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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Essential Commodities Act

Why in News?

Govt brings masks and hand sanitizers under the Essential Commodities Act.

Under the EC Act, powers of the Central Government have already been delegated to the States by way of orders during 1972 to 1978.  The States/UTs, therefore may take action against the offenders.


The coronavirus pandemic has triggered panic buying of masks and hand sanitisers at many places around the world, including in India.

The government’s order has come in the wake of reports of a shortage of these commodities and a sudden and sharp spike in their prices, and the alleged hoarding of stocks by manufacturers.

What is Essential Commodities Act?

The ECA was enacted way back in 1955.

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.

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.

Facts for Prelims

Railway Development Authority ( RDA):

  • Government approved the constitution of the Rail Development Authority (RDA) in April, 2017.
  • The role/mandate of RDA inter-alia includes providing expert advice to Government to make informed decision on:-
  1. Pricing of services commensurate with costs;
  2. Measures for enhancement of non-fare Revenue;
  3. Protection of consumer interests, by ensuring quality of service and cost optimization.
  4. Promoting competition, efficiency and economy.
  5. Creating positive environment for investment.
  6. Providing framework for non-discriminatory open access to the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) infrastructure and others in future.

Blue chip stocks:

  • Blue chip stocks are shares of very large and well-recognised companies with a long history of sound financial performance.
  • These stocks are known to have capabilities to endure tough market conditions and give high returns in good market conditions.
  • Blue chip stocks generally cost high, as they have good reputation and are often market leaders in their respective industries


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