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Onion, potato, cereals, pulses, edible oils may no longer remain essential commodities

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In a move that may not go down well with the common man, the Centre on Tuesday got The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill cleared from the Rajya Sabha through a voice vote.

The bill will remove cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onion, potato and edible oils from the list of essential commodities. It also aims to remove the apprehensions of the private investors of excessive government regulatory interference in their agri-business operations.

The bill has been already cleared by the Lok Sabha on September 15 and will replace an ordinance promulgated in June. It will be now sent to President Ram Nath Kovind for his assent.

What the govt said?

Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Danve Raosaheb Dadarao said that the stock limit conditions imposed through the law were hindering investment in agricultural infrastructure.

He added that the amendments to the six-and-half-decade law ensure that stock holding limits on commodities will only be imposed under exceptional circumstances like calamities and famine.

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The minister said the bill will boost investment in the agriculture sector and will also create more storage capacity to reduce post-harvest crop loss.

“This amendment is in favour of both farmers and consumers,” Dadarao added.

Amendment in Essential Commodities Act will help to boost farmers’ income

Dadarao said the changes in the 1955 law are a crucial step taken by the government and it will help in doubling farmers’ income besides promoting ease of doing business.

The minister said that the essential commodities act was introduced when the country was not self-sufficient in food grains production. However, he added that the situation has changed and that is why the amendment was required.

While India has become surplus in most agri-commodities, farmers have been unable to get better prices. This is due to the lack of infrastructure, especially cold storage, warehouses, food processing and export.

The minister said farmers incur losses when there is a bumper harvest of perishable items.

 

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