Good news for the parents of girl children! The Modi government has reduced the minimum annual deposit requirement for Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana Accounts to Rs 250 from Rs 1,000. The government has made this move to encourage more people to take advantage of the girl child savings scheme.
In his 2018-19 Budget speech, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said that Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme, launched in January 2015, has been a “great success”. Launched on 22nd January 2015, in only about two years and a few months (November 2017), more than 1.26 Crore accounts have been opened across the country under SSY. An amount of Rs 19,183 Crores had been received as contribution towards the girl child’s welfare.
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On 22nd July, two major changes in Sukanya Samriddhi Account Rules, 2016, were announced. The amended Sukanya Samriddhi Account Rules, 2016, now state that
This move will definitely enhance the well-being of girl children. Lack of funds are the root cause of many problems, be it education or an overall state of wellbeing. In these days of modernization, it is not only important but necessary for girl children to be educated.
The Right to Education Act (RTE) or Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act is a Parliament of India Act which gives children aged 6 to 14 years, free and compulsory primary education. Unfortunately, 84 million were out of school (2011 Census).
The drop-out rate for girls increases after primary education. The net enrolment ratio for girl children falls to 51.93% from 88.7% at primary, 51.93% at secondary and 32.6% at higher secondary. Approximately one in every five girls enrolled drop out after class 8.
Girl children drop out from schools for various reasons like helping with household chores, sibling care, early marriage, lack of safety in schools, and so on. Among these reasons, lack of funds is also an important one.
Education is not as affordable as earlier times. Therefore, parents have to plan out well. While not every parent can afford to educate their children in Harvard University or IIMs, providing basic sound education is a must.
SSY also encourages parents to marry off their girl children only after they attain 18 years of age. How? The SSY account matures after 21 years, from the date of account opening, or when the girl child gets married (whichever is earlier). SSY mandates that the girl must get married only at 18. Also, a premature withdrawal is allowed only to fund the girl child’s higher education.
By reducing the minimum limits, more number of parents may get their girl children enrolled in the Sukanya Samriddhi Account. With an increased awareness and education on the importance of educating girl children, this move will encourage parents belonging to BPL and other poor classes to save and invest in SSY.
Like other Small Savings Schemes, the rate of interest on Sukanya Samriddhi Account is revised each quarter. For the July-September 2018 quarter, SSA will earn an interest of 8.1%.
SSY is one of the most beneficial schemes vis-à-vis tax. It comes with the exempt-exempt-exempt (EEE) status. That is, deposit, interest and maturity proceeds are exempt from tax. Deposits can be claimed as deductions under Section 80C of IT Act, 1961.
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