The food and consumer affairs ministries will soon submit their views to the Prime Minister on the recommendations made by the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi-led working group, including a ban on futures trading in essential commodities to control inflation.
“We are examining the suggestions of the working group headed by Gujarat CM and we will submit our views on the recommendations related to my ministries to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the next 15 days,” Food and Consumer Affairs Minister K V Thomas said yesterday.
Asked about the ministries’ view on the working group’s suggestion of banning futures trade in essential items, Thomas said, “We have an open mind (on this issue),” but refrained from further comment.
The Working Group on Consumer Affairs, set up in April, 2010, to find ways to control retail prices, had submitted the report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on March 2. Apart from Gujarat, the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra were members of the group.
The group has made 20 recommendations with 64 action points, ranging from banning futures trade in essential items to making offences under the Essential Commodities Act as non-bailable. It has also suggested setting up special courts for early trials.
“Considering the lack of strong linkages between spot and future markets at present, the Modi Report suggested that for the time being, essential commodities should be kept out of the futures market,” an official release had said.
Commodity markets regulator FMC has already suspended futures trading in rice, tur and urad, but wheat and sugar are still traded.
The working group had also asked the government to explore unbundling of Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) operations in terms of its procurement, storage and distribution functions.