Only Hope and Faith for Land Acquisition Bill

High on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda for the nation is economic revival. The BJP and Modi have come to power on the promise of jobs to the youth of this country. Where will the jobs come from if manufachttp://muslimmirror.com/eng/lok-sabha-passes-land-acquisition-bill/turing does not take off in a big way? India needs investments and manufacturing in a large way if it is to survive, leave alone to succeed. But for that the Land Acquisition Bill needs to be passed and accepted by both the Houses of Parliament.

Modi realises this but is being frustrated by the Opposition whose support he needs if the Land Acquisition Bill is to be passed in the Rajya Sabha. If the Bill is passed, there will be a big boost to infrastructure and manufacturing and farmers whose land has been acquired will have jobs. The Bill will allow Modi to fulfil his promises of 100 smart cities, dedicated Freight Corridor and Delhi–Mumbai Industrial Corridor.

The Bill will actually give farmers a good deal - compensation for the land acquired, jobs and an alternate livelihood to the thousands of farmers who are contemplating suicide. Farmer suicides have increased on account of rising loans, unseasonal rain, harvest failures, low crop yield and low support prices. The Bill provides that the Government can acquire land for the PPP model or for its own use. The Government can acquire land without consent only in cases of national security and natural calamities.

The compensation to be given by government is also not less than six times the market value in rural areas and it is not less than twice the value in urban areas. Each family will get Rs 3,000 per month for a year and Rs 2,000 per month thereafter as annuity for 20 years.  One family member will be given a government job or Rs 2 lacs. All these benefits under the new Bill are much more than those provided under the UPA Bill. Under the UPA Bill, industry could only lease land. The Bill is truly intended to empower the farmer and opposition parties must stop politicising the plight of the farmers.

Modi has achieved a great deal by giving a thrust to the Railways and to Defence and these two sectors can help to reboot the manufacturing sector, but land will be a major requirement for any venture and by turning it into a confrontation between farmers and industry, the opposition is proving to be a major hurdle to the ‘Make in India’ initiative. As it stands, it is difficult to draw investment into India when there are other emerging economies with cheaper labour and less number of tax scares around. Add to that the emergence of robotics, 3D printing and laser technology may actually make manufacturing redundant.

While it is true that there is a lack of consensus among the political parties on the Land Acquisition Bill, it is also true the differences are not irreconcilable. Government is keen on having a Land Acquisition legislation in force and may even repromulgate the Ordinance. Or a joint session of both Houses of Parliament remains an option for the Government. Whatever the option chosen, the Government has made its determination clear.

Atreyee Roy (have 690 posts in total)

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