new Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday approved the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020. Apart from the opposition parties, the bill was opposed by the Shiromani Akali Dal, a constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance at the center. The Akali Dal demanded the government to withdraw the bill and the ordinance.
The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 provides for the removal of cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion potatoes from the list of essential commodities. This will remove private investors from fear of excessive regulatory interventions in their business operations.
Freedom of product, product range, movement, distribution and supply will help to boost the sales economy and attract private sector / foreign direct investment in agriculture.
Responding to the discussion in the lower house, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Raosaheb Danve said that through this bill the entire supply chain in agriculture will be strengthened, farmers will be strengthened and investment will be encouraged. He said that this will create a business-friendly environment in the agriculture sector and strengthen the “Vocal for Local”.
After the Minister’s reply, the House approved the bill by voice, rejecting the amendments of some opposition members. This bill has been brought in place of the related ordinance. This ordinance was issued on 5 June 2020.
The Union Minister said that a High Powered Committee of Chief Ministers was formed to consider this issue. He said that such provisions have been made in this bill, which will increase competition in the market, increase purchase and who will get fair price.
Taking part in the discussion, Rahul Shewale of Shiv Sena said that no clear provision has been made in terms of control over the price of food items. The government should focus on this. He said that strict provisions should be made to control the price of essential commodities to fight against the corona virus.
Kaushalendra Kumar of JDU said that every effort should be made to curb black marketing and hoarding and this bill will help in controlling prices. Bhatrihari Mahtab of Biju Janata Dal said that a strong system should be put in place to control prices.
BSP’s Kunwar Danish Ali alleged that the bill is anti-farmer and is going to benefit middlemen. Srinivas Patil of the Nationalist Congress Party and some other members also participated in the discussion.
Sukhvir Singh Badal of Shiromani Akali Dal, a constituent of the ruling NDA at the center, said that there are many doubts among farmers, artisans and traders of Punjab regarding this law. The government should withdraw this bill and ordinance.
Opposing the bill, Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress said that there have been earlier amendments in the Essential Commodities Act, but the current amendment is going to weaken the entire law. Kalyan Banerjee of the same party said that if such amendments benefit the farmers, then they have no problem but it is beneficial for the diocese. BJD’s Bhatrihari Mahtab requested the government that the interests of farmers and consumers should be protected.
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