Senior Union ministers made a strong push for the controversial land acquisition law Wednesday, signalling a build-up to re-promulgate the ordinance that is set to lapse on April 5.
Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu, who has been in the thick of Opposition fire in Parliament over the government’s attempt to amend the law, called the changes brought by the NDA to the legislation farmer-friendly. The move came amid belligerent opposition from rival parties to the land bill that will dilute a consent clause on acquisition of plots, an alleged anti-farmer move.
Naidu said the law should be continued to protect farmer interests. “The government took note of concerns and brought nine amendments. The ordinance is for farmer welfare … it is a pro-farmer step to reduce poverty. Farmers will not get reasonable compensation If the ordinance lapses.”
Rural development minister Birender Singh echoed his colleague’s views. “We may make one more attempt and talk to other political parties for a consensus … may be we will have to reissue the ordinance,” he said.
The government could fall back on Plan B — taking the ordinance route again — because a political consensus on the bill tabled in Parliament looked remote amid a united Opposition’s hardened stand on the issue. “I want to refute reports suggesting we will not re-promulgate the ordinance. But the government has yet to take a decision. What is needed will be done at an appropriate time,” Naidu said.
The government has the option of proroguing either the Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha because no ordinance can be brought when Parliament is in session. The second half of the budget session will resume on April 20.
There is a precedent of a House being prorogued after the first half of the budget session to re-promulgate an ordinance.