Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday that the recent technical glitch at the National Stock Exchange (NSE), which led to trading being halted for several hours on the bourse, had cost India ‘immensely’. She called for a look at the interoperability norms in payment systems to ensure seamless payments.
The NSE had halted trading on its platform just before noon on February 24, and informed market participants at 3:17 p.m. that trading would resume from 3:30 p.m. for extended hours.
“Seamlessness of payments is important… it may not be contextual, but even where complete foolproof systems are laid, you find that in the NSE a couple of days when there was a glitch. A kind of technology-driven glitch which nobody could have anticipated, but that glitch has cost us immensely and lessons are being learnt,” she said.
Her comments, made at an event to mark the 45th Civil Accounts Day hosted by the Controller General of Accounts, assume significance as the markets watchdog had said its interoperability framework allowed traders to continue transacting on other stock exchanges when the NSE halted trading.
“Maybe that was an issue of interoperability between the two exchanges, but that is the kind of thing where seamless digital payments is the goal we have to aspire for,” the Minister said, stressing that the NSE case was an example of the challenges that technology-driven platforms could face.
On February 25, the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had clarified that ‘despite the trading halt, the framework of interoperability facilitated market participants to continue their transactions at other stock exchanges... allowing them to seamlessly trade/square off their existing positions’.
“SEBI has already advised NSE to... carry out a detailed root-cause analysis of the trading halt and also to explain the reasons for trading not migrating to the disaster recovery site,” it had said.