- Punjab Government to challenge Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act in court
- Captain Amarinder Singh calls the act a conspiracy by the centre to destroy Punjab and its farmers
Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh has said that he is going to challenge the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act in court. He said that this legislation is a conspiracy by the Centre to destroy the state and its farmers.
A statement issued from the Punjab Chief Minister’s Office said, “Will challenge Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act in court, says CM Captain Amarinder Singh, terms it a conspiracy by BJP led NDA, of which Akali Dal is part, to destroy Punjab & its farmers. Takes on Sukhbir for completely failing the state’s farmers to promote Akali interests,”.
On Tuesday, in the Lok Sabha, a bill was passed which allowed the Central Government to regulate the supply of some foot items only under extraordinary circumstances which could include war, famine, significant rise in prices and natural calamities of grave nature.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which will replace an ordinance, does provide that Stock limits could be imposed on agricultural produces only if there is a huge rise in prices. The ordinance was part of three ordinances brought by the government as part of “reforms in agriculture marketing”.
Replying to the argument, Raosaheb Danve, the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said that “the government had issued an ordinance to amend the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 which said that the supply of agricultural food as are notified by the Central Government shall be regulated only under extraordinary circumstances which may include war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity of grave nature and any action for imposing stock limit shall be based on price rise, subject to the conditions and exemptions specified therein”.
The minister also said that the production of Wheat and Rice in India has witnessed a quantum jump since its independence. He added that the amendments will make sure removal of any disruption in the supply chain of food products and lead to an increase in investments.
He said. “The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act will ensure the supply chain will be established for vegetables and fruits. Agriculture will attract greater investment due to this amendment,”.
The Minister added, “In the current perspective, to boost investment in agriculture this bill will play an important role. Due to corona crisis, there was a possibility of a rise in prices of food products due to disruption in transport and supply chain of food products but our government did not allow that to happen,”.
The statement of the reasons and objects of the bill states that India as a country has become surplus in the majority of the agricultural commodities, however, the farmers have not been able to get better prices owing to the lack of investment in cold storages, warehouses, processing and exports as entrepreneurs get discouraged by the regulatory mechanisms in the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
A report from a leading news agency in India wrote, “It states that a High Powered Committee of Chief Ministers, who examined this issue, recommended removal of stringent restrictions on stock movement and price control of agricultural foodstuffs for attracting private investments in agricultural marketing and infrastructure.”