The Lok Sabha passed the Essential Commodities Amendment Bill by a voice vote on Tuesday evening. The Bill proposes to deregulate the production, storage, movement and sale of several foodstuffs, including cereals, pulses, edible oils and onions, except in the case of extraordinary circumstances.
With thousands of farmers rising up in protest against the Bill in Punjab, one of the allies of the ruling BJP, the Shiromani Akali Dal MP and president Sukhbir Singh Badal, expressed concerns and misgivings about the proposed legislation during the debate in the House.
He questioned the manner in which the Bill was brought without consultation with farmers’ organisations. Punjab farmers were the worst affected, he said.
The Bill is meant to replace an ordinance promulgated in June, in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown.
It says stock limits can only be imposed if retail prices surge 50% above the average in the case of non-perishables and 100% in the case of perishables.