NEW DELHI: Accusing the Congress of changing its position on the Land Bill after the Modi government brought an ordinance, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said the 2013 law passed by the previous UPA dispensation is now in force and Centre would permit states to make amendments to the Central law.
In an article 'The Land Ordinance - The obvious reasons", posted on Facebook, he dubbed the 2013 Act as a "badly drafted legislation" which has "a lot of ambiguities and obvious errors" as the effect of some of its provisions are contrary to the language used therein and "legitimate difficulties" would arise once the Act is implemented.
"It was at the request of the state governments that the amendment to Land Acquisition law of 2013 was issued. However, after the issuance of the Ordinance, the Congress Party changed its position and wanted to oppose the Ordinance for political reasons," he said.
Jaitley said the Ordinance was re-issued twice but political stalemate continued and the Bill requiring amendment is pending before a Parliamentary Standing Committee.
Noting that the objective of the 2015 Ordinance was to give a certain amount of flexibility to states as they know their requirements best, he said it was made available to them after the decision taken in Chief Ministers' meeting held under the aegis of NITI Aayog.
Jaitley said the Prime Minister had convened a meeting of Chief Ministers where they expressed the view that some flexibility should be given to states if the stalemate at the Centre continues and that states should be empowered to bring their own amendments.
"The 2013 Act occupies the field. The Bill remains for consideration of the Standing Committee and, if some consensus suggestions are made, the same would be implemented. That if any state wishes to make some amendments in the Central law, the same would be permitted by the Central Government," he said.
The Finance Minister also defended the notification under Section 105 of the 2013 Act exempting 13 legislations listed in Schedule IV of the Act from applicability of provisions of the law as they were exempted from consent and social impact assessment provisions as also the provisions of additional compensation, relief and rehabilitation.