In a signal that the NDA regime is unlikely to yield to Opposition’s “disruptive tactics” on the contentious land bill, Union minister Piyush Goyal Thursday said “bold decisions” are required in view of the “big picture” of what India needs in terms of poverty alleviation.
Speaking at the HT Unplugged programme on Thursday, the power and coal minister refuted charges of the bill being anti-farmer and said nobody in the country would believe that a majority government, which has the support of over 350 out of 540 MPs, will be unresponsive to what the country needs.
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (amendment) Bill, is stuck in Rajya Sabha with the opposition parties against changes to the act passed by the UPA in 2013.
The government had promulgated an ordinance immediately after the winter session of Parliament to enforce these changes seen by Opposition as anti- farmer. The ordinance lapses on April 5.
“It is our responsibility to look at the big picture of what India needs and it is within this big picture that certain bold decisions are required. That is what decisive leadership is all about,” Goyal said. The purpose of the bill, he added, was not to take away someone’s land, but to ensure that people get the right value for their land through a smooth process. “It will help create rural jobs and rural infrastructure. The land bill will be seen in right perspective as we communicate with each stakeholder better,” the minister said.
Explaining the urgency behind promulgating the ordinance, Goyal said 13 laws were not covered by the original act resulting in people being deprived of benefits. He pointed out that even Congress governments in Maharashtra and Haryana had opposed UPA’s law.
“All we are trying to do is ease the process to make it farmer friendly and make it easier for people to benefit from enhanced compensation. There is no effort to deprive the farmers of their land,” Goyal said.
Asked if the government would re-promulgate the ordinance, Goyal said, “I honestly don’t have the answer”.
He, however, hoped for the kind of support the government received in the passage of the coal and mines bills in Parliament.
The three parties (Congress, Left, DMK) that opposed the two bills in Parliament have been rejected by the people in the previous election, the minister said.