RS to be prorogued for land ordinance

The Modi government on Friday decided to prorogue the budget session of the Rajya Sabha to facilitate repromulgation of the land acquisition ordinance despite vehement opposition to the infrastructure-boosting piece of legislation from parties within and outside the NDA.

The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA), chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, decided at a meeting held at his house to prorogue the Upper House to keep alive the ordinance which would otherwise have lapsed on April 5.
It was done so enhanced compensation given for acquiring land under the 18 listed categories exists.

The Centre had brought the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill 2015 to replace the land ordinance, but managed to get it passed with nine amendments only in the Lok Sabha, where it has a majority.

The government’s floor managers were against tabling the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, fearing that the dominant Opposition would block the bill it has repeatedly dubbed as anti-poor and pro-corporate.    

“The CCPA has decided to recommend prorogation of the Rajya Sabha with immediate effect,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu told reporters after the meeting. Before that, the Union Cabinet approved the nine amendments to the bill for incorporation in the new ordinance.

According to the earlier Parliamentary schedule, both Houses were to go into recess on March 20 and return for the second half of budget session a month later. The schedule had to be tweaked so the government could prorogue the RS to re-issue the land ordinance.

Friday’s decision will render the government’s task of convincing the Opposition to back the ordinance tougher, and impact smooth functioning of Parliament when it reconvenes.

A section within the government wanted the ordinance to lapse and make a fresh beginning after taking the Congress-led Opposition on board, which has remained adamant.

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