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New Delhi: The Association of National Exchanges Members of India (Anmi) on Monday urged the Maharashtra government to classify stockbrokers as essential service provider amid fresh restrictions in the state to curb COVID-19.

It also requested that other exchanges like MCX, NCDEX, MSE and depositories-- NSDL and CDSL-- be exempted from restrictions.

Apart from Anmi, Commodity Participants Association of India (CPAI) also urged the government to issue necessary clarifications to exempt employees working in broking offices from being subject to any curbs on their movements.

To contain the spread of coronavirus infections in Maharashtra, the state government on Sunday imposed partial lockdown as a precautionary measure from April 5 to April 30. However, only leading exchanges NSE and BSE and banks, among others have been exempted from the partial lockdown.

Since stock broking is systematically important part of financial services industry and crucial for exchange operations, Anmi in its submission to the state government has urged for including " financial market intermediaries stock brokers as essential service provider".

Also, the largest pan-India organisation comprising over 900 stock brokers, requested the state government to allow broking staff to travel by local transport and to exempt them from partial lockdown/curfew.

An Anmi official said, “Since NSE and BSE are permitted to work, the intermediaries are also required to keep their offices open and hence we request the government to add stock brokers in the category of essential services to ensure they can provide services to their clients".

Anmi said stock broker offices are mostly located in Mumbai and the staff is required to commute between office to home till late in the night.  

Further, trading hours of commodity brokers is permitted by markets regulator Sebi up to 11 pm and the office is required to be kept open till the market is open and by the time the staff leaves the office after completing work it is 12.00 midnight, it added.

On Sunday, the Maharashtra government announced a weekend lockdown and night curfew during weekdays from April 5 to April 30 in a bid to curb the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

The weekend lockdown will start from 8 pm on Fridays and last till 7 am on Mondays.

In addition, various other restrictions like closure of private offices, theatres and salons have been announced. 

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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