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Jaitley: Centre to permit states to make changes to land act

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New Delhi: The NDA government will permit states to make amendments to the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday. In an article on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s website, Jaitely said he was of the opinion that the 2013 Act “is a badly drafted legislation” with a “lot of ambiguities and obvious errors” which need to be corrected. He said the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had made changes to the 2013 Act on the suggestion of state governments but Congress changed its position and opposed the ordinance first issued in December last year for “political reasons”.

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He said the ordinance brought by the NDA government lapsed on Monday and questions were being raised about the nature and future of land acquisition in India. Referring to the prime minster’s meeting with chief ministers in Niti Aayog on the land bill, Jaitley said the state governments could decide on exemptions from consent and social impact assessment in any of the five areas including projects for national security, rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects where land ownership is with government. The Modi government in its new land bill had provided for these exemptions but the BJP subsequently changed its position in the joint parliamentary committee which is examining the bill. Congress chief ministers had boycotted the Niti Aayog meeting on land bill with the party making it clear that it was opposed to changes to the 2013 Act which was passed during the rule of United Progressive Alliance government.

Jaitley said that objective of 2015 ordinance was to give certain flexibility to the states.”That flexibility is made available to the states even now under the decision taken in chief minister’s meeting,” he said. Jaitley said that the present position was that “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. If any state wishes to make some amendments in the central law, the same would be permitted by the central government,” Jaitley said.

(IANS)

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CAG: NDA’s Rafale Deal 2.86 Per cent Cheaper Than UPA’s

CAG finds NDA deal for 36 Rafale jets 2.86% cheaper than UPA’s

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India
A Rafale single-seat jet aircraft flies during the Paris Air Show, in Le Bourget airport, north of Paris. VOA

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found that the Rafale fighter jet deal signed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was 2.86 per cent lower than the price negotiated by the United Progressive Alliance government.

The much-awaited report on Capital Acquisition on Indian Air Force was tabled by the government in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

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The report does not disclose the actual price of the 36 Rafale fighter jets contracted by the NDA government. However, it includes examination of the pricing.

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The prices have been redacted in the report based on the insistence of the Defence Ministry citing the Indo-French agreement of 2008 and the provisions of inter-government agreement. (IANS)