Policy

Lok Sabha clears Bill to take out onion, potato from essential commodities list

Our Bureau. New Delhi | Updated on September 15, 2020 Published on September 15, 2020

The Lok Sabha on Tuesday approved an amendment in the Essential Commodities Act which, once enacted, will replace the ordinance promulgated in June.

The amendment aims to take out commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities. This is expected to remove fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations. The freedom to produce, hold, move, distribute and supply will lead to harnessing of economies of scale and attract private sector/foreign direct investment into agriculture sector. It will help drive up investment in cold storages and modernization of food supply chain.

The government claims the new Bill will help raise farmers’ income. However, farmers in Punjab and Haryana are protesting against the bill. This prompted the NDA’s ally Shiromani Akali Dal to raise a voice against the Bill. However, the Centre said farmers need not worry.

The government also ensured that interests of consumers are safeguarded. It has been provided in the Amendment, that in situations such as war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity, such agricultural foodstuff can be regulated. However, the installed capacity of a value chain participant and the export demand of an exporter will remain exempted from such stock limit imposition so as to ensure that investments in agriculture are not discouraged.

The amendment announced is seen to help both farmers and consumers while bringing in price stability. It will create competitive market environment and also prevent wastage of agri-produce that happens due to lack of storage facilities.

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Published on September 15, 2020
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