Land Bill : NDA government's amending bad policy making - RNews1 Network

Land Bill : NDA government's amending bad policy making

Jairam Ramesh, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, Land Bill, Land Bill issue, NDA, NDA government, amending land bill
News Delhi : About the NDA government's land bill issue Congress leader Jairam Ramesh says that, amending the legislation to assuage the fears of a particular group is bad policy making. An attempt is being made to "first protect our citizenry against the lawful advances of the state", the Rajya Sabha MP says.

Ramesh has come out with a new book "Legislating for Justice: The Making of the 2013 Land Acquisition Law", in which he gives a firsthand account of the framing the land acquisition law by the UPA government and the factors that drove the decisions. He says the new bill has been brought by the NDA government by amending the 2013 Act despite protests held across the country.

"In the name of economic reforms and development, the government has taken a significant step backward in India's march to land reforms," he writes.

"Given that the choice of opting for an ordinance came within eight months of the government coming to power, this story is also a telling commentary on the weakening of democratic and constitutional institutions," the book, co-authored by Ramesh's the then OSD Muhammed Ali Khan, says.

Ramesh hopes that the government will add to the legacy of legal protection rather than seek to abridge its growth.

The authors say that the UPA government's "ambitious exercise" to rewrite the entire law on land acquisition saw a radical polarisation of public opinion - those who saw acquisition as a necessary tool for India's development and those who were strongly opposed to an archaic relic that defied the rule of law.

"Devising laws and regulations on land will always be a contentious topic. Given that we have more people than land, the subject will always give rise to impassioned debate and inflamed opinions on the form and extent of regulation to be employed by the State," the book, published by Oxford University Press, says.

According to the authors, the answer lies in finding unique solutions, enabled by technology, to give people better protection over the land that they own. On the drama behind the ordinance and its lapse before it was re-promulgated, the book says, "For a law that had been founded on consultation with the public, no draft had been shared with public at large."

"The requirement of inviting comments from the public had been dispensed with and a law was prepared by a group of individuals consisting largely of officials and ministerial representatives. "Many groups struggled to get their say before the law was amended but few, if any, got the opportunity. It can be argued they simply were not the stakeholders for whom the amendments were being carried out," Ramesh says.

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