In a bid to contain the Opposition attack and to counter the “anti-farmer” tag it has been given, the NDA government may consider the possibility of enhancing compensation in the Land Acquisition Bill without going back on any of the contentious amendments brought in by it to the 2013 legislation.
The government has been under attack for its move to bring changes to the 2013 legislation, with the Opposition mounting a united campaign against it while accusing it of working against farmers’ interests and being pro-corporate.
According to sources, some sections of the government are mulling over the option of enhancing the compensation from the current provision of “up to four times the market value in rural areas and twice the market value in urban areas”. The extent of the increase, however, has not been decided. Sources say discussions with relevant stakeholders are on and some sections believe an increase in compensation will serve a dual purpose-of blunting the Opposition attack and getting some Opposition parties on its side, as well as winning the confidence of farmers.
Discussions on the issue are, however, in a preliminary stage. The fresh ordinance, approved by the cabinet recently, does not touch the compensation issue and only includes nine amendments that had been incorporated when the land bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in the Budget Session.
In its ordinance promulgated on December 31, the government had expanded the list of projects that would be exempted from requirements of consent and Social Impact Assessment to include five new categories, while also tweaking crucial provisions like the retrospective clause.