Expert panels to study problems in future markets: Thomas

Kochi, Jan 21 (IANS) Two expert panels will soon be set up to look into the problems of futures market in pepper and cardamom and put in place an effective mechanism to ensure the quality of products traded, said union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister K.V. Thomas.

"The expert panels will look into the problem of production of pepper and cardamom, and also recommend solutions to address concerns of various stakeholders in the trading of Kerala's two major spices," said Thomas, presiding over a stakeholders' meet for rubber, pepper and cardamom participants in the futures market, organized by Mumbai-based Forward Markets Commission (FMC).

The minister made this announcement after Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy raised the subject at the same meeting.

"The advisory committee set up by the government for the futures market has already provided an institutional mechanism for consultation with all the stakeholders. A number of measures for disclosure of trade related information on the website of exchanges has also brought about greater transparency in this market and promoted self-regulation," added Thomas.

The commodity futures market in India has been growing rapidly since 2003, and the total value of trade in this market has increased to Rs.129 lakh crores during April-December 2012.

This trade takes place in five national exchanges and 16 regional exchanges through over 8,000 intermediaries and 14 lakh clients.

The meet was held by FMC as part of its ongoing programme of consulting the farmers, cooperatives, traders, exporters and all other market participants of various commodities traded in futures market.

"The government is determined to ensure that futures trading is properly regulated in a fair and transparent measure. In the last one year, FMC has taken a number of measures to improve the market."

"An important measure has been introduction of staggered delivery system which provides a 15-day window to sellers to tender delivery of their produce. This has reduced unnecessary speculation in futures trading of agricultural commodities," Thomas added.

Chandy said commodities like rubber, pepper and cardamom are very important for Kerala, and provide livelihood to a large number of people.

"The producers, exporters and traders of Kerala have since long taken advantage of futures trading to discover the future price and manage price risk. However, if it is not run properly, it can cause damage through sending wrong signals.

"Therefore, it is crucial that futures trading takes place in a manner that is transparent, fair and beneficial for all the stakeholders," said Chandy.

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