In a major U-turn, the BJP has softened its stance on the controversial amendments to the Land Acquisition Act.
At the meeting of the Joint Select Committee on the amendment Bill, the party decided to ask the government to retain the clauses dealing with social impact assessment, consent of land owners, and expanding the exemptions.
The amendment Bill sought to do away with these three crucial clauses on the grounds that they would ease the process of land acquisition and help build rural infrastructure faster.
If the demand of the members are accepted, then the Bill will be more or less similar to what the UPA had proposed in 2013.
“People have triumphed,” said a member of the Opposition after a meeting of the joint panel, which has decided to ask the government to scrap the amendments.
Sources in the panel told BusinessLine that there is unanimity among members on 12 amendments to the Bill proposed by the NDA.
On three other sections — on the time limit for setting up of any project, on retrospective implementation of the law, and on designated account for compensating farmers — discussions are still going on.
“We will finalise the discussions on Tuesday. Most probably, it will be a unanimous report. Else, there will be dissent by the Opposition on the three issues,” another member said.
Interestingly, the demands of the BJP members on the panel are in sync with what the Opposition has been seeking.
“It is a climb-down and it is a result of the protests in and outside Parliament. However, the government is still not in the picture. We will wait for the final decision of the Cabinet,” the Opposition member added.
The BJP MPs have demanded that the Centre withdraw the changing of definition of “private company” into “private entity”. They also demanded the deletion of Clause 10 (A), which exempts projects vital to national security, rural infrastructure, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects from the ambit of the land law.
Tuesday’s meeting will finalise the draft report, which is likely to be submitted on Friday.