- Recently, the government has notified, under the Essential Commodities Act 1955, to declare ‘soya meal’ as an essential commodity up to 30th June, 2022.
- This step is expected to stop any unfair practises (like hoarding, black marketing etc) in the market having the potential to hike the prices of soya meal.
- This will also enhance the availability of the commodity for consumers like poultry farms and cattle feed manufacturers.
- Soybean meal is the most important protein source used to feed farm animals. It is also used for human consumption in some countries.
- It represents nearly two-thirds of the total world output of protein feedstuffs, including all other major oil meals and fish meals.
- Soybean meal is the by-product of the extraction of soybean oil.
About Essential Commodities Act 1955:
- The ECA Act 1995, was legislated at a time when the country was facing a scarcity of foodstuffs due to persistent low levels of foodgrains production.
- The country was dependent on imports and assistance (such as wheat import form the US under PL-480) to feed the population.
- To prevent hoarding and black marketing of foodstuffs, the Essential Commodities Act was enacted in 1955.
- There is no specific definition of essential commodities in the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
- Section 2(A) states that an “essential commodity” means a commodity specified in the Schedule of the Act.
- The Act gives powers to the central government to add or remove a commodity in the Schedule.
- The Centre, if it is satisfied that it is necessary to do so in public interest, can notify an item as essential, in consultation with state governments.
The ECA 1955 was brought when India was not self-sufficient in food grains production. However, now India has become surplus in most agri-commodities, and the amendments in the ECA 1955 is an important step by the government to achieve its target of doubling farmers’ income and also for ease of doing business.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT