Debt market in India

14/05/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

There are different kinds of Debt Instruments available in India such as;
Below given are the important debt instruments available in India:

  • Bonds
  • Certificates of Deposit
  • Commercial Papers
  • Debentures
  • FD
  • G – Secs (Government Securities)
  • National savings Certificate (NSC)


A Bond is simply an ‘IOU’ in which an investor agrees to lend money to a company or government in exchange for a predetermined interest rate. If a business wants to expand, one of its options is to borrow money from individual investors. The company issues bonds at different interest rates and sells them to the public. Investors purchase them with the understanding that the company will pay back their original principal with some interest that is due by a set date (this is known as the “maturity”). The interest a bondholder earns depends on the strength of the corporation.

For example, a blue chip is more stable and has a lower risk of defaulting on its debt. Sometimes some big companies issue bonds and they may only pay 7% interest, but some other small companies may pay you 10%. A general rule of thumb when investing in bonds is that “the higher the interest rate, the riskier the bond.”

Following are allowed to issue bonds

  1. Governments
  2. Municipalities
  3. Variety of institutions
  4. Corporations

There are many types of bonds, each having diverse features and characteristics. Bonds and stocks are both securities, but the major difference between the two is that stockholders have an equity stake in the company (i.e., they are owners), whereas bondholders have a creditor stake in the company (i.e., they are lenders). Another difference is that bonds usually have a defined term, or maturity, after which the bond is redeemed, whereas stocks may be outstanding indefinitely.

Returns in Bonds Returns is depends on the nature of the bonds that have been purchased by the investor. Bonds may be secured or unsecured. Firstly, always check up the credit rating of the issuing company before purchasing the bond. This gives you a working knowledge of the company’s financial health and an idea about the risk considerations of the instrument itself. Interest payments depend on the health and credit rating of the issuer. Therefore, it is essential to check the credit rating and financial health of the issuer before loosening up the bond. If you do invest in bonds issued by the top-rated Corporates, there is no guarantee that you will receive your payments on time.

Risks in Bonds In certain cases, the issuer has a call option mentioned in the prospectus. This means that after a certain period, the issuer has the choice of redeeming the bonds before their maturity. In that case, while you will receive your principal and the interest accrued till that date, you might lose out on the interest that would have accrued on your sum in the future had the bond not been redeemed. Always remember that if interest rates go up, bond prices go down and vice-versa.

Buying and Holding of Bonds Investors can subscribe to primary issues of Corporates and Financial Institutions (FIs). It is common practice for FIs and corporates to raise funds for asset financing or capital expenditure through primary bond issues. Some bonds are also available in the secondary market. The minimum investment for bonds can either be Rs 5,000 or Rs 10,000. However, this amount varies from issue to issue. There is no prescribed upper limit to your investment. The duration of a bond issue usually varies between 5 and 7 years.

Selling of Bonds Selling bonds in the secondary market has its own drawbacks. First, there is a liquidity problem which means that it is a tough job to find a buyer. Second, even if you find a buyer, the prices may be at a sharp discount to its intrinsic value. Third, you are subject to market forces and, hence, market risk. If interest rates are running high, bond prices will be down and you may well end up incurring losses. On the other hand, Debentures are always secured.

Liquidity of a Bond: Selling in the debt market is an obvious option. Some issues also offer Put and Call option.

  • In Put option, the investor has the option to approach the issuing entity after a specified period (say, three years), and sell back the bond to the issuer.
  • In Call option, the company has the right to recall its debt obligation after a particular time frame.


A debenture is similar to a bond except the securitization conditions are different. A debenture is generally unsecured in the sense that there are no liens or pledges on specific assets. It is defined as a certificate of agreement of loans which is given under the company’s stamp and carries an undertaking that the debenture holder will get a fixed return (fixed on the basis of interest rates) and the principal amount whenever the debenture matures.

In finance, a debenture is a long-term debt instrument used by governments and large companies to obtain funds. The advantage of debentures to the issuer is they leave specific assets burden free, and thereby leave them open for subsequent financing. Debentures are generally freely transferrable by the debenture holder. Debenture holders have no voting rights and the interest given to them is a charge against profit.

Debentures vs. Bonds

Debentures and bonds are similar except for one difference bonds are more secure than debentures. In case of both, you are paid a guaranteed interest that does not change in value irrespective of the fortunes of the company. However, bonds are more secure than debentures, but carry a lower interest rate. The company provides collateral for the loan. Moreover, in case of liquidation, bondholders will be paid off before debenture holders.

A debenture is more secure than a stock, but not as secure as a bond. In case of bankruptcy, you have no collateral you can claim from the company. To compensate for this, companies pay higher interest rates to debenture holders. All investment, including stocks bonds or debentures carry an element of risk.

Commercial Papers

Commercial Paper (CP) is an unsecured money market instrument issued in the form of a promissory note. It was introduced in India in 1990 with a view to enable highly rated corporate borrowers/ to diversify their sources of short-term borrowings and to provide an additional instrument to investors. Subsequently, primary dealers and satellite dealers were also permitted to issue CP to enable them to meet their short-term funding requirements for their operations. CP can be issued in denominations of Rs.5 lakh or multiples thereof. Amount invested by a single investor should not be less than Rs.5 lakh (face value). It will be issued foe a duration of 30/45/60/90/120/180/270/364 days. Only a scheduled bank can act as an Issuing and Paying Agent IPA for issuance of CP.

Features of Commercial Papers

Following are the important features of commercial papers

  • They are unsecured debts of corporates and are issued in the form of promissory notes, redeemable at par to the holder at maturity.
  • Only corporates who get an investment grade rating can issue CPs, as per RBI rules.
  • It is issued at a discount to face value
  • Attracts issuance stamp duty in primary issue
  • Has to be mandatorily rated by one of the credit rating agencies
  • It is issued as per RBI guidelines
  • It is held in Demat form
  • CP can be issued in denominations of Rs.5 lakh or multiples thereof. Amount invested by a single investor should not be less than Rs.5 lakh (face value).
  • Issued at discount to face value as may be determined by the issuer.
  • Bank and FI’s are prohibited from issuance and underwriting of CP’s.
  • Can be issued for a maturity for a minimum of 15 days and a maximum upto one year from the date of issue.