You are here: Home » Politics » News » National
Business Standard

Land Bill changes a smoke screen to help industrialists: Congress

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Hitting back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the land acquisition Bill, the Congress party on Sunday said the government's move to bring changes was a “smoke screen” to benefit industrialists and he was “lying” on amendments in 13 Acts.

After Modi, in his Mann ki Baat radio programme, said lies were being spread on the issue of the Bill, the opposition party said the amendments in 13 Acts were part of the mandatory provisions of the 2013 Land Acquisition Law.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also questioned the claim that defence and security projects were being delayed due to the 2013 Act. He said it was stipulated in Section 105 (3) of the 2013 Act that amendments would have to be made within one year in the 13 laws that Modi had spoken about.

Arguing that it was a lie that UPA forgot to amend the 13 laws, he said his government could not because there was less time and elections were approaching.

"But the Act stipulated it had to be done within one year. The Modi government slept for nearly eight months and suddenly woke up to the ordinance as a smoke-screen to benefit industrialists," he said.

In his programme today, Modi said, "biggest lacuna" in the 2013 Act was that 13 aspects of government activity, like railways, highways and mining, for which maximum land is acquired, were kept out of its ambit, meaning that compensation for acquiring land for these purposes would be paid on the basis of the 120-year-old law.

"Tell me, isn't it a lacuna? Isn't it a mistake?...We corrected this and in the new bill, these activities have been covered and as a result, four-time compensation will be given for the land acquired," he said.

Ramesh said compensation was also not a favour as the 2013 Act stipulated for four times compensation in rural area and double in urban areas.

Describing the Modi government's amendments to the 2013 Land Acquisition Law as "anti-farmers, pro-rich", Ramesh said the proposed amendments does away with social impact assessment completely.

He reminded the government that the 2013 Law was passed after two years of discussions and after many amendments including three and two by Sushma Swaraj and Ravi Shankar Prasad respectively.

"The 2013 Law already stipulates that land acquisition can take place for security and defence projects under 'urgency clause' without going through the consent and social impact assessment procedures.

"Modi's amendments merely repeats it and uses this as a smokescreen to extend benefit to industrialists," he said.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Mon, March 23 2015. 00:20 IST