1. Agriculture World

Union Cabinet Amends Essential Commodities Act – Indian Agriculture Shining

Abhijeet Banerjee
Abhijeet Banerjee

It was another breakthrough for the Agriculture sector with the Union Cabinet approving the amendment in the Essential Commodities Act of 1955 to “deregulate” agricultural commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onions and potatoes. It also circulated an ordinance to allow farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters. The Union Cabinet had already indicated making amendments in the Essential Commodities act, during it Rs 20 Lakh crore financial package announcements. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution had circulated a draft of the ordinance to amend the EC Act on May 17th.  

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, while addressing a media briefing said that the Government has approved “The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020” to ensure barrier free trade in agriculture produce. Therefore, now onwards farmers will not be bound to sell their crop only to licensed traders in the APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) mandis of their respective talukas or districts. 

Tomar also said that the “Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020” will be beneficial for farmers in engaging with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters under least concerns exploitation. “This is a historic-step in unlocking the vastly regulated agricultural markets in the country, said Tomar. The amendment to the Essential Commodities Act will reduce fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference, according to the Agriculture Minister.  

PM Narendra Modi said in a tweet “This will go a long way in helping India’s farmers while also transforming the agriculture sector. In near future Indian farmers are therefore expected to get better price realization. The amendment also ensures no such stock limit applicable to processors or value chain participant, subject to their installed capacity or to any exporter subject to the export demand. In a way, farmers have now greater independence in making decisions regarding sale of their crop with less hassles. On the whole, the amendment will be a key solution for easing barrier free trade for the farmers.  

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