Jaitley gives no relief on interest from fixed deposits

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 28, 2015 23:19 IST

In a disappointment to banks, finance minister Arun Jaitley did not accept their long-pending demand for a possible reduction in the tenure of tax-saving fixed deposits.

Banks had demanded a sharp hike in the cut-off limit for deducting tax at source on interest earned on deposits among their suggestions to the finance ministry for incorporation in budget 2015-16.

According to banks, such exemptions would have made fixed deposits more attractive and on par with equity-linked savings schemes and mutual funds.

Banks had also pitched for the lock-in period on deposits that are eligible for tax savings under Section 80C of the I-T Act to be reduced to three years from five years.

Had the government considered the demand of banks to make fixed deposits for three years and more tax-free instead of the five-year lock-in period at present, it would have provided lenders with a level-playing field with mutual funds and tax-free bonds that had weaning away a large chunk of investors.

Bankers had pointed out to the finance ministry that five year lock-in is a discouragement for banks when they promote these fixed deposits against other instruments like mutual funds, which have a lock-in period of three years.

Banks had said that the terms of schemes eligible for tax rebate under Section 80C are not uniform; while public provident fund has a lock-in period of 15 years, it is six years in the case of national savings certificate and three years in equity linked savings schemes (ELSS).

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