Govt to amend Essential Commodities Act to deregulate cereals, edible oil, pulses

NEW DELHI: The government will amend the six-and-a-half-decade old Essential Commodities Act to deregulate food items, including cereals, edible oil, oilseeds, pulses, onion and potato, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday.
The amendment, besides deregulating production and sale of food products, will provide for no stock limit to be imposed on any produce.
A stock limit will be imposed only under very exceptional circumstances like national calamities, famine with a surge in prices.
Also, no stock limit shall apply to processors or value chain participants, she said announcing the third tranche of economic relief package to deal with COVID-19 disruptions.
Also, agriculture marketing reforms will be done to provide marketing choices to farmers.
She also announced new funds for fisheries, dairy development, herbal plantation and livestock vaccination.
She said Rs 15,000 crore Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund will be set up to support investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.
To ensure 100 per cent vaccination of all livestock against foot and mouth disease (FMD) Rs 13,343 crore will be provided, she said.
As much as Rs 10,000 crore will be provided for fishermen through Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).
For promoting herbal cultivation, Rs 4,000 crore National Medicinal Plants Fund will be started to help 10 lakh hectares to be covered under herbal cultivation.
Also, Operation Greens will be extended from tomato, onion and potato to all fruit and vegetables by providing 50 per cent subsidy on transportation and storage of these commodities, she said.
For beekeepers, a Rs 500-crore scheme was announced for infrastructure development and post-harvest facilities.

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