Capital market is one of the most important segments of the Indian financial system. It is the market available to the companies for meeting their requirements of the long-term funds. It refers to all the facilities and the institutional arrangements for borrowing and lending funds. In other words, it is concerned with the raising of money capital for purposes of making long-term investments. The market consists of a number of individuals and institutions (including the Government) that canalise the supply and demand for long -term capital and claims on it. The demand for long term capital comes predominantly from private sector manufacturing industries, agriculture sector, trade and the Government agencies. While, the supply of funds for the capital market comes largely from individual and corporate savings, banks, insurance companies, specialised financing agencies and the surplus of Governments.
The Indian capital market is broadly divided into the gilt-edged market and the industrial securities market.
- The gilt-edged market refers to the market for Government and semi-government securities, backed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Government securities are tradeable debt instruments issued by the Government for meeting its financial requirements. The term gilt-edged means 'of the best quality'. This is because the Government securities do not suffer from risk of default and are highly liquid (as they can be easily sold in the market at their current price). The open market operations of the RBI are also conducted in such securities.
- The industrial securities market refers to the market which deals in equities and debentures of the corporates. It is further divided into primary market and secondary market.
- Primary market (new issue market):- deals with 'new securities', that is, securities which were not previously available and are offered to the investing public for the first time. It is the market for raising fresh capital in the form of shares and debentures. It provides the issuing company with additional funds for starting a new enterprise or for either expansion or diversification of an existing one, and thus its contribution to company financing is direct. The new offerings by the companies are made either as an initial public offering (IPO) or rights issue.
- Secondary market/ stock market (old issues market or stock exchange):- is the market for buying and selling securities of the existing companies. Under this, securities are traded after being initially offered to the public in the primary market and/or listed on the stock exchange. The stock exchanges are the exclusive centres for trading of securities. It is a sensitive barometer and reflects the trends in the economy through fluctuations in the prices of various securities. It been defined as, "a body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, constituted for the purpose of assisting, regulating and controlling the business of buying, selling and dealing in securities". Listing on stock exchanges enables the shareholders to monitor the movement of the share prices in an effective manner. This assist them to take prudent decisions on whether to retain their holdings or sell off or even accumulate further. However, to list the securities on a stock exchange, the issuing company has to go through set norms and procedures.