arun jaitley
The Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Information and Broadcasting Arun Jaitley during a press conference, in New Delhi on May 22, 2015.IANS

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday that the land Act enacted by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was against rural areas whereas the bill introduced by the NDA government had sought to make necessary corrections in the law.

"The law brought in 2013 stops (creation of) rural infrastructure, irrigation, rural roads, rural industrialisation, rural housing. The 2013 law is against the rural areas. The 2015 bill has made the corrections," Jaitley said at a press conference held in New Delhi to mark the completion of one year of the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre.

The minister's assertions came during his comments on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's barb that the NDA government was a "suit-boot ki sarkar" (government of the suited-booted) and his opposition to the pending land bill.

He said that decisions have been taken fast and the country was not prepared to accept slow decision making.

"Decisiveness in the face of obstructionism (by the Opposition) has been an important hallmark (of this government)," the finance minister added.

Referring to the ordinances brought by the Modi government, the minister said there had been criticism by those "uneasy with the pace of governance".

"There is speed with decisiveness. There is absolute clarity about the direction. The direction is towards growth and development," Jaitley said.

The finance minister said the Modi government was keen on the passage of the land bill in the monsoon session. The bill is being examined by a joint committee of the two Houses of Parliament.

Asked about Congress opposition to the land bill and other legislations, he said that no party had the right to say that it would not allow the passage of a bill.

Numbers on the floor of the House would decide if a bill was passed or not, Jaitley remarked.

Referring to Congress criticism about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's foreign tours, Jaitley took a dig at Rahul Gandhi over his 55-day absence from the national political scene and said that "going on vacation was different from going on state visits".

Jaitley alleged that the Congress had positioned itself against growth and investment.

Rejecting the Congress charge that the NDA government was "pro-corporates", he said that the earlier UPA government's economic policy was not clear and "crony capitalism" led to its fall. On the other hand, he said, the Modi government was reforming and liberalising and there was no place for crony capitalism.

He said the government was "pro-growth", with strong emphasis on social security and that it would keep itself at arm's length from individual companies in policy making.

Answering another question Jaitley said, "Good governance must be blended with clever politics. We are conscious of this. We are forging alliances, expanding membership, expanding social base."

Jaitley said that every department of the government had been working overtime during the last one year.

"It has been a directional year and direction at a very fast pace," the finance minister said, adding that it signalled the direction of the government in the coming years.

He said the government had been effective in tackling corruption and was committed to cooperative federalism.

Referring to the peaceful assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir, he said it had expanded the space for mainstream parties.