Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS)


Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme or RGESS is a new equity tax advantage savings scheme for equity investors in India, with the stated objective of "encouraging the investment of savings of the small investors in the domestic capital markets." Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS) Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme or RGESS is a new equity tax advantage savings scheme for equity investors in India, with the stated objective of "encouraging the investment of savings of the small investors in the domestic capital markets."

'Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme, 2013' (RGESS guidelines) shall be applicable for claiming deduction in the computation of total income of the assessment year relevant to a previous year, on account of investment in eligible securities, under sub-section (1) of section 80CCG of the Income-tax Act, 1961.

The tax deduction in terms of RGESS guidelines shall be available to a 'new retail investor' who complies with the conditions of the RGESS and whose gross total income for the financial year in which the investment is made under RGESS is less than or equal to twelve lakh rupees.

Maximum Investment permissible

The maximum Investment permissible for claiming deduction under RGESS is Rs. 50,000.

Tax Benefit

The investor would get a 50% deduction of the amount invested from the taxable income for that year u/s 80CCG. The benefit is in addition to deduction available u/s Sec 80C.

Lock-in Period

The total lock-in period for investments under the RGESS would be divided into 'fixed lock-in period' and 'flexible lock-in period'.

The initial period of lock in shall be known as Fixed Lock-in Period, which shall commence from the date of purchase of such securities in the relevant financial year and end on the 31st day of March of the year immediately following the relevant financial year.

The period of two years beginning immediately after the end of the fixed lock-in period shall be called the flexible lock-in period.

About Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme

The Finance Act 2012 introduced a new section 80CCG on 'Deduction in respect of investment made under an equity savings scheme' as notified by the Central Government to give tax benefits to 'New Retail Investors'. As per Section 80CCG, a resident individual who acquires listed equity shares or listed units of equity oriented mutual fund in accordance with the 'Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme, 2012' (RGESS) notification no. 51/2012 [F. No. 142/35/2012-TPL] dated November 23, 2012, is entitled to a deduction of 50% of the amount invested from his total income to the extent the deduction does not exceed Rs. 25,000. The deduction under Section 80CCG is over and above the deduction under Section 80C. Further, SEBI vide circular no. CIR/MRD/DP/32/2012 dated December 06, 2012 directed inter-alia Mutual Funds to take a note of RGESS notification and take necessary steps to implement the RGESS. In the Finance Act, 2013, certain conditions of RGESS were liberalized. Ministry of Finance thereafter vide Notification no. 94/2013 F. No. 142/35/2012 -TPL dated December 18, 2013 notified RGESS, 2013 i.e. the amended RGESS.

Accordingly, the deduction shall be available for three consecutive years and subject to following conditions:

  • The gross total income of the investor for the relevant assessment year does not exceed Rs. 12 lacs (w.e.f from April 1, 2014, prior to that total income shall not exceed Rs. 10 lacs);
  • The investor is a new retail investor as specified in RGESS;
  • The investment is made in such listed equity shares or listed units of equity oriented mutual fund as specified in RGESS;
  • The investment is locked-in for a 3 year period from the date of acquisition in accordance with RGESS; and
  • Such other conditions as may be prescribed.

If an investor, in a subsequent year fails to comply with any of the above conditions, the deduction originally allowed shall be considered as income in the year in which such condition is not complied with. The objective of the RGESS is to encourage the investment of savings of the small investors in the domestic capital market. RGESS guidelines shall be applicable for claiming deduction in the computation of total income of the assessment year relevant to a previous year on account of investment in eligible securities under sub-section (1) of section 80CCG of the Income-tax Act, 1961.

Salient features of the RGESS are as under:

  1. Eligibility: The tax deduction in terms of RGESS shall be available to a 'new retail investor' who complies with the conditions of the RGESS and whose gross total income for the financial year in which the investment is made under RGESS is less than or equal to twelve lakh rupees
  2. 'New Retail Investor' shall mean the following resident individual:
    • any individual who has not opened a demat account and has not made any transactions in the derivative segment before the date of opening of a demat account or the first day of the initial year, whichever is later.;
    • any individual who has opened a demat account before the RGESS notification but has not made any transactions in the equity segment or the derivative segment before the date he designates his existing demat account for the purpose of availing the benefit under RGESS or the first day of the initial year, whichever is later and any individual who is not the first account holder of an existing joint demat account shall be deemed to have not opened a demat account for the purposes of the RGESS.

Further, 'Initial Year' means

  1. the financial year in which the investor designates his demat account as RGESS account and makes investment in the eligible securities for availing deduction under RGESS; or
  2. the financial year in which the investor makes investment in eligible securities for availing deduction under RGESS for the first time, if the investor does not make any investment in eligible securities in the financial year in which the account is so designated.

Procedure at time of opening or designating of demat account

The new retail investor shall follow the following procedure at the time of opening or designating a demat account:
  • The new retail investor shall open a new demat account or designate his existing demat account for the purpose of availing the benefit under RGESS;
  • .
  • The new retail investor shall submit a declaration in prescribed form to the depository participant who will forward the same to the depository for verifying the status of the new retail investor;
  • The new retail investor shall furnish his Permanent Account Number (PAN) while opening the demat account or designating the existing demat account as a Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme eligible account, as the case may be.
  • The new retail investor shall be eligible for a deduction under sub-section (1) of section 80CCG of the Income Tax Act, 1961 in respect of the actual amount invested in eligible securities, subject to the maximum investment limit of fifty thousand rupees.

Amongst other Eligible Securities, the Units of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) or Mutual Fund (MF) that have RGESS eligible securities as their underlying and that are listed and traded in the stock exchanges and settled through a depository mechanism have also been designated as eligible securities under RGESS.

The maximum Investment permissible for claiming deduction under RGESS is ` 50,000 and the investor would get a 50% deduction of the amount invested from the taxable income for that year.

The new retail investor who has claimed a deduction under sub-section (1) of section 80CCG of the Act, for the assessment year 2013-14, shall not be allowed any deduction under the Scheme for any subsequent assessment year; In other words, for the assessment year 2013-14 deduction under section 80CCG is one time deduction and is available only in one assessment year to the extent of permissible deduction. However, this provision has been amended from the assessment year 2014-15. The modified provision permits deduction for three consecutive assessment years, beginning with assessment year relevant to the previous year in which the eligible securities under RGESS are first acquired. The investor may invest in one or more financial years in a block of three consecutive financial years beginning with the Initial Year. If the investor does not invest in any financial year following the Initial Year, he may invest in the subsequent financial year, within the three consecutive financial years beginning with the Initial Year.

Accordingly, investor who has invested in accordance with Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme, 2012 shall continue to be governed by the provisions under RGESS 2012 to the extent it is not in contravention of the provisions under RGESS 2013 and shall also be eligible for the benefit of investment made in accordance with Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme, 2013 for the financial years 2013-14 and 2014-15.

To benefit the investors, the investments are also allowed to be made in installments in the year.

The eligible securities brought into the demat account, as declared or designated by the New Retail Investor, will automatically be subject to lock-in during its first year unless the New Retail Investor submits a declaration (within one month from the date of transaction) in the prescribed format to the depository participant indicating that such securities are not to be included within the above limit of investment for claiming tax deduction.

The new retail investor shall not be permitted to sell, pledge or hypothecate any eligible security during this fixed lock-in period.

LOCK-IN PERIOD (please also refer illustration given below for lock-in period in RGESS):

  1. The total lock-in period for investments under the RGESS would be divided into 'fixed lock-in period' and 'flexible lock-in period'. The initial period of lock in shall be known as Fixed Lock-in Period, which shall commence from the date of purchase of such securities in the relevant financial year and end on the 31st day of March of the year immediately following the relevant financial year.
  2. The period of two years beginning immediately after the end of the fixed lock-in period shall be called the flexible lock-in period.
  3. Thus, upon completion of the fixed lock-in period, new retail investors would be allowed to trade in the eligible securities. Investors would, however, be required to maintain their level of investment during the next two years (i.e. the flexible lock-in period) at the amount for which they have claimed income tax benefit or at the value of the portfolio before initiating a sale transaction, whichever is less, for at least 270 days in each of these 2 years. Such investment value shall exclude the value of investment which is under the fixed lock-in period.
  4. The balance of the investment portfolio of Eligible Securities in the RGESS Demat Account, at any point of time during the flexible lock-in period, shall not be less than the amount corresponding to the value of the securities in the fixed lock-in.
  5. The general principle under which trading is allowed is that whatever is the value of stocks / Units sold by the investor from the RGESS portfolio, RGESS compliant securities of at least the same value are credited back into the account subsequently.
  6. However, the investor is allowed to take benefits of the appreciation of his RGESS portfolio, provided its value, as on the previous day of trading, remains above the investment for which they have claimed income tax benefit.

The Depositories will be required to ensure the enforcement of the lock-in on Units under the Scheme in terms of RGESS guidelines.

The depository participant shall furnish an annual statement of the Eligible Securities invested in or traded through the demat account to the investor (demat account holder).

In case the investor fails to meet the conditions stipulated under RGESS and the provisions laid under Section 80CCG, the tax benefit will be withdrawn i.e. the deduction originally allowed shall be considered as income in the year in which such condition is not complied with.

For complete details, investors are requested to read section 80CCG of the Income-tax Act, 1961, the amended notification on Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme, 2013 and the Finance Act 2013 issued by Ministry of Finance.