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Exempt stock mkt entities, their workforce from lockdown: Centre tells states

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New Delhi, Mar 23:  The Centre has 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 move comes against the backdrop of alleged instances of brokers, depository participants and other personnel related to stock markets facing difficulties in commuting to their workplaces.

In a letter, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has requested that services of Sebi-regulated stock market entities be exempted from the purview of lockdown.

“Further, essential staff related to these agents should be allowed to commute so as to ensure that these establishments function smoothly,” as per the letter addressed to Chief Secretaries of States and Administrators of Union Territories.

Domestic stock market suffered its worst-ever single-day crash on Monday, with the benchmark indices plummeting as much as 13.15 per cent as sell-off continued amid rising coronavirus cases.

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, many states have announced partial or complete lockdown, to curb spreading of infections. Besides, authorities are encouraging social distancing as part of dealing with the situation.

“It is pertinent to mention that stock markets are critical for the economy and as such its various constituents are important financial market institutions,” the letter said.

At least three states Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan have already issued clarifications to authorities to allow employees working in exchanges and broking offices to commute to their offices.

On Monday, stock brokers association Anmi asked markets regulator Sebi to include brokers and depository participants under essential services. The Association of National Exchanges Members of India (Anmi) has around 900 stock brokers as members.