New Delhi: Government today exuded confidence that land bill will be passed in the next Parliament session, saying “the numbers are very clear”.
Addressing a press conference to highlight the achievements of Narendra Modi government in its first year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley termed the Land and GST bills as government's top priorities for the coming year, saying “decisiveness even in the face of obstructionism is the hallmark” of this regime.
He accused the Congress, which has opposed the land bill, of obstructing India's journey to 10 per cent growth by positioning itself against government's pro-growth and developmental initiatives and asked the principal opposition party to reconsider its position.
“No political party has a right to say I will not allow it to be passed. They have a right to vote against it. And when a political party says I will vote against it, the numbers will eventually decide whether it will be passed or not. And I think the numbers are very clear,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
Asked about Rahul Gandhi's attacks on Modi over his foreign trips, he took a dig at the Congress Vice President's long sabbatical, saying, “Going out on a 55-day vacation is a foreign journey and representing the country abroad, going on a state visit, is a different kind of programme.”
Hinting at the support of regional parties for the passage of crucial bills in Parliament, he said central government's attitude towards states in “empowering and enriching” them has made a clear political impact.
He said the first year of the government was a directional year where every department worked overtime to put the country on the fast pace of growth and development and change the general sense of gloom before the government took over into optimism.
He said only those who are unhappy with this fast pace have become its critics.
“The country is not ready to accept slow pace of decisions. There is absolute clarity with regard to direction in which the government wants to move. The direction is towards growth and development.
“A very important highlight of this government has been to give a corruption-free administration to this country...It has been an important year, a directional year and a direction at a very fast pace,” he said.
Terming the 2013 land bill brought by UPA as one that was against rural areas and farmers, Jaitley said the 2015 Bill sought to remove its shortcomings.
He said the 2013 land bill stalled growth of infrastructure, irrigation,industrialisation and housing. It was against rural areas and farmers and the 2015 land bill corrects these shortcomings.
Hitting out at the Congress, he said, “When we obstruct, we must realise that it is eventually that yearning for 10 per cent that we are obstructing. I have no hesitation in saying, the principal opposition party has positioned itself against growth and development. They must reconsider their position in terms of the damage they can do.”
He admitted that blending clever politics with good governance was necessary and BJP was conscious of this and has learnt from its experiences.
“Good governance always has to be blended with clever politics. Therefore, we are conscious of this. It is for this reason that our party has been extremely active in forging alliances whereever necessary, expanding social bridges, expanding membership. And therefore we are conscious of...even our past experiences, we have learnt from it.”
Jaitley also highlighted that in the last one year investigative agencies have not been misused by the government against political opponents as done in the past.
“That is now an event of the past. Honest people run the agencies honestly now,” he said.
Talking of the recent social security measures for public, he said it will help the large unpensioned society in the country and improve penetration of insurance cover.
Jaitley said the ‘One Rank One Pension' scheme for defence personnel will be implemented as it is “unambiguous commitment of the government”.
He said the Ministry of Defence is in dialogue with various stakeholders on the methodology of calculation of pension of ex-servicemen.