The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed by Parliament
Key features of the bill
- The bill amends the Essential Commodities Act, 1955
- The existing Act empowers the central government to control the production, supply, distribution, storage, and trade of essential commodities.
- The Bill provides that the central government can regulate the supply of certain food items (as may be notified), including cereals, pulses, potato, onions, edible oilseeds, and oils, only under extraordinary circumstances such as war, famine, extraordinary price rise, and natural calamity of grave nature.
- It also mentions that a stock limit may be imposed on agricultural produce only if there is:
- a 100% increase in the retail price in case of horticultural produce, or
- a 50% increase in the retail price in case of non-perishable agricultural food items.
- Such stock limit will not apply to a processor or value chain participant if the stock held by such person is less than: (i) the overall ceiling of installed processing capacity, or (ii) demand for export in case of an exporter