NEW DELHI: The Union cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved amending the six-decade old Essential Commodities Act (ECA), days after finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the government will do do.

The Act, which empowers government to impose curbs on stocking of farm produce, will be amended to make it in tune with the times and to attract investments into the farm sector.

After the amendment, commodities such as cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potato are expected to be deregulated.

No stock limit will apply to processors or value chain participants following amendment to the Essential Commodities Act, Sitharaman had said, adding that such limits will be imposed only in exceptional circumstances like national calamities or famine.

The ECA was created when there were shortages in the country, information and broadcasting Minister Prakash Javedekar said today while briefing reporters about the Cabinet’s decisions. Today, “there is no question of shortage, today we have excess of production.”

Amending the Essential Commodities Act of 1955 is among the measures announced last month as part of reforms to improve infrastructure and logistics facilities needed for giving a big push to the sector, the largest employer in the economy. The announcements were part of the 20 lakh crore stimulus package aimed at helping the poor and vulnerable, farmers, small businesses and corporates hit by the coronavirus epidemic

The Union cabinet also approved implementing the one nation one market system, Javedekar said.

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