New Delhi, July 18: After getting the support of the Trinamul Congress for its presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee, the Congress-led UPA plans to take a call on controversial issues to test the mood of its constituents, while sending a positive message to industry.
The cabinet is likely to take up this week the Forward Contract Regulation Act (Amendment) Bill, which was deferred after the Trinamul Congress raised objections on the grounds of the changes causing speculation and a rise in price.
"The bill is on the cabinet agenda… the food ministry has not made any changes in the bill," officials said.
The bill aims to strengthen the forward market regulator by providing it financial autonomy and doing away with Section 19 of the current act that bars options trading in commodities.
In an options trade, the holder of the option has the choice of buying or selling a particular commodity within a specified period at a price agreed with the other party. The second party has the obligation to buy or sell, under the option exercised by the holder.
The cabinet is also likely to consider the proposal of the power ministry to impose a 21 per cent duty on imported power equipment to provide a level-playing field to domestic manufacturers. The proposal includes a basic custom duty of 5 per cent, a special additional duty of 4 per cent and a 12 per cent excise duty equivalent to that levied on domestic equipment.
The duty protection is likely to benefit domestic joint ventures such as LandT-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Bharat Forge-Alstom, Ansaldo-GB Power, Toshiba-JSW, Thermax-Babcock and BGR-Hitachi that are facing stiff competition from Chinese companies.
The divestment of the government's 10.82 per cent stake in Steel Authority of India Ltd is on the cabinet agenda. The government holds 85.82 per cent in SAIL. The stake sale is likely to fetch around Rs 4,000 crore for the government.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs will also consider a proposal to increase the sugarcane price that mills are required to pay to farmers by 17 per cent to Rs 170 per quintal in 2012-13.