New Delhi: The
government Thursday achieved a breakthrough when it reached a
"broad consensus" on the land acquisition bill, paving the way for
its introduction in parliament in the second half of the current
budget session, which resumes Monday.
"We have reached a broad consensus on the land acquisition bill,"
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told reporters after the
"The bill will now move to the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha," he
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said: "The bill should be
passed if parliament is allowed to function."
Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said: "I gave
12 suggestions and the government agreed to almost all of them."
Ramesh said the government has agreed on two major issues raised
by main opposition BJP, one of which was an enabling provision for
states to introduce a clause allowing leasing of land for projects
instead of acquisition.
The second major concern aired by the BJP was over ensuring that
all owners who had sold their land after Sep 5, 2011, when the
bill was first introduced, also get compensation.
"We agreed on the issue that there was a lot of speculative buying
of land after Sep 5, 2011. So, we are working on a provision to
ensure that the original owners of such land also get some share
of the compensation," Ramesh said.
The CPI-M had made a demand pertaining to the right to
compensation of tenants who actually till the land.
"Though this issue is very Bengal-specific as the 'Barga'
(tenancy) system is limited to that state, we have said we would
examine this," Ramesh said. "In any case, the state government can
always improve upon the law."
"All political parties are agreed on the point that the bill
should be passed in this session," he said. "Now all their
suggestions will be discussed on the floor of the house."
Quizzed on the industry reaction to the bill, Ramesh said: "The
bill has come under attack both from land rights activists as well
as industries. So we have tried to take a middle path."
The Left parties and the DMK still have reservations on the bill,
with the CPI-M demanding 100 percent consent from all families
affected by the acquisition of land.
"There is a lot of dilution from the original bill. The current
version is against the interests of the farmers. We will move
amendments when the bill is taken up in parliament," CPI-M leader
Basudeb Acharia said.
DMK leader T.R. Baalu said that the bill was against the federal
structure of the constitution and said his party could not agree
The DMK, which quit the government last month on the centre's
"unwillingness" to take on Sri Lanka over alleged violations of
human rights of ethnic Tamils, has been asked to make its
suggestions regarding the issues related to the bill by April 19.
The first all-party meet on the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation
and Resettlement Bill, 2011, was held on April 9, but the parties
failed to arrive at a consensus then.
Thursday's meeting was attended by Leader of Opposition in the Lok
Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley,
Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M), Ramgopal Yadav (SP), D. Raja (CPI), B.
Mahtab (BJD), Sharad Yadav (JD-U), M. Thambidurai and V. Maitreyan
No representatives of the Trinamool Congress, the Akali Dal and
the BSP were present.
The bill seeks to address problems of industry regarding
acquisition of land for setting up projects, and provides for
rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced people.
It proposes to replace the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
The draft bill has provisions like compensation for the owners of
the acquired land to be four times the market value in case of
rural areas and twice in case of urban areas.
In case of acquisition of land for use by private companies or
public-private partnerships, consent of 80 percent of the
displaced people will be required.
Earlier, the bill's consideration was deferred by the Lok Sabha
during the winter session till the budget session under pressure
from opposition members. It was then referred to a standing