Lok Sabha Passes Land Acquisition Bill With Nine Amendments

10/03/2015 8:42 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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NEW DELHI, INDIA - FEBRUARY 23: Union Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Sanitation & Drinking Water Chaudhary Birender Singh talking with media after the Presidential address of both houses on the first day of Budget Session at Parliament House on February 23, 2015 in New Delhi, India. The budget session of the parliament began today and the Union Budget will be presented on February 28. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — Lok Sabha passed the land acquisition bill by voice vote even as members of the Opposition walked out on Tuesday. Nine amendments were adopted in the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill 2015 after uproar and a lengthy debate in the lower house of the Parliament.

It will now be introduced in Rajya Sabha for consideration, where the odds are stacked against the government. NDA is in a minority, and the opposition has made it clear that they are united in their stance against the controversial bill, which they have deemed "anti-farmer".

On Tuesday, Congress, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, and Biju Janata Dal walked out of the House. Shiv Sena, which is an ally of the NDA government abstained from voting.

The government had introduced nine official amendments and two clauses to their ordinance earlier to win over the opposition. Despite its majority in the lower house of the Parliament, the government has received flak for the proposed bill from several quarters.

While moving the bill for consideration, Rural Development Minister Birender Singh said the government has already incorporated several suggestions, many of them offered by the opposition, and was willing to accept any more suggestions of the opposition if those were in the interest of farmers.

The amendments that have been adopted include 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 and acquisition of bare minimum of land for projects, and dropping of exemption to "social infrastructure" projects as there were fears that private individuals may use this clause to open colleges and hospitals which are actually business models.

Singh said on Tuesday that Congress had not done much for farmers despite being in power for decades. Claiming that Congress had made sure that famers "survive but do not prosper", he said, "Our government has done away with this and the new law will ensure that farmers prosper and their children have access to best of education and other facilities."

(with PTI inputs)

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