Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday tributes to India’s freedom fighters will remain hollow until the farmers and poor become a part of the country’s development narrative, as he made a strong pitch for the government’s land bill that is facing stiff resistance from the Opposition.
Modi — who was in Punjab to pay respects to martyrs Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru — reached out to agriculturists, saying his government was working on far-reaching policies for their welfare while he cautioned that there was an effort to “mislead the farmers”.
“Development will bring benefits for the farmers, their children as well as their villages,” Modi said at a public meeting. “Efforts are being made to mislead farmers in various ways.”
The backlash over the land bill has stonewalled the Prime Minister’s efforts to get reforms through this budget session of Parliament, impeding big-ticket projects worth thousands of crores that have been stuck for want of land.
The legislation has been cleared by the Lok Sabha, but has run into a wall of protest from a united Opposition in the Rajya Sabha where the government is in a minority.
Modi also took on the UPA over the issue of corruption, saying the coal-block allocation scam was bigger than national auditor CAG’s estimates.
“They (the previous government) committed a sin. There was a threat of closure of power units...But when we came, we transparently carried out the auction process,” he said. “This scam could be bigger...from auction of just 20 blocks, the Centre is expecting to fetch `2 lakh crore of revenue.”