Arun Jaitley defends land bill: As it happened

New Delhi: Amid stiff resistance from a united Opposition, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday made a strong defence of the government's proposed Land Acquisition Ordinance in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

Arun Jaitley defends land bill: As it happened

New Delhi: Amid stiff resistance from a united Opposition, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday made a strong defence of the government's proposed Land Acquisition Ordinance in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

Here are the LIVE updates:

  • The entire misguided debate on land bill should end: FM
  • Do we want investment to divert to other countries or we want it to come here: FM
  • Can't delay crucial development projects: FM
  • UPA’s land bill was defective, had to be corrected, says Finance Minister
  • Are we reaching a stage where the word 'industry' becomes a bad word?: FM
  • I appeal to Congress, 'don’t create an environment where infrastructure & industry become bad words': Jaitley
  • FM defends various clauses of land bill, including social impact assessment
  • We need to create infrastructure, industries: FM
  • So you have to bring people out of agriculture and create jobs in manufacturing: FM
  • The share of GDP of Agriculture is 15% and 60% of the population shares that 15%:FM
  • In that govt doesn't require consent, social impact assessment... nor does it require consideration for right to food, says FM.
  • In that schedule, 13 purposes were exempted: FM.
  • In amendments, we have added 5 items to an existing list of 13: FM
  • When the act was made, there a section 105 was put, the section 4 of which talked about atomic energy, highways among other things, which required land:FM
  • There are voices saying that the bill is anti-farmer and corporate friendly: FM
  • Oil marketing companies have lost about 30,000 Crores: Finance Minister
  • Opposition has been unfair to NDA govt: Arun Jaitley
  • J&K mandate a reflection on last 50 years' of misrule by ruling party at the Centre: FM
  • I urge the Opposition to respect the J&K mandate: Jaitley
  • FM rejects Opposition's charge of 'politics of opportunism' in J&K
  • Congress should first look into its own history before preaching us: FM
  • Our consistent message has been govt is committed to protecting the rights of every citizen: FM
  • Government committed to protecting interests of all groups: FM
  • we are back on the world's radar, says FM
  • World was trying to write us off nine months back: FM
  • FM addresses the Upper House, defends Land bill

Govt-Opposition face-off continues over Land bill

While the Opposition has termed the proposed land reforms law as 'anti-farmer and anti- poor', NDA allies too have cautioned the BJP government to amend the Land Acquisition Bill. The sources, however, say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not going to allow major amendments in one of his key reforms.

Under attack from the Opposition and its allies, the government yesterday said that it was "open minded" to suggestions but added that the measure was "farmer friendly".

After the Shiv Sena, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) said yesterday that it has apprehensions over the bill.

"We have objections over some measures. There are questions about the need of doing away with farmers' consent. They also will have no right to move court," LJP MP Chirag Paswan told reporters here after a meeting, attended by six LJP MPs, where the bill was discussed.

The Shiv Sena has already made its Opposition clear that it will "not support any law that is against the interest of farmers".

Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant questioned government's explanation about the legislation and said,  "When there will be no land left then what is the point of PM irrigation scheme? The farmers are scared that the government will take away their land. This needs to be addressed. We cannot make farmers unhappy."

He made the comment while participating in the discussion on motion of thanks to the President's speech.

Another key BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has also expressed reservations towards the bill, which is facing a stiff opposition from political parties, farmers and social groups.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, however, defended the law and blamed the opposition for spreading misinformation on the bill.

Addressing a press conference in the parliament house here, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said the ordinance had to be brought before Dec 31.

The minister added that the land that would be acquired will be used for rural infrastructure projects like irrigation and roads, which will help the rural population.

Gadkari also said the central government did not intend to acquire any land for the private sector or corporates.

"Even the industrial corridor the ordinance talks about will not be more than 2 km wide, and will host agro-processing industries. It will help farmers," he said.

"It is a misunderstanding that we will acquire land for private sector. The projects which will be in PPP mode (Public-Private Partnership) will be ultimately owned by government," Gadkari said.

He added, "The industrialist today does not want the government acquired land. They prefer buying the land. The land that will be acquired under this law will be used for public purposes."

Asked if the government would consider suggestion made by Opposition parties, Gadkari said, "We are open minded to suggestions."

Activist Anna Hazare, who is spearheading an agitation against amendments in the act, rubbished the government's claim that these were more "effective" and "farmer-friendly", saying it was trying to mislead the people.

"The government is more worried about the industrialists and not about farmers. The country has woken up now. These people will also take irrigated land and give it to the industrialists," Hazare said.

Having vociferously protested against the land ordinance for the last two days, activists are now gearing up for a massive showdown with the government at district and state levels.

"We are beginning a district level movement from next week against the land bill," said Gandhian activist PV Rajagopal.

He said that the focus would now be on mobilisation and training of youth for a final showdown in 2019, a year which coincides with the completion of five-year term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi government.

"The government may not be able to ignore this and engage us in a dialogue process," he added.

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