New Delhi: Ahead of the Parliament session, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today pushed for early passage of the Land Bill which is stuck due to opposition from various parties, insisting that the proposed legislation would give the farmers "much more" than the previous Act of 2013.
She said the state governments, including those run by Congress, are pitching for amendments to the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 and that they should be encouraged to have the law in "competitive federalism".
"We want to move forward because we strongly believe we are not denying anybody their rights. On the contrary, this bill would probably give the farmers much more than what the 2013 Act envisaged," she said at a function here.
The bill to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013 has got stuck because of opposition by various parties. Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, is aggressively campaigning against it.
The bill is currently being scrutinised by a 30-member Joint Committee of Parliament. It is to give its report later this month after which it will be taken up by in Parliament which convenes on July 21.
"Congress's own chief ministers are telling us that there is obviously something seriously to be considered. And if there are states which say we need these amendments to go through, we need an Act which is going to enable us to obtain land because infrastructural projects are all waiting to gear up and without infrastructure where are you going to improve on anything," Sitharaman said here at a function.
She said if states think that it is important for them to have this bill, they should be encouraged to have it "after all today it is competitive federalism".
The government is making sure that states' view points are taken on board, the minister said.
When asked whether the government would re-promulgate the ordinance, Sitharaman said: "I do not know what happens this time. That call, the government will take in due course of time."
The government has re-promulgated the Land Ordinance thrice as it failed to pass the amendments to the Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
"...promulgation of an ordinance is not done without much talk going into and the critical Bill like this is going to enable a whole lot of reforms. Let me underline that, it is not done to deny the farmer of his legitimate rights," she said.
Sitharaman said the government is committed to the reforms which manifest themselves in various Bills that "we have brought in and this being one of them".
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has recently said some states are keen to bring their own legislations to make it easier to acquire land as they cannot indefinitely wait for a consensus on the central legislation.