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“Soya Meal” declared as an Essential Commodity

  • Category
    Economy
  • Published
    3rd Jan, 2022

Context

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has declared ‘Soya Meal’ as an Essential Commodities up to June 30, 2022, by amending the Schedule of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

  • The Ministry has published the Essential Commodities Order, 2021 to regulate the production, stocking and distribution of Soya Meal.

Recently, the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had banned futures and options trading for various agricultural commodities that also included soya bean, for a period of one year in an apparent move to curb inflation.

About

What is Essential Commodities Act?

  • The Essential Commodities Act 1955 enabled the state governments to impose stock limits and restrict movement of essential commodities.
  • The 2020 Amendment removes restrictions on stocking of certain essential commodities.
  • It provides that the central government can regulate the supply of food stuff only under extraordinary circumstances such as war, famine, exceptional price rise and grave natural calamities.
  • It further specifies that stock limit can only be imposed if there is 50 per cent rise in retail price of non-perishable agricultural foodstuff over the price prevailing in the preceding 12 months or average retail price of last five years, whichever is lower.

What is ‘essential commodity’?

  • There is no specific definition of essential commodities in The EC Act.
  • Section 2(A) of the act states that an “essential commodity” means a commodity specified in the “Schedule” of this Act.

Facts about Soybean meal

  • Soybean meal is the most important protein source used to feed farm animals.
  • It represents two-thirds of the total world output of protein feedstuffs, including all other major oil meals and fish meal.
  • Soybeans are called as “vegetarian meat without bones”, as they contain high amount of protein, similar to the protein in meat, egg and dairy products.
  • And soybean plant is one of those few plants which provide essential amino acids that are responsible for formation of protein.
  • Soybeans are good source of vitamins and minerals including molybdenum, folate, copper, phosphorus, manganese and vitamin K.
  • Soybeans create some of their own fertilizers; they have ability to take nitrogen from the air. Microorganisms present on soybean roots can convert that nitrogen taken from air into the usable form of plant.

Significance of the move

  • The decision would empower the Union government and all states/UTs to regulate production, distribution etc. of soya meal and to smoothen the sale and availability of this item in the market.
  • It will stop unfair market practises and enhance the availability for consumers like poultry farms and cattle feed manufacturers.
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