Parliament approves Indo-Bangla Land Boundary Bill

Sushma SwarajThe Parliament has unanimously approved the constitutional amendment bill to facilitate the land boundary agreement with Bangladesh, after the Lok Sabha also giving its nod for the bill today. The Rajya Sabha had unanimously approved the bill yesterday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally thanked Congress president Sonia Gandhi for opposition's support for the legislation, which, he said, was of historic importance.

"My thanks to all the political parties for their cooperation, as also to the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura & West Bengal," the PM tweeted.

He thanked all the political parties for their cooperation, as also to the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and West Bengal.

Earlier, moving the Constitution (One Hundred and Nineteenth Amendment) Bill, 2013 for passage, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had pointed to its unanimous support in the Rajya Sabha.

"There was no vote against it and there was no abstention (in the Rajya Sabha). It sent a message to Bangladesh that all political parties are one on the issue. I will request that it is passed with the same spirit in the Lok Sabha as it will send a good message," she said.

The bill aims at giving effect to the possession and exchange of enclaves through acquisition and transfer in pursuance of the agreement of 1974.

Select territories in Assam, West Bengal, Tripura and Meghalaya come under the ambit of the bill.

There would not be any "demographic change or exchange" and people from either side can avail citizenship if they wish.

Swaraj had on Wednesday allayed fears that the agreement may lead to shrinking of borders. "This agreement will not shrink our borders. We will have an advantage of 500 acres. Though 10,000 acres will go to them, it is just notional and those enclaves are deep," she had said.

Sushma Swaraj said as foreign minister she chose Bangladesh as the country for her visit abroad, and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had urged her to move forward with the agreement.

She said Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had told her to work towards removing hurdles in the implementation of the agreement.

These hurdles were cleared after the centre agreeing to a package demanded by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and acceding to the demand of the Congress party to include Assam in the implementation of agreement.

The union home ministry will be the nodal ministry for implementing it.