The Centre Saturday insisted that it was not making the land acquisition bill a “prestige issue” and said it was willing to have a discussion with opposition parties to iron out the differences.
Stating that those opposing the bill have only “one-point agenda” of not allowing development to take place in the country, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Land Act of 2013 is highly impracticable. “It is not a prestige issue for us. We brought nine amendments to our original bill and are still willing to sit with opposition parties who are objecting to it. The opposition should give up its adamant attitude,” Jaitley said in Varanasi.
Talking to reporters after inaugurating a steamboat service for ferrying the dead to the cremation Ghat at Nagwa near Assi Ghat, he said the Land Act of 2013 needs to be changed as it is a “hindrance” in the path of development as it “does not give permission” to acquire land for key infrastructure projects like Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, irrigation yojana, rural electrification, housing-for-all as well as airports and seaports.
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Explaining further, Jaitley said: “Sixty-five per cent people live in rural areas. They need affordable houses. They too have aspirations. We need land for that. But, under the 2013 Act, rural development is also not be possible”.
To a query on the black money, Jaitley said the task of assessment of black money accounts (HSBC list) was to get over by March 31 and 77 criminal prosecutions have already been instituted. He reiterated that the Centre is hoping to get the anti-black money bill passed in the ongoing Budget Session of the Parliament. Asked if the boat service, to ferry the dead to cremation ghats, will be affected as its starting point falls in the tortoise sanctuary, Jaitley said he will inform minister Prakash Javdekar to see what could be done in this regard.