Land, food bills to be placed in Budget session

Written by Economy Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 25 2009, 20:05pm hrs
With only a few days to go for the Budget session of the Lok Sabha to begin, parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal is scheduled to meet top officials of government departments and ministries on Thursday to draw up a list of bills to be introduced in the session.

The governments top priority in the session, however, will be to re-introduce the amendment bills to the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 and the Rehabilitation & Resettlement Bill, Bansal said on Wednesday, speaking at the Idea Exchange programme of the Indian Express group.

Bansal also indicated that the Congress partys election promise of a National Food Security Act will find a place in the session, although a decision is yet to be taken on introducing key financial sector bills. Our flagship programmes will be given top priority. Road connectivity and telephone connectivity in the rural areas across the country will be on the agenda and the food security bill will also be considered, he said.

When asked about financial sector reforms, including the insurance laws amendment bill, Bansal said, The decision is entirely vested with the finance ministry, but we wish to bring reform in the insurance sector and reduce foreign direct investment caps. The hike in voting rights in banks, which was not passed by the 14 th Lok Sabha, will also be considered, the minister said.

The UPA has promised to carry forward its agenda of financial sector reforms in insurance, pensions and banking this term. While the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill to raise the FDI cap in the sector to 49% was introduced in the Rajya Sabha making it non-lapsable the other seven bills will have to be introduced afresh in the Lok Sabha.

Although the bills on land acquisition & resettlement were passed by the 14 th Lok Sabha, they were obstructed in the Rajya Sabha and have lapsed. The Resettlement & Rehabilitation and Land Acquisition Amendment Bills, aimed at preventing large-scale displacement of people during land acquisitions for projects like special economic zones, allow states to acquire 30% of land for private developers only after the developers had acquired 70% directly from farmers.