New Delhi: The Cabinet on Thursday deferred consideration of the much-awaited Forward Contract Regulation Act (Amendment) Bill that aims to give more powers to commodity markets regulator FMC.

Sources said the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh deferred consideration of the Bill over which there is no consensus in the government.

The Bill is essential for the development of commodities futures market as it aims to strengthen the Forward Market Commission (FMC) by providing it financial autonomy, facilitate the entry of institutional investors and introduce new products for trading such as options and indices.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee had demand greater autonomy for FMC that also regulates the three spot online commodity exchanges -- Financial Technologies-promoted National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL), the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange-promoted NSpot and Ahmedabad-based National Multi Commodity Exchange (NMCE).

It had also suggested allowing financial institutions and banks, mutual funds, and insurance companies to participate in forward market so as to ensure better price discovery and lower volatility.

Sources in the government said the Trinamool Congress had written to the Prime Minister at the last minute expressing reservations over the Bill that led to deferring of its consideration.

Food Minister K V Thomas said the Bill would be taken up sometime later. He said all consultations have been done and most of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee have been accepted.

(Agencies)

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