Skip to main content

Land acquisition: Govt of India told to divulge details of reasons for coming up with "regressive" ordinance

By Our Representative
After dilly dallying for about a year, the Narendra Modi government will have to divulge all the materials, such as the Cabinet note and file notings, on the basis of which it had decided to come up with the now abandoned ordinance amending the controversial the Land Acquisition Act (LAA), 2013.
Titled Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, LAA 2013 was first promulgated on December 31, 2014, and re-promulgated two more times. Modi announced his decision to “drop” it ahead of the crucial Bihar assembly polls late last year, in which the BJP faced a major defeat.
In its order dated June 20, 2016, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the Union Ministry of Rural Development’s department of land resources (DoLR) to disclose everything that would reveal government view on coming up with the ordnance, which had sought to undermine the crucial consent clause for land acquisition, even as seeking to remove the provision of social impact assessment ahead of any land acquisition.
Instead of providing all the material the ministry said it “did not have” details, and sent the right to information (RTI) application, made by well-known RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak, to the ministry of parliamentary affairs. Nayak is programme coordinator of the Access to Information Programme of New Delhi-based advocacy group Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.
In a bid to avoid reply, the RTI application was twice sent to the President's Secretariat, as the ordinance was promulgated by the President of India. This happened despite the fact that the Rashtrapati Bhawan had transferred it to the DoLR at the very first instance.
The CIC, in its order, has asked the the DoLR to disclose all information within 4 weeks. Pointing towards the reason why he had sought the information, Nayak said, “Although the ordinance has lapsed its contents are before Parliament in the form of a Bill to amend the Act which is being deliberated upon by a Joint Committee of Parliament chaired by SS Ahluwalia.”
Nayak said, despite demands, the government did not bother to explain what was the urgency that led to the promulgation of the ordinance. “Parliament's winter session had concluded just a few days earlier and the budget session of 2015 was just a couple of months away when the ordinance was promulgated on the last day of 2014”, he added.
Finally, Nayak said, the government’s Economic Survey (ES), presented in Parliament in February 2015, “claimed that problems with land acquisition were a major reason for the stalling of several developmental projects in the public and private sector.”
“However”, he added, “Detailed data on such projects was not annexed to that report. Official spokespersons repeatedly argued that the amendments to the land acquisition law were necessary to pull up the economy out of the nadir it had reached.” This, he added, prompted him to find out whether this was true.
An analysis of the government’s own data, said Nayak, had already showed that that “only about 8% of the projects had stalled due to problems of land acquisition.” The factors which were more important for stalling projects were “lack of promoter interest, weak economic conditions and lack of necessary clearances from authorities”, he added.

Comments

TRENDING

Nirma varsity demand for higher fees 'illegal', violates Article 14: Letter to Gujarat HC

Counterview Desk
Students of Gujarat’s top private institute, Nirma University, situated in the outskirts of Ahmedabad, in a letter to the Chief Justice the state High Court, have complained that the authorities are demanding “full fees” from students, without taking into account the “disproportionate impact” the lockdown has on the livelihood of students and families.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Vulnerable to Covid-19, sharp rise in murder of Indian journalists during pandemic

By Nava Thakuria*
Vulnerability of working journalists in India is no way an alien issue as the populous country loses a number of working journalists to assailants as also medical emergencies. Even though there was only one casualty in the Indian media fraternity during the first half of 2020, who was targeted for journalistic work, India has begun witnessing an alarming number of media casualties during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Govt 'assures' Gujarat HC no action against MBBS students defying corona sahayak order

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government has assured the High Court that no action would be taken against Part-I and Part-II MBBS students of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)-controlled NHL Medical College and LG Hospital and Medical College. The assurance follows the direction by Justice SH Vora to the State government not to prosecute or initiate action against the students who were defying the college authorities’ order to work as corona sahayaks (helpers).

Renounced US citizenship to serve workers, tribals, Sudha Bharadwaj 'odiously' in jail

By Atul, Sandeep Pandey*
Professor Sudha Bharadwaj has been in jail since August 2018. She was taken into police custody on August 26, 2018 on suspicion of being involved in Maoist terror activities after Republic TV claimed that she had allegedly written a letter to Maoists and was conspiring to create public disorder and unrest in India.

Cruel legacy of Green Revolution? Covid-19 underscores 'risky, fragile' food system

By Moin Qazi*  The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the risks of an unhealthy diet and the extreme fragility of food systems. The economic reconstruction that will follow the pandemic is the perfect opportunity to provide better nutrition and health to all. The pandemic should spur us to redefine how we feed ourselves, and agricultural research can play a vital role in making our food systems more sustainable and resilient.

Plant organic, eat fresh: Emlen Bage's journey from migrant labour to agri-entrepreneur

By Chandrashekar and Kriti*
Who is a farmer? Type this question in the google search and check out the images? You can see men thronging the screen. This is the popular perception around the globe. Well one can understand how difficult it would be for a woman to defy this perception.

High youth unemployment: India 'fails' to take advantage of demographic dividend

By Varun Kumar
As coronavirus pandemic continues amplifying challenges among youth with regard to employment opportunities, government policies have further resulted in economic slowdown, leading to mass unemployment and loss jobs. According to the International Labour Organisation report “Covid-19 and the World of Work” (May 27, 2020), around 94 percent of the world’s workers are living in countries with some sort of workplace closure measures in place.

Dichotomy? US Hindutva groups oppose racism, mum on Modi's 'anti-minority' stance

By Our Representative
The Hindus for Human Rights (HHR), a US-based advocacy group, has noticed a major dichotomy between the stance taken by RSS’ US arm, Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh (HSS), expressing “shock” at the “painful killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others”, all of which suggest “the tragic tale of racial injustice” in US, and HSS’ “hatred” for India’s religious minorities and Dalits.