Government makes Amendments in Small Savings Act
The Government gives highest priority to the interest of small savers, especially savings for the benefit of girl child, the senior citizens and the regular savers who form the backbone of our country’s savings architecture.
- All existing protections have been retained while consolidating PPF Act under the proposed Government Savings Promotion Act.
- No existing benefits to depositors are proposed to be taken away through this process. The main objective in proposing a common Act is to make implementation easier for the depositors as they need not go through different rules and Acts for understanding the provision of various small saving schemes, and also to introduce certain flexibilities for the investors.
- The Government aims to bring down the protection against the attachment of Public Provident Fund Account under any decree or order of any court in respect of any debt or liability incurred by the depositors.
- It is made clear that there is no proposal to withdraw the said provision and the existing and future depositors will continue to enjoy protection from the attachment under the amended umbrella Act as well.
- As per PPF Act, the PPF account can’t be closed prematurely before completion of five financial years. If depositor wants to close PPF account before five years in exigencies, he can’t close the account.
- To make provisions for premature closure easier in respect of all schemes, provisions could now be made through specific scheme notification. The benefits of premature closure of Small Savings Schemes may now be introduced to deal with medical emergencies, higher education needs, etc.
- Investment in Small Savings Schemes can be made by Guardian on behalf of minor(s) under the provisions made in the proposed bill Guardian may also be given associated rights and responsibilities.
- There was no clear provision earlier regarding deposit by minors in the existing Acts. The provision has been made now to promote culture of savings among children.
- There were no clear provisions in all the three Acts for the operation of accounts in the name of physically infirm and differently abled persons. Provisions in this regard have now been made.
- The existing Acts are silent about grievance redressal. The amended Act allows the Government to put in place mechanism for redressal of grievances and for amicable and expeditious settlement of disputes relating to Small Savings.
- The above provisions which are proposed to be incorporated in the amended Act will add to the flexibility in operation of the Account under Small Savings Schemes.
- Apart from offering higher interest rates compared to bank deposits, some of the small savings schemes also enjoy income tax benefits. No change in interest rate or tax policy on small savings scheme is being made through this amendment.