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Rajasthan to amend 2013 land Act in current Assembly session

In its Assembly session that began on Wednesday, the Rajasthan government is planning to push some industryfriendly amendments to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition ( Rehabilitation and Resettlement) Act, 2013.

If it is able to amend the law inthecurrentsession, Rajasthan will become the first Bharatiya JanataParty( BJP)- ruledstateto change the central Act, after the Narendra Modi- led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre recently succumbed to opposition pressure and allowed its land ordinance to lapse.

The state government had tried to amend the central Act last year, too. But BJP’s own legislators had stonewalled the RajasthanLandAcquisitionBill, 2014. This time, however, the statehopestobeabletoconvince itslegislators. The freshattempt comes after Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje recently announced at a NITI Aayog meeting of chief ministers, chaired by the prime minister, thathergovernmentwouldsoon enact its own land law.

After opposition from some party legislators, the Assembly had sent the Bill to a House select committee, which is yet to give its report. The Rajasthan government is likely to incorporate the recommendations of the committee.

“We went slowly on the ( earlier) Bill as the Centre brought an ordinance. Now that the central ordinance has lapsed, our Bill assumes relevance again. I assume the select committee that had earlier concluded its report and made certain recommendations will have to hold another sitting, because the context has changed,” Rajasthan Chief Secretary C S Rajan told Business Standard.

TheBill, whichthestategovernment had presented in the House last year, had tried to addresscertainconcernsaround the consent- clause and socialimpactassessment ( SIA) provisions in the 2013 Act. “ We will provide the highest compensation under the central law. We have said in our Bill that we will provide compensation for rehabilitation, too. Formanyprojects, consentmightnotbenecessary. For instance, if an existing road has to be widened for increased traffic, whereisthetimeorenergy to seek consent or do SIA and wait for two years?”

Business Standard, New Delhi, 18th Sept. 2015