Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme is good only in parts

The government has put in place a very complicated system of RGESS, which is likely to be a non-starter from day one, as the pain of complying with the formalities is more than the pleasure of saving a maximum amount of Rs5,000 from the scheme

The broad contours of proposed Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS) have just been announced by the Central Government.  The finance ministry, while announcing the details of the scheme hopes that the scheme will improve the depth of the domestic capital markets, as it aims to promote an equity culture in India. While time alone will tell whether these objectives will be achieved, the scheme as it appears is like a curate’s egg, only good in parts, and requires clarity on several fronts for the smooth operation of the scheme.


Details of the RGESS:


The salient features of the scheme as announced in a press note dated 21September, 2012 are as under:


a. Scheme is open to new retail investors, identified on the basis of their PAN numbers. This includes those who have opened the demat account but have not made any transaction in stocks and /or in derivatives till the date of notification of this scheme and all those account holders other than the first account holder who wish to open a fresh account.


b. Those investors whose annual taxable income is Rs10 lakh are eligible under the scheme.


c. The maximum Investment permissible under the scheme is Rs50,000 and the investor would get a 50% deduction of the amount invested from the taxable income for that year.


d. Under the Scheme, those stocks listed under the BSE 100 or CNX 100, or those of public sector undertakings which are Navratnas, Maharatnas and Miniratnas would be eligible. Follow-on Public Offers (FPOs) of the above companies would also be eligible under the scheme. IPOs of PSUs, which are getting listed in the relevant financial year and whose annual turnover is not less than Rs4,000 crore for each of the immediate past three years, would also be eligible.


e. In addition, considering the requests from various stakeholders, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Mutual Funds (MFs) that have RGESS eligible securities as their underlying and are listed and traded in the stock exchanges and settled through a depository mechanism have also been brought under RGESS.


f. To benefit the small investors, the investments are allowed to be made in instalments in the year in which tax claims are made.


g. The total lock-in period for investments under the scheme would be three years including an initial blanket lock-in period of one year, commencing from the date of last purchase of securities under RGESS.


h. After the first year, investors would be allowed to trade in the securities in furtherance of the goal of promoting an equity culture and as a provision to protect them from adverse market movements or stock specific risks as well as to give them avenues to realize profits.


i. Investors would, however, be required to maintain their level of investment during these two years 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 a year. The calculation of 270 days includes those days pursuant to the day on which the market value of the residual shares/units has automatically touched the stipulated value after the date of debit.


j. 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. 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.


k. For the purpose of valuation of shares, the closing price as on the previous day of the date of trading will be considered so that new investors are certain about their debits and credits into the account.


l. In case the investor fails to meet the conditions stipulated, the tax benefit will be withdrawn.


Analysis of the pros and cons of the scheme

1. The scheme is applicable to first time investors in the stock market. This obviously means that the scheme is meant for those people who do not know anything about the stock market. There is an advertisement in daily newspapers released by National Stock Exchange advising people to follow three guiding principles before investing in the stock market. They are “soch kar, samajkar, investkar”. It means that you have to think, understand and then invest in the stock market so that you do not burn your fingers. So who will guide the first time investors in the stock market to understand the risks involved in investing in stock market? The scheme has no provision to cast any responsibility on any of the market participants to take up this job and the investors are left to fend for themselves. 


2. The maximum investment permitted under the scheme is Rs50,000 and the investor would get a 50% of the amount invested as a deduction from the taxable income for that year. And this is restricted to those whose annual taxable income is up to Rs10 lakh. This means that any one eligible under the scheme invests Rs50,000 in the permitted stocks will get a deduction of Rs25,000 from his taxable income. This in effect means that this investor will get a maximum tax saving of Rs5,000 in a year, as he falls in the tax bracket of 20% under the Income Tax Act.


Is it worth the trouble of first opening a demat account after complying with KYC norms, then opening a broking account with a stock broker after complying with necessary formalities, then start buying the stocks without knowing what to buy, and finally run the risk of losing whole or a part of the capital all for getting a tax benefit of this paltry amount of Rs5000? Of course, if you are lucky, you may earn some extra profit, if the stock pick is right and the market favours you and the index goes up.


3. To be eligible for tax benefit, you have to invest in stocks specified in the scheme. They are all those stocks covered by BSE 100 or CNX 100 index and those of public sector undertakings which are categorized by the government as ‘Maharatnas’, ‘Navaratnas’, and ‘Miniratnas’. The follow on offers and initial public offers of PSUs whose annual turnover is not less than Rs4,000 crore are also eligible for investment under the scheme. So you have to first identify these eligible stocks, lest you may fail to get the tax benefit if you make a mistake. No doubt brokers will be able to indentify the eligible stocks, and they will even recommend the stocks to the investors. However, without any responsibility for the performance of the stocks recommended by them, because, nobody can predict the movement of the market with any amount of accuracy.


As per the website of department of public enterprises,, a total of 89 central public sector undertakings have been listed under the Ratna category, but many of them are not listed in the stock exchanges. There are five Maharatnas, 16 Navartnas, 52 Miniratnas in Category I, and 16 Miniratnas under Category II, and it is not clear whether listed companies in all these categories are eligible for investment under the scheme.


4. The new addition to the scheme is the Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and mutual funds that have invested in the RGESS approved securities mentioned above and such funds are listed and traded in the stock exchange and settled through the depository mechanism. Investments in these funds are also eligible under the scheme. The ministry has added ETFs with an ulterior motive of pushing the ETFs proposed to be set up to sell PSU shares shortly. In the case of mutual funds, as of now, there may not be any specific fund set up exclusively for investing in the stocks permitted under the RGESS scheme and listed in the stock exchanges. Hence, investors may have to wait till new schemes are set up by the mutual funds covering these stocks and shares. This is the only positive aspect of the scheme as it is preferable for new investors in the stock market to invest through the mutual funds route to reduce market risk considerably. There is a provision to invest in instalments in the year in which tax claim is made.


5. There is a lock-in period of three years including a blanket lock-in of one year. So if you sell the shares within a year, you will forfeit the tax benefit and you are liable to pay tax on the principal amount during the year of sale, but there is no provision to offset loss if any, incurred by you on this sale. However, the scheme has a very complex system of sale and repurchase after one year and it is not worth resorting to sale within next two years, because it is not only cumbersome, but also you have to ensure that your original investment of Rs50,000 should be in place during at least 270 days each in the second and third year.


On the whole, the government has put in place a very complicated system of RGESS, which is likely to be a non-starter from day one, as the pain of complying with the formalities is more than the pleasure of saving a maximum amount of Rs5,000 from the scheme.


The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is expected to issue detailed guidelines to operationalise the scheme within the next two weeks when more clarity may emerge.  


(The author is a banking and financial analyst and writes for Moneylife under the pen-name ‘Gurpur’).


Psychiatry: What is it?

The advantages of psychotherapy far outweigh the drug therapy but the powers that be are disinclined since the drug lobby runs the medical world today

“No further evidence is needed to show that “mental illness” is not the name of a biological condition whose nature awaits to be elucidated, but is the name of a concept whose purpose is to obscure the obvious”—
Thomas S Szasz

What is the mind, anyway? Psychiatrists are supposed to deal with the mind! Quantum physics now shows that the mind is the body and the body is the mind—all are but simple energy vibrations which appear to be solid! If that were the reality then psychiatrists and physicians become one and the same. The caste system automatically disappears. What does this mean to patients? A lot, indeed! If every physician becomes adept at understanding the human mind without having to scan that through a scope, except the mind scope, like a stethoscope, which every doctor should possess, the myriad physical problems could be solved without much physical intervention.

The divine interventionalists, of course, will be the losers. They would fight this concept tooth and nail. The medical establishment has become a commercial venture with the US spending more than $1.72 trillion last year for the so called “health care” which in effect was nothing but sickness care. The latter, most of the time, are man made—iatrogenic. I call those diseases as “doctor-thinks-you-have-a-disease” syndrome.

Where IS the mind?

Bruce Lipton, a cell biologist professor at Wisconsin School of Medicine and also at St George’s University School of Medicine, is a noted developmental biologist who discovered that each and every cell in the human body (of which there are between 50-100 trillion in all) has its own brain, which he calls as memBrain with antennae to receive the signals from the universal consciousness.

In short, new biology now thinks that the human mind is in every cell and not just restricted to the brain as was the conventional thinking, originally based on the Canadian surgeon Penfield’s crude experiments on his patients in the operating room. The new concept matches the “times out of mind” view in Indian Ayurveda and also in the Vedic wisdom of two minds—the universal mind and the individual mind.

Ayurveda also explains how the mind can be made to evolve through several stages to the ultimate level of equanimity (stithaprajna), in the bargain going through several stages viz: manas, budhi, chitta, purusha and Ishwara. A good psychiatrist would be able guide a misguided mind to attain that equanimity as per the Indian scriptures.

The seed for this line of thinking in the west recently was sown by Candace Pert, a young post doc at the NIH with the ‘great’ Sol Snyder, who, for the first time, found out opiate receptors outwith the brain in every cell. She deserved the Nobel but her boss wanted his name to be the first on the paper! She fought that idea with all her might and in the bargain, lost both her job and the Nobel. Snyder managed to get the Laskar award, the steeping stone to the Nobel, but Candace managed to send her laboratory logs to the Swedish Academy to prove to them that the work for which Snyder got the Laskar was her own. Snyder did not get his Nobel! Her book Molecules of Emotion, a classic, was an encouragement to Bruce Lipton. His book Biology of Belief is another all time classic.


Professor JC Bose was the man credited to have initiated scientific studies of consciousness and had shown the presence of consciousness even in inert metals and, of course, in plants. The conventional ‘scientific’ world mostly ignored his findings in the beginning up until Cambridge University picked him up for his outstanding research. He quickly became a Fellow of the Royal Society, at one time thought to be better than the Nobel what with all the latter’s lobbying.  Nobel committee refused to award the prize to him despite being repeatedly nominated! Animals do have consciousness even according Indian scriptures. Human consciousness is supposed to be the one evolved to the highest level. A simple example will be your dog in the house. When you go home the dog feels a lot better but will be sad when you leave. It has the consciousness that you will be out for some time. But if you told the dog that you are going for a lecture at the psychiatrists’ meet, it makes no sense to the dog. Man has the most evolved consciousness according to Indian wisdom. The graphic descriptions in the Sankya School of philosophy are peerless.

Western psychiatric management:

From the time of locking up severe psychotics for decades at the Karolinska institutet in Sweden to the present day chemical antipsychotics nothing much has changed for those hapless patients. Freudian psychoanalysis, based largely on the Oedipus complex with a strong sexual bias, has not been of much benefit as per some of the independent audits. Anti-psychotics, starting with the first chlorpromazine to the latest SSRIs have had their own inherent adverse drug reactions (ADRs). The latter are the leading cause of iatrogenic deaths in the world. We need to rethink in this area for the good of our patients who can not be partners in their treatment unlike in other areas of medicine. Paternalism alone works in psychiatry where the moral responsibility of the treating doctor becomes paramount.

An epoch-making study by a leading American geneticist, Douglas C Wallace, (Genetic 2008; 179: 727) did show that ALL reductionist chemical drugs have the power to destroy human cells but eastern herbal drugs are accepted by the body as food and do not damage the system. One other reason is that all reductionist chemicals are dextrorotatory but body molecules are laevorotatory—a square plug in a round hole! For all these reasons and more we need to urgently look for holistic pharmacotherapy using herbal drugs, properly scientifically authenticated. The burden is on India psychiatrists to give the world the leadership.


I am a strong proponent of psychotherapy as the be all and end all of psychiatric management and NOT drugs. I am aware that the conventional psychiatrists will laugh at me. Be that as it may, the advantages of psychotherapy far outweigh the drug therapy. Again, it boils down to the man/woman doing that job, a thankless job at that. It is not economically viable either in the present corporate philosophy which has percolated into the medical world. The powers that be also are disinclined since the drug lobby runs the medical world today. People on the top of the Forbes list are in charge of these formulations in the West although Forbes himself did say that “life is not to get rich but to enrich the world!”


You could laugh at me, hate me, or weep with me for these unconventional ideas, but do not ignore what I have said above. Go home and think about it. If you ignore me you will doing a great disservice to the hapless mentally challenged people of this world who require our compassion and empathy just like an innocent child needing that from a doting mother.

 “If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia”— Margaret Atwood, Canadian writer

(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, Chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected].)


Economy & Nation Exclusive
What we forgot in the buzz of reforms 1—Inflation in India is headed higher

The nation has been gripped by rapid-fire economic reforms unleashed by the Congress-led UPA government. But a lot of these recent measures will lead to higher inflation in India, dimming the hope of cheaper credit and higher growth

Over the last few days, the government has announced a slew of reform measures such as foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail, aviation and broadcasting as well as diesel price hike and capping the number of LPG gas cylinders per consumer per year. However, this will not alleviate the immediate drag on the economy—interest rates, which have remained high—partly because inflation in India is running high. According research by Standard Chartered Bank, “notwithstanding recent exuberance on the fiscal reform front, we have raised our fiscal deficit and inflation forecasts for FY13 (ending March 2013). We believe that the government’s recent larger-than-expected revision of fuel prices and the delayed onset of the monsoon rains will push inflation in India higher.”


The bank had raised its average FY13 inflation forecast to 7.6% y-o-y (year-on-year), after factoring in the impact of delayed monsoon rains on food inflation in India. Since then, three important changes have pushed its FY13 average inflation forecast to 7.8%.


It increased retail fuel product prices after a gap of one year by 12%. It also limited the supply of subsidized cooking gas to six cylinders per household per year. This implies a 22% price increase, assuming that each household needs at least eight cylinders a year. The government also reduced the petrol excise duty by 7.5%. According to bank, “the direct impact of these revisions is equivalent to 70 basis points (bps) of inflation and is likely to push headline inflation in India above 8% in next few months. While our initial 7.6% average forecast incorporated some rise in fuel product prices, the government has been more aggressive than we expected.”


Inflation in primary articles was lower than expected in July and August because of lower price of fruit and vegetable. But given “insufficient monsoon rains, we expect fruit and vegetable prices to move higher eventually. Indeed, July CPI (consumer price index) inflation in India showed a 7.9% m-o-m increase in vegetable prices versus a decline of just 5.9%. Thus, the probability remains of future revisions to this series.” The bank also reminds that “inflation in manufactured products increased sharply to 6.14% in August from 5.4% in June. The index rose a further 0.8% in August, after a 0.6% rise in July. Core inflation edged up to 5.6% y-o-y in August from 5.44% the previous month. Price pressures exist across the board but are most notable for sugar (+8% m-o-m) and cement (+ 2% m-o-m). Since these price changes have driven the index to higher levels, the impact on headline inflation will be felt for the rest of FY13.”


The impact of all this is no cuts in interest rates. The bank notes that “in its recent monetary policy statement, the RBI highlighted persistent inflationary pressures and noted the upside pressure from high global commodity prices and India’s still wide fiscal and current account deficits. It made it clear that managing inflation remains its priority.”




4 years ago

The following will be the News CNN IBN likely to broadcast a few years after Wal-Mart enters India.

( CNN - IBN changes its name. Now it is called CNN - KALAVATI )

This is CNN -IBN broadcasting live from its headquarters at Bhatta Parsaul


Rolls Royce opens its first ever mega show room in India at Nandigram in West Bengal. CEO of Wal-Mart India, Mr. Montek was present on the occasion.

Large queues were seen in front of Raymond show room across Indian metropolitan cities, especially in "Erumapetty" in Tamil Nadu, Nargundu in Karnataka, Jadchrala in Andhra Pradesh, Podiya in Orissa, Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on the occasion of Holy. The police had to be called in to control the mob. The Raymond dealer at Singur in West Bengal said that he had to close the show room as there was scarcity of "SUITING MATERIALS AND NECKTIES".

In the meanwhile, the CEO of famous underwear brand Jockie lamented that their company is passing through a very difficult time. He said that the rural rich still prefer Indian ties under their costly trousers. He requested the Nobel Laureate Mr. Vivian Fernandez, who won the Nobel Prize for his research on "Pepsi assisted farming" in Punjab, to intervene in this matter. Mr. Fernandez assured him that he will meet Prime Minster Rahul Gandhi and request him to levy an excise duty of 53.5% (advalorem !) for the Indian ties in order to discourage the rural rich from wearing the Indian tie.

The Indian MULTI- national Tata Motors is coming out with a new model with a MULTI-jet diesel engine. A top executive of TATA Motors said "We will be soon selling our cars through MULTI-brand retailer Wal-Mart. We also had talks with MULTI- level marketing company Amway". But since they cannot enter into Andhra Pradesh we have decided not to proceed further !


4 years ago

Rapid-fire reforms will lead to higher inflation ? !Oh No !

Call Walmart! Save India!

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