Centre to amend Warehousing Act

Source: The post is based on the article “Centre to amend Warehousing Act” published in The Hindu on 28th July 2022.

What is the News?

The Union Food and Public Distribution Ministry has suggested major amendments to the Warehousing (Development and Regulation) Act of 2007.

What is the Warehousing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2007?

The Warehousing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2007 came into force in 2010.

The Government constituted Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) under the Act to ensure scientific storage by prescribing infrastructural and procedural standards. 

Captive warehouses such as those of the Food Corporation of India are excluded from the ambit of the Act. 

What are the proposed amendments to the Act?

Compulsory registration of warehouses: At present, the registration of warehouses with the WDRA is optional. After the proposed amendment, registration of all third-party warehouses throughout the country will be undertaken in a phased manner. The Central government will have powers to exempt any class of warehouses from registration with the Authority. 

Doing away with Jail Term: Government has proposed doing away with up to three years imprisonment for various offences but suggested a significant increase in the penalty from the current ₹1 lakh for various offences.

No accreditation agencies: The proposed amendments aim to do away with accreditation agencies as the process was time-consuming, prone to malpractices and led to complaints.

— After the proposed amendments, the application for registration of warehouses will be submitted directly to the WDRA and a new system of online applications which will be contactless and faceless will be implemented and the average registration time will be reduced. 

Composition of WRDA: At present, WRDA is composed of a chairperson and two full-time members. After the amendment, three ex-officio part-time members will be added to the Authority including joint secretaries in the Food and Economic Affairs departments and the Executive Director of the SEBI.

– The amendment will also give WRDA the powers to investigate, take enforcement action, impose monetary penalties, recover monetary penalties and adjudication.

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