Opposition chorus grows against Centre?s ?ordinance raj?

The Hindu Business Line, December 30, 2014

The chorus of criticism against the Narendra Modi government?s ordinance spree has started gathering strength, with opposition parties reminding senior BJP leaders of their opposition to ?ordinance raj? when the UPA was in power.

While the Congress termed the ordinances as a ?disturbing trend? and said Modi now stands for ?Murder of Democratic India?, the Left parties said the ordinance route was taken to favour the interests of corporates and real estate barons.

Former Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, considered the key architect of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (Land Acquisition Act), said the dilution in the Act will harm the interests of farmers.

?By giving up the consent clause, you are opening the doors for forcible acquisition and, in my view, forcible acquisition under any circumstance must be avoided,? he told reporters here on Tuesday.

Social impact

?By giving up the social impact assessment, what you are doing is, you are opening the doors for diversion of land like what happened in Uttar Pradesh where land was acquired for public purposes and was diverted to private builders.

?And you are also opening the doors for excess land to be acquired,? Ramesh said, adding that basically, the Centre is going back to the 1894 Act. Forcible acquisition becomes possible and, in fact, will happen. Diversion of land acquired in public purposes to be used for non-public purpose will open up. Excess land being acquired will now become a reality,? he said.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) said the proposed amendment surrenders the genuine interests of the peasantry and land owners.
?This decision is in continuation of the ordinances passed on coal privatisation and raising the FDI in insurance.

?By taking recourse to ordinance raj, the BJP-led NDA government is undermining the essence of parliamentary democracy and showing authoritarian tendencies,? said a party statement.

No debate

The Janata Dal (U) said by taking the ordinance route, the Centre is trying to avoid any kind of debate on such important issues.

?JD(U) strongly opposes the ordinance on Land Acquisition Act to dilute its benefit in favour of industrial houses and corporates.

?It demands that the same should be withdrawn with immediate effect failing which the Janata Parivar will launch a stir all over the country,? party secretary general KC Tyagi said.

Compelled thus

The BJP and the Centre, however, justified the ordinance route. Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the government was compelled to come out with ordinances.

?Legislation through ordinance is a constitutionally valid mechanism. Article 123 of our Constitution empowers the President of India to issue ordinances in exceptional circumstances,? he said.

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