New Delhi: In the absence of Food and Consumer Affairs Minister KV Thomas, the Cabinet today did not take up for discussion a bill that seeks to amend an existing Act to give more powers to commodity markets regulator FMC.
The decision on the FCRA (Forward Contract Regulation Act (Amendment) Bill has been deferred for the third time in the last one month.
“The bill was not taken up for discussion this time because Food and Consumer Affairs Minister KV Thomas could not attend the Cabinet meeting as he is not well,” a source said.
Thomas, who is suffering from viral fever, has not been attending office for the last three days, the source said.
The decision on the crucial bill, which is essential for the development of commodities market, was first deferred on 12 July following opposition from UPA constituent Trinamool Congress. It was again not taken up for consideration in the last Cabinet meeting too.
TMC has opposed the amendments in its present form and has sought more discussion on the bill before it is cleared.
The amendment Bill aims to strengthen the regulator FMC by providing financial autonomy, facilitate the entry of institutional investors and introduce new products for trading such as options and indices.
The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2010 and referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee, which submitted its report on 22 December, last year.
The Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry has accepted most of the recommendations of the Parliamentary panel. Sources said the panel had suggested increasing the penalty structure to discourage any violation of provisions of Forward Contract Regulation Act (FCRA).
The panel had recommended greater autonomy to FMC, which regulates both spot and futures commodity bourses.
Currently, there are five national and 16 regional commodity bourses in the country. Their annual turnover stood at Rs 181.26 lakh crore during the 2011-12 fiscal.