States need flexibility in adapting nat’l policies to local conditions: Mufti

CM attends 2nd Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog

NEW DELHI – Calling to bid farewell to the contrived policy of ‘one size fits all’ on the issue of development, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, today stressed upon the Centre to build a greater degree of freedom that allows the states some flexibility in adapting national policies to local conditions and constraints.       

He also complimented Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on promoting cooperative federalism and establishing NITI Aayog, which would take states on board on key policy matters, including economic issues. “The dream of becoming a strong nation will only be realized by building consensus with states and making them equal partners in country’s development,” he stated.

Mufti Sayeed was speaking here today while participating in the discussions on the proposed changes to Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, during the 2nd Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog, the new policy think-tank.

Chief Ministers of 16 states attended the Governing Council meeting chaired by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, today.  

Sharing his state’s perspective over the proposed changes in the Land Acquisition Act, the Chief Minister said, as per Agenda notes, some states and ministries have reported difficulties in the implementation of the 2013 Act. “It may as such be desirable to build some flexibility in the Act. However, the most important consideration is that the investment climate should not be vitiated,” he stressed, while highlighting the enormous challenge the state is facing on the development and security fronts.  

Referring to the perception being created about the proposed changes to the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 being anti-farmer, the Chief Minister urged upon the Prime Minister to take all political parties on board, including the opposition which has raised concerns over the changes recommended in the Act.

Mufti Sayeed said J&K has been grappling with the challenge of development in extremely difficult and trying circumstances for more than two decades now. He said what is needed to ensure inclusive development of all regions and segments of our society is an overall policy framework based on a complete consensus.

The Chief Minister had earlier in March also, during the meeting of NITI Aayog’s Sub Group of Chief Ministers on rationalization of Centrally-Sponsored Schemes, urged the Centre to see from the same lens for forging a better match between policies and needs of the states.  

Pointing out the difficulties faced by the state in acquiring land for flagship projects like laying of Railway Lines and construction of National Highways, Mufti Sayeed stressed upon dovetailing the component of employment with compensation for land, so as to provide some sort of economic security to the people who donated major chunks of land, their only source of livelihood.

During his recent meeting with the Union Minister for Railways, Suresh Prabhu, at Srinagar, the Chief Minister had called for considering the claims of several persons for employment in Indian Railways in lieu for land they donated for laying of railway lines right across the state.       

Referring to the state’s flexibility over the changes being proposed in the 2013 Act, Mufti Sayeed said J&K has its own J&K State Land Acquisition Act, 1990 (1934AD). “Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, is not applicable in J&K. Our state has been a frontrunner in bringing historic legislations on land reforms and anti-defection, We may still want to adopt some best practices in light of the changing situation,” the Chief Minister said, while indicating that the state also has the option to use its powers to amend its own State Land Acquisition Act so that it is in tune with the aspirations of the people, besides meeting the state’s developmental needs.

The Chief Minister said while there were no disagreements over the issue of compensation, relief and rehabilitation, there were some concerns on consent and social impact assessment in the proposed changes suggested in the Act.   

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