Amendments Current Affairs - 2020

Union Cabinet approves farmer friendly Essential Commodities Act

On June 3, 2020, the Union Cabinet chaired by PM Modi has made historic amendments to Essential Commodities Act. Under the amendment, the regulatory environment has been liberalized for farmers.

The Farmers Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020:

The amendment has been made through this ordinance. The ordinance will allow farmers to engage with aggregators, processors, exporters and large retailers as well. Under the amendment to Essential Commodities Act, 1955, the agricultural commodities such as pulses, cereals, onions oil seeds and potatoes have been deregulated.

Also, the amendment will allow clamping of stock limits only under very extreme circumstances. This includes famines and natural calamities. The stock limit is not applicable to processors and value chain participants. They shall stock only to their installed capacity. This will help in better price realization.

Background

The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman had earlier announced under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan that a central law would be formulated that will not bind farmers to sell their crops. The minister also announced that the law will not bind the farmers to sell their produce only to licensed traders in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee mandis.

Motor Vehicles Act: 10% reduction of road accidents in 5 months

On March 16, 2020, the Minister of Transport Nithin Gadkari informed Rajya Sabha that there has been 10% decrease in road accidents since the passage of Motors Vehicles Act.

Highlights

During the Question Hour, the minister replied that India has pledged to reduce 50% of accidents in 5 years. Also, India signed the World Safety Conference held in Sweden recently.

Status of accidents in India

In India, more than 5 lakh accidents occur annually and more than 1.5 lakh people lose their lives.

Effects of the law

After the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) act, 2019 was passed in July 2019, accidents have reduced by 10% in the country. This has saved 10,000 lives. Out of all the states, Tamil Nadu has made significant progress in reducing road accidents. The state alone has helped reduce 24% of accidents in the last 5 months. Gujarat helped reduce 14%, Andhra Pradesh has reduced accidents by 7% and Uttar Pradesh has helped to reduce 13% of accidents in the country.

In Kerala, the accidents have increased by 4.9% and Assam by 8% rise.

Motor Vehicles Act

The Motor Vehicles act is currently under concurrent list. This means that both the centre and the states are empowered to implement the requirements of the act.

Measures of GoI

The World Bank has provided Rs 14,000 crores and Asian Development Bank has provided grant of Rs 7,000 crores to improve road infrastructure of India. The funds are to be used to improve road engineering and also to providing training in driving.