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The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 is passed by the Parliament to remove the stock limit on agricultural produce. The Essential Commodities (Amendment) was passed to replace its corresponding Ordinance, which was promulgated in the month of June this year.
The Bill seeks to amend the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. When read with Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 as well as the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance along with the Farm Services Bill, 2020, the Bill intents to increase the availability of (buyers for farmers’ produce, by permitting them to trade freely devoid of any license or the stock limit.
STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS
The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (10 of 1955) was enacted to regulate the production, supply and distribution of, and trade and commerce in, certain commodities which are declared as essential commodities and specified in the Schedule to that Act for their ‘equitable distribution’
Regulation of food items
The Bill states that the supply of such foodstuffs, including cereals, pulses, potato, onions, edible oilseeds and oils, may be regulated by the Central Government only under extraordinary circumstances which may include war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity of grave nature.
The Bill necessitate that any action on imposing stock limit shall be based on price rise and order for regulating stock limit of any agricultural produce may be issued under this Act only if there is—
(i) Hundred per cent increase in the retail price of horticultural produce; or
(ii) Fifty per cent increase in the retail price of non-perishable agricultural foodstuffs,
The increase will be calculated over the price prevailing immediately preceding twelve months, or the average retail price of the last five years, whichever is lower.