The BSE and NSE
Most of the trading in the Indian stock market takes place on its two stock exchanges: the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE). The BSE has been in existence since 1875. The NSE, on the other hand, was founded in 1992 and started trading in 1994. However, both exchanges follow the same trading mechanism, trading hours, settlement process, etc. At the last count, the BSE had more than 5000 listed firms, whereas the rival NSE had about 3100. Out of all the listed firms on the BSE, only about 500 firms constitute more than 90% of its market capitalization; the rest of the crowd consists of highly illiquid shares.
Trading at both the exchanges takes place through an open electronic limit order book, in which order matching is done by the trading computer. There are no market makers or specialists and the entire process is order-driven, which means that market orders placed by investors are automatically matched with the best limit orders. As a result, buyers and sellers remain anonymous. The advantage of an order driven market is that it brings more transparency, by displaying all buy and sell orders in the trading system.
All orders in the trading system need to be placed through brokers, many of which provide online trading facility to retail customers.
Settlement Cycle and Trading Hours
Equity spot markets follow a T+2 rolling settlement. This means that any trade taking place on Monday gets settled by Wednesday. All trading on stock exchanges takes place between 9:15 am and 3:30 pm, Indian Standard Time, Monday through Friday. Delivery of shares must be made in dematerialized form, and each exchange has its own clearing house, which assumes all settlement risk, by serving as a central counterparty.
The two prominent Indian market indexes are Sensex and Nifty. A stock index or stock market index is a measurement of the value, of a section of the stock market. It is computed from the prices of selected stocks (typically a weighted average). It is a tool used by investors and financial managers to describe the market, and to compare the return on specific investments. Sensex is the oldest market index for equities; it includes shares of 30 firms listed on the BSE, which represent about 45% of the exchange’s free-float market capitalization. It was created in 1986 and provides time series data from April 1979, onward.
Another index is the S&P CNX Nifty; it includes 50 shares listed on the NSE, which represent about 62% of its free-float market capitalization. It was created in 1996 and provides time series data from July 1990, onward.
The overall responsibility of development, regulation and supervision of the stock market rests with the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which was formed in 1992 as an independent authority. Since then, SEBI has consistently tried to lay down market rules in line with the best market practices. It enjoys vast powers of imposing penalties on market participants, in case of a breach.
Inputs from www.investopedia.com