The fate of girl child is certainly an issue that catches everyone’s attention in India. The female feticide and inappropriate sex ratio are two big issues that government agencies have been trying to deal with since decades. Sukanya Samriddhi Account Yojana is one step in ensuring a better future for the girl child, by planning their daughter’s future well in advance.
The Sukanya Samriddhi Account Yojana or Scheme (SSAY) is a part of “Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao”, an initiative by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The object of Sukanya Samriddhi account is to ensure a bright future for female children in India. This scheme is to facilitate them proper education and also to meet their marriage expenses. SSAY is a small savings scheme which was launched in January 2015 which can be opened by the parents or a legal guardian of a girl child in any post office or authorized branches of some of the commercial banks.
One of the key benefits of the scheme is that it is quite affordable and offers one of the highest rates of interest. Currently the rate of interest is 9.2% per annum for Financial Year 2015-16. Also, SSAY is covered under section 80C of the Income tax Act, 1961 of which almost every taxpayer takes the benefit while paying income tax.
Let’s understand the scheme in detail:
The first and foremost question that should arise is what the advantages of investing in this scheme are. Here we have certain advantages:
- High and best in market interest rates
- One of the greatest advantages of SSAY is that it is EEE tax exempted. EEE tax exemption means that the deposits of the account would be exempted from taxes along with the fact that the proceeds and the maturity amount too would be exempted from taxes under section 80C.
- Maturity amount to be given directly to the girl child
- Interest would be paid even after maturity of the account, if it is not closed by the account holder or depositor
- No fixed number of deposits. The depositor can deposit a multiple of Rs 1,000 throughout the year, with no limitation on number of deposits. This is indeed a big advantage of the scheme.
- Account can be transferred anywhere in India.
- Girl child/Account holder may operate her account, if she wishes to. This would give a lot of financial freedom to the girl child as well.
Who can deposit in Sukanya Samriddhi Account Yojana?
As the name suggests, the scheme is dedicated to a girl child, a parent or a legal guardian can be the depositor of the account.
What’s the age limit of a girl child for opening Sukanya Samriddhi Account?
Any legal guardian or parent of a girl child can open Sukanya Samriddhi Account under this scheme anytime at the time of birth of the child till she attains an age of 10 years.
Also, any girl who attained an age of 10 years within 1 year prior to announcement of this scheme would also be entitled to get this account opened under her name.
As a grace period, any girl born between 2nd February 2003 and 1st December 2004 is also eligible to get an account under the scheme; however, they would have to get the account opened by 1st December 2015.
Which documents are required to open Sukanya Samriddhi Account?
No much documentation is required here and the process of opening a Sukanya Samriddhi account is quite easy. Here’s a list of document a parent or guardian needs to take along when applying for an account under the scheme:
- Birth Certificate of the Girl child
- Proof of Address of parents/guardians
- Proof of identity of the parents/guardian
So, in all, you need just three basic documents and Sukanya Samriddhi Account would be opened for your girl child.
Where to open Sukanya Samriddhi Account?
The government is still in the process of authorizing various financial institutions for opening of account under this scheme. However, as of now, you can walk in to any nearby Post Office or any branch of few authorised Banks. The list of authorised banks includes almost all Public Sector Banks along with few Private Banks like ICICI Bank and Axis Bank.
How many accounts one can open?
Only one account can be opened per girl child to the maximum limit of two children except in a case of twins or triplets, wherein this facility would be extended to the third child which means you can even open three accounts in case you are blessed with twin girls on the second occasion or in case the first birth itself results into three girl children.
How much minimum and maximum amount one can invest?
To keep your account active, you need to deposit a minimum of Rs. 1,000/- in a particular financial year, failure to do so will make this account inactive. The same can be activated again by paying a penalty of Rs. 50/- along with the minimum amount required to be deposited for that year i.e. Rs. 1,000/- at present. The maximum amount, which can be invested in this, is Rs. 1,50,000/- in a year and there are no limits to the no. of times you can make these contributions.
What is the duration of Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme?
The total duration of the scheme is 21 years and it will mature on the completion of 21 years right from the date of opening of this account. One can even continue to earn interest as specified every year if account is not closed after completion of 21 years.
What about pre-mature withdrawal and account transfer?
Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme has been launched across India and hence the account is transferrable to any part of the country in situation of the account holder or the depositor moving to other places.
The scheme clearly envisages that a pre-mature amount of up to 50% is allowed for withdrawal after the account holder turns 18 year for the requirement of either marriage or higher education.
To conclude, the aim of the scheme is quite dignified and would certainly provide a lot of financial freedom to the girl child as well as their parents and guardians.