Stock market needs to be deemed as an essential service

The current coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has rocked every major economy in the world and is wreaking havoc on global financial markets, including India. As the number of infected cases began to increase, the government announced a 21-day period across the country, asking all businesses, offices and industrial sectors to temporarily close their stores, except essential services.

Aware of the importance of the capital markets to ensure the country’s economic stability, the Indian government has decided to keep the services of the market entities safe from this 21-day blockage.

This distinction was indeed well placed, since the proper functioning of capital markets is important to guarantee the economic growth of any country. It will be imperative to keep the machine running even in difficult times to give investors a certain level of confidence in their future prospects in the market and to ensure that they do not completely abandon their presence when the tide has turned. State governments are also making commendable efforts to implement the Full Lock Center directive in letter and spirit to protect their people from the clutches of the COVID-19 epidemic.

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That said, members of the financial services industry face logistical challenges when traveling to their workplaces to operationalize their central servers, back-office functions, risk management and deposit services. to meet the requirements of their clients and the compliance of the Stock Exchange / Securities and Exchange Board. from Inia (Sebi). Members of the brokerage community and custodians across the country from the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Telangana, etc.

While these foreclosures are absolutely imperative to safeguard the health of 1.4 billion Indians, state governments must also immediately notify capital market services, including brokerage and deposit-taking services, as “essential services” as a priority. This will provide absolute clarity to law enforcement and police personnel responsible for implementing zero ground locking measures and will allow them to clearly delineate those representing industries exempt from locking orders. Capital markets are the driving force of any economy, and it is important to keep the engine warm and to operate even when navigating in bad weather.

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In the event that not all states declare “brokerage and deposit services” as essential services exempt from foreclosure / curfew, the market regulator must then make a decision to order the closure of the markets. fellows. Any further delay can have serious systemic repercussions on the functioning of our capital markets and seriously endanger India’s economic future.

(Vijay Bhushan is president of the Association of National Exchanges Members of India. As reported to Puneet Wadhwa)

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