Govt proposes to take land bill for consideration in Lok Sabha on Monday

The controversial land bill will come up for consideration on Monday with government planning to bring some amendments to reach out to allies, Opposition and farmer bodies and take their concerns on board.

Govt proposes to take land bill for consideration in Lok Sabha on Monday

New Delhi: The controversial land bill will come up for consideration on Monday with government planning to bring some amendments to reach out to allies, Opposition and farmer bodies and take their concerns on board.

"Government is willing to take the constructive and meaningful suggestions of the Opposition on the land bill. It will incorporate them while moving the bill for passing. I hope that all parties will understand the need to pass the bill," Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.

Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, he said the government proposes to take the bill for consideration in Lok Sabha on Monday.

Welcoming the passage of the long-pending insurance bill, a key economic reform legislation providing for raising foreign investment cap to 49 percent in Lok Sabha, he said it will be passed in Rajya Sabha as well and parties will cooperate in passage of other bills to replace the ordinances.

"I am happy that Lok Sabha, with an overwhelming majority passed the Insurance Amendment Bill. We hope that it will be the same in Rajya Sabha as also with other bills on coal, mines and mineral and citizenship. All these have been passed by Lok Sabha and some of them are being taken up in Rajya Sabha."

"On Monday we propose to bring the land bill bill in Lok Sabha. We are holding discussions with leaders of various parties. Senior ministers are holding discussions," Naidu said.

Sources said the government is planning to come forward with some amendments, which aim at addressing these concerns but made it clear that the amendments do not propose a change in the core of bill to replace the ordinance.

Worried over the "anti-farmer" pitch of the Opposition, several Union ministers have also been asked to reach out to parties and informal consultations that have already begun will continue throughout the week before a discussion on the bill begins in Lok Sabha next week.

Setting the tone for the reconciliatory approach of the government on the land bill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, "If there is any provision (in the bill) going against the interest of the farmers, I have said on day one, we are ready to correct it."

To a question on how will the government handle the situation if the measures are not supported by Congress and other Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha, Naidu said, "It's not a question of my handling. It's a question of political parties deciding."

Noting that even in Lok Sabha, these are the same parties, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister claimed that 95 percent of members in Lok Sabha supported the measures.

"They also included Opposition. We hope that the same will prevail in Rajya Sabha," he said.

Speaking separately, Naidu earlier sought to downplay the embarrassment to the government in Rajya Sabha yesterday as an Opposition amendment to the Motion on President's Address was passed.

The amendment was moved by CPI(M) members Sitaram Yechury and P Rajeeve and it was passed through Division of Votes after the government's plea for withdrawal of the step failed.

Putting up a brave face, Naidu said the two issues preferred by the Opposition for a vote in Rajya Sabha "do not carry any conviction with the public".

He said that while the issues preferred by the Opposition and other parties in the Rajya Sabha to make an amendment to the President's Address were curbing corruption and black money, it is a matter of fact that "there has not been even a single murmur among the public or even in the media against the government on these two issues".

"There was not even a single report of any corruption charge or allegation against the government during the last nine months. Similar is the case in respect of black money," he said listing the actions taken the NDA government against black money in global fora like G-20 and constituting an SIT.

"The Finance Minister has come out with the most effective and comprehensive proposals against black money so far in the country... By insisting on only these two issues, the Opposition and other parties in Rajya Sabha have in effect endorsed our government's broad approach for development."

Claiming that the President in his address to members of both the Houses had clearly stated that the government is committed to inclusive development, he said that the strategy adopted by the Opposition in the Rajya meant they did not have any objection to the socio-economic policies and programmes of the government.

"Having preferred to insist on non-issues like corruption, the Opposition has clearly endorsed government's philosophy and development approaches. This is a big gain for us," he said.

Rejecting the Opposition charge that the government has been arrogant, Naidu said this was not true. "We have the highest respect for and faith in Parliamentary conventions and we will be the last to act in any manner that is not in conformity with such conventions."

"In Parliamentary debates and political discourse, criticism and counter criticism are quite natural. If I criticise some leader or party, I should be able to receive the same from others. Our party and leaders have been at the receiving end of the most bitter criticism and allegations over the years. If we return the same, it cannot be treated as arrogance," he said.

"I am surprised that Sitaram Yechury was so upset with the Prime Minister's references to the slide of West Bengal's economy during the long Left rule in the state. Day in and day out, Left parties keep abusing us on every issue. But we take our criticism in our stride and move on. The strategy of Opposition in Rajya Sabha was unfortunate. They walked into their own trap," Naidu said. 

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