The Securities and Exchange Board of India has told stock exchanges the market will be open on the day of the Union Budget. An exchange official confirmed a communication from the regulator on the matter. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is set to announce the Union budget for the new financial year on February 28, a Saturday. The stock market is usually closed on the day. U K Sinha, chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India, on Friday had hinted at the fact that it could keep markets open. There are three occasions since 1991 when a similar event has taken place. The Budget has fallen on a Saturday in the years 1992, 1993 and 1999.
The regulator had been awaiting a final nod from the finance ministry, according to one source. The markets had 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.