These Mahila Samman Savings Certificate features differ from other post office schemes

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The government introduced Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, 2023 in the Budget 2023. This scheme is meant specifically for women investors and the government notified the new small savings scheme via a gazette notification on March 31, 2023. This scheme was launched to encourage investment among women investors.

The deposits made under this scheme will fetch interest at the rate of 7.5 per cent per annum. The interest will be compounded quarterly and credited to the account. Under the scheme, the maximum investment limit allowed is Rs 2 lakh. Women investors have to fill Form – I, on or before the 31st March, 2025.

Here is a look at a few terms and conditions of the Mahila Samman Savings scheme that are different from other small savings schemes.

Also read: Post Office Schemes latest Interest Rates in India for 2023
Who can open
Any interested women or in the name of the minor girl account can open the Mahila Samman Savings scheme. The Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana can be opened by the guardian in the name of a girl child below the age of 10 years. “Only one account can be opened in India either in Post Office or in any bank in the name of a girl child. This account can be opened for maximum of two girls in a family. Provided in case of twins/triplets girls birth more than two accounts can be opened,” stated the India Post website. In other post office small savings schemes like the Public Provident Fund (PPF), a guardian can open an account on behalf of a minor.

Single account or joint account

Mahila Samman Certificate Scheme cannot be opened jointly, it should be opened by only a single account holder. Even Public Provident Fund accounts cannot be opened jointly. Whereas, a Senior Citizen Savings Scheme account can be jointly opened with a spouse only. A post office time deposit, post office monthly income scheme, National Savings Certificate, Kisan Vikas Patra can all be opened as a joint account (up to 3 adults), as per the India Post website. Deposit time gap
For the Mahila Samman Savings scheme, multiple accounts can be opened under the scheme, however, a time gap of three months should be maintained between the existing account and the opening of the other account, stated the government’s gazette notification. It should be noted that a maximum limit of Rs 2 lakh should be retained in an account or in all accounts held by an account holder. Minimum of Rs 1,000 should be deposited and in multiples of Rs 100, and a maximum limit of Rs 2 lakh in an account or all accounts held by an account holder should be maintained.

For a PPF account, “Minimum deposit Rs. 500 in a Financial Year and Maximum deposit is Rs. 1.50 lakh in a FY (ii) Maximum limit of Rs. 1.50 lakh shall be inclusive of the deposits made in his/her own account and in the account opened on behalf of minor.”

For the SCSS, “Minimum deposit shall be Rs. 1000 and in multiple of 1000, subject to maximum limit up to Rs. 30 lakh in all SCSS accounts opened by an individual. (ii) In case any excess deposit made in SCSS account, excess amount will be refunded immediately to the depositor and only PO Savings Account Interest rate will be applicable from the date of excess deposit to the date of refund.”

For NSC, “Minimum Rs. 1000 and in multiple of Rs. 100 , no maximum limit. (ii) Any number of accounts can be opened under the scheme.”

For KVP, “Minimum Rs. 1000 and in multiple of Rs. 100 , no maximum limit. (ii) Any number of accounts can be opened under the scheme.”

Early withdrawal rules
Investors can withdraw a maximum up to 40% of the eligible balance once after the expiry of one year from the date of opening of the account but before the maturity of the account by making application in Form-3. This is something unique when compared to other Post office schemes, as there is no option to withdraw a certain amount other than PPF and Sukanya Samriddhi which is offered only on certain conditions.

Premature closure of account
The Mahila Samman Savings scheme account shall not be closed before maturity except in the following cases, namely:- (a) on the death of the account holder;
On extreme compassionate ground (i) Life threatening decease of account holder (ii) death of the guardian on production of relevant documents.

In cases of extreme compassionate grounds such as medical support in life-threatening diseases of the account holder or death of the guardian, that the operation or continuation of the account is causing undue hardship to the account holder, it may, after complete documentation, by order and for reasons to be recorded in writing, the bank or post office will allow premature closure of the account.

Interest on principal amount will be payable at the rate applicable to the Scheme for which the account has been held.

Premature closure of an account can be permitted, any time after the completion of six months from the date of opening of an Account, for any reason other than provided under sub-paragraph (1). On balances from time to time in the account shall be eligible only for the interest rate less by 2% than the rate specified in this Scheme.

In case of premature closure Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, the account balance will qualify for only the interest rate that is 2% less than the rate indicated in this scheme.

In case of Post office time deposit, if 2/3/5-year time deposit account prematurely closed after 1 year, interest will be calculated 2 % less than of TD interest rate (i.e. 1/2/3 years) for completed years, and for part period less than a year, PO Savings Interest rates will be applicable.

In the case of the Monthly Income Scheme, if the account is closed after one year but before three years, a 2% deduction from the principal will be made, and the remaining amount will be paid. If the account is closed after three years but before five years, a 1% reduction from the principle will be made, and the remaining amount will be paid.

A recurring deposit account can be cancelled prematurely after three years from the date of account opening. If the account is closed prematurely, even if it is only one day before maturity, the interest rate on the PO Savings Account will apply.

Tax benefit under 80C
Unlike most of the Post office schemes such as PPF, SSY, SCSS, NSC, POTD (5Y) offer tax benefit under 80C of Income tax. However, the government is yet to specify any tax-related information with regards to the Mahila Samman Savings scheme.

How to open account Mahila Samman Savings account
Individuals can submit account opening form, KYC Document (Aadhaar and PAN card) , KYC form for new account holder, Pay-in-Slip along with deposit amount/cheque at nearest post office.

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