Essential Commodity Act, Changes and its impact on farmers…

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Ayushman Ojha, Ground Report:

An amendment done to the historic six-and-a-half decade old act to help farmers and traders while also transforming India’s agricultural Sector

Chaired by PM Narendra Modi, the Cabinet approved an amendment to the Essential Commodities Act on Wednesday to regulate food items, including cereals and onion. The Essential Commodities Act or ECA was enacted in 1955 to make certain commodities available to consumers at fair prices. Government used it to regulate Production, Supply and Distribution of commodities it declared essential. 

The amendment done to ECA  is that farm produce like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes are removed from the list of essential commodities. Earlier to this amendment NITI Aayog’s remark on ECA was that “there is a need to have a relook at some of the provisions of the ECA which discourage large scale private investments in agricultural markets, without diluting its basic premise of ensuring supplies of essential commodities to public and preventing exploitation by unscrupulous traders”. Keeping this in mind Government took this historic step to bring a gleam of joy to the faces of the farmers. The effect it will have on the farmers are-

  • With the above mentioned commodities abrogated from the list, farmers will be able to directly sell their produce to the merchants and not in wholesale markets at throw-away prices.
  • The amendment announced will help both farmers and consumers while bringing in price stability and will also prevent wastage of agri-produce that happens due to lack of storage facilities.
  • It will empower farmers for engaging with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters on a level playing field without any fear of exploitation.
  • It will promote inter and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under state agricultural produce marketing legislation.
  • Besides, the “Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020” will empower farmers for engaging with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters on a level playing field without any fear of exploitation.

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