NEW DELHI — Facing flak for amending UPA's land acquisition law, government today reached out to allies and Opposition promising to bring 11 official amendments in the bill introduced in Lok Sabha to take concerns on board.
"Government has decided to bring 11 official amendments such as limiting the industrial corridor to one kilometre on both the sides of the highways and railway lines, compulsory employment to one member of the affected family of farm labourers, hearing and redressal of grievances at the district level, acquisition of bare minimum of land," a source in the government said.
Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh briefed leaders of the NDA allies on the land bill and the amendments moved by the government to address their concerns.
Indicating the government's willingness to incorporate more changes into the land bill in order to address the concerns raised by Opposition parties, the rural development minister told , "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."
Farmers during a foot march from Palwal to Jantar Mantar, to protest against the controversial Land Acquisition Act on February 24, 2015 in New Delhi, India.
The government has already circulated a list of nine amendments it plans to bring in the bill proposal, including 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 per cent 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.
The bill, which was debated in Lok Sabha yesterday, is being taken up for voting today.
Government 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.