Thirty-five Union ministers on Friday huddled in a strategy meeting for an image make-over for the government on a day when Congress began its foot march against the land bill from the symbolical Bhatta Parsaul village. Congress launches protest march from Parsaul against Land Bill Government to highlight development initiatives before people Didn't want to join sin of deceiving farmers: Shiv Sena on Land Bill
MPs from eight Opposition parties have planned a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan next Tuesday to register their protest against the amendments proposed to be carried out in the Land Acquisition Act of 2013.
Rahul Gandhi had begun his agitation in 2011 against forcible land acquisition from Bhatta Parsual that had culminated in enactment of the land law of 2013. The Congress agitation that began there today will culminate into a gherao of Parliament on March 16.
The first half of the Budget session that commenced on February 23 comes to an end on March 20. After a month-long recess, the second half of the session will begin on April 20 and conclude on May 8.
The ministers will try to make most of this recess and reach out to people on the contentious issue before the session reconvenes.
The major media outreach plan of the government aims at countering the Opposition campaign and highlight the development initiatives of the government effected through the General and Railway budgets, which have also been dismissed by the Opposition.
In the meeting convened by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, it was decided that the ministers would visit the states during the session recess period to highlight the government's initiatives and counter the "perception", which the Opposition is trying to create about the government on the land law , official sources said.
With the measure unlikely to be passed in the Rajya Sabha, the ministers were also told to communicate to the people about objectives of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill and the changes proposed by the government in the larger interests of farmers, rural people and the country's economic development.
The leaders will attempt to convince people that the amendments effected during passage of the bill in Lok Sabha has already taken care of the concerns of farmers, the sources said.
The ministers will also focus on the enhanced devolution of financial resources to the states in a big way when they take the government's agenda to the people.
The NDA government accepted the key recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission including a 10 percentage point increase in the share of states in the Centre's tax revenue from the current 32 per cent to 42 per cent, the single- largest hike ever handed out to states.
The government has been citing this as yet another extension of the dispensation's spirit of cooperative federalism.
The meeting was attended by senior ministers Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Sadananda Gowda, Ravi Shankar Prasad, J P Nadda, Chaudhary Birendra Singh, Suresh Prabhu, Ananth Kumar, Harsh Vardhan, Najma Heptullah, Smriti Irani, Maneka Gandhi, Piyush Goyal Prakash Javadekar, Jitendra Singh and Juel Oram.
From the allies, those who attended the meeting included Ashok Gajapati Raju (TDP), Ram Vilas Paswan (LJSP) and Anant Geete (Shiv Sena).
Sources said that the meeting conveyed to the ministers that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was happy the way Rural Development Minister replied to the debate on land bill in Lok Sabha and appreciated the interventions by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Naidu.
Thirty-five Union ministers on Friday huddled in a strategy meeting for an image make-over for the government on a day when Congress began its foot march against the land bill from the symbolical Bhatta Parsaul village.
Congress launches protest march from Parsaul against Land Bill
Government to highlight development initiatives before people
Didn't want to join sin of deceiving farmers: Shiv Sena on Land Bill