Decks were cleared on Friday for the government to bring in a new land acquisition ordinance to replace the existing one that lapses on April 6 after the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) recommended that President Pranab Mukherjee prorogue the Rajya Sabha.
A new ordinance has to be issued to incorporate nine amendments made in the land bill when it was brought in the Lok Sabha to replace the original ordinance.
The need to prorogue the Rajya Sabha came as an ordinance can’t be promulgated if both Houses of Parliament are in session. The Lok Sabha passed the land bill early this month but the Rajya Sabha could not take it up due to stiff opposition by the Congress, Left and other parties. The government will now bring a fresh land bill in the Lok Sabha.
To address the concerns of many parties, including some of its allies, the NDA regime is learnt to be inclined to accommodate some more changes in the bill such as partial restoration of the consent clause and increased compensation for farmers.
The cabinet will meet next week to decide the final shape of the ordinance.
Sources, however, said it was yet to be decided if these changes will be part of the new ordinance or will be brought as amendments when the government brings the fresh land bill in the Lok Sabha in the next part of the budget session starting April 20.
“The CCPA has decided to recommend prorogation of the Rajya Sabha with immediate effect,” parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters after the CCPA’s meeting at home minister Rajnath Singh’s residence.
Sources said that at a meeting of senior ministers presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week, it was decided to introduce some more changes in the land bill to address the concerns of various parties.
Even the RSS was said to have reservations about the original land bill as it did away with the mandatory 80% consent for private and 70% for different projects. Sources, however, added that if and when the consent clause is restored, it will not be as high as provided in the land acquisition act brought by the UPA regime.
The government is optimistic about the passage of the fresh land bill even in the Rajya Sabha where it’s in a minority. The contentious coal and mines and minerals bills witnessed stiff opposition but when it came up for voting, only the Congress, Left and DMK voted against it while the JD(U) staged a walkout.
These two bills sailed through the upper House comfortably. The government is hopeful of getting a similar division in the House over the land bill even as it is conscious of the “sensitivity” of many regional parties.