New Delhi: The government on Monday asserted that the decision not to re-promulgate the land ordinance was "no setback" for it and rejected Congress' charge of a "U-turn" on the issue.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi under attack over the land ordinance issue, BJP fielded two senior ministers to take on the Opposition.
Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who addressed the media along with Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, also sought to allay apprehensions that the development agenda of the Narendra Modi government will be heavily hit with the 2013 land law restored even as she conceded that the process of land acquisition will definitely be delayed due to it.
She also expressed confidence that this will have no impact on the passage of GST saying, "We hope that good sense prevails on Congress" reminding it that despite its campaign against land bill, BJP has won in civic bodies polls in rural parts of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh."
"There is no setback. It is not going to affect our commitment for reform. Government is committed to the development, to create jobs... Reforms are required. That is why we have done that (brought the ordinance). If anybody has taken a U turn, it is the Congress," Sitharaman said.
According to her, the government finally decided not to re-promulgate the ordinance and accept suggestions for revisiting changes in 2015 land bill to break the "political stalemate" over the issue.
"Unfortunately yes," was her remark when she asked whether the restoration of 2013 law will again delay the process of land acquisition thereby slowing the pace of industrialisation.
The Commerce Minister also hoped that the states, which will not formulate land laws in tune with their needs, will take both -- the interests of the farmers as well as industrial development.
Singh said the government had brought the ordinance last December as a large number of states including those by Congress had demanded changes in the 2013 law saying acquisition was not possible under it.
"But soon after losing elections, they took a U turn and saying they will fight against it. Now since it has been left to states to come out with their own land bills in tune with their needs, it has to be seen now whether the Congress-ruled states retain the provisions for taking consent of farmers and social impact assessment. Now they will be exposed," Singh told reporters at the BJP headquarters here.
Deciding to to avoid repeated confrontation with the opposition over the land ordinance, Modi yesterday announced government will not be promulgating it for the fourth time as his rivals claimed credit for making it "bow down" on the contentious issue.