Nitin Gadkari, the Union minister of road transport, highways & shipping, raps the Congress party for having opposed the government move to change the land acquisition Act. The reforms process will continue, he tells Sanjay Jog. Excerpts:
The Centre’s decision not to re-promulgate the land acquisition ordinance is dubbed by critics as a retreat, for a fear of a backlash in the Bihar Assembly poll.
Neither is true. The decision was taken after some state chief ministers at the recent NITI Aayog meeting chaired by the prime minister had argued that this should be left to the states. The Congress CMs had boycotted the Aayog meeting. The PM discussed the matter with some ministers and took a decision accordingly, noting that land acquisition is in the Concurrent list of the Constitution. States keen to fast-track growth and farmers welfare will now take steps to enact their own laws.
The Congress is taking credit for the government’s U-turn, despite your parliamentary majority.
By spearheading the misinformation campaign, the Congress has shown it is against development. Its long rule was marked by corruption and slow pace of growth. Their strategy is to ensure the Bharatiya Janata Party isn’t allowed to do anything for development. They have double standards — it was some of their chief ministers who had appealed to the government to amend the 2013 law.
Thereafter, for development of the nation and the benefit of farmers, the Centre had proposed some amendments in the Act. The Lok Sabha passed it but the Congress and some parties blocked it in the Rajya Sabha. Some leaders and parties also tried to provoke farmers against it.
Had the Bill been passed in the Rajya Sabha, farmers would have got higher compensation and a job in every project-affected family.
Will this impact reforms process?
The government is committed to the development of the nation. During the NDA rule the growth has picked up at 7% compared to 4.5% during UPA rule. The government has lined up slew of reforms initiatives and it will implement it in due course of time.