Deadlock over land bill impacting rural development: PM (15:31)

New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said political deadlock over the land acquisition bill was “seriously impacting” rural development.

“The prime minister said the political deadlock over land acquisition is seriously impacting rural development, including the creation of schools, hospitals, roads and irrigation projects,” an official statement said.

Modi was speaking at the second meeting of Niti Aayog on the land acquisition bill here, which was boycotted by chief ministers of nine Congress-ruled states and West Bengal’s Mamta Banerjee and Uttar Pradesh’s Akhilesh Yadav.

Pointing out that the ordinance on land acquisition was brought following demands from the states, Modi appealed to states that political considerations should not come in the way of a solution that would facilitate development of the rural areas and ensure greater prosperity for the Indian farmers.

He reiterated that as far as paying enhanced compensation to farmers was concerned, there were no differences in the stands of the central government and the states.

“The prime minister reiterated the vision of his government that state units should be the focus of all development efforts, as part of ‘Team India’,” the statement said.

He recalled that the chief ministers had always felt that development policies at the centre should be framed in consultation with the states,” the statement added.

Modi said several states raised concerns over the implementation of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, and many states felt that development work was suffering due to the provisions in that act.

“…some chief ministers requested for changes in the act, and sent letters to this effect,” the prime minister said.

Modi said the ordinance, which has been vociferously opposed by the Congress and other opposition parties, was brought in response to these developmental concerns of the states, and also to ensure that farmers continue to receive their legitimate dues.

“The matter is now before the parliamentary standing committee, and therefore, ahead of the upcoming parliament session, it was appropriate that the suggestions of the states be listened to, once again,” said Modi.

Wednesday’s meeting was the second for the Niti Aayog, which replaced the Planning Commission after the NDA government came to power at the Centre in 2014.

Modi said last one year had been a good beginning, with states being taken on board in the planning process, and chief ministers taking the lead in sub-groups of the newly formed commission.

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