This Act provides, in the interest of the general public, for government control over the production, supply and distribution of essential commodities which are listed. These commodities fall into three classes—(a) food items, (b) raw materials for industries and (c) products of the centrally-controlled industries.

The Central Government is empowered to declare any commodity as an essential commodity for the purpose of the Act.

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The Government has now listed over 60 commodities as essential commodities. For the purpose of this Act, essential commodity means any of the following classes of commodities:

(i) Cattle fodder including oil cakes, (ii) Coal including coke and other derivatives, (iii) Component parts of automobiles, (iv) Cotton and woolen textiles, (v) Drugs, (vi) Foodstuffs including edible oils, (vii) Iron and steel, (viii) Paper and newsprint, (ix) Petroleum and petroleum products, (x) Raw cotton, (xi) Raw jute, (xii) Any other class of commodity which the Central Government may declare to be an essential commodity for the purpose of this Act.

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