Rome: The final decision on allowing futures trade in essential items like wheat and rice will be taken by the Cabinet, even as a government-appointed committee found no conclusive link between rising prices and forward trading, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said here on Thursday.

“The decision will be taken by the highest level in the Cabinet,” Mr. Pawar told PTI here when asked to comment on the issue of lifting of ban on forward trading of essential commodities.

‘No proof’

Mr. Pawar, however, noted that in the Abhijit Sen Committee report, members with an overwhelming majority said there was no proof that forward trading was responsible for rising prices.

The committee, which was headed by Planning Commission Member Abhijit Sen, was formed last year to study the impact of futures trading on prices of essential commodities.

The government had imposed a ban on futures trading in wheat, rice, tur and urad dal early last year.

On May 7 this year, it banned futures trading in refined soya oil, rubber, potato and gram (channa) for four months.

The decision was taken as part of measures to contain inflation, which has crossed eight per cent mark.

“I don’t think any new commodities will be added,” Mr. Pawar, who also heads Consumer Affairs Ministry that oversees the futures market, had said in New Delhi last month.

sked about the possibility of extending the ban on the four items beyond four months, Mr. Pawar had said: “Let’s see what happens...I think that the decision is taken only for four months. I do hope time will not come to extend the four-month period.”

Transaction tax

Mr. Pawar reignited the hopes of commodity traders and exchanges on relief from a transaction tax saying he would take up the issue with Prime Minister and Finance Minister. “We will discuss this particular subject [CTT] before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. There will be a joint meeting between me, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Prime Minister,” Mr. Pawar said.. — PTI

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