Land Acquisition Bill

NEW DELHI (TIP): The government is open to the idea of states framing their own land acquisition laws, the joint parliamentary panel examining the related bill has been informed, a move which is seen as an effort to break the logjam on the contentious measure.

Deposing before the Joint Panel of Parliament, Rural Development Secretary Vandana Kumari Jena yesterday said that the Union cabinet had discussed the issue threadbare on Tuesday night where a view emerged that states can be allowed to have their own laws, sources said.

At the same time, she said she cannot share the verbatim details of the Cabinet proceedings and that only the Cabinet Secretary was authorised to do so.

Meanwhile, sources in the government said the Centre may also include a fresh section in the law to allow state governments have the provision of a consent clause and social impact assessment while implementing the law.

According to the proposal, if some states want to have social impact assessment and seek consent from farmers before acquiring their land, they will be free to do so.

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However, the parliamentary panel members were skeptical about the feasibility of this option. Congress’ Jairam Ramesh and Trinamool Congress’ Kalyan Banerjee are learnt to have questioned the Rural Development Secretary on the issue.

The members sought clarification from Law Secretary P K Malhotra on what will happen if the central legislation and a legislation framed by a state government clash on certain issues. They also wondered whether the President will give his assent to laws by states when an identical central law is in place.

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