Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance: A strong EC Act is still needed - Parikshit Goyal

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published Published on Jul 27, 2020   modified Modified on Jul 31, 2020

-Down to Earth

The ordinance does not expressly define ‘extraordinary circumstances’: Such legislative ambiguity makes one question the entire exercise of introducing this particular provision

As the Union government announced massive reforms as part of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief package, attention went to three agriculture sector ordinances related to farmers’ trade, contract farming and amendments in the Essential Commodities Act.

While each of the three ordinances have far-reaching implications from legal and socio-economic points of view, the scope of this blog is restricted to the examination of the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

More than 700 years ago — in order to ensure maintenance of a large army under the threat of a looming Mongol invasion — Alauddin Khilji realised the importance of stocking food grains in times of crisis.

He ensured a steady supply of food grains and made provisions for storage. The price was fixed and the market was regulated.

Regulation framework

The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 was enacted at a time when the country faced an acute shortage of several commodities, especially food items.

Under the act, an ‘essential commodity’ is a commodity specified under the schedule of the Act. The Union government is empowered to amend the schedule to add or remove a commodity to said schedule in public interest and in consultation with state governments.

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Down to Earth, 29 July, 2020,

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