Report on Land bill likely in next session

Report on Land bill   likely in next session

The joint committee of Parliament is unlikely to submit its report on land bill in the monsoon session ending on Thursday with the Congress-led Opposition sticking to its stand to restore the legislation to its pristine form.

Congress sources said it would be interesting to watch whether the Modi government re-promulgates the ordinance seeking to amend the land bill in order to keep the law alive or it would bring forth one with changes deliberated upon in the joint committee.

The government has hinted at a relook at certain amendments it introduced to the “Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013” to break the deadlock.

A union minister involved in the exercise of holding consultations with stakeholders believes that the 1894 law had a provision for a pre-decisional hearing under Section 5A of the Act, which was replaced by the “consent clause” in the UPA drafted 2013 Act. In case the consent clause is to be removed, then the pre-decisional hearing has to be restored, the minister explained.

During Monday's meeting, the Congress-led Opposition and the BJP were engaged in  hard bargaining on controversial clauses of the land acquisition bill, especially on retrospective clause for providing compensation for land acquired and returning land if  unutilised for five years.

Panel chief S S Ahluwalia gave up his effort to build a consensus on the legislation report  after the TMC and BJD insisted that they would like their parties’ views to be reflected in the committee’s final assessment. BJP MP Ahluwalia is believed to have said that the committee will instead present its report in the first week of the winter session – a move that politically suits the Modi government as it would be after the Bihar assembly polls.

The committee will have to seek extension of time from Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
On the retrospective clause, the Congress wants that land acquired under the 1894 Act but if the owners are still to be awarded compensation, then it should be done under the 2013 law brought by the previous UPA government.

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