Land bill amendments and uproar: All you need to know about what happened in Lok Sabha
Agencies, New Delhi | Updated: Mar 11, 2015 09:48 IST
Congress members debate in Lok Sabha. (PTI File Photo)
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government managed to get a contentious land bill passed by Lok Sabha on Tuesday, but faces a tough test in Rajya Sabha where the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is in a minority.
The BJP’s key allies joined hands with the Opposition the legislation, and now the stage is set for a vote in the Upper House that will test Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ability to pursue his business-friendly agenda.
Here’s your guide to what happened in Parliament on Tuesday.
As the Opposition protested, Lok Sabha adopted nine amendments moved by the government to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
Following are some of the key amendments:
# Social infrastructure removed as an exempted category.
# Land can be acquired up to 1km on both sides of the designated railway line or road of the industrial corridor.
# Before issuing notification, the government should ensure that land acquired is bare minimum required for the project.
# The appropriate government must conduct survey of its wasteland including arid land and maintain a record.
# Acquisition of land for private hospitals, educational institutions no longer counted as public purpose.
# Compulsory employment to at least one member of affected family of a farm labourer.
# Land acquisition, rehabilitation authority should hold hearings in district where acquisition takes place.
# Court shall take cognisance of offence provided in the procedure laid down in section 197 of Code of Criminal Procedure.
Non-NDA parties AIADMK, the third largest party in the current Lok Sabha with 37 MPs, and the TRS supported the Centre.
According to AIADMK sources, the party supported the bill after the government conceded to its demand against acquiring land for private medical colleges and private educational institutions.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) also extended support to the BJP-led government with the party’s MPs voting in favour of the bill.
TRS sources said their party decided to support the bill as the Centre incorporated the amendments sought by it.
Congress leader Veerappa Moily said that the bill took away the real impact of the bill which had been passed during the Congress-led UPA II tenure.
The Congress, which had moved a number of amendments in Lok Sabha — all were negated — demanded that the bill be sent to the Standing Committee.
“They have not accepted even a single amendment proposed by us. This bill is anti-farmer. So we are walking out,” said Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leader of the House.
The Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Biju Janata Dal, Aam Aadmi Party, Janata Dal (S), CPI(M) and the CPI followed the same route of protest, while NDA ally Shiv Sena abstained as the bill was passed by voice vote.
Another NDA ally, Swabhimani Paksha, moved an amendment which was negated.
WHAT IS THE CONTROVERSY ABOUT
The proposed legislation removes the need for obtaining consent of land-owners and carrying out social impact assessment (SIA) for acquiring land under certain categories — precisely the provisions which had raised the heckles of critics.
The backlash over the bill has stonewalled the Prime Minister’s efforts to get reforms through this budget session, impeding big-ticket projects worth thousands of crores that have been stuck for want of land.
The bill is now set for the real test in Rajya Sabha as the Opposition is united in opposing it or sending it to a Parliamentary Committee.