New Delhi: Buoyed by poor support from farmers’ bodies and NGOs to the changes in NDA government’s land bill, Congress will pitch for adoption of a draft report on the issue by a Parliamentary panel that reflects the ‘majority’ view favouring inclusion of provisions like the consent clause and social impact assessment.
The understanding in Congress is that if the panel goes by the general view expressed in over 500 representations and around three dozen appearances before it, a majority of the provisions of the 2013 land bill will have to be retained.
As around 90 percent organisations have batted for retaining the key provisions of 2013 land law brought by the UPA, the party is building pressure on the Joint Committee of Parliament headed by BJP member S S Ahluwalia to take into account the dominating voices before the panel whose draft report should also reflect this.
Sources said Congress member Digvijay Singh noted in the panel meeting sometime back,” the consensus that is coming (from the groups appearing before the panel) that these amendments are anti-farmer and anti-farming.”
He said whenever the committee’s draft report is prepared, “we should be talking in a consensus manner rather than in a contradictory manner.”
Claiming that 90 percent of the representations before the committee have one view and not even ten percent have said the amendments brought by the NDA government in the land bill are good, Singh said if the Congress’ views were not reflected in the draft it will register its “dissent”.
He also said the government should not take a “my way or highway” approach on this issue, reminding that the 2013 bill was passed with the consent of all political parties.
Another Congress member and former Food Minister K V Thomas said leaving aside political considerations and political angle, a particular procedure has to be followed “if we have to look at the spirit of discussions”.
Barring the industry bodies FICCI and ASSOCHAM, most others, including some NDA allies and RSS affiliated organisations, have red-flagged the NDAs’s land bill, voicing serious reservations on many of its provisions, mainly those which did away with consent clause and social impact assessment.
The 30-member Joint Committee has 11 BJP MPs. They need five more to clear the bill by a majority.
Since the Joint Committee of Parliament is different from a department-related standing committee or an investigative Joint Parliamentary Committee, it will present a bill in Parliament based on the amendments moved by members as well as the government. .
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