National Stock Exchange (NSE)

From listing requirements to trading rules, explore the NSE's intricacies and functionalities.
National Stock Exchange (NSE)
3 mins
7 August 2023

The National Stock Exchange (NSE) is a leading stock exchange in India, playing a crucial role in the country's financial landscape. Established in 1992, the NSE has rapidly grown to become one of the largest and one of the most technologically advanced stock exchanges in the world. It serves as a platform for buying and selling various financial instruments, including equities, derivatives, currencies, and debt securities. The NSE's impact on India's economy, investment landscape, and financial markets is profound, making it an integral institution in the nation's journey towards economic growth and development.

What is the National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE)?

The National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) is one of the largest stock exchanges in India. It was the first exchange in India to implement electronic or screen-based trading which began its operations in 1994. The NSE plays a crucial role in the Indian financial market by providing a platform for trading various financial instruments such as equities, derivatives, currencies, debt securities, and mutual funds.

History and Evolution

The NSE was founded as a result of the recommendations made by the Pherwani Committee in 1992. This committee was established to examine the feasibility of establishing a modern and technologically advanced stock exchange in India. The NSE officially commenced operations in 1994, with the launch of the wholesale debt market. This index comprises the 50 most actively traded stocks on the NSE and serves as a benchmark for the Indian equity market's performance.

One of the NSE's distinctive features was its adoption of a fully automated electronic trading system, which replaced the traditional open outcry system. This automation brought greater transparency, efficiency, and accessibility to the Indian financial markets. As a result, the NSE quickly gained traction and emerged as a preferred platform for investors and traders.

Benchmark index of NSE

The benchmark index of the National Stock Exchange of India is the Nifty 50. It comprises of 50 well-established and liquid stocks from different sectors.

The NIFTY index utilises a methodology that is weighted according to the free-float market capitalisation. This implies that each stock's weight in the index is determined by its market capitalisation, but only the shares that are publicly available for trade are considered. These publicly available shares are known as free-float shares.

Functions of NSE

The NSE facilitates the trading of various financial instruments, each serving a specific purpose within the financial ecosystem:

  • Equities: The NSE provides a platform for trading shares of publicly listed companies. These equity shares represent ownership in the company and provide investors with the opportunity to participate in a company's growth and profitability.
  • Derivatives: The NSE is a significant hub for trading derivatives such as futures and options contracts. These financial instruments allow investors to take a chance on the future price movements of underlying assets, manage risk, and engage in arbitrage strategies.
  • Currency: The NSE also offers currency trading, enabling participants to trade various currency pairs, including the Indian rupee against major international currencies like the US dollar, euro, and British pound.
  • Debt Securities: The NSE facilitates the trading of debt instruments such as government bondscorporate bonds, and other fixed-income securities. These instruments play a crucial role in capital raising and investment strategies.
  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): ETFs, which track the performance of a specific index or sector, are also traded on the NSE. These funds provide investors with exposure to a diversified portfolio of securities.

Features of NSE

Technology and innovation:

The NSE is renowned for its technological prowess and innovation in the financial sector. It introduced the NSE-IT (Information Technology) platform, which transformed the way trading is conducted in India. The exchange's high-speed trading infrastructure, robust risk management systems, and real-time surveillance capabilities have set new standards for efficiency and security.

Regulation and oversight:

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the country's primary regulatory authority for the securities market, oversees the NSE's operations. SEBI ensures that the exchange operates fairly, transparently, and in line with established rules and regulations. Additionally, the NSE itself plays a crucial role in maintaining market integrity by enforcing strict listing requirements, surveillance mechanisms, and investor protection measures.

Impact on India's economy:

The NSE has had a profound impact on India's economy and financial markets:

Capital formation: The exchange facilitates the flow of capital from investors to businesses, enabling companies to raise funds for expansion, research, and other growth initiatives.

Investor participation: The NSE has opened avenues for a wide range of investors, from retail traders to institutional investors, to participate in India's financial markets.

Modernisation of financial markets: The NSE's adoption of technology and electronic trading has paved the way for modernization and efficiency improvements within the broader financial sector.

Global integration: The NSE's diverse product offerings, including currency and derivative trading, have increased India's integration with global financial markets.

Major indices on NSE

The NSE hosts several major indices representing different segments of the market, including:

  • Nifty 50 index
  • Nifty 100 index
  • Nifty Next 50 index
  • Nifty Midcap 50 index
  • Nifty Smallcap 250 index
  • India Vix index

In addition to these broad market indices, NSE also offers thematic, strategy, hybrid, and fixed-income indices, providing investors with diverse options to track market performance across various sectors and asset classes.


The National Stock Exchange (NSE) stands as a testament to India's economic progress and its commitment to modernizing its financial markets. By providing a robust and technologically advanced platform for trading various financial instruments, the NSE has transformed the way investors, traders, and businesses engage with the Indian capital market. Its role in fostering liquidity, price discovery, and investor participation has been crucial in shaping India's financial landscape and positioning the nation as a prominent player in the global financial ecosystem. As India's economy continues to evolve, the NSE's significance is expected to grow, making it an essential institution for investors, regulators, and market participants alike.


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Frequently asked questions

What is NSE?

NSE stands for the National Stock Exchange and is one of the leading stock exchanges in India. It provides a platform for trading equities, derivatives, currencies, and other financial instruments.

When was NSE established?

NSE was established in 1992 and began trading in 1994.