Centre Rejects Criticism About Land Bill Being 'Anti-Farmer'

Centre Rejects Criticism About Land Bill Being 'Anti-Farmer'

Expressing hope that a national consensus could be reached on the land bill, Rural Development Minister Birender Singh today rejected Congress criticism and said the bill contained several provisions in favour of farmers.

"We expect to make the proposed land acquisition bill a law through a national consensus," Singh told reporters on the sidelines of an 'International Conference on Deepening Democracy' here.

It was also expected that the joint parlimentary committee would also reach a consensus on the bill, Singh added.

He also said there was no truth in the propaganda that the bill was anti-farmer.

The proposed bill includes provisions to pay compensation for the land given for national highway and railway development works. Compensation would be given four times the value of the land acquired. "There are many conditions in favour of farmers and there was no truth in propaganda that the bill is anti-farmer," he said.

On other NDA government initiatives, he said the Prime Minister's Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, envisaged on providing urban facilities in rural areas, would begin on May 20.

Of 677 MPs, 86 per cent have given details about their villages, he said, adding another rural development programme titled 'Rurban' has also been initiated by government.

A cluster of villages laying adjacent to urban areas would be taken up for development and an amount of Rs 5,600 crore has been earmarked for this scheme, he said.

A total of 100 village clusters would be taken up for development during the current financial year and 300 clusters would be added in next two year, he said.

The MGNREGS would be strengthened by expanding to more areas. To ensure transparency in implementing the programme, Direct Bank Transfer has been implemented in 300 districts.

Earlier, addressing the conference, Singh said NDA government was transferring an unprecedented Rs 2,00,292 crore to panchayats in acceptance of the 14th finance commission award.

Over the next five years panchayats all over India will actually be in a position to improve civic services and the quality of life of rural population, he added.

The National Rural Livelihood Mission was devising strategies to develop a mutually beneficial partnership between panchayats and self-help group networks, he said.

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