64 detailed actionable points that would facilitate “expeditious implementation”.
The other key recommendations include a ban on future trading of essential commodities, the setting up of a central price stabilisation fund, a ministerial-level coordination mechanism at the national and regional levels for coordinated policy-making. The measures also include specific interventions such as a time-bound development of agri-marketing infrastructure, including storage capacities in food deficit regions, cold chain, agro-processing, and increasing competition by promoting retailing by organised sector and cooperatives.
The report also suggested the setting up of a price stabilisation fund by the Centre to help state governments procure and distribute essential commodities in short supply. For evolving a single national agriculture market, the report recommended setting up a “ministerial-level coordination mechanism at the national and the regional level for coordinated policy making”. Enlarging the scope of priority sector lending so that the agriculture marketing activities are also made eligible was another key recommendation.
To minimise information asymmetry in the agriculture market, the report also called for establishing a mechanism, if necessary by creating a dedicated agency, to collect and widely disseminate information to all stakeholders on production, import, stocks and overall availability of essential commodities besides extensive use of the information.
The panel also recommended that offences under Section 10-A under the Essential Commodities Act should be made non-bailable and that special courts be set up for speedy trial of offences under the legislation. In addition, the report also stipulated that the period of preventive detention under the Prevention of Black-Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980, should be increased from six months to one year.