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Markets will stay open on Budget day, says Sebi

Stock markets will remain open for trading on the day the Union Budget is presented, February 28, a Saturday. The markets are usually closed on the day. The market regulator has informed the exchanges of the same.

There were three occasions since 1991 when a similar event had taken place. The Budget was on a Saturday in the years 1992, 1993 and 1999. The markets were open on all three days.

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U K Sinha, chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India, earlier in teh day had hinted at the same. He said “We are evaluating it (the keep-open proposal). We will be guided by our regulations and past precedence. We will take a call very shortly.”

Sinha was speaking on the sidelines of a National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) event. The regulator is now awaiting a final nod from the Union finance ministry, according to one source. The markets have sought a Budget Day session, as it helps price in the impact of various policy pronouncements as these are made, according to participants.

Sinha added a proposal for a framework on conversion of bank debt in distressed companies into equity might be considered at the regulator’s next board of directors’ meeting. “But the impression of bankers and feedback from the Reserve Bank is that the Sebi pricing formulae at times works against the interest of the secured debtors?Our dialogue with bankers is at a fairly advanced stage,” he said.

R Gandhi, deputy governor, RBI, also said the norms are likely to be finalised soon. “We are in discussion with Sebi. We will soon finalise the norms. Sebi has its own responsibilities to protect minority shareholders. We are discussing the pricing aspect,” he said.

In response to a question on whether Sebi was looking into rumours that recent leaks from the government were also used for trading in the market, Sinha said any such instance would be addressed. “If there is even an iota of truth in that, our people must be already working on it,” he said.

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