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In order to majorly address the issue of declining child sex ratio, Government of India launched a social campaign Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) that means save girls, educate girl child on 22 January 2015. This is a national initiative jointly run by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Human Resource Development. BBBP aims at following:

I. To stop the discrimination of the girl child and practice of sex determination test

II. To ensure survival and protection of girls

III. To ensure the participation of girls in education and other areas

As part of BBBP Campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a scheme called ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY)’ that means Girl Child Prosperity Scheme in line with the above objectives.

let’s understand,

  1. What is Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana
  2. What are its rules?
  3. What are the tax benefits provided to SSY

1. What is Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY)

SSY aims at tackling the major problem associated with girl child i.e., education and marriage. SSY ensures bright future for a girl child in India by facilitating the parents of a girl child to build a fund for proper education and carefree marriage expenses of their girl child. SSY has introduced Sukanya Samriddhi Account for this purpose.

2. What are its rules?

Particulars Provision as per SSY Rules 2016
Who would be the beneficiary of SSY account Girl child who is a resident Indian from the time of opening of account till maturity/closure
Who can open the account? Parents or legal guardian of a girl child who has not attained the age of 10 years, can open the account
Who can deposit and operate the account?
  • Either Guardian or girl child if she has attained the age of 10 years may deposit the amount and operate the account
  • Account shall be mandatorily be operated by girl child after she attains age of 18 years
Number of accounts
  • Only one account per girl child
  • Account can be opened for Maximum of two girl children in one family i.e., unit having a person, spouse and children (including adopted children)
  • Account for more than two girl children allowed in case of more than two girl children born in first order of birth or in a scenario of one girl child in first order of birth and twins or more than twins in second order of birth
Where SSA account can be opened? In any post office or authorised branch of commercial banks
Documents required to open the Account
  • Birth certificate of girl child
  • Identity and residential proof of the guardian
  • Medical certificate for proof of birth of multiple girl children on single order of birth
  • Any other documents as required by post office or banks
When can an SSA account be opened? Any time between birth of girl child till she attains the age of 10 years
Deposit threshold and tenure
  • Minimum of Rs 1000 and maximum of Rs 150,000 in every financial year upto 15 years
  • Multiples of Rs 100 subject to above cap
Mode of Deposit Cash, cheque, demand draft or online transfer
Interest on deposits
  • Current interest rate is 8.1%
  • Entire deposit in ‘Account under default’ (where minimum amount of Rs 1 thousand has not been deposited) which is not regularised within prescribed time would earn interest on post savings bank account except if the default is due to death of the guardian who opened the Account
  • No interest is payable after the completion of tenure of SSi.e after 21 years from account opening
  • No interest accrues after the girl child becomes non citizen or non resident
Consequences of excess or short deposit
  • Excess – Deposit above maximum cap will not earn any interest and can be withdrawn anytime by the depositor
  • Shortage – Account shall be considered as ‘Account under default’ if no minimum deposit made in a financial year and can be regularised within 15 years of Account opening on payment of penalty of Rs 50 per default year
Tenure of SSA 21 years from Account opening date
Rules pertaining to closure of SSA Closure on maturity
  • Account matures after completion of tenure of 21 years and balance in SSA including interest is paid to girl child on submitting an application and proof of identity, residence and citizenship documents
Premature Closure Allowed only in the following situations:
  • Reasons of intended marriage after a girl child attains the age of 18 years makes an application between one month prior to marriage and 3 months after marriage along with her age proof documents
  • Death of girl child on production of death certificate and balance in the SSA will be paid to the guardian
  • Deemed closure in case of change in the status of girl child i.e., girl child either becomes non resident or non citizen of India. Such status change shall be communicated by girl child or guardian within one month of status change
  • After completion of 5 years from the opening of SSA, if post office or Bank is satisfied that operation or continuation of SSA is causing undue hardship to the girl child (such as the death of the guardian, medical reasons of girl child) may order for premature closure
  • For any other reasons, if SSA to be closed anytime after the opening of SSA, it will be permitted, but the entire deposit would earn interest rate applicable to post office savings bank
Withdrawal
  • Withdrawal is allowed for higher education purpose if girl child has either attained 18 years or completed 10th standard for meeting actual fee or other charges required at the time of admission
  • Documentary proof by way of a confirmed offer of admission in an educational institution or fee slip shall accompany the application for withdrawal
  • Withdrawal has a maximum cap of 50% of the balance in SSA at the end of preceding financial year and can be made in either one lump sum or in 5 installments not exceeding one installment per year
Transfer of balance is SSA Balance in SSA can be transferred anywhere in India and from or to post offices, from or to banks and between post offices and banks for free of cost, upon furnishing of proof of change of residence of either guardian or girl child. Under any other circumstance, such transfer can be made by paying a fee of Rs 100.

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3. What are the tax benefits provided to SSY

In order to encourage investments in SSA, SSA has also been provided with tax benefits as follows: I. Investments made in the SSY scheme are eligible for deduction under Section 80C subject to a maximum cap of Rs 1.5 lakhs II. The interest that accrues against this account which gets compounded annually is also exempt from tax III. The proceeds received upon maturity/withdrawal are also exempt from income tax

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