Shri Naidu observed that the Government could consider deleting social infrastructure projects from the exempted categories, states coming out with land banks of vacant lands for acquistion for developoment projects, hassle free mechansim for redressal of grievances of land losers, mandatory employment for losers of livelihoods on account of land acquisition etc. He said that the Minister of Rural Development Shri Birendra Chowdhary, who is a farmer himself, would come forward with official amendments in this regard.
During his 40 minute intervention, Shri Naidu asserted that the Government’s decision to issue an Ordinance on land acquisition was not an unilateral one but was based on the suggestions and views of all the states, reflecting their collective yearning for an enabling legislation that will not stifle developoment. He referred extensively to the views and suggestions made by the states at a Conference organised by the Government in June, 2014 and letters written by former Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Prithivraj Chavan and former union Commerce Minister Shri Anand Sharma, expressing serious reservations about the adverse consequences of the Land Acquisition Act of 2013.
Shri Venkaiah Naidu said that without compromising on the remuneration of four times the market value to be paid to land owners against acquisition of their land, the Governmnet has proposed some amendments to the Land Act of 2013 to facilitate development by adding only five more categories like defence and national security, infrastructure includng rural infrastructure, housing for the poor and affordable housing, industrial corridors including PPP projects where the land ownership will be with the government to be exempted from the provisions of the Act of 2013. He further said that 13 more categories have been brought under the purview of the new Bill which would immensely benefit the farmers.
Appealing for a practical approach, Shri Venkaiah Naidu noted that experience has shown that it would be next impossible to complete infrastructure projects like laying of new railway lines in five years and hence, an amendment has been proposed in this regard.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister stated that the amendments have been proposed keeping in view the interests of rural people and farmers and infrastructure development will significantly enhane the land value benefitting farmers. Giving an example, Shri Naidu said that his family had sold an acre of land for just Rs.800 when he was a child and later for Rs.8,000 when he became an MLA in the 70s and the land in his native village adjoining the highway is costing Rs.80 lakh per acre.
Denouncing the disinformation campaign that the Government is pro-corporate, Shri Venkaiah Naidu asserted that the Government led by Shri Narendra Modi is for the poor people, farmers, youth, women and the weaker sections and will not do anything against their interests.
Stating that the central government is deeply committed to protecting the interests of the farmers who have been at the receiving end all along being unorganised, Shri Naidu urged all parties not to politicise the issue of land acquisition.
Reacting to the suggestion of Shri Mallikharjuna Kharge of the Congress to refer the Bill to the Standing Committee, Shri Naidu said that so much time is not available since the Land Ordinance lapses by April 5, 2015 and the same is to be replaced by an Act of Parliament by March 20 when the Parliament will be adjourned for a month.