The government finally extended the ban on futures trading in four commodities—soya oil, potato, rubber and chana. Privately, mandarins admit the decision was taken to avoid giving the Opposition an opportunity to target the government in the run-up to elections. Says a senior bureaucrat: “While there is no evidence of futures trading impacting prices, we decided to play it safe."
Inflation may be easing, but bureaucrats in economic ministries are still worried. They are concerned about the fallout of patchy monsoons on food prices. Says an official: “Monsoons were not evenly distributed. Below average rains in parts of Karnataka and Maharashtra could affect the output of some crops like pulses.” An unsettling prospect given that inflation is still in double digits.