'Implement Rehab policy to prevent agitation on SEZs'

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New Delhi, Jan 29: Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh today said the budget session of Parliament would approve the Rehabilitation and Settlement Bill and the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill-2007 to give statutory backing to the new rehabilitation policy and asked states to implement it effectively to prevent recurrence of Nandigram like incident.

The government is also considering a Micro-Finance Bill to improve credit facilities to rural poor. The bill, which has already been formulated, would help self help groups and people seeking self employment credit facilities, Dr Singh told the Eighth Annual Editors Conference on Social Issues.

Inaugurating the three day conference, the minister said that the Revised National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy--2007 formulated by the UPA government has come into force from October 2007 would go a long way in alleviating the sufferings of people displaced by setting up of SEZs.

However, he hoped that the states, which have the responsibility for implementing the policy, would perform their responsibility effectively to prevent recurrence of Nandigram like incident.

The Rehabilitation and Settlement Bill 2007 and the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill 2007 which have been introduced in the Lok Sabha during the winter session of Parliament is pending with the Standing Committee and is likely to be passed during the next session, the minister informed.

Terming the impact of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme being ''revolutionary'', Dr Singh said that it provided guaranteed wage employment to the rural poor apart from improving the minimum wages in many parts of the country especially in the North Eastern states where it was very low.

Criticising the Bihar government for dismal performance in implementing the NREGA, Dr Singh said that the state Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had not taken adequate steps to protect the rights of rural poor and ''is now trying to hide his failure and weakness.''

UNI

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