To control the prices of several food items like onions, tomatoes, pulses. etc in the country, the government has an act called the Essential Commodities Act. The act ensures no traders can hoard essential products to artificially increase the prices of the same in the market.
But now, these traders would be free from the scrutiny of the Essential Commodities Act 1955. The government of India on Tuesday passed a bill in the parliament to remove cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.
This simply means that the traders would be able to hoard them and thus can fluctuate change the price of the same as they wish.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Septemeber 15 and was passed by a voice vote in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
The freehand being given to the private firms to hoard these products, as per the government, will allow both direct and foreign investment into the agriculture sector. This might serve the government’s aim to double farmers’ income by 2022.
In a debate in the parliament, the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Danve Raosaheb Dadarao said the essential commodities act has been hindering investment in the agriculture infrastructure.
The amendments to the six-and-half-decade law provide that stock holding limit on commodities will only be imposed under exceptional circumstances like national calamities, famine with a surge in prices, the minister said.
The government further adds that the move will also boost storage capacities to ensure minimum crop loss.
Onions and potatoes were brought under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, in 2014 with an aim to curb hoarding of them. Earlier this year, the government had said that the Essential Commodities Act is outdated and is should go.