The S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 indexes plunged for a second straight session and were on track to post biggest single-day decline in over nine months after the government proposed to increase the minimum public shareholding in listed companies and to raise the tax incidence for foreign portfolio investors and high net-worth individuals in its Budget. "I have asked SEBI to consider raising the current threshold of 25 per cent to 35 per cent," Finance Minister Sitharaman said while presenting the first Budget in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's second term in Parliament on Friday. The Sensex fell as much as 847 points to 38,666 in afternoon deals, and the NSE Nifty 50 index slumped 268.5 points to slide below the crucial psychological level of 11,600.
Auto and banking shares were among the worst performers in today's session amid broad-based selling pressure.
At 1:12 pm, the Sensex traded 682.03 points - or 1.73 per cent - lower at 38,831.36 while the Nifty was down 217.60 points - or 1.84 per cent - at 11,593.55.
"Higher tax incidence proposed in the Budget for foreign portfolio investors and high net worth individuals is spooking the markets," AK Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital, told NDTV in a telephonic conversation. "The proposal to increase minimum public shareholding for all listed companies in Budget is also impacting the markets negatively," he added.
Selling pressure was broad-based as all the sector gauges compiled by National Stock Exchange struggled with losses, led by a 5.5 per cent drop in the Nifty PSU Bank index. The Realty, Auto, Bank, Financial Services, Media and Private Sector Bank gauges also fell between 2 and 3 per cent each.