The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015 was introduced in Lok Sabha on May 11, 2015, and it was subsequently referred to the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on May 12, 2015, which was earlier expected to submit its report by the first week of Monsoon Session; but, thanks to the Parliamentary logjam over Lalitgate and Vyapam scam, it is now slated to present its report in the Winter session.
According to a member of the panel, just because the government has decided against re-promulgation of the Ordinance, doesn’t mean that the Land Amendment Bill has been killed. “It has to happen in Parliament. The Bill is Parliament’s property and the government will have to take it back there,” the member said.
But, rather than pulling out the Bill completely, the more likely possibility is that it will be modified as per the recommendations of the JPC.
As the NDA Ordinance is lapsing, land acquisition would be governed now by the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 which came into force on January 1, 2014.
The JPC member, however, said that, “It is not only the question of private-public (PPP) projects, on which, there has been a consensus in the committee that no dilution should be done in the consent and the social impact assessment clauses; there are several necessary changes which need to be brought in the UPA’s 2013 Act besides removing the anomalies”.
There has to be a provision for guaranteeing employment and compensation to the farm labourers along with the landowners, he said, adding that about 32 anomalies have been identified by the members to be removed from the 2013 Act. All this can happen only when the government decides to get the modified Bill passed in Parliament.
The NDA government has nothing more to lose from here – it has already been subjected to its worst defeats in this episode. In any case, states like Rajasthan have already initiated the process for implementing liberal land acquisition norms as per the provisions of the NDA Bill, and this can be replicated by the other states.