What is the Essential Commodities Act – the 65-year old act that FM Nirmala Sitharaman said will now be amended

The wholesale fruit, vegetable and onion-potato traders at the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) market in Navi MumbaiBCCL
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced that the government will make amends to the Essential Commodities Act.
  • The FM said that through the amendments better price realisation will be made possible for farmers and cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato will be deregulated.
  • The act was brought into place in 1955 for the control of the production, supply and distribution of, and trade and commerce, in certain commodities. The act is applicable to the whole of India.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced that the government will be making changes to the Essential Commodities Act. The FM said that through the amendments better price realisation will be made possible for farmers and cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato will be deregulated.

Stock limits will be imposed only under exceptional circumstances like national calamities, famine with a surge in prices. No such stock limit shall apply to processors or value chain participants, or to any exporter subject to export demand.

What is the Essential Commodities Act that was initially implemented in 1955?

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The act was brought into place for the control of the production, supply and distribution of, and trade and commerce, in certain commodities. The act is applicable to the whole of India.

Under the act, the government of India controls the price of essential commodities, and can also decide to increase or decrease the supply of the product in the market. It also gives the government to regulate through licences, permits or otherwise the storage, transport, distribution, disposal, acquisition, use or consumption of any essential commodity.

Through this act, the government does not need any legislation or debate to increase prices of food products across the country.

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However, in recent years the Essential Commodities Act has come under a lot of debate. It has also been called ‘ draconian’ by certain sections as it gives the government complete control.

See Also:
India proposes to deregulate prices of onions, potatoes, pulses and other essential food — prices won’t be capped and one can store as much as needed

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