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Ventura Wealth Clients
3 min Read

Tax season often brings a dilemma for investors: which tax-saving instrument to choose? Two popular options emerge: Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS) and the Public Provident Fund (PPF). Both offer tax benefits under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act but cater to different risk appetites and investment goals. This blog sheds light on the key features, pros and cons, and helps you decide which path best suits your financial needs.

What is ELSS?

ELSS, or Equity Linked Saving Schemes, are essentially mutual funds that invest a significant portion of their assets in the stock market. Here's what defines them:

  • Equity Focus: ELSS funds primarily invest in equities, offering the potential for high returns over the long term. However, this also translates to higher risk due to stock market fluctuations.
  • Investment Horizon: ELSS funds are best suited for long-term investment goals (ideally 5 years or more) to ride out market volatility and benefit from potential wealth creation.
  • Tax Benefits: Investments in ELSS qualify for tax deduction under Section 80C, up to a limit of ₹1.5 lakh per year. Additionally, long-term capital gains exceeding ₹1 lakh are taxed at a concessional rate of 10%.

Benefits of ELSS

  • High Growth Potential: ELSS offers the potential for significantly higher returns compared to traditional fixed-income options like PPF.
  • Flexibility: ELSS provides flexibility in terms of investment amount and exit options (after the lock-in period).
  • Active Management: ELSS funds are actively managed by professional fund managers, aiming to maximise returns for investors.

Cons of ELSS

  • Market Risk: ELSS investments are subject to stock market volatility, leading to potential losses in the short term.
  • Lock-in Period: ELSS comes with a lock-in period of 3 years, restricting access to your invested capital during that time.

What is PPF?

The Public Provident Fund (PPF) is a government-backed savings scheme offering guaranteed returns and high security. Let's explore its key characteristics:

  • Guaranteed Returns: PPF offers a fixed interest rate set by the government quarterly. While the returns are lower than ELSS, they are guaranteed and not subject to market risks.
  • Long Investment Horizon: Similar to ELSS, PPF has a long investment horizon of 15 years, with an extension option in blocks of 5 years.
  • Tax Benefits: Investments in PPF qualify for tax deduction under Section 80C, up to a limit of ₹1.5 lakh per year. Additionally, the interest earned and the maturity amount are completely tax-free.

Pros of PPF

  • Guaranteed Returns and Safety: PPF offers a safe investment option with guaranteed returns, ideal for risk-averse investors.
  • Tax Benefits: PPF provides attractive tax benefits, making it a tax-efficient investment avenue.
  • Long-Term Wealth Creation: PPF caters to long-term financial goals, promoting disciplined saving habits.

Cons of PPF

  • Lower Returns: Compared to ELSS, PPF offers lower returns, potentially limiting wealth creation compared to equity-linked instruments.
  • Lower Flexibility: PPF has a longer lock-in period (15 years) and limited withdrawal options compared to ELSS.
  • Passive Investment: PPF returns are predetermined by the government, offering no control over potential growth beyond the set rate.


The ideal choice between ELSS and PPF depends on your individual financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon. Here's a quick guide to help you decide:

  • Choose ELSS if: You have a high-risk tolerance, a long-term investment horizon (ideally 5+ years), and are seeking high potential returns.
  • Choose PPF if: You are risk-averse, prioritise guaranteed returns and safety, and have a long-term investment goal (15+ years).


Consider incorporating both ELSS and PPF into your portfolio to achieve a balanced approach. ELSS can fuel your long-term wealth creation goals, while PPF offers a safe haven with guaranteed returns. Remember, asset allocation is crucial. The ideal mix depends on your individual circumstances.

Remember: Consult a qualified financial advisor for personalised advice tailored to your specific financial situation and risk tolerance.