Lauding Rahul Gandhi's effort, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday said the draft land acquisition bill was ready in a "short span of time" because of the initiative of the Gandhi family scion.
"Had his initiative not been there, this draft bill would not have come in short span of time," Ramesh told a farmers' delegation from Uttar Pradesh, where Rahul had led an agitation against the land acquisition policy of the Mayawati government.
Addressing farmers who had come from different parts of Uttar Pradesh, including Bhatta Parasul, Ghaziabad and Mathura, he said this is the first time that both, land acquisition and rehabilitation, have been considered together.
Noting that there were instances of "misuse" of land acquired for urbanisation, the minister said the issue of land acquisition for urbanisation and industrialisation should be treated differently.
He also indicated that there would be changes in the land to be acquired for urbanisation.
Ramesh maintained that the proposed Land Acquisition Act would be implemented with retrospective effect.
He also informed the delegation led by Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi that the bill will have a clause of "retrospective effect" in cases where land acquisition is yet to be completed.
The minister said the bill will also have provisions to address the issue of landless dependents.
"Earlier, we used to talk about landlords but in this draft we have stressed the cause of landless dependents on the land to be acquired," Ramesh said.
The minister said the provision of social audit at the level of gram sabha will decide the issue of public welfare.
"It will not be that the company acquiring land will decide the issue of welfare of affected people. The gram sabhas will have a major role in addressing the issue of the people affected by land acquisition," Ramesh said.