The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed all the states to ensure the availability of essential goods like foodstuff, medicines and medical equipment during the 21-day nationwide lockdown period by fixing stock limits and capping of prices.
Union Home Secretary, Ajay Kumar Bhalla has written to all State Chief Secretaries to take urgent steps to ensure availability of essential goods, by invoking provisions of the Essential Commodities (EC) Act 1955. These measures include fixing of stock limits, capping of prices, enhancing production, an inspection of accounts of dealers and other such actions.
“There have been reports of loss of production due to various factors, especially reduction in labour supply. In this situation, there is a possibility of inventory building/hoarding and black marketing, profiteering, and speculative trading, resulting in price rise of essential goods,” Bhalla mentioned.
The States have been asked to take urgent steps to ensure the availability of these commodities at fair prices for the public at large during the lockdown period, imposed to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.
Earlier, the MHA, with its orders under the Disaster Management Act, has allowed manufacture/production, transport and other related supply-chain activities in respect of essential goods.
Further, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India, is authorizing States/Union Territories to notify orders under the EC Act, 1955 by relaxing the requirement of the prior concurrence of the Central Government up to June 30, 2020.
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