Chidambaram bats for new land acquisition Bill

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 17, 2017 Published on October 12, 2012

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who has been at the centre of a number of recent reform moves, appears grounded on the issue of land.

While on the one hand he wants land acquired for industry to promote growth, on the other, he has spoken up for the highly controversial Land Acquisition Bill and defended the rights of the people dependent on that land, in a recent interview to The New York Times.

Complex situation

“It is a very complex situation. We need land. We have the owners of the land. We have the tillers of the land, which may be different from the owner. And we have people who are neither owners nor tillers, but their livelihoods may be dependent on that land,” the paper quoted Chidambaram.

Even as the Minister pushed the recent reforms, which are largely expected to benefit the industry, he also said that tribals have been deprived of their right to land, the biggest cause for which is also the industry.

“Once we make that law, and get it passed in Parliament, I think many of the problems relating to acquisition of land for industry or other infrastructure would be resolved,” Chidambaram told the paper.

According to a senior official in the Ministry for Rural Development, Chidambaram’s stand had come as a pleasant surprise to even Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, who spearheaded the formulation of the draft Land Acquisition Bill.

What also surprised everyone was the confidence exuded by the Finance Minister that the Group of Ministers on the matter could conclude its discussions in the next meeting.

The draft Bill had been referred to the ministers’ panel after differences cropped up over the draft at a Cabinet meeting. Even after two discussions of the group, a few issues still need to be ironed out.

Chidambaram, who is also a member of the GoM, is expected to present his views at the next meeting.

> aesha.datta@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 12, 2012
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