Govt in a bind over reissuing land ordinance

The Narendra Modi government is facing a dilemma over re-promulgation of the land acquisition ordinance, which is set to lapse on August 31.

Last December, the Centre had promulgated an Ordinance to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Act, passed by the UPA-II regime. The ordinance made acquisition of land easier, but also triggered a political storm, forcing the government on back foot.

After promulgating the ordinance thrice, the Centre virtually agreed that it had made a mistake by amending the law. A Parliamentary panel, headed by senior BJP leader S S Ahluwalia, examining the amendments has unanimously agreed to restore most of the provisions the original UPA-II-era law.

Now, there is debate within the government on whether the ordinance should be allowed to lapse or re-promulgated with the changes agreed to in the Parliamentary panel. “There is no clarity on the matter. I think we have to wait for directions from the PMO,” said a senior government official.

If the government decides to re-promulgate the ordinance, it would be a record fourth time an executive order would be reissued. Besides, the government would also have to re-promulgate the Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015.

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