Skip to main content

Seeking to place land acquisition bill in Parliament next week, Modi govt "ignores" pre-legislative consultation policy

By Our Representative
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high-profile consultation platform, mygov.in, has no open space for discussion on the proposed amendments to the controversial land acquisition bill, 2015, which is scheduled to be placed before Parliament next week. A scan through the site suggests that the only bill it seeks public consultations on is Public Procurement Bill, 2012, which was introduced in the last Lok Sabha and was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
The “Open Forum” of the site, in fact, does not allow anyone to kickstart any new discussion of one’s choice. The only topic offered for online consultation on the land issue is “Modi’s Mann Ki Baat with farmers on March 22, 2015”, where there are few comments praising the Prime Minister for “clearing doubts” about the bill. The only “critique” of the bill finding its way in the discussion on the subject says that “the farmers are opposing it due to the misdeeds of the system”.
Commenting on the site, senior activist Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, says, there has so far been “no formal effort” to discuss the law, and “there is no call for discussing the amendment proposals on the much touted public consultation platform”. He adds, “Instead one interesting topic mooted for discussion on this platform (mygov.in) amongst several is ‘Share your views for promotion of fabrics for fashion industry’.”
A scan through the site suggests that issues put up for discussion range from a model bilateral investment treaty, celebration of International Day of Yoga, action that citizens can take against misleading advertisements, a parking policy for Mumbai, the Prime Minister’s Australia visit to carpet weaving, promotion of fabrics for fashion industry, silk’s elegance and comfort and how to tackle insanitary latrines and manual scavenging.
Suggesting that this suggests lack of “formal public consultation on the amendment proposals”, Nayak says, “Neither the department of land resources, which has the responsibility for all matters relating to land acquisition law under the Allocation of Business Rules, 1961, nor any other department of the Government of India has sought people's views on the proposals to amend the 2013 Land Acquisition Act.”
Calling it a “violation of Government of india's own Pre-Legislative Consultation Policy (PLCP) adopted in January 2014” (click HERE), Nayak quotes from the PLCP, which makes it necessary to “publish/place in public domain the draft legislation or at least the information that may inter alia include brief justification for such legislation”, and its possible impact on “lives and livelihoods of the concerned/affected people” in “public domain for a minimum period of thirty days.”
The PLCP also requires that a wider publicity be given to reach out to the affected people in case a legislation affects specific groups of people, even as documenting and disclosing through print or electronic media all the necessary details about it. It wants that, “the summary of feedback/comments received from the public/other stakeholders should be placed on the website of the Department/Ministry concerned”.
Calling this a necessary “pre-legislative process”, Nayak wonders, “What can citizens do to demand formal public consultation on the land bill?” He adds, “While there are many critics of the proposed changes to the land acquisition law, there are several others who support it. Parliament must have the benefit of all views and opinions on the subject before it makes an informed decision on the amendment proposals - whether to approve, further amend or reject.”

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Refugees as criminals? US govt report blames Amit Shah for calling Bangladeshis termites

Counterview Desk
The chapter “Freedom of Movement” of the US State Department’s “India 2018 Human Rights Report”, released recently, has criticized BJP chief Amit Shah for terming alleged Bangladeshis who may be in Assam as “termites”, because their names were struck down from the list of National Register of Citizens, under preparation in the state.
Pointing out that four million residents were excluded from Assam’s final draft list, leading to “uncertainty over the status of these individuals, many of whose families had lived in the state for several generations”, the report regrets, the Indian law does not even contain the term “refugee,” treating refugees like Rohingiyas as “any other foreigners.”
“Undocumented physical presence in the country is a criminal offense. Persons without documentation were vulnerable to forced returns and abuse”, the report says.
Text of the Freedom of Movement chapter: The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, a…

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.