This Article is From Jul 16, 2015

'Bring Your Land Bill, Or Let Us Pass Our Own,' States Say at PM's Meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hand with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ahead of the NITI Aayog meeting

New Delhi: A meeting of the Niti Aayog or rejigged plan panel called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi was boycotted by many opposition Chief Ministers on Wednesday. The states that attended sought a quick solution to the impasse on the land acquisition bill.

Here are the latest developments:

  1. The states said, "either the Centre must build a coalition and pass the land bill quickly, or give the flexibility to the states to pass their own laws," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after the meeting.

  2. PM Modi has spent significant political capital trying to push the land law through Parliament, and Mr Jaitley's comments raised the possibility that if he is unsuccessful again in the coming Monsoon Session, he might devolve the issue to states.

  3. PM Modi has made the reform a central plank of his economic agenda, and told the meeting that a lack of land for roads, housing and industry was crimping economic growth. The opposition calls the land bill anti-farmer and has blocked it in the Rajya Sabha or Upper House for months.

  4. Almost half of the country's 31 Chief Ministers did not accept PM Modi's invitation to discuss the proposal to make it easier to buy farmland for development. Some Opposition Chief Ministers, like Nitish Kumar and Arvind Keriwal, did attend and voiced their opposition to the bill.

  5. The boycott of PM Modi's latest attempt to build consensus around his land acquisition bill does not bode well for his ambitious agenda of economic reform in the Parliament session that starts next week.

  6. "Those who chose to boycott must introspect whether not attending is in consonance with the spirit of cooperative federalism," said Mr Jaitley after the meeting.

  7. In his first year in office, PM Modi has made life easier for Indian businesses by cutting red tape, but Opposition protests have slowed his efforts at structural economic reforms he says are needed to make India a leading global economy.

  8. "If they give up on this, it will be a huge setback for industrialisation, and for planned urbanisation," said Mohan Guruswamy, president of Centre for Policy Alternatives, a think tank.

  9. In the Parliament session due to begin on Monday, July 21, the government also plans to pass the GST Bill, the biggest tax overhaul since Independence, and may introduce labour bills aimed at job creation.

  10. But the Congress party says before any debates on legislation, it wants the Prime Minister to address Parliament over senior Union Minister Sushma Swaraj and party Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje of Rajasthan's support to disgraced cricket boss Lalit Modi.