New Delhi: The government on Tuesday indicated its willingness to incorporate more changes into the Land Bill in order to address the concerns raised by opposition parties even as it has already agreed to make at least six amendments in its proposal.
"After consultations with the cross section of society, including political parties, farmer organisations and various other agriculture-related organisations, we have brought these amendments."
"Still, we are open to more suggestions -- suggestions which are in the interest of the farmers and agriculture. But this should also be seen that development continues," Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh told a news agency.
The government has agreed to make nine amendments to its proposal, including for restricting land for industrial corridors, putting in place a hassle-free mechanism for grievance redressal and removing the exemption to social infrastructure projects in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
The original Act required the consent of at least 70 percent of land owners in the area where land is to be acquired for such projects.
Asked whether the government was ready to make further changes in the Bill, the minister said that a number of opposition parties have already moved amendments.
"Yes... Some of the amendments have already been move by the Opposition. If something comes out, we have to see that. But the legislation should be passed," he said, expressing confidence that the Bill would clear Lok Sabha today.
The Bill, which was debated in Lok Sabha yesterday, will be taken up for voting today.
The NDA government has already circulated the list of amendments it plans to bring. It has proposed substantial changes to the controversial Land Acquisition Bill to seek wider support from an agitated opposition which has slammed the amendments to the 2013 Act, calling it "anti-farmer".
Meanwhile, government sources said that all eight allies of NDA have expressed solidarity with the government on land issues at a meeting convened by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley along with Naidu and Singh briefed the meeting on the land Bill and the amendments moved by the government to address the concerns.
The meeting was attended by TDP leaders Ashok Gajapati Raju and YS Chowdhary, Anant Geete and Anil Desai of Shiv Sena, Ram Vilas Paswan and Chirag Paswan of LJP, Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal, Neiphiu Rio of Nagaland People's Front, Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Paksha, Prem Das Rai of Sikkim Democratic Front and Harsimrat Kaur Badal of Akali Dal.