Soya Meal declared as an Essential Commodity


  • Recently, the government has notified, under the Essential Commodities Act 1955, to declare Soya Meal as an essential commodity by amending the Schedule of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

  • 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 practices and enhance the availability for consumers like Poultry farm and Cattle feed manufacturers

 About Essential Commodities Act 1955

  • The EC Act was legislated at a time when the country was facing scarcity of foodstuffs due to persistent abysmal levels of foodgrain production.

    Credit: FICCI
  • It aims to provide, in the interest of the general public, for the control of the production, supply and distribution of, and trade and commerce, in certain commodities.
  • 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.
  • The Act gives powers to the central government to add or remove a commodity in the Schedule.
    • The Centre, if it is satisfied that it is necessary to do so in public interest, can notify an item as essential, in consultation with state governments.
  • It enables the government to fix the minimum support price (MSP) of any packaged product that it declares an “essential commodity”.
  • The Union government passed an amendment to the act in 2020 which allowed the government to delist certain commodities as essential, allowing the government to regulate their supply and prices only in cases of war, famine, extraordinary price rises, or natural calamities.
  • At present, the “Schedule” contains 9 commodities — drugs; fertilisers, whether inorganic, organic or mixed; foodstuffs, including edible oils; hank yarn made wholly from cotton; petroleum and petroleum products; raw jute and jute textiles; seeds of food-crops and seeds of fruits and vegetables, seeds of cattle fodder, jute seed, cotton seed; face masks; and hand sanitisers.
  • By declaring a commodity as essential, the government can control the production, supply, and distribution of that commodity, and impose a stock limit.

About Soyabean

  • It is an annual legume of the pea family (Fabaceae).
  • It is native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean, which has numerous uses.
  • It is economically the most important bean in the world, providing vegetable protein for millions of people and ingredients for hundreds of chemical products.
  • Traditional unfermented food uses of soybeans include soy milk, from which tofu and tofu skin are made. 
  • Fermented soy foods include soy sauce, fermented bean paste, and tempeh. 
  • It contains significant amounts of phytic acid, dietary minerals and B vitamins.
  • Like many legumes, soybeans can fix atmospheric nitrogen, due to the presence of symbiotic bacteria from the Rhizobia group.

Source: PIB

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