left have opposed the bill and has accused the government of using crude majority to pass it in the Rajya Sabha. ConcernedMinister Maneka Gandhi though has rejected all such accusations of the bill being anti-juveniles and have deemed it balanced.Likely outcome: The government may just be able to get the bill passed in Rajya Sabha by consenting to some amendments. 4. Real estate (Regulation and Development), 2013 bill or the real estate bill The amended bill was passed by the Union Cabinet in April, which paved way for it to be applied to commercial real estate also. The amended real estate bill could help rein in corrupt real estate agents. Ongoing projects that have not received Completion Certificates will brought under the purview of the Bill. The bill will also seek protect money invested by consumers and investors to ensure clarity on the use of funds, and avoid money swindling by constructors and real estate agents. The bill entails provisions of registration of real estate projects and registration of real estate agents with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority; functions and duties of promoters and allottees; establishment of Real Estate Regulatory Authority; establishment of fast track dispute resolution mechanism through adjudication; establishment of a Real Estate Appellate Tribunal; offences and penalties etc.Likely outcome: The real estate bill is expected to meet roadblocks in the Rajya Sabha. The Congress has already expressed its disagreement with the bill, and is likely to disrupt the session. 5. Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 or the Child labour billThe cabinet in May had announced amendments to the child labour bill which then caused much furore. According to the amendments made, the cabinet gave a nod to let children under the age of 14 to work with family businesses or in the entertainment industry, as long as their education is not hampered. Apart from this, employing children under the age of 14 has been completely banned. Despite the amendments, children between the age of 14 and 18 will still not be allowed to work in hazardous industries. The bill also calls for stricter punishments for violation of the law. The employer would be liable for a punishment and penalty even after the first offense, while there still is no punitive action mentioned for parents even after the first offense. Likely outcome: The government may be able to pass this bill in the Rajya Sabha, given the socio-economic structure and the societal fabric of our country.

Sharad Yadav to move bill in parliament for mother’s right of guardianship of child

New Delhi: JD(U) president Sharad Yadav on Monday sought an amendment in the Constitution to provide mothers the right of sole guardianship of a child and said he would bring a Private Member Bill for this in the coming Monsoon Session of Parliament.

Hailing the Supreme Court order that said an unwed mother can become her child’s sole guardian without the father’s consent, Yadav said he would go a step further to demand a mother’s right to guardianship without any requirement to mention the father’s name in the record.

JD(U) president Sharad Yadav. PTI

JD(U) president Sharad Yadav. PTI

“I am of the view that for all purposes mother should be the sole guardian even if the father is living with her and (the couple) has good relationship too… I am planning to bring a Private Member Bill in the coming session of Parliament in this respect,” he said in a statement.

Yadav, who was been accused in the past of taking sexist jibes at women, said he was overwhelmed with this landmark judgement.

In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court on 6 July ruled that an unwed mother can be appointed as the sole legal guardian of her child without the consent of the father.

The apex court came to the rescue of an unwed mother who is opposed to naming the biological father of her child, by directing a local court in New Delhi to recall an earlier order and decide afresh her plea that she be declared the guardian without any notice to the father.

Referring to various civil and common law jurisdictions across the globe, a bench of justices Vikramajit Sen and Abhay Manohar Sapre said the “welfare of the minor child” was more important than the rights of an “uninvolved father”.

The bench, while allowing the plea of the mother, gave a common direction to the authorities to issue birth certificate to the children of “single parent/unwed mother” on furnishing of an affidavit alone.

PTI

Parliament panel on land bill likely to seek week’s extension to complete report

New Delhi: The Parliamentary panel examining the contentious land acquisition bill is likely to seek a week’s extension to complete its task as it may find it difficult to prepare its report before July 21, when the Monsoon session starts.

The chairman of Joint Committee of Parliament on the land bill S S Ahluwalia is expected to write to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for the extension to finish the task, three members who attended today’s meeting said.

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Reuters

The committee has been mandated to submit its report on day one of the first week of the Monsoon session. But the extension could be sought to table the report on first day of second week of the session, beginning on July 21, they said.

As the panel was set up by a motion of the House, Ahluwalia may have to seek the extension by moving a motion in this regard in the Lok Sabha. In the last Lok Sabha, P C Chacko, chairman of JPC on 2G scam, had to seek the permission of the Lok Sabha to extend the timeline of the panel to table its report.

Sources said as most of the state Chief Secretaries have not reverted to the government on various issues raised by the Committee, the window to move amendments to the bill for the members as well as the government could be extended from the present July 1-6 to July 6-13.

Meanwhile, in today’s meeting, various agriculture institutes and think tanks pressed for the need to “first acquire wasteland and use cultivable land as a last resort.”

Representatives from the Indian Council for Agriculture Research, G B Pant University, Punjab Agriculture University were among those who deposed before the panel.

INLD MP Dushyant Chautala also appeared before the panel as a witness to oppose the amendments to the 2013 Act.

“Most of them said first the wasteland should be acquired. The cultivable land should be acquired as a last resort,” said members quoting the representatives.

The agriculture universities, institutes and think tanks working in the field were invited as former Union Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar felt it was important to get their views before members firm up their stand on the bill.

RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch, which has dubbed the amendments to the land Act as “anti-farmer” and “anti-poor”, will appear before the committee tomorrow.

Congress leader and Committee member Digvijay Singh had demanded that the RSS outfit be heard on the issue.

Since the Joint Committee of Parliament is different from a department-related standing committee or an investigative Joint Parliamentary Committee, it will present a bill in Parliament based on the amendments moved by members as well as the government.

Once the amendments have been moved, they would be discussed on a clause-by-clause basis. If there is a unanimity, the bill will be adopted. Otherwise, there could also be a vote on the amendments. The Committee will then table the bill — as reported by it — in both Houses of Parliament.

While the Committee is likely to go through the amendments on a clause-by-clause basis on July 16 and 17, the draft bill is likely to be placed for consideration and adoption on 21 July.

PTI

Proposed Bill will reduce IIM to working centre: AM Naik

Amid the ongoing controversy regarding the proposed IIM Bill, chairman of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) AM Naik has written a letter to the Ministry of Human Resource Development expressing grave concerns about the Bill.”We had a series of discussions with the government and other stakeholders from 2012 till October 2014. We then came to a mutual understanding and a draft was finalised. Thereafter, the government remained virtually silent for about 10 months. We thought it was a regular delay. However, when we saw the proposed Bill 10 days ago, we were surprised. It was completely different,” said Naik at a press conference in the city on Thursday. He added that they were trying to make it a consultative decision. “It appears that the minister has not seen the Bill yet and the person who has prepared the draft seems to have no clue of its implications,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Talking about support from other IIMs, he said, “We do have support from a few IIMs. The rest are either being hesitant or are being financially assisted by the government. The prime minister wishes to have 25 world-class institutes. But this Bill contradicts that vision.”He added, “The new draft has significant negative impact and, if implemented, will be detrimental to management studies. Forget world-class institution, the institute will become just an operating centre. There seems to be some misunderstanding with regards to the drafting of the Bill.”Professor Ashish Nanda, director of IIMA, said they would be able to convince the government officials of their objections in case of a dialogue. “Government should over-see the processes from a distance. This Act goes opposite the government’s vision,” he said. What the Bill proposesAny change in curriculum, fees, course, remuneration, etc will need Centre’s approvalCentre will determine director’s powersCentre will look into building maintenanceBoard may lay down criteria to be followed by the Director but if they are unsatisfied they should recommend inquiry against him to the CentrePay variable pay to the director on basis of performance

IIM bill row: IIM-Ahmedabad warns against erosion of autonomy

Ahmedabad/New Delhi: The row over the controversial IIM draft bill escalated today with IIM Ahmedabad strongly opposing the measure, saying it will not only curtail autonomy but will reduce the premier B-school to a mere “operating centre” while arming the government with sweeping powers.

“There will be no autonomy left with us if this bill will be implemented,” Chairman of IIM-A Board of Governors, A M Naik told reporters in Ahmedabad, adding, “it is like operating here but the control is somewhere else”.

IIMAIIMAThe institute has shot off a letter to the HRD Ministry registering its protest on the bill. The Centre had sought their suggestions from IIMs on the proposed bill by June 24.

Naik said the Bill is having provisions which gives majority of powers to the government leaving almost nothing for the institute to decide.

“As per the provisions of the Bill, we need to take prior permission of government in matters related to admissions, courses, fee structure, establishment or maintenance of new building and regulating powers of academic council,” he said.

“Further, we will be required to take government’s permission if we want to form a new department in the interest of institution, as if expertise for this is available elsewhere rather than with the institute. Thus, nothing much is left for us. It is like operating here but the control is somewhere else,” Naik who is also the Executive Chairman of engineering and construction giant Larsen and Tubro said.

“The Bill gives sweeping powers with the government, making the institution only an operation centre, with all the major directions, diktats and approvals happening from Delhi. There will be no autonomy left with us if this bill will be implemented,” opined Naik.

His views were also endorsed by IIM-A Director Prof. Ashish Nanda. According to him, the government has proposed some kind of control in almost every decision that the institute takes.

“The draft bill proposes control of government in almost every matter, such as selection of chairman of board of Governors, fee structure, expenses, etc. They have covered almost everything from strategic to operational decisions,” said Nanda.

Besides IIM-A, directors of Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangalore, Kozhikode and Indore have opposed the bill while chiefs of some of the new IIMs have supported it.

The draft says the IIMs will be “bound” by government’s directions in policy matters.

“If the bill turns out to be that a lot of decisions by the boards are subject to government approval, and the government has uniform norms, then that may or may not be best thing for certain IIMs,” said IIM Bangalore Director Sushil Vachani.

Vachani said the perception was that the government was trying to “interfere” with IIMs when it is proposing a coordination forum, single tenure for a director and that HRD ministry’s decision will be final on policy directions.

Naik, who attended a meeting of IIM-A Board, lashed out at the Centre for keeping them in the dark about the new draft of the bill, which according to him, is not the one which was agreed upon two years back after so many discussions between all the IIMs and Ministry of Human Resource and Development

“After nine months of silence, government suddenly floated this new draft, which we saw just few weeks back. It really caught us by suprise. The original bill, which was approved by IIMs and Ministry of HRD, has been completely changed, and rather made even worse than the original draft,” said Naik.

He also raised questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s vision of setting up at least 25 world class institutions in the wake of such adverse regulations proposed in the Bill.

“PM wishes to have at least 25 world class institutions. But, this kind of regulation will only take us in an opposite direction. We expected more freedom. But, the bill, in its current form, will take away lots of freedom of the institutions and they won’t be autonomous,” he said.

“Our main contention is autonomy and over-regulation. We told the Ministry that such regulations will affect our efforts in building a world class institution. If this Bill is implemented, none of the IIMs will be in the top-500 list of world’s best institutions, forget about getting space into top-100,” added Naik.

He hoped that some amicable solution will arrive in near future on this issue.

Nanda, who had criticised the bill, fearing it could be used as a tool to “micro-manage” the IIMs, warned that there could be an adverse fallout on IIM standards if certain freedom was not granted.

The bill said, “Without prejudice to the foregoing provisions of this Act, the Institute (IIMs) shall, for efficient administration of this Act, be bound by such directions on questions of policy, as the Central Government may give in writing to it from time to time.”

It also states that the IIMs will need the approval of the Ministry before notifying any changes in fee structure, salary and remuneration and admission criteria.

“To be globally excellent, you need to have a certain amount of autonomy—you need to have certain resources, support of the government and leadership.

The bill also provides for constitution of a coordination forum chaired by the HRD minister.

PTI

IIM Ahmedabad takes strong objection to draft bill, says it will curtail autonomy

“There will be no autonomy left with us if this bill will be implemented,” Chairman of IIM-A Board of Governors, A M Naik told reporters in Ahmedabad, adding, “it is like operating here but the control is somewhere else”.

Image courtesy Wikipedia

The row over the controversial IIM draft bill escalated on Thursday with IIM Ahmedabad strongly opposing the measure, saying it will not only curtail autonomy but will reduce the premier B-school to a mere “operating centre” while arming the government with sweeping powers.”There will be no autonomy left with us if this bill will be implemented,” Chairman of IIM-A Board of Governors, A M Naik told reporters in Ahmedabad, adding, “it is like operating here but the control is somewhere else”. The institute has shot off a letter to the HRD Ministry registering its protest on the bill. The Centre had sought their suggestions from IIMs on the proposed bill by June 24. Naik said the Bill is having provisions which gives majority of powers to the government leaving almost nothing for the institute to decide.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”As per the provisions of the Bill, we need to take prior permission of government in matters related to admissions, courses, fee structure, establishment or maintenance of new building and regulating powers of academic council,” he said. “Further, we will be required to take government’s permission if we want to form a new department in the interest of institution, as if expertise for this is available elsewhere rather than with the institute.Thus, nothing much is left for us. It is like operating here but the control is somewhere else,” Naik who is also the Executive Chairman of engineering and construction giant Larsen and Tubro said.Letter written by IIM A Chairperson to HRD Ministry Smriti Irani (Picture courtesy Facebook) “The Bill gives sweeping powers with the government, making the institution only an operation centre, with all the major directions, diktats and approvals happening from Delhi. There will be no autonomy left with us if this bill will be implemented,” opined Naik. His views were also endorsed by IIM-A Director Prof.Ashish Nanda. According to him, the government has proposed some kind of control in almost every decision that the institute takes. “The draft bill proposes control of government in almost every matter, such as selection of chairman of board of Governors, fee structure, expenses, etc. They have covered almost everything from strategic to operational decisions,” said Nanda.Besides IIM-A, directors of Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangalore, Kozhikode and Indore have opposed the bill while chiefs of some of the new IIMs have supported it. The draft says the IIMs will be “bound” by government’s directions in policy matters.”If the bill turns out to be that a lot of decisions by the boards are subject to government approval, and the government has uniform norms, then that may or may not be best thing for certain IIMs,” said IIM Bangalore Director Sushil Vachani. Vachani said the perception was that the government was trying to “interfere” with IIMs when it is proposing a coordination forum, single tenure for a director and that HRD ministry’s decision will be final on policy directions.Naik, who attended a meeting of IIM-A Board, lashed out at the Centre for keeping them in the dark about the new draft of the bill, which according to him, is not the one which was agreed upon two years back after so many discussions between all the IIMs and Ministry of Human Resource and Development “After nine months of silence, government suddenly floated this new draft, which we saw just few weeks back. It really caught us by suprise. The original bill, which was approved by IIMs and Ministry of HRD, has been completely changed, and rather made even worse than the original draft,” said Naik.He also raised questions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of setting up at least 25 world class institutions in the wake of such adverse regulations proposed in the Bill.”PM wishes to have at least 25 world class institutions. But, this kind of regulation will only take us in an opposite direction. We expected more freedom. But, the bill, in its current form, will take away lots of freedom of the institutions and they won’t be autonomous,” he said.”Our main contention is autonomy and over-regulation. We told the Ministry that such regulations will affect our efforts in building a world class institution. If this Bill is implemented, none of the IIMs will be in the top-500 list of world’s best institutions, forget about getting space into top-100,” added Naik.He hoped that some amicable solution will arrive in near future on this issue. Nanda, who had criticised the bill, fearing it could be used as a tool to “micro-manage” the IIMs, warned that there could be an adverse fallout on IIM standards if certain freedom was not granted.The bill said, “Without prejudice to the foregoing provisions of this Act, the Institute (IIMs) shall, for efficient administration of this Act, be bound by such directions on questions of policy, as the Central Government may give in writing to it from time to time.” It also states that the IIMs will need the approval of the Ministry before notifying any changes in fee structure, salary and remuneration and admission criteria.”To be globally excellent, you need to have a certain amount of autonomy—you need to have certain resources, support of the government and leadership. The bill also provides for constitution of a coordination forum chaired by the HRD minister.

Land bill will not be allowed to be passed, nor defeated: Sitaram Yechury

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday said that the Opposition would not allow the land bill to be either passed or defeated, so that the government cannot convene a joint session of Parliament to get the bill passed.

PTI
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday said that the Opposition would not allow the land bill to be either passed or defeated, so that the government cannot convene a joint session of Parliament to get the bill passed.Yechury’s assertion follows Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s comment that if the land reform bill was not passed in the Rajya Sabha, then a joint session of Parliament would be convened, because the bill’s passage was key to success of the next phase of reforms to allow the country to meet the growth target.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the Constitution, no joint parliamentary session could be called until a bill was passed by one house and rejected by the other. So if the land bill was rejected by the Rajya Sabha after being passed by the Lok Sabha, a joint session was possible, Yechury explained to reporters here.”The bill has not been passed in the Rajya Sabha. There are various ways in which the bill will not be passed. Neither will it be defeated too. It will be referred by the joint parliamentary committee. Then the report will be examined by the Rajya Sabha. Then only things will happen,” he observed.Yechury accused the Narendra Modi government of pursuing an aggressive pro-corporate policy and ignoring poor farmers’ interests.”The spirit of this bill is that they want to give no- holds-barred right to the corporates, both foreign and domestic, to acquire land from farmers and bulldoze them. It will create a disaster and it will kick off an agrarian crisis,” he felt.Yechury said that the bill aimed at amendments which would enable them to acquire more than one third of total cultivated land in the country. “What is the experience of the acquired land? More than 50% of the land acquired for an SEZ at least five years back is lying unused,” he said.

IIMs sharply divided over draft bill that grants greater say to the government

The draft bill says the IIMs will be “bound” by government’s directions in policy matters.

Representative Image

The draft IIM bill, which seeks to give seeping powers to HRD ministry in the functioning of the B-schools, including policy matters like deciding fees, emoluments and service conditions of the faculty, has left the prestigious institutes sharply divided.While the view in the older six IIMs is that an attempt is being made at “micro-managing” them, something that would infringe upon their autonomy, those in the eight new premier institutes feel the apprehension is misplaced.IIM-Ahmedabad director Ashish Nanda said the proposed legislation would be used as a tool to “micro-manage” the institutes, known the world over for academic excellence.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Micro-management is never good. If that is done, people working in institutions may feel less empowered,” he said, speaking about the bill which provides for IIM Boards deciding matters like fees, emoluments and service conditions of the faculty but only with the Centre’s approval. The bill also provides for constitution of a coordination forum chaired by the HRD minister.An IIM professor, who was involved in drafting the bill, voiced surprise at the final draft as the earlier document did not contain any clause that gave “overwhelming authority” to the government in running the institutes.”In its original form, the bill was rather egalitarian and took the views of all stakeholders. But it has had last minute changes. Now, for everything if we have to go back to the government for permission which has the powers to say yes or no, we can’t be competitive enough,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.”If centralisation is the goal, autonomy is going to suffer. This is not the original intention of the bill. This is not acceptable. In the last meeting, there was nothing to suggest IIMs will have to go to the government for permission. We will be caught in procedural trap,” he said.”The bill, if implemented (enacted) in its present avatar, will undermine the autonomous status enjoyed by the IIMs. At a time when we are looking at a global footing, the bill could prove to be retrograde,” said another IIM director, pleading anonymity.The draft says the IIMs will be “bound” by government’s directions in policy matters.”Without prejudice to the foregoing provisions of this Act, the Institute (IIMs) shall, for efficient administration of this Act, be bound by such directions on questions of policy, as the Central Government may give in writing to it from time to time,” the draft bill says.Director of IIM Rohtak P Rameshan, however, dismissed suggestions about the prestigious institutes losing their autonomy and contended that “some element of public discipline” is needed as “inefficiency” had crept in.”IIMs are public institutions where the government should have a fair degree of say in the overall interest of all,” he said, adding “some element of public discipline is needed as there is a lot of inefficiency happening in IIMs”.Supporting the bill, the director of another new IIM trashed fears about autonomy of the IIMs getting compromised.”The government is well aware that if anything goes wrong today, it will create a hype in media, which does not augur well for it,” he said, wishing not to be named.Most IIMs would be sending their response to the draft, uploaded on the HRD ministry’s website, over the next few days.The controversy comes at a time when HRD ministry has been accused of interfering in the functioning of institutes of higher learning including the IITs. IIT-Delhi director R Shevgaonkar resigned in December last year amid reports that he was under pressure from the Ministry to act on certain issues. Eminent nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar, former chairman of IIT-Bombay’s board of governors, recently assailed the HRD ministry over the manner in which directors of three IITs had been selected.The bill seeks to declare the IIMs ‘Institutes of National Importance’.DUTA President Nandita Narain said she was against any provision which erodes the autonomy of IIMs which they should have in academic issues, and in deciding courses and matters relating to faculty members.

Anna Hazare, BKS likely to appear before land bill committee next week

The joint committee has been formed to examine the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015.

Uday Mohite
dna
After sending their memoranda to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, voicing their opposition to the controversial legislation, social activists Anna Hazare, Medha Patkar and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) are likely to appear before the committee next week, sources privy to the proceedings said. The joint committee has been formed to examine the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015.Up till now the committee has received more than 500 written representations from various quarters and will continue to accept them till June 14. Earlier this year, Hazare protested against the Land Bill, 2015, during his Jan Satyagraha Padayatra. He was also joined by Ekta Parishad, a non-governmental organisation. Hazare, later, also wrote to Congress President outlining his opposition to the Bill. In his letter, Hazare had criticised the National Democratic Alliance government for doing away with key clauses of the Bill such as the consent clause and the social impact assessment clause. He had termed the Bill, ‘against the interest of farmers’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hazare, in his letter written in March, had also asked Sonia Gandhi to oppose passage of the Bill in Rajya Sabha, since it was already passed in Lok Sabha back then. Like Hazare, even the RSS affiliated BKS have opposed the government’s move to water down the 2013 version of the Land Bill. The government, in the Bill’s 2015 avatar, has done away with the need to take 70% consent of landowners for public-private projects.On Tuesday, the parliamentary committee began meetings with organisations and individuals, who gave both oral and written submissions detailing their opposition to the Bill. Four farmer organisations from Harayana and Uttar Pradesh appeared before the committee on Tuesday and made strong representations against the Bill. They told the committee that taking away land for industry without the consent of farmers would be a blatant attempt to snatch livelihoods.

Cabinet nod for land ordinance’s re-promulgation, Rahul accuses Modi of ‘land grab’ yet again

New Delhi:The union cabinet on Saturday gave its approval to the re-promulgation of the land acquisition ordinance, triggering strong criticism from opposition parties including the Congress whose leader Rahul Gandhi accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being “in an amazing hurry to grab land from the poor farmers at any cost”.

The move was also criticised by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015. This will be the third time it will be promulgated.

The ordinance was first promulgated in December last year to amend the act passed during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2013. An official release said that changes in the 2013 Act “will facilitate farmers to get better compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement benefits” in lieu of land compulsorily acquired by the government.

Modi in an interview to The Tribune published on Saturday said that no decision taken by his government concerning the land bill was “anti-farmer”. He said chief ministers insisted on a change in the 2013 Act and he thought of addressing their anxieties.

PTI image.PTI image.

PTI image.

Asked by the newspaper if he was confident of the bill’s passage, Modi said it was not a question of life and death for him and it was not on the agenda of his party and the government. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha with official amendments in March but was not taken up in the Rajya Sabha where the government lacks a majority.

The land ordinance was again promulgated in April.

With the Congress and several other opposition parties firmly opposed to the bill brought by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, it was referred to the joint committee of parliament.

The recommendation for re-promulgation of the ordinance will be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee.

Gandhi hit out at the prime minister over the decision.

“Modi ji in an amazing hurry to grab land from poor farmers at any cost. A 3rd attempt at pushing the anti farmer Land Ordinance!”

“Congress Party will continue to fight for the rights of the kisan and mazdoor against this #suitbootkisarkar,” he said in a series of tweets.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said the government decision for re-promulgating the ordinance was an “insult” to parliament, “which had refused to pass the anti-farmer bill”, and “a gross injustice” with farmers of the country.

“On the one hand, the BJP-led government forms a joint committee to have a re-look at the bill, on the other hand it plays a cruel trick,” he said, demanding the decision be immediately taken back.

In Bihar, which will face assembly elections soon, Nitish Kumar said the Modi government was “trying to impose” the land bill on protesting farmers and it will prove costly.

Speaking to reporters in Patna, he alleged that the prime minister was concerned about the interest of corporates, despite the bill being opposed by people and different political parties, except the BJP and its allies.

IANS

Land Bill not a BJP-Shiv Sena issue, says Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray said there was a lack of clarity on various aspects of the Bill, which has now been sent to a Parliamentary panel for further scrutiny.

As the Modi Government appears determined to push ahead with the contentious Land Bill, BJP ally Shiv Sena on Sunday said it remained opposed to the amendments in the 2013 legislation.Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray said there was a lack of clarity on various aspects of the Bill, which has now been sent to a Parliamentary panel for further scrutiny.”I am blunt in my views. This (the Bill) is not an issue of differences between Sena and BJP. Recently, compensation for drought-affected farmers sent by the Centre did not reach the beneficiaries because many did not have their names on 7/12 (an important land record document. Many did not have bank accounts and in joint families there was no mention regarding who will take the compensation,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Similarly, a provision of the Bill says compensation amount (in case of acquisition) has been increased four times and jobs will be given to project affected farmers.”But there is no clarity on who will get the benefit.When industries are set up who will get jobs. Family members of farmers are not educated enough to get permanent jobs,” he said.The Sena chief was speaking at a function organised to honour senior journalist Dnyanesh Maharao with the R G Jadhav Award at the Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh.The NDA Government, which had promulgated ordinance twice since December to make it easier to acquire land for infrastructure, rural projects as well as industrial corridors, early this week agreed to a 30 member panel examining the amendments after allies Shiv Sena and Akali Dal joined opposition in Lok Sabha to oppose it.

Unable to pass land bill in Parl, govt to once again re-promulgate land ordinance

Kochi: With the controversial land acquisition bill being referred to a joint parliamentary committee, the government on Thursday said it would re-promulgate the related ordinance for the third time.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said there were 13 legislations which are already out of the purview of the present 2013 Land Acquisition legislation and “to include those we issued that ordinance, and now for the continuation of that ordinance if we have to issue another fresh ordinance, it would be (issued)”.

Singh, who was on a visit to Kerala, was replying to a question from reporters on the sidelines of a function whether the government would re-promulgate the ordinance on Land Acquisition in wake of failure to get the bill passed in the Budget Session which concluded on Wednesday.

Faced with stiff resistance from Opposition and allies, the NDA government on 12 May referred the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2015, to the joint committee for scrutiny.

It had earlier promulgated ordinance twice on the bill since last December after it faced similar resistance.

According to officials, the government has time till the end of this month to re-issue the ordinance by an executive order. The Union Cabinet will have to ratify the re-issuance of the ordinance before it goes to the President for his assent.

The government, which could not get the ordinance converted into a legislation in Rajya Sabha during the first half of the budget session due to stiff opposition, had re-promulgated it on 3 April, a day before it was to lapse.

While bringing the first ordinance last December, the government had said its decision to amend the Act was to bring under its purview 13 central legislations, including those relating to defence and national security, to provide higher compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement benefits to farmers whose land is being acquired.

According to the ordinance, provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 will be applicable for the 13 existing central pieces of legislation including the Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act, 1957, the National Highways Act, 1956 and the Land Acquisition (Mines) Act, 1885.

Singh said the joint committee of Parliament, which would scrutinise the bill, would be submitting its report in the first week of the Monsoon Session.

“So, I think this Act itself requires national consensus and for that we accepted the proposal of the Opposition that let there be a joint committee. I think in the next coming session, the bill would be cleared,” he said.

PTI

Anna Hazare warns of another fast over ‘anti-farmer’ provisions in land bill

Latur (Maha): Saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is concerned more about corporates than farmers, social activist Anna Hazare warned of another fast if the “anti-farmer” provisions in the NDA government-proposed Land Acquisition Bill are not removed.

“He (Modi) is concerned more about corporates than farmers,” Hazare told PTI in an interview here, as he sharpened attack on the BJP-led NDA over the land legislation.

Social activist Anna Hazare. PTISocial activist Anna Hazare. PTI

Social activist Anna Hazare. PTI

Stating that he would go on a fast as he did in 2011 on Lokpal issue, Hazare said, “if the government doesn’t make changes in the Bill to safeguard farmers’ interests, we will launch a nationwide jail bharo agitation.”

“The second alternative is my fast, like the one in 2011. If this happens, the government will have to take note and make necessary changes,” the 77-year-old campaigner said.

“I have written to the PM to make pro-farmer changes. We are awaiting the response. We expect that the government will do something,” he said.

Some time has to be given to the government. They brought in the first ordinance and people’s agitations began all over, he said.

“Then the government and the PM told us that if the Bill is against the interests of farmers, they are ready to make necessary changes. They also told us to suggest what changes we would like to see incorporated in the legislation.

“That is why, when we noticed that no appropriate changes were made in the second ordinance of April 3, we wrote to the PM drawing his attention to the issues where we wanted the changes to be effected,” Hazare said.

“Congress government in 2013 came out with a Land Acquisition Bill in which there were restrictions on acquiring land for companies. Now, what the Modi government has done, as per its whim, is to replace the word ‘private company’ with ‘private entities’,” he said.

“We have written to the government, objecting to the removal of the word ‘private company’ and replacing it with ‘private entity’. As a result of this change, any organisation registered with the charity commissioner can acquire land,” Hazare said.

The farmers would find it difficult to get their grievances arising out of the ‘anti-farmer’ provisions of the bill redressed once their land is acquired, he said.

“The objective behind this is very clear: You want to facilitate land acquisition for your people, people from your party. That is why you have made the change,” he alleged.

Drawing a comparison between present government and previous UPA rule, Hazare said though the Congress-led regime had done some good work for the farmers but not all their decisions were in the interests of the agriculturists, like doing away with the consent of the gram sabha to acquire land.

“If the Land Acquisition Bill comes into effect in the present format, there will be spurt in farmers’ suicides. Rift between government and farmers will also sharpen as they will never surrender their land and the authorities will resort quelling the unrest including firing on the protesters,” he said.

Asked how long will he wait for the government to make the changes, Hazare said, “the government is now making some movements. If there is something wrong in the letter we sent you (Government), please mention it. Or else, correct the mistakes you made in the land legislation.”

“There is some movement from the government side. We are hearing noises from outside. The government is aware that if they try to table the Bill in the present format, it won’t be passed,” he said.

“Now they are trying to split the opposition. They tried to woo Mamata Banerjee with a Rs 7,000 crore package for West Bengal. However, others are not willing to budge,” Hazare said.

“The picture today is that the present government does not think of farmers interests. Had that been the case, how it happened that there was no provision of leasing land of farmers, instead of acquiring it,” he said.

“If you want to allot land to an industrialist, give the shares in that company to farmers. That way, the farmer will get a permanent source of livelihood,” Hazare said.

As per the existing provisions of the Land Bill, one km land on each side of the 62,000 km long railway lines in the country would be acquired. Similarly, one km land on each side of the 92,000 km long national highways in the country would be acquired, he said.

Also, one km land on each side of the 1.32 lakh km long state highways in the country would be acquired, he said.

PTI

Bill to amend whistleblowers law introduced in Lok Sabha

During the last days of UPA rule, BJP had proposed certain amendments in the bill when it came up for consideration and passage in the Rajya Sabha. One was to bar whistleblowers from seeking information on national security.

A Bill to amend the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2011 to keep issues of national security out of its purview was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday.The introduction of the Whistleblowers Protection (Amendment) Bill 2015 came close on the heels of the Opposition attacking the government for not notifying the bill despite it getting the President’s assent in May 2014.The amendments to the bill are being carried out with a view to incorporate necessary provisions aimed at strengthening safeguards against disclosures which may prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country and security of the state, among other things.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While government insists the amendments would address concerns relating to national security, some activists have claimed that it will dilute the measure.”This would strengthen the safeguards against disclosures which may prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country, security, strategic, scientific or economic interest of the state, relations with a foreign state or leads to incitement of an offence. Safeguard has also been provided in respect of such disclosures which have been exempted under section 8(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005,” the government said.In order to give statutory protection to whistleblowers in the country, the Public Interest Disclosures and Protection to Persons making the Disclosures Bill, 2011 was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August, 2010.The bill was passed by Lok Sabha in December 2011, as the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, 2011. The Rajya Sabha had passed it on February 21 last year.It had received the assent of the President on May 9 the same year.During the last days of UPA rule, BJP had proposed certain amendments in the bill when it came up for consideration and passage in the Rajya Sabha. One was to bar whistleblowers from seeking information on national security.The Whistleblowers’ Protection Act aims to provide a mechanism for protecting the identity of those who expose corruption.

Bill to amend Whistleblowers Protection Act introduced in Lok Sabha

New Delhi: A Bill to amend the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2011 to keep issues of national security out of its purview was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The introduction of the Whistleblowers Protection (Amendment) Bill 2015 came close on the heels of the Opposition attacking the government for not notifying the bill despite it getting the President’s assent in May 2014.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The amendments to the bill are being carried out with a view to incorporate necessary provisions aimed at strengthening safeguards against disclosures which may prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country and security of the state, among other things.

While government insists the amendments would address concerns relating to national security, some activists have claimed that it will dilute the measure.

“This would strengthen the safeguards against disclosures which may prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country, security, strategic, scientific or economic interest of the state, relations with a foreign state or leads to incitement of an offence. Safeguard has also been provided in respect of such disclosures which have been exempted under section 8(1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005,” the government said.

In order to give statutory protection to whistleblowers in the country, the Public Interest Disclosures and Protection to Persons making the Disclosures Bill, 2011 was introduced in the Lok Sabha in August, 2010.

The bill was passed by Lok Sabha in December 2011, as the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, 2011. The Rajya Sabha had passed it on February 21 last year.

It had received the assent of the President on May 9 the same year. During the last days of UPA rule, BJP had proposed certain amendments in the bill when it came up for consideration and passage in the Rajya Sabha. One was to bar whistleblowers from seeking information on national security.

The Whistleblowers’ Protection Act aims to provide a mechanism for protecting the identity of those who expose corruption.

PTI

Why the middle class home buyer is up in arms over the real estate bill

The statistics should ring a bell.
·Eight out of every ten home-buyers believe real estate developers indulge in unfair trade practices.
·Only 20 percent of the buyers have received a defect-free home and timely possession.
·Seventy percent of the buyers repent investing their life-time savings in the house.
·One in three buyers has either filed a case against the developer in the consumer court or planning to do so.
· Forty-three percent of those who filed a case against the builder have refused any out-of-court settlement in exchange of the builder’s promise of getting the home repaired.
· Sixty-nine percent of buyers have serious issues with the facility management by the developer.

These figures are an outcome of an exclusive survey conducted by ‘Track2Realty’ in 10 Indian cities, including the metros. The survey reveals that several home-buyers are angry at what they have been subjected to by the builders. Their sense of helplessness has only gotten worse after the NDA government introduced 118 amendments in the Real Estate (Development and Regulation) Bill 2013 of the previous UPA government.

“Due to the highhanded attitude of the builders, it has become extremely difficult for the middle class to buy even a small flat in Delhi and NCR. The Real Estate Bill 2013 was brought in by the UPA-II to regulate the anarchy of builders, and it was a ray of hope for middle class buyers,” said Rohini-based resident Arun Kumar Srivastava.

Real estate policy. ReutersReal estate policy. Reuters

Real estate policy. Reuters

He added, “After paying a big booking amount, a buyer is bound to wait for years, and sometimes he fails to get possession of the flat. The amendments introduced in the bill would go in favour of the builders and real estate players. Since Rahul Gandhi has assured us that he would take up the issue, he should ensure that the amended form of the bill doesn’t get passed.”

The controversial Real Estate Bill that seeks to regulate realty business, was on 5 May put off indefinitely after a united Opposition insisted on sending it to a Select Committee of Parliament in Rajya Sabha, where the ruling NDA is in a minority.

In response, the Union Minister for Housing and Poverty Alleviation Venkaiah Naidu said he had informed the House that he would not take up the bill for consideration till consultation with parties is over. Naidu further added he would like the House to consider, before the end of this session on 13 May, whether or not to send the bill to a Select Committee. However, some members objected to it and it prompted the Minister to say that he would bring the bill only after consultations got completed.

The issue taken up by the Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi reflects the concerns of the middle class buyers.
The major concerns and dissatisfaction of the home buyers are:
· Delayed possession.
· Poor construction quality.
· Customer service problem.
· Floor area and carpet area less than promised.
· Hidden cost of the developers.

Saloni Paruthi, another home buyer, who had met Gandhi along with a group of aggrieved buyers on May 2 had said, “I booked a flat in May 2012. The possession has been delayed by two years. The EMI payment without actual possession caused financial burden on us. Our concern is that the Bill that the NDA government wants to introduce is pro-builder and it would cause immense problem for the buyers.”

Rahul Gandhi, while meeting home-buyers, said the UPA’s bill was pro-buyer while that of the NDA is pro-builder. Here’s where the two differ.

· In the earlier bill, the builder was not allowed to change the sanctioned plan once approved, But, under the amendment, a builder can ‘undertake minor alterations’.

· Carpet area was defined clearly as ‘net usable area’ in an apartment excluding the walls. Amendment says the ‘net usable area’ will be ‘rentable area’ as defined by the National Building Code 2005 or its later version.

· In 2013 Bill, the builder was under obligation to keep 70% of the amount realized from buyers from a project in a ‘separate account’, to ensure that the builder didn’t divert the money and the projects got completed on time. Now, the limit has been reduced to 50%.

· In the earlier Bill, it was mandatory that ‘all agreements’ (builder-buyer agreements) had prior approval from Real Estate Regulatory Authority. Now, except for ‘Agreement to sell’ no other agreements such as – fitting & fixtures, maintenance agreements need to be approved by the Authority.

Said P Roychowdhury, a senior executive with an MNC, “Another major hurdle in buying a house or flat in Delhi is the mode of payment to be made to a builder or real-estate developer. Majority of them want maximum amount in cash. It becomes extremely difficult for a middle class buyer, who takes a home loan to buy a flat. This also needs to be resolved.”

Congress attacks Modi govt of making ‘U-turn’ on GST Bill

New Delhi: Attacking Government over moving the long-pending Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in Lok Sabha, Congress on Friday accused BJP of making “U-turn” and demanded that the bill should be referred to a Standing Committee of Parliament.

Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi accused the ruling dispensation of practicing “subterfuge, deceit and a hidden agenda” but at the same time made it clear that Congress was opposing the more and manner of bringing the GST bill and “not the concept” of it as the move for GST was initiated by UPA.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“We are not opposing the bill. It is our bill. We are only opposing the more and manner in which they are pushing the bill. After delaying the bill for years, what was the hurry to bring the bill without a thorough discussion,” he said.

The Congress leader also repeatedly highlighted that parties like AIADMK and BJD, which are considered “supportive” of the government also opposed its consideration in the House.

“Not only Congress but parties like BJD and AIADMK also pointed towards the hidden agenda,” Singhvi claimed.

Questioning why BJP opposed the bill for three years since UPA brought it, Singhvi said, “yet another example of the BJP led NDA’s subterfuge, deceit, duplicity and attempt to put hidden agenda reflected in the manner of pushing the GST. Without any basis, they opposed the GST tooth and nail not only at the Centre but also in states.

“The maximum opposition came from Gujarat for three-four year. Now after altering the bill, making changes into it, they have made a U-turn and want to pass the GST bill without discussion. The hypocrisy of BJP stands exposed. They oppose it when in opposition and propose it when they are in government.”

The GST bill was today moved in the Lok Sabha for consideration amid stiff resistance by several Opposition parties, even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said it is a “win-win” measure and states have nothing to fear.

Members of Congress, led by Sonia Gandhi, along with those of TMC, Left and NCP staged a walk out after their plea for referring the Constitution Amendment Bill to the Standing Committee was not accepted. AIADMK and BJD also opposed its consideration but did not walk out.

After hour-long wrangling over the procedures between the ruling and the opposition sides, the Bill was taken up when Speaker Sumitra Mahajan ruled that it is an important legislation on which the Finance Minister can make introductory comments and a discussion can be taken up at a later date.

At the AICC briefing Singhvi said while Congress supports the concept, idea and principle, it is opposed to pushing the bill in this manner now without a discussion on it in Standing Committee after the old bill stands altered.

PTI

Centre deciphering Opposition strategy to pass land bill

The Congress is taking on the BJP government on the bill by dubbing it as anti-farmer and anti-poor

A day ahead of a rally, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi meets farmers at his residence in New Delhi on Saturday
B B Yadav
dna
Amidst indications that the Modi regime would explore the option of a joint Sitting of both houses of Parliament as a last resort for the passage of the land acqusition bill, there are apprehensions within the government that this is easier said than done. The government would have to keep in mind two aspects— a comfortable and convincing majority and the Opposition strategy in the Rajya Sabha. A joint sitting can be called only after the bill fails in one House and the Opposition will have to let it be rejected, a Union minister said. The Opposition may have other plans though. The government’s floor managers have got a taste of how the numerically stronger Opposition in the Rajya Sabha could embarrass them. This was reflected in how the Opposition ruled on black money during the motion of thanks. The government is keeping an eye on all possible strategies that the Opposition could consider for stalling the bill’s passage or rejection in the Rajya Sabha, sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> As Opposition parties compete, the government is likely to have a difficult time getting on board non-Congress, non-Left parties to support the legislation. The government was hoping that parties like the Samajwadi Party, BJD and AIADMK, which run state governments, would warm up to the bill. However, with the Janata Parivar merger, the SP may find it difficult to take a stand which is not in line with its allies — the JD(U) and RJD, which are likely to use the bill to target the BJP ahead of the Bihar elections. The Samajwadi Party has 15 MPs, the AIADMK 11 and BJD 7 in the Rajya Sabha. Senior ministers have been reaching out to parties as part of an exercise to garner support for the legislation, on which the government and BJP have undertaken a mission to counter the Opposition’s anti-bill campaign. Parties which may not take an unbending stand against the bill are waiting to see if the government will bring in more changes. “We are expecting more amendments to the bill. We want the land owner to be made a share holder in economic activity for which the land is acquired,” said BJD’s B Mahtab. The government has been arguing that compensation was left to the state government. Left sources said Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha could insist on referring the bill to a select committee as in the case of the coal and mining bills. For the government every vote would count. If the Shiv Sena, which had abstained from voting in Lok Sabha, backs the government, the NDA’s numbers add up to 395 in a joint sitting of nearly 760 members. However, according to sources, the government is unlikely to act in haste and may focus on bills like GST and black money before taking up the contentious land bill. As the budget session is all set to resume, the Congress and BJP are reinforcing the battlelines on the land acquistion bill. A day before his party’s farmers’ rally, Congress vice-president interacted with farmers from various states to seek their views on the land acquisition bill. This was Gandhi’s first public appearance after his two-month long break. The farmers’ delegations were from northern states including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. Accompanied by Rajasthan PCC chief Sachin Pilot, Gandhi met the farmers at his residence. Gandhi will be addressing the rally at Ramlila maidan “Tomorrow’s rally would be historic… We want to expose government for the way farmers have been duped only to pay back favours of some people,” Pilot said. Meanwhile, the Congress launched a website called “zameenwapsi.com” as part of its agitation against the bill.

Open to more amendments to Land Bill, says Nitin Gadkari

We accepted nine amendments to the bill after discussion in the Lok Sabha. We are obviously open to new changes,” he said.

PTI
Hopeful of bringing the opposition on-board to get the much-debated land legislation passed, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said the government is not averse to more changes to the Bill. “We are not averse to more amendments to the Land Bill provided they are good and substantial in nature. There is no restriction on fresh changes,” Road Transport and Highways Minister Gadkari told PTI.But at the same time, he cautioned that amendments aimed at delaying the measure and scoring political points against the government would certainly not be considered. “We accepted nine amendments to the bill after discussion in the Lok Sabha. We are obviously open to new changes,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked about NDA government’s lack of numbers in the Rajya Sabha, Gadkari said that he is hopeful of getting support from the Upper House. “I believe members will support the Bill in Rajya Sabha.Let us hope positively. We are confident,” he said.Amendments to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2014 have been approved by the Lok Sabha but could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha as the ruling NDA government is short of numbers in the Upper House. However, pending the passage of the amendment bill by Parliament, the Ordinance was re-promulgated to ensure continuity in legislation.Since the re-promulgated ordinance carries the nine amendments approved by the Lok Sabha and is different from the one issued earlier, a fresh bill will be moved in Lok Sabha again. Opposition parties are against the Bill in its present form and have been opposing it both within and outside of Parliament.

Land Bill: Modi’s pitch fine, but is he mistaking price of land for its value?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s strong pitch for his government’s Land Bill has failed to impress a large section of the Indian population, including the farmers whom it was intended for. They feel Modi maybe sincere in his intent, but he could be making a mistake by confusing between the value and price of land? Does one job per family and good compensation take care of all the sense of security that land provides to a farmer?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. ReutersPrime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

“The PM is using the official media to spread lies and mislead the farmers. Land is the sole source of livelihood and dignity for the farmers, agricultural workers, share-croppers and other dependants on land. Its value is far beyond the pittance the government is offering in terms of compensation. A government which has miserably failed to provide relief to farmers reeling under crop loss in vast areas, is now making a callous promise that farmers will get a “good” price for land. The PM is indulging in an exercise of lies, deceit and demagogy to ensure smooth takeover of productive land for corporate profiteering and real estate speculation,” said Vijoo Krishnan, joint secretary, All India Kisan Sabha.

He added, “Offering job to one person of a family is like uprooting a family from its main source of livelihood and giving a token job to one person of the family. If the government was sincere, it should have announced that all employable adults will be given mandatory jobs, besides, social security measures and health and education facilities. Wherever land acquisition is indispensable, a portion of the developed land should be given to the dependants on land. The price fixed for such acquisition is itself far below the actual market price and since the avenues for countering the decision for acquisition are being further limited, the farmers would not even get what should be the actual price.”

Unimpressed with Modi’s contention in support of the Land Bill, social activist Anna Hazare accused him of “misleading” farmers on the Land Bill.

Hazare said, “Modi is watching others with coloured glasses and this bill itself is misleading. This bill is not going to help farmers, but the big corporates only. If the Modi government’s intentions are so clear and it wants to help the farmers then why it did not oppose the Bill in 2013 presented by the UPA-II, instead of supporting it,” he said. During the UPA regime, Rajnath Singh from the floor of the Parliament had said that the BJP won’t support the bill, unless social impact assessment was included in it.

The social impact assessment included the rehabilitation, resettlement, livelihood, etc of farmers, once their land was acquired.

“During the UPA-II, it was the BJP that strongly emphasised on having a social impact assessment clause included in the Land Acquisition Bill 2013, besides the 70 percent consent of farmers. It was on this basis that BJP supported the bill. But, now after coming to power, the same BJP is taking farmers on a ride. Moreover, if the government speaks of urgency in development, why it wants to change the previous clause which says that if the land remains unused for five years, it should be given back to the farmer? The NDA government has proposed to abolish the clause in the ordinance. This speaks of the BJP’s double-standard and low political morality,” said Sompal Shastri, noted agricultural expert and former Union minister for Agriculture in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government.

“Whatever, the PM said in ‘Mann Ki Baat’, are his feelings only. It’s not about the farmers but to appease the industries and the corporate world. What about the livelihood and rehabilitation of farmers, who would lose land?” questioned Shastri, former chairman of National Agriculture Commission.

Anupam Singh, leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, Haryana unit, said “The PM mentioned that Land Bill 2013 was drafted in hurry, which is incorrect. He should know that it took three years to draft the said bill and had undergone a parliamentary process. It was backed by the BJP at that time. The parliamentary committee that worked on this Bill was headed by Sushma Swaraj. While, in the radio talk, the PM mentioned Haryana government’s steps to provide compensation, but on the contrary, the Haryana CM has ensured that farmers do not get the right price. All categories of land in the state have been grouped under a single price slab. Can the price of a barren land and a double crop land be the same? Is single price point justifiable for the livelihood of farmers in terms of real value of farm land?” questioned Singh, who is associated with Jai Kisan Abhiyan in Haryana.”

Modi’s land bill: Farmers are the casualty in BJP, Congress’ politics of words

In his branded radio-show, Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the opposition of spreading “lies” about his Land Bill to create confusion among farmers. The Congress, which is in the vanguard of the protest against the Bill also said the same: that Modi is lying.

In response to Mod’s charge of creating “confusion” among farmers, the Congress said something similar: that Modi and the BJP government are creating a smokescreen.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“I am surprised that all kinds of misinformation is being spread,” said Modi in his radio-talk. In response former environment minister and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said: “His ‘Mann ki Baat’ was full of lies. He has tried to spread myth.”

So, the principal parties in the debate have called each other liars and accused each other of obfuscating (smokescreen, confusion); but where is the truth? Who is lying and who is telling the truth?

Unfortunately, Modi’s words on the radio lacked details even as he insisted that his government is farmer-friendly and that he wanted to improve the lives of farmers. He even said that he didn’t want farmers to end up on the margins of the cities, but to live in cities when their lands develop. But, he didn’t have the specifics either to convince the intended beneficiaries or to counter the Congress charge that he was talking through this hat.”Our intention is only to see that farmers benefit, their children benefit, villages benefit. So if there are any lacunae in the law, these must be addressed. This is our priority,” was his refrain.

But, did he say how? Did he counter charges against the main lacunae of the NDA’s version of the bill, according to the opposition, such as dropping of two critical conditions for big ticket land acquisition such as a social impact assessment and consent by 70 per cent (80 percent for private projects) of the land-owners? The NDA hasn’t relented to the opposition on these changes, but simply brought in five categories which pretty much covers all big projects.

Instead, what Modi said on radio was that there were lacunae in the 2013 Act, which his government has addressed: “In the Act of 2013 there were certain lacunae… Our attempt is to address these lacunae to ensure that the law is beneficial for villagers, farmers, their future generations and to ensure they get electricity and water.” He went on to add that he was still willing to make changes if somebody feels that something was lacking. The opposition has raised two sore points and Modi is silent on them even while promising improvements.

Instead of the specifics, Modi’s words are rhetorical: “Rumours are being spread that Modi is bringing the law to reduce compensation. I can’t even think of committing such a sin… Such misinformation is being carried out for political reasons. You have to guard against them,” he said.

So in this political war of words, truth is the casualty. Who do the farmers believe? The government or the opposition? Unfortunately, the charges of the opposition are worrisome and the government has tried to address them with emotions than with reason. The vulnerability of farmers’ interests to the interests of the private sector, whether it is for exclusively private enterprises or public private partnerships, as raised by the opposition is not a mirage because the two safeguards that the government has dropped make the Bill sufficiently porous.

The opposition is united on the cause and now the possibility of Anna Hazare becoming the magnet of anti-government sentiments looms large. Although many state governments had supported the new Bill, there will still be political opposition. In Tamil Nadu, the DMK has already pledged support to Anna’s agitation against the Bill.

If the BJP is convinced that the Bill is pro-farmer and pro-poor and not pro-rich and pro-corporate, it should engage in a transparent public debate with the opposition. Calling each other liars doesn’t help remove the smokescreen. The Bill has the potential to displace millions of farmers and rural populace from their lands and ecology. The potential social impact of big industries on their lands and their resultant displacement, and the need for informed consent cannot be overlooked.Unfortunately, these are the same critical points that the BJP is trying to gloss over with emotional promises.

Gadkari writes to Sonia Gandhi, Anna Hazare on land bill, invites them for open debate

New Delhi: Faced with stiff opposition on the land bill, the government on Thursday reached out to leaders of opposition parties, including Sonia Gandhi, and activist Anna Hazare inviting them to an open debate on the issue while asserting that the bill was “very much in farmers’ interest”.

Nitin Gadkari wrote to Sonia Gandhi and Anna Hazare on the land bill issue. PTI

Nitin Gadkari wrote to Sonia Gandhi and Anna Hazare on the land bill issue. PTI

In a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, leaders of other opposition parties and social activist Anna Hazare, Union Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said the government was willing to debate all aspects of the bill which is awaiting clearance in the Rajya Sabha.

A united and aggressive opposition, led by the Congress, is blocking the bill’s passage in Rajya Sabha and submitted a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee earlier this week, terming the land bill as “anti-farmer”.

Gadkari, while claiming that the opposition parties were criticising the bill for “political reasons”, invited all leaders of major parties as well as Hazare for an open debate on any platform to discuss the nuances of the bill.

“The Narendra Modi-led BJP government has brought significant amendments to the land acquisition bill keeping the interest of farmers and rural development in mind. But some parties and organisations are opposing this bill for political reasons.

“No compromise has been made in the bill with the compensation provisions for land owners. No provision of the bill is anti-farmer… In fact, the bill will bring prosperity to villages and farmers and we are ready to debate the bill on any forum,” he said in his letter.

PTI

Under new black money law, govt to provide short window to declare overseas assets

New Delhi: Government will provide a short window of a “few months” to income tax assesses to come clean by declaring their money and assets stashed abroad, pay tax and penalty and escape jail under the proposed tough law to unearth black money abroad.

money{rajasmoney{rajasThe Union Cabinet on Tuesday night approved the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of New Tax) Bill, 2015 with a view to put in place a legal framework to unearth black money and illicit assets stashed abroad.

It provides for a maximum of ten years rigorous imprisonment for offenders, who conceal income and assets and indulge in evasion in relation to foreign assets.

Under the provisions of the new Bill, the offence will be non-compoundable and the offenders will not be permitted to approach the Settlement Commission for resolution of disputes. There will also be a penalty at the rate of 300 percent of taxes on the concealed income and assets.

“The dates for declaring the overseas assets will be notified after the passage of the bill on the black money by Parliament,” a senior Finance Ministry official said on Wednesday.

The assesses will be given a few months time to declare their overseas assets, the official said, adding the bill would also provide for a rigorous jail term of 10 years for concealment of such income.

The proposal to come out with a new law on the black money was mooted by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech.

The Bill seeks to make non-filing of income tax returns or filing or returns with inadequate disclosure of foreign assets liable for prosecution with punishment of rigorous imprisonment of up to 7 years.

Concealment of income and assets and evasion in relation to foreign assets will be prosecutable with punishment of 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.

The Bill is likely to be introduced in Lok Sabha before it adjourns for a month long recess.

The government has been under pressure to act on the issue of black money stashed abroad as the BJP and Modi had mounted a huge campaign during the Lok Sabha election last year with a promise to quickly repatriate such illegal wealth.

Individuals, entities, banks and financial institutions would be liable for prosecution and penalty if found abetting such offences.

Concealment of income or tax evasion in relation to a foreign asset will be made “predicate offence” under the PMLA, enabling enforcement agencies to attach and confiscate such assets.

The new legislation will provide that income in relation to any undisclosed foreign asset or undisclosed income from any foreign asset will be taxable at the maximum marginal rate. Exemptions or deductions, which may otherwise be applicable in such cases, shall not be allowed.

Beneficial owner or beneficiary of foreign assets will be mandatorily required to file return, even if there is no taxable income.

Date of opening of foreign account would be mandatorily required to be specified by the assessee in the return of income.

PTI

Oppose land Bill in Rajya Sabha: Anna Hazare to opposition parties

“I request you to vehemently oppose the bill in the Rajya Sabha,” Hazare said in his letter to the opposition party leaders.

Social activist Anna Hazare on Monday appealed to the opposition parties to resist the government’s attempts to pass the Bill in Rajya sabha when introduced in the Upper House.”Anna (Hazare) has written a letter to all the opposition parties to oppose the anti-farmer bill if it is introduced in the Rajya Sabha,” Vinayak Patil, an aide of Hazare said.Patil was in the capital to meet the opposition leaders and also hand over a memorandum to all major opposition parties.”The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha using brute majority. The bill has several clauses, which are anti-farmer in nature. Now this bill will be introduced in the Rajya Sabha, but the government does not have majority there. So, the bill cannot be passed.
“I request you to vehemently oppose the bill in the Rajya Sabha,” Hazare said in his letter to the opposition party leaders.”We visited Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s office, NCP president Sharad Pawar, JDU chief Sharad Yadav and JDS leader H D Deve Gowda and have requested them to oppose the bill when it comes in Rajya Sabha.”We have also submitted a memorandum to Rural Development Minister Birendra Singh since the bill has been introduced by his Ministry,” Patil said.The Gandhian activist held a two-day protest against the “anti-farmer” bill at the Jantar Mantar last month. Hazare has also threatened of a mass agitation if the bill is passed.

Bill for plying of e-rickshaws in Delhi gets government nod

New Delhi: Parliament on Monday gave nod to a Bill seeking to pave the way for plying of e-rickshaws on the roads of the national capital region, with the government considering a proposal to provide credit to buy these battery-operated vehicles.

The Rajya Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to amend the 1988 Act by a voice vote. The measure was adopted by the Lok Sabha on 3 March.

Representational image. IbnliveRepresentational image. Ibnlive

Representational image. Ibnlive

Replying to the debate on the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said not only would the poor benefit from it but it would give a boost to ‘Make in India’ initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the battery-operated vehicle was now being manufactured indigenously.

The vehicle, which was at one point being shipped in from China, would not be imported any longer as a “Pune-based company is now manufacturing the vehicles. It will be made in India as part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.”

On the issue of providing credit to buy e-rickshaws, Gadkari said he had approached the Finance Minister and Prime Minister and “I hope they will consider this issue.”

“It is a fact that man pulling man is inhuman. Nearly one crore people are doing this. This should come to a stop,” he said, adding that one crore poor people would be benefitted by the move.

Maintaining that the government wanted e-rickshaws to be owned by drivers, he said “women and physically challenged people will also be given license. … Driving licence has been made a compulsory requirement. A permanent license would be given after a year of learning.”

The Minister said it was being debated that whether a 8th standard passed person would be eligible for a license. “If not, what happens? This condition has to be thought about on a sympathetic ground,” he said.

E-rickshaws or battery-operated three-wheeler vehicles had gone off roads after Delhi high court had banned their plying in July last year on safety concerns.

On 7 January, President Pranab Mukherjee had promulgated an Ordinance as the bill to regularise e-rickshaws, passed by the Lok Sabha on December 18, had got stuck in Rajya Sabha.

The government in October last had notified the rules for plying of e-rickshaws, making driver’s licence mandatory for operating them and limiting their maximum speed to 25 kmph.

PTI

Land Acquisition Bill in Lok Sabha on Monday: MPs to debate bill for 8 hours

New Delhi: 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.

Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2014 is one of the three Bills already pending in the Rajya Sabha, for the withdrawal of which the government has earlier moved motions and the same were deferred following some issues raised by the Opposition.

The other two pending Bills relate to hiking FDI limit in insurance sector and allocation of coal blocks through open bidding.

PTI

Centre plans to amend Whistleblowers Protection Act to keep issues of national security out of ambit

The government plans to amend the Whistleblowers’ Protection Act to keep the issues of national security and sovereignty out of its ambit.As the original legislation passed by Parliament earlier this year does not have the provision to safeguard against disclosures affecting sovereignty of the country, the Act has not been brought into force so far. After coming to power, the Narendra Modi government had decided against implementing the Whistleblowers’ Act till the necessary amendments on national security and sovereignty are brought in. The Union Cabinet is likely to consider the planned amendments in the coming days, sources said.The issue of safeguarding information on national security was first raised by BJP when the then Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy had tabled the Bill in Rajya Sabha. After back-channel talks, the UPA government had agreed to the amendments. But UPA floor managers had requested BJP not to press for it during the bill’s debate in the Upper House as an amended bill will have to be reverted to Lok Sabha for its nod, which was not feasible as Parliament’s session was concluding soon.The then UPA government had planned to bring an ordinance to carry out the amendments but the plan had not materialised. While the bill was passed by Lok Sabha in 2011, it could be cleared by Rajya Sabha only on February 21 this year. “As the Bill was taken up on the last day of the last session of the 15th Lok Sabha, the official amendments to the bill (aimed at safeguarding against disclosures affecting sovereignty and integrity of India, security of state) were not moved. The proposed amendments are of crucial nature…,” Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha last month.The Whistleblowers’ Protection Act, which provides a mechanism for protecting the identity of those who expose corruption, got assent of the President in May 2014. But the Act has not been brought into force pending amendments. Another Bill is pending before a Parliamentary Standing Committee to correct a ‘patent error’ in the Whistleblowers Act. Through the Repealing Bill aimed at weeding out obsolete laws, the government also seeks to amend the error committed by the Law Ministry during the passage of the Whistleblowers Bill. While the Bill became an Act in May this year, it is called the ‘Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2011’ instead of ‘2014’. Repealing Bills are often used to carry out corrections in Acts.

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