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Sitharaman invokes Nehru to defend govt’s Land Acquisition Bill

The Ordinance lapses on April 5 and for its re-promulgation, the Budget session will have to be prorogued, a call that the government is yet to take.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
March 24, 2015 1:25:30 am

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to farmers on the Land Acquisition Bill through radio in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme, commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday invoked India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to defend the BJP government’s Bill.

Emphasising that the government is committed to engage with all the stakeholders to ensure that nobody is adversely affected, she said that during the early days of freedom, Nehru had called Bhakra Nangal Dam a temple of modern India and “Where did you get land for that? And now if you want another temple, where would you have the land come from if you were to constantly tell me that to obtain land you are going against the farmer? That Bhakra Nangal Dam of which Nehru spoke about, helped millions of farmers”.

The Land Acquisition Bill, which was intended to replace Ordinance, was passed by the Lok Sabha earlier this month but it got stuck in the Rajya Sabha due to a united Opposition against it. The bill is aimed at amending the UPA’s Land Act of 2013, which Modi said has “lacunae” as it was brought in a hurry.

The Ordinance lapses on April 5 and for its re-promulgation, the Budget session will have to be prorogued, a call that the government is yet to take.

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“The debate has to understand that it is not in the interest of the farmers to have poor compensation… to lose their land which is given to them through generations of their forefathers for nothing. It is not at all in the interest of the farmers and the country. So it’s not as if the NDA land reforms bill has come to divest the farmer and keep building bridges. If anybody wants to look at this debate in that kind of tone and tenor, it does not work well at all,” the commerce minister said.

She stressed the point that the government will engage with all stakeholders and “above all, at no point in time the interests of Indian public are going to be adversely affected”. However, she refrained from clarifying if the government will re-promulgate the Ordinance.

Govt to ensure that Nokia-like plant closure doesn’t repeat

NEW DELHI: Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said that the government is working to ensure there is no repeat of Nokia-like plant closure and is considering “all options” to deliver justice to the workers of the Finnish mobile-maker.

“With the Prime Minister himself commenting on Nokia, I am sure something will happen. On Nokia several delegations met me … I assured them that I will do my best … We are very concerned because it effected a great deal of employment and equally it gave a message of Indian industry not working in an environment where corporate decisions are being taken on merits,” the commerce minister told reporters. ENS

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