Land Bill referred to GoM
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The rural development ministry-anchored land acquisition Bill was on Tuesday referred to a group of ministers (GoM) for evolving a 'consensus' as many ministers have raised objections to its provisions.
Sources acknowledged that "there were serious differences of opinion among key cabinet ministers on the proposed legislation on land acquisition". The Bill is now likely to be taken up in the forthcoming winter season of Parliament after getting clearance from the GoM. The government would constitute a GoM shortly. "We do not want to hurry through such an important piece of legislation," oil minister Jaipal Reddy told FE after the Cabinet meeting.
The earlier Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Bill, 2011, had been renamed 'The Right to Fair Compensation, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Bill 2012'. The Bill was listed for cabinet consideration last week, but was later deferred as many cabinet members wanted more time for giving comments on the Bill. The Bill has provisions to "protect multi-cropped irrigated lands from land acquisition, so as not to adversely affect food safety of the country".
The government had earlier stated that the many provisions for protecting the rights of the farmers as suggested by Parliamentary Standing Committee had been included in the proposed legislation.
In May, the standing committee on rural development, headed by BJP MP Sumitra Mahajan, recommended that the government should not buy land for PPP projects or for private firms even when public interest is involved. The House panel had also sought a ban on acquisition of all farm land for industrial purpose. CII president Adi Godrej had then stated that the parliamentary panel's recommendations would adversely affect the industry, especially the manufacturing sector.
Even commerce minister Anand Sharma had opposed the exclusion of industry from the purview of 'public purpose' under the Land Acquisition Bill. Subsequently, Jairam Ramesh incorporated provisions where the government could be allowed to buy land for a PPP project which is in 'public interest.
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