In news- Recently, the Union government declared Soya Meal as an Essential Commodity up to 30th June, 2022.
- The Government has amended the Schedule of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
- The decision would empower the Union Government and all States, UTs to regulate production, distribution etc. of Soya Meal and to smoothen the sale and availability of this item in the market.
- It will stop unfair market practices and enhance the availability for consumers like Poultry farm and Cattle feed manufacturers.
- Maximum stock of 90 days production, as per daily input production capacity of Plant/Miller/Processor, can be held and the storage location should be declared.
- Trading company/Trader/Private Chaupals: Only Government registered enterprise, maximum stock of 160 MT with a defined and declared storage location can be stored.
- In case of stocks held by respective legal entities are higher than the prescribed limits then they shall declare the same on the portal of Department of Food and Public Distribution and bring it to the prescribed stock limits within 30 days of the issue of the notification.
Essential Commodities Act
- The EC Act was legislated at a time when the country was facing scarcity of foodstuffs due to persistent abysmal levels of foodgrain production.
- It aims to provide, in the interest of the general public, for the control of the production, supply and distribution of, and trade and commerce, in certain commodities.
- There is no specific definition of essential commodities in The EC Act.
- Section 2(A) of the act states that an “essential commodity” means a commodity specified in the Schedule of this Act.
- The Act gives powers to the central government to add or remove a commodity in the Schedule.
- It enables the government to fix the minimum support price (MSP) of any packaged product that it declares an “essential commodity”.
- The Union government passed an amendment to the act in 2020 which allowed the government to delist certain commodities as essential, allowing the government to regulate their supply and prices only in cases of war, famine, extraordinary price rises, or natural calamities.
- It is an annual legume of the pea family (Fabaceae).
- It is native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean, which has numerous uses.
- It is economically the most important bean in the world, providing vegetable protein for millions of people and ingredients for hundreds of chemical products.
- Traditional unfermented food uses of soybeans include soy milk, from which tofu and tofu skin are made.
- Fermented soy foods include soy sauce, fermented bean paste, and tempeh.
- It contains significant amounts of phytic acid, dietary minerals and B vitamins.
- Like many legumes, soybeans can fix atmospheric nitrogen, due to the presence of symbiotic bacteria from the Rhizobia group.