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Political deadlock over land acquisition “seriously impacting” rural development: Narendra Modi

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said political deadlock over the land acquisition bill was “seriously impacting” rural development.

“The prime minister said the political deadlock over land acquisition is seriously impacting rural development, including the creation of schools, hospitals, roads and irrigation projects,” an official statement said.

Modi was speaking at the second meeting of Niti Aayog on the land acquisition bill here, which was boycotted by chief ministers of nine Congress-ruled states and West Bengal’s Mamta Banerjee and Uttar Pradesh’s Akhilesh Yadav.

Pointing out that the ordinance on land acquisition was brought following demands from the states, Modi appealed to states that political considerations should not come in the way of a solution that would facilitate development of the rural areas and ensure greater prosperity for the Indian farmers.

He reiterated that as far as paying enhanced compensation to farmers was concerned, there were no differences in the stands of the central government and the states.

“The prime minister reiterated the vision of his government that state units should be the focus of all development efforts, as part of ‘Team India’,” the statement said.

He recalled that the chief ministers had always felt that development policies at the centre should be framed in consultation with the states,” the statement added.

Modi said several states raised concerns over the implementation of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, and many states felt that development work was suffering due to the provisions in that act.

“…some chief ministers requested for changes in the act, and sent letters to this effect,” the prime minister said.

Modi said the ordinance, which has been vociferously opposed by the Congress and other opposition parties, was brought in response to these developmental concerns of the states, and also to ensure that farmers continue to receive their legitimate dues.

“The matter is now before the parliamentary standing committee, and therefore, ahead of the upcoming parliament session, it was appropriate that the suggestions of the states be listened to, once again,” said Modi.

Wednesday’s meeting was the second for the Niti Aayog, which replaced the Planning Commission after the NDA government came to power at the Centre in 2014.

Modi said last one year had been a good beginning, with states being taken on board in the planning process, and chief ministers taking the lead in sub-groups of the newly formed commission.

(IANS)

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

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He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)