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Amendment to Essential Commodities Act gets cabinet nod

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The Union cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved amending the Essential Commodities Act (ECA). Earlier finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the government will amend the six-decade old Act. The Act allows for the government to impose curbs on stocking of farm produce. The move is also aimed at attracting investments to the farm sector.

Following the amendment, commodities such as edible oils, oilseeds, potato, pulses, onions and cereals will be deregulated. Sitharaman had earlier said that the limits on these commodities will be imposed only in exceptional circumstances like national calamities or famine.

Information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said the Act was made at a time when the country faced shortages. But now “there is no question of shortage and we have excess of production,” he told reporters.

The amendment to the Act were among the measures announced by Sitharaman to improve infrastructure and logistics facilities to give a push to the farm sector. The Centre also approved implementing the one nation one market system.