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

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Mark Lee: A spiritual leader who thought conventional religions are barrier to liberation

  By Harsh Thakor*  The Krishnamurti Foundation of America (KFA) lost Roger Edwin Mark Lee, who was a devoted disciple of Jiddu Krishnamurti, one of the greatest and most self realised spiritual philosophers of our time. Mark passed away due to pneumonia complications on April 6, 2024, at he Ventura Community Memorial Hospital in California. His exit was an irreparable loss to the spiritual world.

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Fossil fuel projects: NGOs ask investors to cut TotalEnergies’ main sources of finance

By Antoine Bouhey, Lara Cuvelier, Helen Burley*  Reclaim Finance has joined 58 NGOs from around the world, including Banktrack, in signing an open letter calling on banks and investors to stop participating in bonds (loans granted by investors and facilitated by banks) issued by TotalEnergies. The 58 NGO signatories include 350.org , Amazon Watch, BankTrack, Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR, Papua New Guinea), Justiça Ambiental (Mozambique) and Friday for Future (Uganda), Oil Change International and Urgewald (Germany).