Next: Ordinance to change land Act

Sources in the PMO said the government is seriously considering an ordinance to effect the changes.

Written by Maneesh Chhibber | New Delhi | Updated: December 27, 2014 7:35 am
land-lead The government is seriously considering an ordinance to effect the changes.

Under Opposition fire for promulgating three ordinances less than 24 hours after both houses of Parliament were prorogued, the Centre is planning to take the ordinance route once more to effect crucial changes to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office told The Indian Express that with Assembly elections in Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir over, the government is seriously considering an ordinance to effect the changes.

Failing to get most of its investor-friendly and reform-related legislation passed in both houses of Parliament due to repeated disruptions — these were mostly over the controversial statements of senior RSS and BJP functionaries, including a minister — the government has turned to ordinances to signal that it means business.

A senior government functionary said “necessary directions” have been issued to the Rural Development Ministry to get the draft ordinance vetted by the Law Ministry so that Cabinet approval can be taken early next week.

“I think the draft ordinance will be taken to the next Cabinet meeting for clearance,” the source said. Asked if the government would be able to get the amendments cleared in Parliament, the government functionary said, if required, a joint session of both houses will be convened to push it through.

The reason for bringing in an ordinance is Section 105 of the Act which provides for excluding 13 central legislation, including Land Acquisition (Mines) Act 1885, Atomic Energy Act, 1962, Railway Act 1989, National Highways Act 1956 and Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978 from its purview.

“The Act came into force on January 1, 2014 but unless an ordinance is issued before January 1, 2015, these 13 legislation will also come under the purview of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, something that the government can ill-afford. That is why we are trying to hurry up,” the official said.

It is learnt that the proposed ordinance could also take large infrastructure and PPP projects out of the purview of the clause in the Act pertaining to social impact assessment (SIA), which is mandatory and has to be completed within six months.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and some other senior ministers of the view that this clause causes huge delays in land acquisition.

However, according to sources, there is still no unanimity on amendments pertaining to doing away with the consent clause completely or keeping it to minimal. Currently, prior consent is required from 70 per cent of the affected families if land is being acquired for PPP projects and from 80 per cent in case of private companies.

Earlier too, the government toyed with the idea of promulgating an ordinance to amend the Act but the move was never carried to its logical conclusion because there was concern that it could have a negative impact on BJP fortunes in the then poll-bound states of Maharashtra and Haryana.

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  1. Ashok Bajaj
    Aug 3, 2015 at 11:19 pm
    The main ambiguity needs to be settled in the land bill/ordinance in respect of compensation relating the National Highways act 1956 (Schedule IV) which has now been included for the purpose of compensation as per schedule one, where an award has been ped but compensation has not been paid/possession not taken as on 1.1.15 even award not disclosed by the competent authority to the general public/farmers in any way on the applicability of schedule one in the spirit of proviso to section 24(2) as 1894 act which now has been re-pealed into the 2013 land act.
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      harish
      Jan 8, 2015 at 7:32 am
      This is in no way in people welfare, atleast not for 80 percent of the potion. When u will be thrown out of ur land without even proper compensation and ur job is taken back without any other arrangement, then you will understand better. Such steps are only taken to pay back huge money invested by corporates in elections.
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        Swapnil
        Jan 3, 2015 at 5:28 pm
        Bhakts dont want to think even about the compensation to farmers and tribal's consent. Vikas ki andhi. LOL
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          Anil
          Dec 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm
          The UPA2's gift to the nation which helped no one-- including the farmers who's votes they were greedily eyeing. Why listen to the same people now? Let the opposition obstruct and shout, lets get the work done whichever way.
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            Anil
            Dec 27, 2014 at 2:47 pm
            Yeah, pack off all industrialists and others looking for land since it's all crony capitalism. To with industry and infrastructure, ports and roads. Let the farmers hang on to their precious lands since no one will come looking to snatch those away. As for employment, I am sure we can then, with an abundance of land to farm, become an agricultural superpower and absorb the tens of millions young Indians entering the work force. It's another thing that prices of agricultural products are falling the world over. Our 7 star public sector enterprises can be counted on to absorb further millions into their super-efficient undertakings. On top of all this there are the honest tax payers to further flog and milk since rich farmers won't pay up. If that doesn't work there's borrowing at dreadful coupon rates and multilateral forums to lend us money at a slightly discounted rate!
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