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Life insurance scrips suffer from ‘Halahala’ poison in Amrit Kaal budget

Chennai, Feb 2 (IANS) The proposals in the Amrit Kaal budget presented to the Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has turned out to be an ‘halahala’ (poison) for the life insurers.

Barring the ICICI Prudential Life Insurance scrip which opened positive, the shares of other listed life insurers were in red for a second consecutive day.

The shares of ICICI Prudential that closed at Rs 402.55 on Wednesday opened at Rs 396.95 and went up to Rs 410.61 and changed hands for Rs 407.

In a regulatory filing, the company clarified that the share of business of non-unit linked policies with annual premium of above Rs 500,000 is approximately 6 per cent of the total annualised premium equivalent (APE) for 9M-FY2023.

The shares of industry leader Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) opened at Rs 584.85 after previous close of Rs 598.80. The scrip was changing hands during the day for Rs 595 though it touched a high of Rs 606.

On the other hand, HDFC Life Insurance scrip opened at Rs 504 (previous close Rs 515.50) and went down to touch a low of Rs 483.10 was trading for about Rs 486.

The SBI Life Insurance scrip were trading at Rs 1,091 after opening at Rs 1,100 (previous close Rs 1,106.35).

By tweaking the ‘New Tax Regime’ (launched in the FY21 Budget), the government has attempted to make it attractive – it has brought down taxes under this ‘exemption-free’ regime, thus reducing the tax-saving value of tax-saving instruments (such as life insurance policies) under Sections 80C, 80D and others of the Income Tax Act.

And by removing exemptions under Sec10 (10D) of the Income Tax Act, the Budget has also proposed taxing the maturity and surrender amount of non-ULIP policies (purchased after 1-Apr-2023), if the total premium paid by an individual under such polices is more than Rs 5 lakh in a year.

While in the Indian mythology, the ‘Halahala’ poison was taken by Lord Shiva, at the country’s bourses the investors are bearing the brunt.