Ramesh Abhishek will continue to head the Forward Market Commission (FMC) till its merger with SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India). FMC is the regulator of commodity exchanges engaged in future trading.

“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the extension of the tenure of Ramesh Abhishek as Chairman, Forward Market Commission, for a period of three months beyond April 8 or till the merger of FMC with SEBI or until further orders, whatever is the earliest,” a notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.

This is the fourth extension for Abhishek, who is a 1982 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Bihar cadre. He was appointed Chairman of the regulatory body on September 21, 2012, and his previous extension was given on January 8. All these extensions were for three months and his previous extension ended on April 8.

He has been given extension at a time when work on the merger with FMC is in full swing. A committee under the Chairmanship of Additional Secretary in the Finance Ministry, Ajay Tyagi, has been constituted for implementation of the merger process. The merger will be completed with enactment of the Finance Bill.

In his Budget speech this year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposed the merger of the FMC with SEBI to strengthen the regulation of commodity forward markets and reduce wild speculation. The merger has some logic as forward trading in commodities is also one of the capital market activities and a kind of financial transaction.

Besides, the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) has recommended bringing all financial transactions under one regulator (barring banking, which will continue to be regulated by the RBI). It is the first legislative action for FSLRC recommendations. Since both SEBI and FMC is under one Ministry, it would be easier to merge.