In India, the market prices are dictated by demand and supply. However, it is affected by sporadic cases of hoarding, extreme weather events, natural calamities, etc. Hence the government is empowered by certain laws like the Essential Commodities Act- to intervene to protect the consumers’ interest. The government used the EC Act to ensure rational pricing and prevent hoarding of hand sanitizers and masks- basic necessities for tackling the COVID-19 crisis. It has been used by the government over the years to protect consumers in times of shortages. This law has also seen several amendments over the years- seeing a trend of becoming increasingly stringent in its provisions. However, the Union Cabinet approved an ordinance to amend the 1955 Act- relaxing some of its provisions.
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