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Cabinet to decide fate of Land Ordinance: Jaitley

The Ordinance has to be converted into an Act before April 5, failing which it will lapse.
Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley

The suspense over fate of the Ordinance that amended the Land Acquisition Act continued on Wednesday, with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley saying the Cabinet will take a call on it.

“You will have to wait for the Cabinet to take a decision,” he said at ‘The Growth Net’ event here.

The Cabinet, he said, “will take a call” on the entire issue.

The government in December last year had issued an Ordinance to ease rules for acquisition of land for industries and other projects. This Ordinance, as per rules, has to be converted into an Act within 6 weeks of convening of next Parliament session.

The Budget session of Parliament began on February 23 and accordingly the Land Ordinance has to be converted into an Act before April 5, failing which it will lapse.

The option of re-promulgating the Ordinance cannot be exercised as Parliament is still in session and it has only broken for a recess for reconvening on April 20. When the House is in session, the Ordinance cannot be reissued and to do so Parliament has to first be prorogued.

Asked if the Cabinet is going to take up the issue on Wednesday, Mr. Jaitley said: “You will have to wait after the Cabinet meeting.”

Talking about benefits of amendments to the 2013 law, Mr Jaitley said it will help the rural India as industrial corridors will be set up across the country.

”…here there is an opportunity for us, at least for those states which want to implement these provisions. And they cannot be stopped by those who do not want to implement these provisions.

“You cannot have a situation where one state says I will not grow and I will not allow others to grow. That is not an acceptable economic proposition,” the Finance Minister said, while highlighting advantages proposed by the NDA government.

Mr. Jaitley said the original land Act of 2013 had 13 exempted areas.

“Instead of 13 it has become 18 (in the Ordinance). Please do not forget that this Ordinance in those 13 exempted areas has also provided for enhanced compensation. And therefore the enhanced compensation to those 13 areas exists as as long as the Ordinance exists,” he said.

The Opposition has termed the amendments as anti-farmer and blocked the passage of the law in Rajya Sabha, where the ruling NDA is in minority.

It is being speculated that the government may allow the Ordinance to lapse and bring a fresh bill addressing some of the concerns being raised now.

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill 2015 was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 10. The Rajya Sabha is yet to take it up.

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