Sukanya Samriddhi Account Rules Amendments: Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme is one of the best small saving schemes in India which is aimed at securing the future of a Girl Child. From the time of launching this scheme (January, 2015) it has been hugely popular due to its higher interest rate and tax benefits. Upto the starting of 2016, around 76 Lakhs Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana Accounts have been opened across the nation.
Government has recently come up with Sukanya Samriddhi Account Rules 2016, where they have made some new changes / amendments vide notification no. G.S.R.323(E) dated 18.03.2016. The amendments are made to clarify some of the confusions related to different definitions, operation of account, premature withdrawal, account transfer, SSA rules for NRI, closure of account and other features. Also Interest Rate on the Sukanya Scheme been revised downwards to 8.6% from earlier 9.2% per annum from 01.04.2016 onward.
Sukanya Samriddhi Account Rules – 10 Major Amendments
Below are some of the major revised rules of Sukanya Samriddhi Account Deposit Scheme.
1. Different Definitions
- Account Holder: Account holder means a person in whose name the Account is held.
- Beneficiary: Beneficiary means an eligible Girl child who is resident Indian citizen.
- Guardian: Guardian means natural or legal guardian of the beneficiary, which means SSA can be opened even in the name of an adopted Daughter.
- Bank: Bank means any public sector or private secor commercial bank authorized to open SSA.
- Deposit: Deposit means the the money deposited by the account holder or the guardian.
2. Rate of Interest & Calculation Procedure: The Interest Rate can be can be amended by the Govt. from time to time. (Earlier it was declared on yearly basis).
The interest on deposit will be compounded on yearly basis. The interest shall be calculated for the calendar month on the lowest balance in an SSA Account on the deposits made between the close of the tenth day and the end of the month. (Check the Sukanya Samriddhi Calculator)
3. Minimum & Maximum Deposit: The minimum amount that has to be deposited in the Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme is Rs 1,000/ Annum, whereas the maximum amount that can be deposited is Rs 1.5 Lakh per financial year. In case of excess deposit beyond Rs 1.5 Lakh in any fiscal year (due to any accounting error), the excess amount will not be eligible for any interest.
4. Online Payment Mode: Until now, the mode of payment was only through cash/ by cheque/ by DD. The Sukanya Samriddhi Account new rules have specified that deposits can also be made through Online Payment Mode or electronic transfer provided the post office or bank has access to the facility of CBS (Core Banking Solution).
5. Account Default Rules: The SSA account will be treated as ‘Account in Default’ in case of non-payment of the minimum amount. On payment of a penalty of 50 rupees per year, these accounts can be regularized.
Also the new rules state that if in any case the default 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 only for interest rate prescribed for Post Office Savings Bank at the time of its maturity.
However this rule will not be applicable if the default occurred due to the death of the ‘Guardian’ of the child, who opened the account. In such case, the account holder will get normal SSA interest rate.
6. Withdrawal for Education Purposes: Withdrawal of upto a maximum of 50% 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. This makes it an effective investment option for the education of the girl child.
The withdrawal can be made in one lump sum or in instalments not exceeding one per year, for a maximum period of five years. Provided that such withdrawal shall not be allowed unless the Account holder attains the age of 18 years or has passed 10th standard, whichever is earlier.
The application for withdrawal shall be accompanied by a documentary proof of confirmed offer of admission in an Educational institution or a fee-slip from such institution clarifying such financial requirement.
7. Account Closure: For closure of an SSA account, the account holder will have to provide an age proof to prove that she is not less than 18 years of age (Earlier an affidavit stating that was enough). The new SSA rules state that now withdrawal is possible even if Depositor is intending to get married, whereas earlier premature withdrawal was possible only after the marriage of the girl child.
However it must be ensured that no such premature closure shall be made before one month preceding the date of the marriage or after three months from the date of such marriage. Earlier if account holder do not close the account post maturity, she was eligible to get the interest till the final closure of the account, but now No Interest is payable post account closure (once the SSA Account completes 21 years from the date of opening).
8. Duplicate Passbook: A duplicate passbook may be issued In the event of mutilation, loss of passbook on a written request of the guardian or the Sukanya account holder and a fee payment of fifty rupees. Also the guardian or the Account holder will be able to maintain the Account records exclusively in electronic form, provided the post office or Bank concerned has access to the CBS facility.
9. Change of Citizenship: If after the opening of an account, the Account holder becomes a non-citizen or non-resident of India (NRI), the guardian or the account holder girl child has to intimate the same within a period of one Month. No interest shall be payable to such account and it will be deemed as closed.
10. Account Transfer Option: Sukanya Account Scheme can be transferred anywhere in India from a bank to a post office branch or vice versa. It will be free of cost on furnishing the proof of shifting of residence. Otherwise a payment of Rs 100 has to be paid to the post or to the bank to which the transfer is being made.
So these are the 10 major Sukanya Samriddhi Account Rules amendments made in the year 2016. Did you already open a Sukanya Samriddhi Account deposit scheme? Please feel free to share your experience about SSA in the comments below.