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Amendment In The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 And Its Relevance In The Current Scenario

The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 refers to “An Act 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”.

In the Act of 1955, The Central government could regulate the flow, stock, etc., of the food products including drugs, fertilizers, pulses, edible oils, petroleum, food, etc., for good regulation of the foodstuffs in the country. The Act also enabled the Central government to control the production of the item, creation of stock of the items to gain extra profits by creating a deficiency of the products in the market.



Major Features of the Act And The Recent Amendment


The Act controlled the production, supply, and distribution, etc., of the essential commodities. The Government was of the view that it is necessary or expedient to maintain the supply of any essential commodity or for securing their equitable distribution and availability of fair price for the commodities. In the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s view, the Act of 1955 was brought and the items like potatoes, onions were included in the list because those were the days of scarcity. The Essential Commodities Act ensured the delivery of certain commodities doesn’t get blocked by hoarding or black marketing of these items. Giving an example in respect to the current scenario, the items like Masks and Hand Sanitizers are the essentials in this COVID-19 situation, so the government included these items in the list of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 to regulate the flow, supply, and distribution of the essential commodities.


The list which included the products has become outdated if we consider the current scenario. Even the production capacity and the quality of the production of the items have increased compared to the time when the list of the Act of Essential Commodities included items like grains, oils, pulses, potatoes, etc. Also, the farmers were not getting the appropriate price for his products as the faith of his produce laid with the Agriculture Market Committee, as the prices of the items were decided by this committee.

The Union Minister Prakash Javadekar in a meeting chaired by the Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said that the Cabinet has struck down the regulation by amending order to exclude some essential foodstuff like grains, oil, pulses, potatoes, onions from the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 for the welfare of the farmers. The farmers now can make a trade of their products according to their wish and are free from the clutches of the Agriculture Producer Market Committee.


By the exclusion of these items from the list of Essential Commodities by the government, the farmers will be independent now. He could now decide where to sell his produce and to whom to sell it and he can also keep his products to gain some amount of extra profits.


Conclusion


In the backdrop of the amendment of the Act, the farmers must come out of their old practice of selling goods at a low price to agents and the brokers, thus indirectly making them rich. Now the time has come for the farmers to wake up and become businessmen just like the agents used to be. Even the farmer can start warehouses to store their goods. He can also establish a direct chain with customers with the help of modern technologies like social media platforms. The change in the law was the long archaic demand of the public, especially the farmers. They deserve this change as they were deprived and paid less for their products, and the money of their share went to the agents.

So, the farmers now should take advantage of the amendment by gaining profits and making his lifestyle good and worth living. And farmers now could live a dignified and standard life which he and his family had dreamt of.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashutosh R. Patare is currently pursuing Law at MMM’s Shankarrao Chavan Law College, Pune.

Edited by: Swathi Ashok Nair

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