The government has slashed the minimum annual deposit requirement for accounts under the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana to Rs 250 from Rs 1,000 – a move that will enable more number of people to take advantage of the girl child savings scheme.
Sukanya Samriddhi scheme was launched in 2015. Till November 2017, more than 1.26 crore accounts were opened across the country securing an amount of Rs 19,183 crore.
Under the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ initiative, the Sukanya Samriddhi account was launched in January 2015. The interest rate on the Sukanya Samriddhi account is revised every quarter, just like other small savings schemes and the Public Provident Fund. For the July-September quarter, the rate has been set at 8.1%.
The account opened under the scheme will be valid for 21 years from the date of opening, after which it will mature and the money will be paid to the girl child in whose name the account is opened. If the account is not closed after maturity, the balance amount will continue to earn interest as specified for the scheme from time to time.
Premature withdrawal – withdrawing money before the completion of the maturity period of 21 years – can only be made by the girl child in whose name the account has been opened after she attains the age of 18 years.
This withdrawal will also be limited to 50 percent of the balance standing at the end of the preceding financial year, and will only be allowed for the purpose of higher education or if the girl intends to get married. In order to make a withdrawal, the account should have a deposit of at least 14 years or more.
A parent can open only one account per girl child, and a maximum of two such bank accounts in the name of two girl children. In the case of twin girls as a second birth, or if the first birth itself results in the birth of three girl children, three bank accounts can be opened in the name of three girl children.
Here are the few features of Sukanya Samriddhi accounts:
1) A guardian can open only one account in the name of one girl child and a maximum of two accounts in the name of two different girl children.
2) A Sukanya Samriddhi account can be opened in the name of a girl child till she attains the age of 10 years.
3) Sukanya Samriddhi accounts can be opened in post offices and in designated public banks.
4) Deposits can be made up to 14 years from the date of opening of the account.
5) After this period, the account will only earn interest according to applicable rates.
6) The account can be closed after completion of 21 years.
7) Deposits made into the Sukanya Samriddhi account, the interest earned, and the maturity amount are tax-free.
8) The minimum deposit that needs to be made every year into Sukanya Samriddhi account is now Rs 250.
9) The maximum amount that can be deposited into Sukanya Samriddhi account on a yearly basis is Rs 1.50 lakh.
10) Partial withdrawal from a Sukanya Samriddhi account, up to 50% of the balance at the end of the preceding financial year, can be made after the account holder attains the age of 18, according to the India Post website.