Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is a small savings scheme which aims to make the parent or guardian of the girl child financially independent for her education and marriage.
The Central government launched the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (save the girl child, educate the girl child) scheme in January 2015 with the aim of bringing about an overall positive change in the mindset of the society and to end discrimination against the girl child.
The scheme is aimed at the betterment of girl child in the country. Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme has been launched as a part of “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign” to offer a means of saving to the girl child in every family.
The Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana encourages parents to build a fund for the higher education and marriage expenses for their female child. The scheme has picked up well in the country since this is a great step towards providing financial security and financial dependence to women. This post provides detailed information on features and other details of Sukanya Samriddhi Account.
Despite being a small savings scheme, the Sukanya Samriddhi Account has the potential to have a phenomenal impact on the lives and self-esteem of young girls in the country.
The scheme aims to ensure a bright future for the girl children by facilitating their education and marriage expenses.
Under the scheme, a parent or legal guardian can open an account in the name of the girl child until she attains the age of 10 years. As per the government notification on the scheme, the account can be opened in any post office branch and designated public sector banks.
Accounts in name of the girl child can be opened at any post office or at a bank that is authorized by the Central Government to open an account under this scheme rules. The form for the scheme can be taken from any of these post offices/banks and can be filled and submitted along with other relevant documents.
A parent or guardian can open only one account per girl child, and a maximum of two such bank accounts in the name of two girl children.
In case twin girls are born on the 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.
To open an account under the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, three documents are required:
1) Certificate of birth of the girl child– provided by the hospital where the child is born or even a certificate provided by a government official.
2) Address proof of the parents or legal guardian of the girl child– could be any one like passport, driving license, electricity or telephone bill, voter ID card, ration card or any other address proof issued by the Government of India.
3) Identity proof of the parents or legal guardian– documents like PAN card, driving license, passport, voter ID card or matriculation certificate would be valid as an identity proof for opening the account.
4) Three photographs of the parent (or guardian) and the girl child.
An account once opened can also be transferred anywhere in India.
The role of legal guardian in the scheme would only come into the picture wherein both the parents of the girl child are dead, or are not capable of opening or running the account.
The girl child, in whose name the account has been opened, can operate the account on her own after she attains the age of 10 years if she wishes to do so.
The minimum deposit that needs to be made in the Sukanya Samriddhi Account every year was Rs 1,000 which has been slashed to Rs 250.
The maximum amount that can be deposited in a year is Rs 1.5 lakh. There is no limit on the number of deposits either in a month or in a financial year.
In case the required minimum annual deposit is not made by a parent or a guardian, the account will cease to be active. In such a situation, the account can be reactivated by paying a penalty of Rs 50 per year along with the minimum amount required for the deposit for that year.
Also Read| Aapki Beti Humari Beti Girl Child Scheme
The rate of interest on Sukanya accounts is compounded annually and is 8.5% per annum (w.e.f. 01-10-2018), which is more than that offered by most other schemes in the market. The rate under the scheme is revised every year by the government at the time of the Union Budget.
At the time of launch, the rate of interest for the scheme was 9.2 per cent.
The account 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 had been 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. The account will also automatically close if the girl child gets married before the completion of the tenure of 21 years.
Deposits can be made up to 14 years from the date of opening of the account. After this period the account will only earn interest as per applicable rates.
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 per cent 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.
It is also worthy to note that in order to make a withdrawal, the account should have a deposit of at least 14 years or more.
The account can be prematurely closed only under two conditions:
1. In case of the unfortunate death of the girl child (account holder), the parent or legal guardian can claim for the accumulated amount along with the interest incurred on the account. The balance would be immediately handed over to the nominee of the account.
2. The second condition under which the account can be prematurely closed is when the competent authorities feel and confirm that it is not possible for the depositor to carry forward the account or the contributions made towards the account are causing undue hardships to the depositor.
There is no third condition under which the account can be closed.
Deposits made under Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, along with proceeds and maturity, are exempted from tax under section 80C of the Income Tax Act.
Also Read| Deductions under Section 80c
Sukanya Samriddhi Account can be opened at the post offices or other authorized banks. RBI has authorized the following banks to open an account under Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme. Here is the list of banks where parents can contact to open Sukanya Samriddhi Account.