The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today gave its approval to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015.
Changes in the provisions of the Act will facilitate farmers to get better compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement benefits in lieu of land compulsorily acquired by the appropriate Government.
The Ordinance was promulgated for the first time in December last year to amend the 2013 Act. Despite being passed in Lok Sabha, the government did not take it to Rajya Sabha as it lacked numbers there.
The Ordinance was re-promulgated in March this year and will lapse on June 4. The recommendation of the Cabinet will be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for its approval.
The government, which had promulgated the Land Acquisition ordinance twice on the bill since December after it faced continuous resistance especially in Rajya Sabha, where it does not have the numbers, had agreed to refer it to the Committee, during the recently concluded Parliament session.
The first meeting of joint Committee of Parliament on the contentious land bill saw a number of Opposition members raising questions over the rationale of the government changing provisions of the 2013 land law.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the government’s arguments in favour of the bill, the members had demanded a “composite” inter-ministerial reply on the issue.
The Department of Land Resources (DoLR) under the Ministry of Rural Development is administering the Act.At the meeting, the Rural Development Ministry and Legislative department in the Law Ministry had made a presentation to members on the amendments made to the The Right To Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
While the 2013 law required that the consent of 80 per cent of land owners was obtained for private projects and that the consent of 70 per cent of land owners be obtained for PPP projects, the present Land bill exempts the five categories from this provision of the Act.
These categories include defence, rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects including public private partnership (PPP) projects where the government owns the land.
The 2013 Act also required that a social impact assessment be conducted to identify affected families and calculate the social impact when land is acquired. This provision has been done away with.
Congress leader and spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “ Re-promulgation of Land Ordinance by Modi Government for the third time is a cruel breach of faith and travesty of justice with India’s farming community. It is an affront to Parliament that refused to put it’s stamp of approval.”
“ Duplicity of PM, Narender Modi stands exposed who had only yesterday said that his government is open to reviewing the anti farmer land ordinance. Congress demands that Modi government should forthwith withdraw the Ordinance and apologize to Nation for its subversive designs,” the Congress leader said.