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Land bill on menu: Second half of budget session set to be stormy

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New Delhi, April 18:

The second half of the budget session which kicks off next week is all set to be a stormy affair with the government determined to push through the land acquisition bill and the opposition making all efforts to stall it.

file pic of Lok Sabha
file pic of Lok Sabha

Besides the land bill, parliament is also scheduled to take up other important bills like the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, the Goods and Services Tax Bill and the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill, also called the anti-black money bill.

The land bill seeks to convert an ordinance that amended the 2013 version of the bill passed by the UPA government. The ordnance was re-promulgated last month. This was because the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in February but was not brought to the upper house as the government failed to convince the opposition parties, who have opposed it tooth and nail.

While the NDA has a brute majority of 335 in the Lok Sabha, it is numerically much weaker in the Rajya Sabha with just 63 seats.

The Janata Parivar has 15 members in the Lok Sabha and the Congress 44. In the upper house, the Congress has 70 members.

While government sources hinted that a joint session might be called to get the bill passed, officially the NDA maintained that there would be no need for this.

“As of now, we are not discussing a joint session,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told IANS.

The opposition to the land bill will begin from April 19 itself when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, addresses a farmers’ rally at the Ramlila Ground in the national capital.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu has said: “When the bill will be brought in parliament, discussions will take place and suggestions will be taken.”

“I appeal to the opposition to not obstruct. Land bill is being brought after much deliberation and consultation with all stake holders,” he added.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma, who is also a member of the Rajya Sabha, said the Congress was determined to oppose the bill.

“We are determined (to oppose). They will face a brick wall of opposition,” Sharma told IANS.

“There will be stiff opposition on this (land bill) and all other issues where there are concerns of the people, we will oppose. Because we are the opposition it is our duty to do so,” he said.

Asked for his party’s views on a joint session, Sharma said: “We will take the call when it is to be taken. Yes, we will remain opposed to what we will feel is principally wrong.”

Sharma hinted that Rahul Gandhi might also lead the Congress charge in the Lok Sabha on the land bill.

CPI leader D. Raja also said his party would oppose the bill tooth and nail.

“Land bill is going to be the issue in this session of parliament. Passing finance and money bills is a constitutional obligation, other than that, as far as legislative business is concerned, land bill is the main issue and we will oppose it,” he told IANS.

While the Lok Sabha will reconvene on April 20 as scheduled, the Rajya Sabha which was prorogued in order to re-promulgate the land ordinance will begin its sittings from April 23.

Some of the other important bills that the government plans to move are the GST bill, real estate development and regulation bill, undisclosed foreign income and assets imposition of tax bill 2015, warehousing corporation bill and regional rural banks bill.

Some of the other bills lined up for debate are arbitration and conciliation bill, constitutional scheduled castes order amendment bill, warehousing corporations bill, payment and settlements systems bill, repeal and amending bill and the delhi high court bill. (IANS)