It seems there is one less issue of confrontation between the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the main opposition party is pleased that the union government has incorporated some of the major suggestions of the standing committee in the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Bill that was cleared by group of ministers (GoM).
Although senior leaders of the party are ready to commit if they would support the Bill in Parliament and want to wait for views of other crucial political and discussion within National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to finalise their stand on the Bill, BJP leaders indicated that there were not many contentious issues and the party was ready to discuss them with the union government on the floor of the house.
“As chairperson of the standing committee, I am very pleased that most of the important suggestions given by the parliamentary committee have been incorporated by the union government, including involvement of panchayats,” Sumitra Mahajan, chairperson of standing committee on rural development. Mahajan pointed out that the standing committee had recommended to the union government that it should not acquire land for private entrepreneurs which the government has agreed. She also elaborated that the parliamentary committee had suggested that government should allow involvement of panchayats in the process of land acquisition because it was farmers who were losing their land and it was needed that they should get a platform to view their concerns. “The parliamentary committee had asked for majority of 80% of the people while land acquisition but the government is talking about consensus of two-third majority.
Percentage is not such a big issue because the government is also talking about view of majority should be taken while acquiring land. We can discuss these issues,” Mahajan added. Similarly, senior BJP leaders are also pleased with the fact the union government has talked about policy for acquiring agricultural land in the LARR Bill and not just multi-crop land as it was earlier proposed in the Land Acquisition Bill. “The standing committee wanted the Bill to include all agricultural land and not just multi-crop land because land that is only used for single crop is also needed by the farmers to grow a certain type of crop and meet the demand. The government has agreed to this demand as well,” said Mahajan. The BJP leader from Madhya Pradesh elaborated that union government has also talked about the rights of tribals in the proposed Bill, which was suggested by the standing committee in its list recommendations. “I don’t know what will be the view of BJP after going through the details of the proposed draft Bill but as a member of the standing committee, we are pleased that our views have been accepted,” she added.