The Commodity Participants Association of India (CPAI) has urged market regulator Sebi to close down operations at all exchanges till March 31 in case broking services cannot be classified as essentials by all the state governments.
Association of National Exchanges Members of India (Anmi) has also requested Sebi to close stock exchanges for at least two days, which will give brokerage firms time to close their entire outstanding positions, in case all states do not declare stock broking as an essential service, exempting it from lockdown.
The centre had on Monday requested chief secretaries of all states to exempt services of Sebi-regulated stock market entities as well as related workforce from the purview of lockdown imposed to curb spreading of coronavirus infections.
The demands from Anmi and CPAI come against the backdrop of instances of brokers, depository participants and other personnel related to stock markets facing difficulties in commuting to their workplaces.
In a letter to Sebi, CPAI President Narinder Wadhwa said that measures such as lockdown, curfews and section 144 undertaken by so many state governments to contain the threat to human life from Covid-19 pandemic have also made commuting increasingly difficult; and in coming days, it might be nearly impossible for the staff to reach the office.
The staff of broking entities could barely manage to run operations as they could reach the office with great difficult, as per the letter written on Monday.
So far, only three states Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan - have declared stock broking as an essential service. Other states have not declared stock markets operations at par with essential services.
Even though the regulator and exchanges have allowed operations from locations other than declared, reaching the location of critical operations is an arduous task, Wadhwa said.
Risk is perhaps not confined to only financial risk, market risk but even risk to human life - which is much bigger than any systematic risk. Situation is in constant flux... the entire state of Maharashtra is now under curfew, he added.
CPAI has requested Sebi to take up with all the state governments to get broking also classified as an essential service on par with Maharashtra.
It is disadvantageous to members and lakhs of investors in all those states where it is not classified as an essential service as otherwise they are not able to access the market practically.
...We request you (Sebi) to consider to close down all exchanges operations with appropriate directions till March 31, 2020, initially if the request of classifying broking as an essential service cannot be considered as feasible; and take a fresh review of the situation later.
Meanwhile, a total of 32 states and union territories have declared complete lockdown so far covering 560 districts, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)