New Delhi: The government on Wednesday said it has no plans to lower the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) levied on equity trades, even as collections dipped by about 18 per cent drop during the April-October period this fiscal.

"No, Sir," Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam said in a reply to a query on whether the government proposes to lower STT in the country.

He, however, acknowledged that STT collections dropped during the April-October, 2011-12, period.

Collections from STT declined by 17.9 per cent to Rs 2,958 crore in the April-October period of the current fiscal from Rs 3,602 crore in the corresponding year-ago period, the minister said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

The stock exchanges had asked the Finance Ministry to abolish STT, arguing that such a step would help boost investments in the stock market and promote an equity culture in the country.

The bourses also sought simpler compliance procedures and the imposition of lower costs on brokers to facilitate greater retail participation in the market.

The government had introduced STT in 2004 on transactions related to different types of securities. At present, the rate varies from 0.025 per cent to 0.25 per cent, depending upon the type of security traded and transaction -- whether sale or purchase.

(Agencies)