Alarmed by rising prices, Govt bans sugar futures
The government on Tuesday banned futures trading in sugar to take on speculators and stem the sharp rise in prices of the sweetener, which has become expensive by over 30 per cent since last Diwali.
The decision was taken by the Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Sharad Pawar, a day after he took charge of the Ministries for a second term, and is in accordance with the poll promise of taming prices of essential commodities that were rising despite wholesale price index hovering near zero.
"Yes. We have suspended futures trading in sugar with immediate effect. No new sugar contract would be launched and no fresh position will be taken in the running contract," Forward Markets Commission Director Anupam Mishra told PTI from Mumbai. The ban will be in force till December.
Sugar prices in the retail market have risen sharply over the last two months and are ruling at Rs 22-30 a kg in key cities of the country. The prices were in the range of Rs 18-23 on October one when the 2008-09 sugar season began.
A top government official said that Consumer Affairs Minister has decided to crack down on speculators and traders to control prices of grains and essential food articles including edible oils.
Within minutes of resuming office yesterday, Pawar had also disfavoured lifting ban on exports of rice and wheat in a bid to ensure adequate stock of grains for the poor under subsidised schemes.