Cabinet will decide fate of land bill: Jaitley

New Delhi: Prevented by a near-united opposition from tabling the bill on fair compensation towards land acquired for development, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said the union cabinet will take a decision on its future.

“You’ll have to wait for the cabinet to take a decision,” Jaitley told a conference co-hosted by the external affairs ministry.

Support TwoCircles

“There is an opportunity for all of us, at least for the states that want to implement these provisions. They can’t be stopped by those who don’t want to implement these provisions,” the finance minister said.

“You can’t have a situation like this: Where one state says ‘I will not grow’ and ‘I will also not allow others to grow’. This is not an acceptable economic proposition,” Jaitley added, just ahead of a cabinet meeting that was presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

But there was no word on the land bill from the meeting.

Even as the government managed to get parliament to pass some key legislations like the ones on insurance, mining and coal blocks, it did not have the strength to push the land bill in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament.

Officially called the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2005, it was passed by the Lok Sabha, the lower house, on March 11.

The government has maintained that it had promulgated an ordinance on this earlier after wide consultation with 32 states and union territories and that several opposition leaders, in fact, had even supported it in the past.

In his latest periodic radio address, this time to farmers, Prime Minister Modi said lies were being spread on the new land acquisition bill, asserting that the proposed law was in their interest as it will improve infrastructure, employment, output and incomes in rural areas.

“Misinformation which is being spread, that it (the bill) is against farmers. It’s a conspiracy to keep the farmer poor. It is part of the conspiracies not to take our nation forward. We have to protect ourselves from this, save the country, save the farmer,” he said.

The new bill, proposed by the National Democratic Alliance, government, has evoked resistance from activists as also political parties, especially the Congress that wants the provisions of the land bill passed in 2013 be restored.

As the bill has not been passed in parliament, the ordinance amending the 2013 Act will lapse.