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Making smart investments is key to securing your financial future. However, the world of investing can seem complex and confusing, especially for beginners. Two popular investment options – Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS) and Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) often leave investors scratching their heads. Which one should I choose? What are the differences? 

In this article, we will understand the core concepts behind ELSS and SIP so you can make informed decisions tailored to your financial goals. Read on as we decode the ELSS vs SIP investment option.  

What is ELSS?

Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS) is a diversified equity mutual fund that provides tax benefits under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Being an equity fund, ELSS mainly invests in equities and equity-related instruments. However, these funds come with a 3-year lock-in period, meaning your money will be inaccessible during this time.  

Key features of ELSS

  • Invests primarily in equity and equity-related securities
  • The lock-in period of 3 years 
  • Offers tax deduction up to Rs. 1.5 lakh under Section 80C
  • Higher potential for long-term capital appreciation compared to traditional tax-saving options

Benefits of investing in ELSS

  • Tax savings under section 80C: The key benefit of ELSS is that you can avail of tax deductions up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs in a financial year. This helps reduce your taxable income.
  • Wealth creation through equities: Since ELSS funds invest predominantly in equities, they carry the potential to deliver inflation-beating returns in the long run. This helps grow your wealth substantially over time.  
  • Diversification: ELSS funds are well diversified across sectors and companies. This reduces risk compared to investing in just a few stocks.     
  • Flexibility: You can either invest via SIPs over time or make a one-time lump sum investment. This allows customisation to your needs.
  • Low lock-in of 3 Years: The lock-in period is the lowest compared to other tax-saving options like PPF, NSC, etc., which have much longer commitment requirements of 5-20 years.

What is SIP?

SIP or Systematic Investment Plan refers to periodically investing a fixed sum in a mutual fund scheme over time. The frequency of investment can be monthly, quarterly, etc., depending on your preference. 

Benefits of SIP 

The key benefits of SIP are:

  • Rupee cost averaging: By investing equal amounts regularly, you will buy more mutual fund units when prices are low and fewer units when prices are high. This reduces your average cost per unit.
  • Investment discipline: SIP helps cultivate the discipline to invest regularly without trying to time the markets.
  • Flexibility: You can choose your preferred frequency and amount as per your financial capability to make the most of SIP investing.

SIP can be used to invest in ELSS as well as other types of mutual funds like equity, debt, hybrid, etc. There is a lock-in with SIP if you invest in ELSS. 

Key differences between ELSS and SIP

Now that we have understood both ELSS and SIP, let’s examine the key differences.

1. Lock-in period

While ELSS has a lock-in of 3 years, there is no lock-in if you invest in non-ELSS mutual funds via SIP. However, any premature withdrawal from ELSS before 3 years leads to a penalty. 

2. Tax benefits  

One of the prime benefits of ELSS is that it offers tax deductions under Section 80C. Investments via SIP in non-ELSS funds do not provide any tax benefit.

3. Liquidity

SIP investments are fairly liquid, meaning you can withdraw your money whenever needed by redeeming your mutual fund units. However, in the case of ELSS, liquidity is restricted during the lock-in period.

Which is better for your investment needs?

Deciding between ELSS and SIP can be confusing. It really depends on your financial situation and investment goals. It is best to gather all the information and then make a decision that suits your needs.

If you want to save on your taxes and grow your savings at the same time, then investing in ELSS is a great option. This investment allows you to save on taxes while building your wealth, thanks to a special tax deduction called Section 80C.

Sometimes, when you invest your money in a particular scheme or investment option, you might face a situation where you can only withdraw your money after a certain time. Therefore, it is known as “lock-in”. However, if you need access to your money in the short term, it can be a problem. 

But there’s an alternative investment option called non-ELSS SIP, which allows you to withdraw your money whenever you need it without any restrictions.

In terms of returns, both ELSS and SIP carry some risk as they invest predominantly in equities. But SIP provides more flexibility – for instance, investing in a debt fund to minimise risk.

For long-term, non-tax saving investments, SIP in diversified equity funds can fetch you good inflation-beating returns. ELSS, too, can deliver high returns over time.  


ELSS and SIP may need to be clarified at first glance. However, by focusing on their specific attributes, Purpose, and benefits, you can make optimal decisions. Investing in ELSS funds through SIP mode integrates the benefits of both. Hence, this offers tax savings under Section 80C plus wealth creation through equities in the long run while also enabling discipline through systematic investments. Depending on your financial situation and risk appetite, you can arrive at the right investment mix for your portfolio.


What is the key difference between ELSS and SIP, according to the article?

The article explains that ELSS refers to a type of mutual fund that provides tax benefits. In contrast, SIP refers to the systematic investment process of periodically investing in any mutual fund, including ELSS. So they are two different concepts – ELSS is a product while SIP is an investment process.

Can someone explain what Section 80C tax benefit means, as given in the ELSS benefits?

Section 80C of the Income Tax Act provides tax deductions up to Rs.1.5 lakhs in a financial year on certain investments like ELSS. So, if someone invests in ELSS mutual funds, they can reduce their taxable income under this section and pay less tax.

What is meant by “lock-in period” with respect to ELSS? 

The article mentions ELSS funds have a lock-in period of 3 years. This means the money invested cannot be withdrawn during this period. It remains locked in for at least 3 years. This enables long-term equity investing but reduces liquidity in the short term.

How does SIP help in rupee cost averaging based on the content?

Rupee cost averaging means allowing investors’ average cost per unit to be reduced by investing equal fixed amounts regularly. As per the article, SIP enables periodic investments, so more units are purchased when market prices fall and fewer units when prices rise. This brings down overall purchase cost.

What is the benefit of combining ELSS and SIP, according to the passage?

The article suggests simultaneously leveraging the tax benefit of ELSS and the systematic investing benefit of SIPs by investing in ELSS funds through SIPs. This offers twin benefits of tax savings plus wealth creation through equities in the long run due to equity exposure in ELSS along with rupee cost averaging by investing systematically.

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