New Delhi: The Centre is likely to drop its plans to introduce the land acquisition amendment bill this session as it is unlikely to be passed by the Rajya Sabha, where NDA is in a minority. Congress, TC and most Opposition parties are firmly against the bill.
According to sources in government, after efforts of senior BJP ministers to get Congress and other parties on board failed, the government decided not to bring the bill. The government is already battling to pass the insurance bill. "We were more focused on the insurance bill and the Goods and Services Tax Bill. Hopefully both will see the light of day in the Winter session of Parliament. Land acquisition bill was never high on the agenda for this session," a senior minister said.
However, the government did mull over bringing the legislation before the session began and the issue was taken up with Congress. The bill needs to be approved by half the number of states too and some of them are opposed to the bill as implementation of its provisions lay with them since land is a state subject.
Congress maintains that any dilution of the provisions of the 2013 bill would affect farmers as they would get less compensation for their land while industrialists will benefit. TC and Left parties are also opposed to any dilution of the provisions. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had voiced her opposition to it on the same grounds as those cited by Congress. SP and JD(U) are also against any amendment to it.
"The present Land Acquisition Act is very populist and difficult to implement for any government. We need to amend it. BJP supported the bill in 2013 as it was brought before elections and the party could not be seen opposing such a legislation," a senior BJP leader said. Rural Development Minister Birendra Singh is reportedly planning to discuss the proposed amendments with state governments to get their support. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu also made an effort to win the support of several parties but met with limited success.