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Land Bill: BJP does U-turn, agrees to bring back key provisions of UPA including consent clause

Parliamentary panel on Land Bill has agreed to withdraw six key amendments including dealing with consent clause, as per reports on Monday.


Land Bill: BJP does U-turn, agrees to bring back key provisions of UPA including consent clause

New Delhi:  In a major climbdown from its stated position, BJP appears to have agreed to restore key provisions of UPA's land law including those related to consent and social impact assessment (SIA).

Sources said all the 11 BJP members in the Joint Committee of Parliament on land bill today moved amendments seeking to bring back social impact assessment and consent clause.

The committee, headed by BJP's SS Ahluwalia, has sought time till August 7 to submit its report on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment Bill), 2015, as per IANS.

With the Bharatiya Janata Party having seemingly changed its position on the key bill, there is a possibility of the committee giving a consensus report and the government likely to recast the legislation.

"It's as good as our own Act of 2013," a Congress member of the committee said after the meeting expressing total agreement with the amendments moved by the ruling BJP, as per PTI.

Out of the total 15 amendments in the NDA bill, nine were substantial in nature that have been opposed by Congress and a number of Opposition parties.

Out of these nine six including the provisions dealing with consent clause, social impact assessment, replacing the term private company with private entity were discussed today and a consensus has emerged on them, Congress members claimed.

The Congress mounted a high-pitched attack on the Narendra Modi government on its new bill, alleging that it had made changes to the 2013 Act to benefit a few industrialists.

The National Democratic Alliance government brought ordinances but the bill has not been passed by Parliament.

The bill was earlier passed by the Lok Sabha but could not be taken up in Rajya Sabha where the government lacks majority.

BJP leaders had repeatedly said that the UPA's land bill was against rural areas and they had made changes to the bill after suggestions from the states.

PM Modi had also convened a meeting with states on the bill last month which was boycotted by the Congress.

The 2013 Act required that the consent of 80 percent of land owners is obtained for private projects and that the consent of 70 percent of land owners be obtained for public private partnership (PPP) projects.

The bill of the NDA government exempted five categories - defence, rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects including PPP projects where the central government owns the land - from these provisions of the act. 

While the 2013 act was applicable for the acquisition of land for private companies, the new bill proposed changed this to acquisition for "private entities" or an entity ther than a government entity, and could include a proprietorship, partnership, company, corporation, non-profit organization, or other entity under any other law.

(With Agency inputs)

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