Sukanya Samriddhi Account Deposit Scheme is one of the most popular small saving schemes in India. This scheme was launched in January, 2015. Since then, it has been estimated that around 76 Lakhs Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana Accounts have been opened across the country. The amount collected under these accounts is around Rs. 2, 838 crore (up to October, 2015).
Sukanya Samriddhi Account (SSA) can be opened in the name of girl child only. Post offices and Commercial banks (Public / Private Sector) have been authorized by the Govt to open SSAs.
Though Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme is a simple financial product, there has been some confusion with respect to some of its features, operation of account, premature withdrawal, account transfer, NRI & SSA, closure of account etc.,
To clear this confusion, the govt has recently issued a notification highlighting some new changes / amendments to ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Account Deposit Scheme’.
15 New Amendments to Sukanya Samriddhi Account Deposit Scheme Rules
Below are some of the revised rules of Sukanya Samriddhi Account;
- Definition of Account Holder & Beneficiary : Account holder means a person in whose name the Account is held. Girl child is the beneficiary under SSA. The amount can be deposited by the account holder (girl child) or by her parent/guardian.
- SSA & Adopted Daughter : The new rules have made it clear that Sukanya Account can be opened even in the name of an adopted Daughter.
- Resident Indian Girl Child : Only an Indian Resident Girl Child can be the Beneficiary under the SSA Rules.
- Rate of Interest : As per the old rules, the rate of interest will be declared on an yearly basis. Now, the Government can amend the Interest Rate from time to time. (Read : Latest Small Saving Schemes & Rate of Interest – New guidelines)
- Minimum Amount & Account Default Rules :
- The minimum amount that has to be deposited in SSA is Rs 1,000 p.a.
- If the min amount is not deposited, account will be treated as ‘Account in Default‘ and such accounts can be regularized on payment of a penalty of fifty rupees per year.
- The new rules also specify that if the defaulted account is not regularized within fifteen years of opening the account, then the whole deposit amount (including the deposits made prior to the date of default) shall be eligible to get Post Office Savings Bank interest rate at the time of its maturity.
- In case if the reason for default is due to the death of the ‘Guardian’ of the child, the above rules won’t be applicable. The account holder will get normal SSA interest rate.
- Maximum Deposit : The maximum amount that can be deposited in SSA is Rs 1.5 Lakh per fiscal year. In case deposit in excess of one lakh fifty thousand rupees in any financial year is accepted due to any accounting error, such excess amount will not be eligible for any interest. The depositor can withdraw such excess amount anytime.
- Online Payment Mode : As of now, deposits can be made in the form of cash/by cheque/by DD only. The new rules have clarified that ‘online payment mode’ (electronic transfer) is also acceptable provided that the post office or bank has access to CBS facility (Core Banking Solution).
- Interest Calculation Procedure : Under SSA, the interest is compounded on yearly basis. The interest amount is calculated for the calendar month on the lowest balance in an Account on the deposits made between the close of the tenth day and the end of the month. So, it is now clear that no interest is paid on deposits made after 10th of the month for that specific month.
- Duplicate Passbook : In the event of loss of passbook, a duplicate passbook can be issued on payment of Rs 50. The guardian or the account holder has to submit a written request to get a duplicate SSA passbook.
- Transfer of Account : SSA can be transferred from a bank to a post office branch (vice versa) at free of cost. The guardian or the account holder has to furnish proof of shifting of residence. Even if you are not relocating, you can transfer the account by paying a fee of Rs 100 to the post or to the bank to which the transfer is being made.
- Withdrawal for Education Purposes :
- Withdrawal of upto a maximum of fifty per cent of the balance in the Account at the end of the financial year preceding the year of application for withdrawal, shall be allowed for the purpose of higher education of the Account holder.
- Provided that such withdrawal shall not be allowed unless the Account holder attains the age of eighteen years or has passed tenth standard, whichever is earlier.
- The withdrawal can be made in lump sum or in installments not exceeding one per year, for a maximum period of five years.
- The guardian or the account holder has to submit a documentary proof of confirmed admission in an Educational institution (or) a Fee-slip from such institution.
- Account Closure & Age Proof : To close a SSA account, age proof has to be submitted to prove that the girl child is not less than 18 years of age.
- Account Closure & Marriage : Earlier premature withdrawal is allowed after the girl child’s marriage takes place but now withdrawal is possible even if Depositor is intending to get married.
- Change of Citizenship :
- If after opening of account, Account holder becomes a non-citizen or non-resident of India (NRI), he/she (guardian/parent/girl child) has to intimate the same within a period of one Month and her account will be deemed as closed.
- Interest is not be paid on such Accounts.
- Post Account Closure & Interest Payment : As per the old rules, post maturity (after 21 years from the date of account opening) even if account holder does not close the account he/she was eligible for interest till the final closure of the account. But as per the new amendments, if an account completes twenty-one years, no interest amount is payable.
I hope you find this post useful and informative. Are you contributing to Sukanya Samriddhi Account Deposit Scheme? Kindly share your experience and views on SSA.
(Image courtesy of chubphong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net) (Post published Date : 05-April-2016)