Land ordinance will be issued for the third time. The present ordinance is lapsing next week.

The Union Cabinet, on Saturday, decided to recommend the President to re-promulgate the ordinance. The ordinance has already been promulgated twice, first on December 31 and second on April 3.

Higher R&R package

Now, the present ordinance will lapse on June 3 and the next session of Parliament is expected to begin only around July 20. Re-promulgation is done to ensure higher R&R (Rehabilitation and Resettlement) package for the farmers whose land is acquired under 13 laws (such as the National Highways Act, 1956 and the Railways Act, 1989) on or after January 1, 2015.

The entire exercise of re-promulgation is being initiated at a time when the Government failed to evolve a consensus on ‘Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Second Bill, 2015''.

The Government has no problem in getting the Bill passed in Lok Sabha because of its majority, but the real taste is in Rajya Sabha, where it is in minority.

Anti-farmers

At the same time, not only Congress, but also TMC, BJD and even allies such as Shiv Sena and SAD are against the amendments saying that these amendments are anti-farmers, while the Government says amendments are required to help faster acquisition of land for industrial activity.

However, buckling under the pressure, the Government has referred the Bill to a 30-member joint panel (20 Lok Sabha members and 10 Rajya Sabha members).

So, it is possible to re-promulgate the ordinance under the situation, the official said, adding that during the previous Government SEBI ordinance was re-promulgated, even the Bill was referred to the Standing Committee.

Even on Thursday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had said, “There are processes and there is precedence (for re-promulgation)."

Amendments to Land Bill

The Government had brought nine amendments to the Land Bill approved by the Lok Sabha earlier this year.

One of these amendments talks about removing social infrastructure from the five exempted categories (defence, rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure & social infrastructure, including PPP projects, where the government owns the land).

It means requirement of consent clause and social impact assessment will not be required for the above mentioned categories except social infrastructure.

Another amendment specifies the definition of industrial corridors as those set up by the government/government undertakings, up to 1 km on either side of the road/railway of the corridor. All these amendments were included in the ordinance re-promulgated after Rajya Sabha failed to take up the Bill.

The act known as ‘the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act’ was passed by the previous UPA Government last year and came into effect from January 1 this year.

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