Lock-in period for Rajiv Gandhi equity scheme may be reduced to 1 year

The government is likely to reduce the lock-in period for the Rajiv Gandhi equity scheme for new equity investors to one year against the budget proposal of three years, reports quoting stock market sources said.

The government is expected to issue a circular to this effect within this month, the report said.

The finance minister had, in his budget for 2012-13 presented on 16 March, announced tax exemption on 50 per cent of stock market investments of up to Rs50,000 to retail investors with annual income of less than Rs10 lakh, provided such investments are kept locked in for a minimum three-year period.

"We discussed the issue of reduction of the blanket lock- in period to one year. We will meet the stock exchanges again and finalise the modalities," representatives of BSE, National Stock Exchange, MCX-SX and other exchanges said after a representation to the finance ministry.

While the scheme offers retail investors scope to invest in top 100 listed companies on BSE and NSE, such investments can be made only once in a life time.

The finance ministry expects this first-ever tax-exemption on stock market investment of retail investors to spur investments by the salaried class and other small investors in equity.

This, combined by the reduction in securities transaction tax to 0.1 per cent from the existing 0.125 percent effective 1 July 1 is expected to give a boost to the stock markets.