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Essential Commodities Act

Paper: General studies 3

Topic: problems related to agricultural marketing

Why in News?

Government invokes restrictions under essential commodities act to contain Onion price rise

Why Onion’s price is rising?

The basis lies in demand-supply mismatch caused by:

  • Excess rain this year due to which farmers could not harvest their crops in time, leading to an acute shortage of onion supply in the market
  • Flooding of many onion producing regions
  • Artificial shortage created by illegal hoarding of onions ahead of the festive season

Steps taken to correct the mismatch:

  • The government offloaded about 16000 tonnes of onion from its buffer stock to increase supply in the market
  • Crackdown on illegal hoarding and implementing stricter stocking limits on onion
  • Export curbs to channelize supply to domestic market

Essential Commodities Act.1955

  • Aim: to ensure the delivery of certain commodities or products, the supply of which if obstructed owing to hoarding or blackmarketing would affect the normal life of the people. This includes food, drugs, fuel (petroleum products) etc.
  • Under the act, the central government can include new commodities as and when the need arises, and take them off the list once the situation improves
  • 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.
  • The States act on this notification to specify limits and take steps to ensure that these are adhered to.
  • Anybody trading or dealing in the commodity, be it wholesalers, retailers or even importers are prevented from stockpiling it beyond a certain quantity.
  • A State can, however, choose not to impose any restrictions


Malnutrition in India

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Issues related to Poverty and Hunger

Why in News?

  • Data from comprehensive national nutrition survey – conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family welfare and UNICEF – released

Major highlights:

  • While undernutrition remains a problem for India, obesity is creating another problem of malnutrition in India
  • Nearly 10% of children and adolescents are pre-diabetic, with 7% showing risk of chronic kidney disease
  • About 4% adolescents have high cholesterol, and 5% having high blood pressure
  • This highlights that along with programmes to provide nutrition, the dual nature of malnutrition problem in the country requires a stress on right nutrition

Government Steps against Malnutrition:

  • A multipronged approach to counter malnutrition consists components like food availability, accessibility and affordability, along with targeted interventions for particular problems. Major government initiatives in the area of reducing malnutrition include:
    • Schemes such as Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) which have elements related to supplementary nutrition; counselling on diet, rest and breastfeeding etc.
    • A comprehensive National Nutrition Strategy 2017, outlining a plan to fight the menace of malnutrition in the country
    • National Nutrition Mission(POSHAN Abhiyaan) having specific targeted approaches to lower Stunting and wasting in children, and anemia in pregnant and lactating mothers
    • Programmes such as Mothers’ Absolute Affection (MAA) to bring undiluted focus on promotion of breastfeeding and provision of counselling services for supporting breastfeeding through health systems, as according to WHO universalization of  breastfeeding has the potential to reduce malnutrition in children to a major extent
    • Programmes such as MGNREGA, PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, and various pension schemes for income support to marginalized groups improves accessibility to food
    • Use of biotechnology for food fortification to counter hidden hunger.


Prelims Specific

  • Galo tribe: The Galo are a central Eastern Himalayan tribe, who are descendants of Abo Tani and speak the Tani language – galo. The Galo people primarily inhabit West Siang, Lepa Rada, and Lower Siang districts of modern-day Arunachal Pradesh. Other names which have been used to reference the Galo in the past include Duba, Doba, Dobah Abor, Gallong Abor, Galong, Gallong Adi, etc.
  • Bathukamma: Bathukamma is floral festival celebrated predominantly by the Telangana and some parts of Andhra Pradesh. Bathukamma is celebrated for nine days during Durga Navratri, and is a festival of female felicitation