Keen to move ahead with the Land Acquisition Bill in the current Parliament session, parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath has called a meeting of political parties on Thursday (March 7, 2013) to address the concerns raised over the proposed legislation.
The major political parties, including the BJP, the Left, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, BahujanSamaj Party and the JD (U), are expected to participate in the meeting.
On the last day of the winter session of Parliament, the government had moved 157 amendments to the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, which was introduced in September last year.(2012)
The amendments related to a range of issues, including change in the consent clause, the scope of public purpose, the level of compensation, and change in the name of the Bill to "The Right to Fair Compensation, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Bill".
Many Opposition parties, most notably the Left, have suggested that given the large scale changes, the Bill should be sent to the Standing Committee for a re-look.
For the Congress, the land Bill is central to its 'aamaadmi' quotient, and both party president Ms. Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Mr. Rahul Gandhi have been actively involved in it.
The Congress had attempted to have the legislation in place ahead of the 2012 UP Assembly elections. The Congress-led UPA will want to avoid any further delay in passing the Bill.
Rural development minister Mr. Jairam Ramesh has made it clear that "there is no going back".
People close to the development said that of the 157 amendments moved by the government, 101 could be categorised as "typographical" & "technical".
Concerns raised by the Opposition range from need for higher compensation for landowners & the land-dependent people to the Bill seeming to favour land owners over those acquiring land. BasudebAcharia of the CPM has already moved amendments to the Bill.