In a setback to the NDA government, key RSS affiliates — Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) and Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram — on Monday opposed several provisions in the land bill brought by Narendra Modi government before the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), which is examining the bill.
According to sources, they strongly objected to the provisions of doing away with the consent clause and demanded re-inclusion of the social impact assessment (SIA) clause that was part of the 2013 land Act brought by the UPA. They also raised questions about land acquisition for industrial corridors and the definition of “private entity”, while flagging up the issues of tribal rights and food security.
In its written submission to the panel, the BKS has already stated that farmers’ interests have been ignored by doing away with the SIA and diluting the clause relating to returning unutilised land.
Earlier, BKS General Secretary Prabhakar Kelkar had told the panel in his written submission that consent of at least 51 per cent farmers must be obtained before acquiring land.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch, another RSS affiliate, has slammed several provisions of the bill as “detestable and unacceptable”.
Santosh Golechha, the Rajya Sampark Pramukh of VHP in Chhattisgarh, has flagged concerns about amending section 24 (2) of the Act and giving it a retrospective effect.
Former BJP ideologue, Govindacharya, questioned the “haste” in changing the land acquisition law. “Had the BJP made any promise to change the 2013 land law in its election manifesto? If not, then what mentality does it denote to change it in a haste by bringing an ordinance?,” he submitted.
While Amnesty International also opposed the NDA government’s bill, the Confederation of Indian Industries(CII) supported the government’s amendments.
Leaders of the Swaraj Abhiyan, a group formed by ousted AAP leaders, also met the panel. Swaraj Abhiyan member Yogendra Yadav said, “The Modi government has changed the language of the ordinance in such a way that it will help governments acquire land for the industrialists.”