Jairam Ramesh attacks Modi over land bill

KOCHI, Mar 8:
Ahead of tomorrow’s debate on the Land Bill in Lok Sabha, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh today attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying on the advise of US-based economists, he was trying to send a signal to the corporate world that “big bang reforms” were being carried out by him.
Ramesh, a key architect of the Land Acquisition Act enacted by the previous UPA government, also slammed the prime minister for undertaking foreign trip when Parliament is in session and accused him of “deliberately” showing “disrespect” to democratic institutions.
In an interview to PTI, Ramesh, a former Rural Development Minister, contested BJP’s stand that the Land Acquisition Law enacted during the Congress-led UPA rule was not farmer-friendly.
He said the 2013 Law was done in a manner “most democratic, most consultative and most participative” while the BJP promulgated an ordinance, bringing changes in the Law, “in an autocratic, completely high-handed and unilateral manner.”
“Even the Rural Development Minister was kept in the dark. Only two hours to draft the ordinance and get Cabinet approval. There was no discussion,” he claimed.
Accusing the government of diluting the Land Acquisition Act by destroying two key pillars of the ‘farmer-friendly law’ — the consent clause and the Social Impact Assessment, Ramesh said, “This is to show a signal to the market and the corporate sector that they are doing big bang economic reforms.”
“… And all their economic advisors — Arvind Panagariya, Arvind Subramanian — all of them have been saying that this Land Acquisition law should be changed. This is a big lobby. They have been writing for a long… They have come from the US and they will go back to the US,” he said. (PTI)

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