Chandigarh, Jun 12: Rubbishing that NDA's Land Bill is anti-farmer, Union Minister Birender Singh today said opposition parties, any individual or farmers themselves can give suggestions regarding the bill to the government.
"...farmers can give suggestions, other parties or groups can come forward and we will have no hesitation in accepting anything which is in the interests of farmers," the Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj said addressing a press conference here.
Singh, who along with senior officials held the conference to give out details of the works done and achievements of past one year, said "the Congress should not make it like a matter of prestige as if the Land Act of 2013 brought by the previous UPA was the best the country can have."
"Prime Minister Modi (and I have) also said on several platforms that in the interest of farmers, if there will be need to make further amendments, that will be done. Why should the whole thing be made as a matter of prestige," he said.
Some parties due to political considerations are adamant on not see anything beyond the UPA's 2013 Act. Such a thing is not possible in a democratic set up, Singh said. Singh rubbished charge of opposition that government wants to benefit the corporates.
"This is absolutely baseless. On record, I have been so many times telling, and this is also from party (BJP) President Amit Shah and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it clear that not even a single inch of land will be given to any private company or any corporate. I still maintain that there is nothing doing as far as corporate sector is concerned. We have not done it for them," he asserted.
He further said, "I still repeat that if any suggestion from any quarter comes which is in favour of farmer, we are ready to accept." Asked if private sector wants to set up projects like thermal power plants, will government acquire land for them, he said, "for that purpose consent clause and other things will be applicable... For private venture, government is not going for acquisition."
"As you are aware, the matter is now before Joint Parliamentary Committee, which is like a mini Parliament. Whatever recommendations they putforth, whatever will be in the interests of farmers, we have no hesitation in accepting these," he further said.
He said the land will be acquired for canals, roads, infrastructure purposes, for electrification, building dams, among other things.
"If you see all the five points which we have included through our amendments, they are all concerning this only that there should be infrastructure. We have touched only one thing, there was some confusion about the employment to be given to the family, which is landless family but were doing some job with on somebody's land, and in this we have made provision that they too will be entitled for the job," the minister said.
Attacking the UPA's 2013 Act, he said barring five states, no state framed rules under the (2013) Act, because everyone wanted amendments, reasoning that if rules are framed under the previous law, it won't be of much benefit.
"The UPA Government brought 1894 Act replaced it with 2013 Land Act. Today as on June 12, 2015, during past seventeen months, from the figures we have from 18 states, 200-300 acres of land only has been acquired, some in Punjab and some in Odisha, and nowhere any acquisition has taken place."