Department of Consumer Affairs administers ‘The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (EC Act)’ and ‘Prevention of Blackmarketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980 (PBMMSEC Act)’. The Central Government is consistently following the policy of removing all unnecessary restrictions on movement of goods across the State boundaries as part of the process of globalization simultaneously with the pruning of the list of essential commodities under the said Act to promote consumer interest and free trade. At present, there are seven (7) commodities scheduled under the EC Act, 1955 as essential.
- Fertilizer, whether inorganic, organic or mixed;
- Foodstuffs, including edible oilseeds and oils;
- Hank yarn made wholly from cotton;
- Petroleum and petroleum products;
- Raw jute and jute textile;
- (i) seeds of food-crops and seeds of fruits and vegetables;
(ii) seeds of cattle fodder; and
(iii) jute seeds;
(iv) cotton seed
The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 was enacted to ensure the easy availability of essential commodities to consumers and to protect them from exploitation by unscrupulous traders. Exercising powers under the Act, various Ministries/Departments of the Central Government and under the delegated powers vide order dated 09.06.1978, the State Governments/UT Administrations have issued Control Orders for regulating production, distribution, pricing and other aspects of trading in respect of the commodities declared as essential. The enforcement/implementation of the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 lies with the State Governments and UT Administrations.