NEW DELHI: In an aggressive move, the Modi government plans to introduce in the Lok Sabha tomorrow, the Land acquisition amendment bill 2015, which seeks approval of Parliament for changes brought in the law through an ordinance or emergency executive order.
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The government also moved notices in the Rajya Sabha to withdraw insurance, coal and the motor vehicles bill that have to be replaced with ordinances issued by the government.
Sources said the absence of simultaneous notices for introduction of new bills to replace withdrawn bills in Rajya Sabha clearly indicates that the government plans to take all the bills to Lok Sabha, where the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance has a commanding majority. Sources say that the move indicates that the government has almost lost hopes of passing crucial legislations in the Upper House, where it is in minority and needs the support of opposition parties to pass laws.
It is a move that will put the Narendra Modi government on collision course with the Opposition, which has united to stonewall the land acquisition ordinance in Parliament, calling it “anti-farmer.”
Eight ordinances need to be cleared by both Houses in the next few weeks or they will lapse.
The latest muscle-flexing is government’s attempt to raise the specter of a rare joint session of both Houses to clear the ordinances, which are crucial to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reforms agenda.
This evening, the BJP’s Parliamentary Board met and discussed the land acquisition bill. “Had detailed discussion on issues being raised by farmer organisations on land ordinance,” said the BJP’s Ananth Kumar after the meet.
The Congress and parties like the Janata Dal United, the Left and Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party or NCP have said they oppose the land ordinance, which seeks to scrap a social impact assessment and the need for the consent of 70 per cent land owners before agricultural land is acquired.
It has also been opposed by activist Anna Hazare who launched a farmers’ protest against it at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar today. “This is land grab by the government…This is what the Britishers used to do. To cater to industrialists, how can you betray farmers?” Mr Hazare said. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party will join Anna Hazare’s protest at Janatar Mantra tomorrow afternoon.
“In a democracy, there should be dialogue, discussion and positive outcome,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this morning, seeking the cooperation of all parties in ensuring that important legislative work gets done in the Budget session of Parliament which began today.
The ordinance makes significant changes in the Land Acquisition Act. Restrictions on buying land, under the law championed by the Congress government, are among barriers holding up projects worth almost $300 billion or nearly Rs. 20 lakh crore in sectors such as rail, steel, mining and roads.