Contents:
 

  1. Essential Commodities (EC) Act 1955
  2. Biofortified carrot
  3. TRIFED to launch a digital campaign

Essential Commodities (EC) Act 1955

Why in news?

MHA writes to States to ensure availability of Essential Goods, by invoking provisions of the Essential Commodities (EC) Act 1955, under Lockdown to fight COVID-19.

Details:

Offences under the EC Act are criminal offences and may result in imprisonment of seven years or fine or both.

The State and Union Territory governments may also consider detention of offenders under the Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980

Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution is authorising States and Union Territories to notify orders under the EC Act, 1955 by relaxing the requirement of prior concurrence of the Central government up to June 30, 2020

Background:

Essential Commodities Act

  • The ECA is an act which was established to ensure the delivery of certain commodities or products, the supply of which if obstructed owing to hoarding or black-marketing would affect the normal life of the people.
  • The ECA was enacted in 1955. This includes foodstuff, drugs, fuel (petroleum products) etc.
  • It has since been used by the Government to regulate the production, supply and distribution of a whole host of commodities it declares ‘essential’ in order to make them available to consumers at fair prices.
  • Additionally, the government can also fix the maximum retail price (MRP) of any packaged product that it declares an “essential commodity”.
  • The list of items under the Act includes drugs, fertilizers, pulses and edible oils, and petroleum and petroleum products.

How it works?

  1. If the Centre finds that a certain commodity is in short supply and its price is spiking, it can notify stock-holding limits on it for a specified period.
  2. The States act on this notification to specify limits and take steps to ensure that these are adhered to.
  3. Anybody trading or dealing in a commodity , be it wholesalers, retailers or even importers are prevented from stockpiling it beyond a certain quantity.
  4. A State can, however, choose not to impose any restrictions. But once it does, traders have to immediately sell into the market any stocks held beyond the mandated quantity.

What are Food Items covered under it?

  • The items covered include rice, wheat, atta, gram dal, arhar dal, moong dal, urad dal, masoor, dal, tea, sugar, salt, Vanaspati, groundnut oil, mustard oil, milk, soya oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, gur, potato, onion and tomato.
  • Based on the deliberations, Government takes various measures from time to time to stabilize prices of essential food items which, inter-alia, include appropriately utilizing trade and fiscal policy instruments like import duty.
  • The govt. can impose stock limits and advise State for effective action against hoarders & black marketers etc. to regulate domestic availability and moderate prices.

Biofortified carrot

Why in news?
 

Madhuban Gajar, a biofortified carrot variety with high β-carotene and iron content developed by Shri Vallabhhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya, a farmer scientist from Junagadh district, Gujarat is benefitting more than 150 local farmers in the area.

Biofortified Carrot upsc

Details:

The Madhuvan Gajar is a highly nutritious carrot variety developed through the selection method with higher β-carotene content (277.75 mg/kg) and iron content (276.7 mg/kg) dry basis and is used for various value-added products like carrot chips, juices, and pickles.

Among all the varieties tested, beta-carotene and iron content were found to be superior.

National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India conducted validation trials for this variety at Rajasthan Agricultural Research Institute (RARI), Jaipur. 

  • In the trials, it was found that Madhuban Gajar carrot variety possesses a significantly higher root yield and plant biomass as compared to check variety.

Background:

Biofortification is the process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved through agronomic practices, conventional plant breeding, or modern biotechnology.

Biofortification differs from conventional fortification in that biofortification aims to increase nutrient levels in crops during plant growth rather than through manual means during processing of the crops.

Biofortification may therefore present a way to reach populations where supplementation and conventional fortification activities may be difficult to implement and/or limited.

Examples of biofortification projects include:

  • iron-biofortification of rice, beans, sweet potato, cassava and legumes;
  • zinc-biofortification of wheat, rice, beans, sweet potato and maize;
  • provitamin A carotenoid-biofortification of sweet potato, maize and cassava; and
  • amino acid and protein-biofortification of sourghum and cassava.

TRIFED to launch a digital campaign

Why in news?

To ensure tribal gatherers carry on their work safely, TRIFED has recently developed a digital communication strategy for promoting a digital campaign for Self Help Groups (SHGs) involved in this work.

Details:

  • UNICEF would provide the necessary support to be circulated to the SHG centers in the form of 
    • Digital Multimedia content
    • Webinars for Virtual trainings :Basic orientation on COVID response, key preventive behaviours 
    • Social Media campaigns :On social distancing, home quarantine, etc.
    • Vanya Radio
  • TRIFED has also reached out to the Art of Living Foundation #iStandWithHumanity Initiative with a Stand With Tribal Families component in providing much needed food and ration for survival of the tribal community.

Background:

What is TRIFED?

  • The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) came into existence in 1987. It is a national-level apex organization functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • TRIFED has its Head Office located in New Delhi and has a network of 13 Regional Offices located at various places in the country.

Functions

It mainly undertakes two functions viz. Minor Forest Produce (MFP) development and Retail Marketing and Development.

Objectives

  • The ultimate objective of TRIFED is socio-economic development of tribal people in the country by way of marketing development of the tribal products such as metal craft, tribal textiles, pottery, tribal paintings and pottery on which the tribals depends heavily for major portion of their income.
  • TRIFED acts as a facilitator and service provider for tribes to sell their product.
  • The approach by TRIFED aims to empower tribal people with knowledge, tools and pool of information so that they can undertake their operations in a more systematic and scientific manner.
  • It also involves capacity building of the tribal people through sensitization, formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and imparting training to them for undertaking a particular activity.
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