Modi panel seeks ban on futures trading in essential commodities

A panel headed by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has recommended banning futures trade in essential commodities and increasing competition by promoting organised retail and cooperatives in the agricultural market for bringing soaring food prices under control.

Narendra Modi presenting the report to Prime Minister Manmohan SinghThe Working Group on Consumer Affairs, set up in April last year, was tasked with the job of suggesting measures to prevent the increase in food prices. The government has, meanwhile, been struggling in vain to gain control over spiraling prices of food articles.

The opposition parties have also taken the issue to the streets slamming the UPA government over its failure to rein in food prices.

Food inflation has hovered in double digits after shooting up to 18.32 per cent in late December even as the government and the Reserve Bank of India have taken several steps to tame prices.

According to the committee's recommendations, essential commodities should be kept out of the futures market.

Meanwhile, the government has banned futures trade in rice and some pulses such as urad and tur but, according to experts, a well-regulated futures market helps farmers attract better prices.