DailyPost 1626

That stock exchanges run more on technology and less on brokers, might not be an exaggeration. From maintaining the technology platform to run the stock market operations to algorithmic or automated trading, its technology all the way. Technology of the most complex manner, at a scale which can be humongous.  Precision is the hallmark and glitches cannot even be imagined. Technology today can be divided between *dispensable technology and indispensable technology.  The former deals with the political ecosystem, where it is used at the whims and fancies of user and can be dispensed with, with the same vigor.  Stock Exchanges are perfect examples of indispensable technology. The unthinkable happened on the 24th of February 2021 at the NSE.

Trading in India’s leading stock exchange had to be suspended on February 24th for hours after a technical glitch affected links from telecom service providers. ”The glitch affected the online risk management system, due to which market functioning had to be stopped.” “Technical glitches,” is an all encompassing term, which can take care of all your inefficiencies and accountability issues at the same time. HDFC and SBI have faced it in the past and the story of the power sector in recent times is all too well known. Resilience is at the core of today’s systems and inability to react in a well oiled manner, makes it a very scary picture of the days to come.

The duration and timing are also suspect. Trading was halted from 11.40 am to 3.30 pm and resumed from 3.30 pm to 5 pm. The technical glitch happened just a day before the monthly derivatives enquiry. The post incident haste is certainly not visible by the public pronouncements so far. The mystery remains as much under wraps today. Dalal Street has seen many a  bloodbaths but this for sure the *first technological blood bath. If we have not been able to find out what happened even after 12 days of the incident, it does not bode well. Failure of our systems might be because “genuine technical glitches” are as shameful as the ones orchestrated by the powers, we are all aware of. The National Stock Exchange is too valuable to be risked.

What happened to the disaster recovery center, the mandated mechanisms, which have to be put to use in peacetime. There is a prescribed schedule, whether that is happening or not is a critical question. Disaster recovery should run the whole operations as mandated to keep up the fitness of things. It is meant for these eventualities. It should spring back into operations in forty five mins time. ”NSE says it is spending on tech. Yet, it has faced at least 10 glitches since 2017.” Not a small number. A root cause analysis has been promised, what happened to the earlier ones. Technology is not a third party game any more, you have to own it, to deliver.


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