India: Lok Sabha passes Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020

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The lower house of India’s bicameral Parliament – Lok Sabha – has passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 that aims to deregulate food items, including cereals, pulses, and onion.

The bill provides that stock limits may be imposed on agri-produce only if there is a steep price rise. Also, it allows the federal government to regulate the supply of some food items only under “extraordinary circumstances” such as war, famine, among others.

However, the farmer unions and opposition parties are protesting against the proposed legislation, claiming that it will not only phase out the MSP (Minimum Support Price) and the traditional grain market system but also crush the small as well as marginal farmers.