Those boycotting NITI Aayog meet must introspect: Jaitley

With the government’s pet land acquisition bill stuck for consensus, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said some states are keen to bring their own legislations to make it easier to acquire land as they cannot indefinitely wait for a consensus on the central legislation.

At the meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog, which saw Chief Ministers of nine Congress-ruled states as well as those of non-BJP states like Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha abstaining, “an overwhelming section” of states said they cannot “indefinitely wait for consensus” on amendment to the land acquisition bill, he said.

BJP-led NDA government at the Centre wants to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013 to make it easier for certain sectors including industrial corridors, to acquire farm land but has faced strong political opposition, stalling the amendment in Parliament.

“An important suggestion that came was that Centre should endeavour to create a consensus but states cannot indefinitely wait for that consensus.

“If Centre fails to approve this (bill) with consensus, then it should be left to the states. Those states which want to develop fast...can suggest their own state legislations and Centre (would) approve that state legislation. An overwhelming section gave this kind of suggestion,” he said.

Mr. Jaitley neither named the states that wanted their own legislations nor give a break-up of BJP and non-BJP ruled states demanding such a move.

The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was attended by 16 chief ministers.

“Those who could not come because of pre-occupation, many of them spoke to the Prime Minister which is understandable.

Those who chose to boycott must introspect whether not attending the NITI Aayog meeting is in consonance with the spirit of cooperative federalism. You can always come and express an alternative opinion,” Mr. Jaitley said.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 7:23:18 AM |

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