The contentious land bill, despite being significantly diluted, is unlikely to be brought before Parliament in the winter session with the joint committee of Parliament examining the legislation deciding to defer presenting its report till the last week of the session.
The committee’s meeting on Monday saw members debating the need to pursue the bill, with Congress MP Jairam Ramesh arguing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had virtually declared the legislation as a dead letter and BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab responding that it remained a property of Parliament.
While Congress’s objections to the bill have now narrowed to three areas, Trinamool remains dead set against any government role in land acquisition. With the government hoping to see progress on other bills like the one on goods and services tax (GST), it may not be keen to move on the land bill just yet as this will provoke Trinamool into adopting an aggressive stance in Parliament.
The PM’s remarks were in the context of the government’s decision not to reissue the ordinance amending the 2013 Act, some members said while Trinamool’s Kalyan Banerjee wanted the PM to clarify his comments to the committee.
Sources said the proceedings indicated that the government does not seem to have made up its mind over what is to be done with the land bill that was intended to ease norms of acquisition but became a political issue with Congress and Trinamool campaigning against the changes, claiming that they were “anti-farmer”.
Barring Trinamool, and to a lesser extent Congress, there is a broad consensus in the committee over provisions of the amended land law that now leaves several issues to the discretion of state governments.