Monday, April 20, 2015

Episode #6 22 March 2015

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dismissed the misinformation campaign carried out by Opposition parties on Land Acquisition Bill. Addressing farmers through "Mann Ki Baat" on All India Radio, the Prime Minister assured them that the Bill has been brought keeping the welfare of farmers, their families and villages in mind. He criticized the misinformation campaign launched by Opposition as a conspiracy to keep farmers poor and backward. He said, all the pro-farmer provisions of the 2013 Act have been retained in toto in the new Bill.

The Prime Minister said, the UPA government had passed the 2013 legislation in haste and it had many flaws and the NDA government has tried to rectify the shortcomings. He said the government has brought 13 legislations under the purview of Land Acquisition Bill which were exempted in the previous law. The farmers were to get compensation at old rates in case their lands were acquired under old provisions but the new Bill provides full compensation in this regard. The Prime Minister said that the new law will ensure that farmers get full compensation for their land.

Mr Modi said, the provision which provided compensation four times of the market value has not been touched. He said the farmers will get 20 percent of the developed land in case of acquisition for urbanisation. Provisions have also been made to give employment to the family whose land has been acquired and also to family members of labourers dependent on the land, he said.

Prime Minister also told farmers that first of all, available government land will be used followed by barren land. He made it clear that fertile land will be acquired only as a last resort. Mr Modi said authorities have been asked to conduct survey of barren lands immediately. He said the states have not accepted the Land Acquisition Act brought by UPA and many states raised objection to the Land Law.

Mr Modi said, if any state is unwilling to abide by the new law, it is free.
Dismissing the allegations that the Bill is for the benefit of corporates and private sector, he asked whether the acquisition of land for Highways, Railways, Housing for Poor, and Irrigation projects is meant for corporates.

Prime Minister asserted that the consent of the farmers will be mandatory for acquiring land for the purpose of private industries, and corporates. However, in case of Private Public Partnership, PPP model, the consent clause will not apply as the ownership remains with the government. The job of the private party is only to develop the land for public purpose. However, in this case also, the land owner will get full compensation.

Mr Modi said, the acquisition has been restricted up to one kilometer on both sides of industrial corridors. He said the people living in nearby areas of the corridor will get employment and need not migrate to cities like Mumbai and Delhi for jobs and live a miserable life.

Expressing concern on the recent crop damage due to unseasonal rains and hailstorm, the Prime Minister said his government is fully with the farmers and all the central departments are in touch with the concerned states. He said the Ministers are taking stock of the situation and government will make all efforts to help the distraught farmers.

Referring to issues raised by farmers in their letters addressed to him, Mr Modi assured them that he will fully activate the government machinery. He said he will take corrective measures and will hasten the government process wherever required and try to do justice. He said the government has also come up with Soil Health Card for the empowerment of farmers so that they could save on indiscriminate use of fertilizers. Mr Modi said the government is working on ensuring remunerative prices to farmers for their produce, setting up mandis and seeing that farmers are not exploited. Referring to his tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister, he said that he worked hard on the irrigation front, as a result , the condition of farmers have improved a lot. He said farmers made immense contribution to the development of Gujarat and he wants to see such a change across the country.

Mr Modi asked farmers to continue writing to him and said, he will try to address them again.