Government today extended by one year the control order under the Essential Commodities Act to allow the states to take steps to curb unscrupulous trading and hoarding of pulses, edible oils and oilseeds.
The validity of a central order was extended from October 1 to September 30, 2016 in respect of pulses, edible oils and oilseeds, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.
“This will enable states to regulate trade of these essential commodities and to continue to take effective operations under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
In view of shortages, it was decided in 2014 that pulses, edible oils and edible oilseeds to be brought under control order to ensure availability. The same order is expiring on September 30.
“They (states) can impose stock limits/licensing requirements etc to curb unscrupulous trading, hoarding and profiteering,” an official statement said.
The extension will also help the states in tackling the problem of ensuring adequate availability of these commodities in the domestic market and keep prices under control, it said.
The government, the statement said, has taken a series of measures to enhance availability and moderate prices of essential commodities, especially pulses and onions.
Future trade in pulses like urad and tur has already been suspended. Export of pulses has been banned and there is zero duty on import of pulses.
To increase availability of pulses in the domestic market, 5,000 tonnes of urad and 5,000 tonnes of tur has been ordered to be imported.
These imports are likely to reach shortly, which will ease the price situation.
The Cabinet, Prasad said, has also decided to put stock limit on registered warehouses with regards to pulses, edible oils and oilseeds. Prasad said the whole idea of extending the control order by one year more is to ensure that state governments take appropriate measures to undertake various legal initiatives available to them under the Essential Commodities Act to make these articles available.
With regard to warehouses, he said stock limits are not applicable on such registered warehouses.
The government has decided that stock limit will be imposed on such warehouses in regards to pulses, edible oils and edible oilseeds.
“Complaints had come to the government that many of the warehouses registered under the Warehousing Development Regulatory Authority (WDRA), in which even a private godown can be registered and even government godown can be registered, on which no stock limit was provided, but certain cartelisation was taking place whereby these products were not coming to the market.
“Therefore, they will also come into the ambit of the stock limit limitations,” he added.
“Government believes that by this step these items will come into market” because questions were being raised about availability of pulses, he added.
However, three categories will be exempted from stock limit — stockists who export, those who store raw material for food processing and those who supply to retail trade.
The government has taken these two important decisions regarding pulses, edible oils and edible oilseeds in view of the concerns raised regarding availability of these articles, the minister said.