The foreign exchange market India is growing very rapidly. The annual turnover of the market is more than $400 billion. This transaction does not include the inter-bank transactions. According to the record of transactions released by RBI, the average monthly turnover in the merchant segment was $40.5 billion in 2003-04 and the inter-bank transaction was $134.2 for the same period.
The average total monthly turnover was about $174.7 billion for the same period. The transactions are made on spot and also on forward basis, which include currency swaps and interest rate swaps. The Indian foreign exchange market consists of the buyers, sellers,market intermediaries and the monetary authority of India.
The main center of foreign exchange transactions in India is Mumbai, the commercial capital of the country. There are several other centers for foreign exchange transactions in the country including Kolkata, New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Pondicherry and Cochin.
In past, due to lack of communication facilities all these markets were not linked. But with the development of technologies, all the foreign exchange markets of India are working collectively.
The foreign exchange market India is regulated by the reserve bank of India through the Exchange Control Department. At the same time, Foreign Exchange Dealers Association (voluntary association) also provides some help in regulating the market. The Authorized Dealers (Authorized by the RBI) and the accredited brokers are eligible to participate in the foreign Exchange market in India. When the foreign exchange trade is going on between Authorized Dealers and RBI or between the Authorized Dealers and the Overseas banks, the brokers have no role to play.
Apart from the Authorized Dealers and brokers, there are some others who are provided with the restricted rights to accept the foreign currency or travelers cheque. Among these, there are the authorized money changers, travel agents, certain hotels and government shops. The IDBI and Exim bank are also permitted conditionally to hold foreign currency.
The whole foreign exchange market in India is regulated by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 or FEMA. Before this act was introduced, the market was regulated by the FERA or Foreign Exchange Regulation Act ,1947. After independence, FERA was introduced as a temporary measure to regulate the inflow of the foreign capital. But with the economic and industrial development, the need for conservation of foreign currency was felt and on the recommendation of the Public Accounts Committee, the Indian government passed the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act,1973 and gradually, this act became famous as FEMA.